Signs of Canine Heart Disease

Written on 04/14/2014 by in Staying Healthy, Vet’s Corner

canine heart diseaseWhen it comes to canine heart disease, early diagnosis and timely treatment can make a crucial difference for your pet. It is necessary for pet parents like you to be familiar with the various signs of canine heart disease. This way you can bring any possible health issue to your vet’s attention as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Heart Problems in Dogs

1. Coughing. This is a very frequent sign of many kinds of illness in dogs, one being canine heart disease. Minor coughs rarely persist for more than three days. If, even after a few days, your pooch still coughs or experiences other unusual symptoms, immediately seek veterinary attention.

Treating Heartworm: Recovery

Originally published May 30, 2014

Boomer in heartworm treatmentBoomer had his Immiticide treatments for his heartworm condition last week and spent several days feeling quite puny. He’s doing better now. He’s got a sparkle in his eye and a bounce in his step again. He’s ready to run and play. So this is an especially dangerous time in his treatment.

He feels better and the heartworms in his system are dead. But when they die the worms can float down-stream in his circulatory system: right into the myriad of vessels and capillaries in his lungs where they lodge and block the blood flow. He needs to be calm until his body can absorb the dead worm tissue.

Getting his heart rate up through running and rambunctious play greatly increases the chances that something in his lung will become clogged and “blow out” (pulmonary embolism) causing bleeding into his lung. This is often fatal. puts it this way:

Dealing with Thunder and Dogs

Originally published June 27, 2014

There is thunder. Cochise tries desperately to tell Doug that something HORRIBLE is going on outside and that he NEEDS to come check it out. But, alas, Doug is not paying attention. What ever is a Guardian of the Realm to do?

We’re kind of poking fun here, but some dogs can be seriously stressed out by loud noises like thunder, fireworks and gun shots. What can be done to calm them?

Taking the Stress Out Of Veterinarian Visits

Originally published, September 5, 2014

veterinarian stressRegular visits to your dog’s veterinarian are an essential part of life if your dog is to remain healthy. Your dog will need a regular check-up and routine inoculations at the minimum, and dealing with health issues or accidents as the need arises. Getting your dog to the vet and answering the questions are tough enough but if your dog is feeling stress at the same time, it can be a really unpleasant experience for both of you (and the vet – and everyone else in the facility!) Wouldn’t it be much better to have your dog enjoy, even looked forward to his regular veterinarian visits?

Preparation Avoids Stress

The first step is getting there. If you have a puppy it’s probably not an issue, if you have adopted an older dog her history may cause her to not like riding in your car. Also, if the only time she rides is to go to the vet, and past vet visits were unpleasant, then she will associate riding with an unpleasant destination. Dissipate any stressful associations by taking her riding to pleasant places: a park for a walk, or to a dog-friendly store to do some shopping, if you haul trash to a collection center, take the dog with you. Do NOT take the dog if you will leave her locked in your car while you go inside, especially if it’s warm out. The purpose of the outing is for your dog to have fun with you while riding or immediately after riding in the car, dispelling the idea that a car ride means bad things are about to happen to her.

Separation Anxiety and Your Dog

Originally published November 14th, 2014

separation anxietyYour dog adores you. She follows you around and wants to be near you all the time. And that’s wonderful – until you must go away. Then your dog howls or barks or chews on things until you return. This is called separation anxiety. Unless you can stay home 24/7 or take the dog with you everywhere you go, you must deal with this issue (or replace a lot of shoes and furniture and endure the wrath of neighbors). To make things worse, sometimes this condition is your fault. I know: I’m guilty too.

I was getting ready to go out in the yard and do some work. Marie was resting on the sofa. I informed Marie I was going outside and asked if she needed anything before I left. She said, “Just take Blondie with you: she goes spastic every time you leave the house.”

Blondie has a mild separation anxiety issue. When I leave, she paces through the house peering out all the windows to see where I’ve gone.

Blondie is needy. She spent most of her life in an extremely neglectful situation and was totally withdrawn when she was rescued. We fostered her and helped her come out of her shell. We fell in love with the affectionate, silly girl she became and adopted her. Gun fire and thunder make her very nervous and she comes to me for comforting. I stroke her head to ease her anxiety. That’s the wrong thing to do, but I’ve done it.

We spend all of almost every day together. Blondie follows me around like a golden shadow. Sometimes she comes and asks for skritchies, and I’ll give them for a short time. She is accustomed to my being here, when I leave she gets anxious. But she’s a good girl: never misbehaves, she just runs around looking for me. I’m lucky: many people have dogs that do bad things when they are left alone. If yours is one of them, here’s what this is and how to deal with it.

Dogs and Socialization: part 2

Originally published November 7, 2014

Is your dog gentlemanly in public?

In part 1, we discussed how to introduce your adult dog to a new dog. This time I want to discuss the importance of socialization between your dog and other people.

Socialization of Dogs and People

Dogs are social creatures. By their nature, they usually get along well with people: unless they have reason not to. Any animal that is abused by a person can learn to mistrust, avoid, and fear people. That’s a blanket statement, so it is true only in the most general terms. If a dog knows only its abuser, then she will most likely fear all people. If a dog is abused by a man, but his wife is kind to her, she may well fear only men. An abusive teenager with kind and gentle (though not very attentive) parents may instill a socialization age bias.


Socialization of a puppy is pretty simple: once he’s had all his shots and the vet gives you the OK, simply expose the puppy to other people in a positive way. Rarely will a puppy pick up a disease from a person, but if these people also have a dog, this is a danger to your puppy. Begin this socialization as early as you can, so the pup doesn’t become fixated on you. Normally, puppies are very friendly and gregarious; socializing with people should not be an issue. Making interaction with other people a regular part of their life will keep them that way.

Dogs and Socialization: part 1

Originally published October 21, 2014

Drake and Blondie successfull socialization
Drake and Blondie

Dogs are by nature, social creatures. Even in the wild, they exist in packs: social units that allow for sharing resources, mutual protection and companionship. For domesticated dogs there are two types of socialization: getting along with other dogs, and getting along with people.

There would be a third type if you want to include dogs getting along with other species of animals. However, taking a dog that has grown up thinking that cats, hamsters chickies, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, (whatever you have) are food and teaching it to see them as a friend is beyond my scope or ability.

The most common socialization problem we see here at Piney Mountain Foster Care is dogs who were neglected. Sometimes this is a dog that was chained in the yard, given enough food and water to survive, but that’s about it. No love, no personal care. Blondie was one such dog. When taken in by the Dr. Carol Hood Memorial Animal Shelter, she was so withdrawn and depressed she acted as though she were autistic. More often the problem is a family that decided having a puppy would be fun, but they had no idea how to train it. So the bouncy, happy-go-lucky ball of fur turns into a bouncy, happy-go-lucky dog weighing 30 to 60 pounds and hasn’t got a clue how to behave any way other than what has always done: just being its happy-go-lucky self. This proves inconvenient for the family, so they take it to the shelter to be rid or it — or abandon it somewhere to become someone else’s problem.

10 Tips For Crate Training Your Dog

Originally published November 21, 2014

crate training
This silly Snoozer is obviously comfortable with his crate.

When used properly, crate training provides you and your dog with multiple benefits. For you it provides a simple, effective means of restricting your dog when you cannot provide close supervision. If your dog is an explorer, he may get into things that will harm him. If she’s a chewer, your home may suffer from allowing her to roam unsupervised. Crating also helps with housebreaking because a dog has a natural aversion to soiling its own sleeping space.

For your dog crate training offers a safe haven, a room or space of his own. It is a familiar place. Whether you go on the road or just move around a large home, having a place of his own brings your dog a feeling of safety. If your dog is ill or just been spayed or neutered, a familiar crate is quite comforting. A crate is effective in combating separation anxiety or fear of a thunderstorm because of the snug, safe feeling an enclosed crate can provide.

Canine Hypothyroidism Causes and Treatment

Originally published May 18, 2015

Doug on canine hypothyroidism
Doug the Dog Boss

Canine Hypothyroidism is the reduced function (hypo) of the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the neck, on the trachea, and makes a hormone called thyroxine that controls metabolism. When the gland doesn’t make enough thyroxine, the dogs metabolism slows abnormally.

It’s a common disease in dogs that can affect all breeds, but it is most often found in medium to large breeds like Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinchers, Irish Setters, Dachshunds, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels — and bulldogs. It usually occurs in middle-aged dogs (ages 4 to 10) and neutered males and spayed females are at a higher risk, though experts are not sure why. In most cases hypothyroidism is caused by your dog’s own immune system attacking his thyroid gland!

Canine Pneumonia and Heartworm

Originally published November 18, 2015

Bristol in recovery - canine pneumoniaBristol has canine pneumonia. He started coughing on Sunday, by Monday morning it was a continuous thing if he got active at all. A deep, rattly cough that ended with an ejection of phlegm. No blood (thankfully), so an embolism is not indicated. I contacted our Vet Tech, Alicia.

Because he is ill, Bristol has lost his seat on this weekend’s Rolling Rescue run. Hopefully he will be well again by the Rescue run in two weeks.

Parasitic pneumonia in dogs is often caused by lungworms directly or from the migration of other worms (e.g. heartworms) through the lung. 9 out of every 69 dogs (13%) treated for heartworm also develop pneumonia. At this stage (he’s just finishing his recovery period), I do not think the pneumonia was caused by heartworm migration, because they should all be long dead. However, the dead worm tissue in his lungs may have opened a path for a bacterial infection that resulted in pneumonia. Heart disease or heart failure can lead to pneumonia; perhaps this is aftermath of his heartworm infestation and damage to his heart. The heart damage should heal in time. His lungs may have been irritated by the couple of cold, damp nights we had.

Symptoms of Canine Pneumonia

The hallmark symptom shown by dogs suffering from pneumonia is coughing (although of course not all coughing dogs have pneumonia). In addition, watch out for these symptoms: