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THE HEARTWORM: A TRAVELER WE DON’T WANT

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We watch TV, we listen to the radio, we read on the internet, and everywhere we are told about climate change. It seems that the whole planet is immersed in a slow process of change. Scientists and governments do not agree, but what is being verified is the existence of an increase in hot and humid areas on all continents. And Spain is no exception.
It is in these areas where our protagonist – the heartworm of the nematode family (Dirofilaria emmitis) – finds the best habitat to develop its life cycle and its best ally – the mosquito -.

Despite having the name of a cartoon character, the heartworm is a host that we would rather not host. Canine heartworm is a serious and common parasitic disease in areas where maggots and mosquitoes are present, which can leave important sequelae in our pet and even cause death. Although there is treatment and it can be cured, it is complex and even dangerous, so correct prevention with antiparasitics will be the best way to protect our beloved dog.

Who is heartworm and how does my dog ​​get infected?

Heartworm disease was discovered in dogs over a hundred years ago and is therefore well known to the veterinary community. It is a disease that is not spread by contact between dog and dog since it requires the intermediation of a mosquito. When a mosquito bites an animal previously infested with young larvae, these are acquired by the insect and transmitted to the bloodstream of the next healthy dog ​​it bites. These larvae will develop within the tissues of the dog until they become mature worms (reaching between 15 and 30 centimetres in length), managing to lodge mainly in the pulmonary arteries and the heart.

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Canine heartworm is a serious and common parasitic disease in worm and mosquito areas.

How can I suspect that the disease is present?

From the time the parasites enter the body of a healthy dog ​​until they reach maturity, about 4-6 months may elapse. In the early stages, there may be no obvious symptoms. That is why, many times, when the first symptoms appear, the worms are already in their destination locations. For all this, if we detect any symptoms, we must go to our veterinarian to perform a blood test in search of the parasite.

The most notable and common symptoms of this disease are:

  • Exercise intolerance due to heart and respiratory distress you experience
  • Tiredness even with little effort
  • Increased heart rate due to overexertion of the heart
  • Cough after exertion and shortness of breath
  • Lack of appetite and weight loss
  • Nosebleeds and bleeding from the mouth
  • Apathy, low mood, and even nervousness
  • Fainting from general weakness

In advanced cases, there may be swelling due to fluid accumulation

What is the best prevention?

Heartworm parasitosis can be prevented by going to our trusted veterinarian and asking him to make a preventive plan about this disease, especially coinciding with the hot and humid times of greatest activity of mosquitoes, although in many areas the disease can be purchased throughout the year. Besides, with the Double Monthly Protection, your pet will be protected against the most frequent parasites, such as other worms, fleas and ticks, avoiding the risk of contagion to your family. We must not forget the protection of our pet both inside and outside its body.

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Dogs

How to Trim A Dog’s Nails (A Step by Step Guide)

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If you want to learn how to groom your dog at home, you need to know the basics, such as how to cut a dog’s nails. I’ll show you exactly what you need to do and how to do it safely so that know one gets hurt.

Cutting a dog’s fingernails might sound scary but there’s nothing about it that’s difficult. You just have to be careful and know what you’re doing .

You should start off by collecting all of the supplies for this task. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Nail Trimmer
  • Scissors
  • Styptic Powder (optional)

Now that you’ve got your stuff together, it’s time to get started.

Step 1: Make Your Dog Comfortable

First, make sure your dog is relaxed and comfortable around you. Do this by giving him a treat or two before starting. If possible, start this process after they’ve eaten their meal to help them feel extra sleepy and calm! For anxious dogs, you can even try CBD Oil for Dogs.

Step 2: Prepare The Paw

Second, lift one of your dogs paws into your hand and press gently on the pad of the paw while looking at the tip of each nail. You’ll be able to see where your dog’s skin is and if you cut it, he will bleed and it may hurt him.

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That’s why we use a nail cutter, so we don’t have to worry about hurting our dog when trimming their nails.

Step Three: Secure The Paw

Third, you can feel free to push down on the pad of their paw if it’s more comfortable for you. If your dog is wiggly when you’re trying to hold his paw, you can try this instead!

Step 4: Apply The Cut

Fourth, once you’ve identified where the quick ends in each nail, go ahead and cut just past that point. You’ll only want to cut into the pinkish area on the end of his nail, not into the black part. If you do accidentally cut into this black section, use an absorbent cotton ball to stop the bleeding. After it stops, apply some styptic powder to help the blood clot faster and prevent infection in your dog’s paw. You can then apply some CBD for Pets to promote healing as well.

Step 5: Repeat on All Nails

Fifth, keep trimming until all their nails are the same length.

Step by Step Instructions for Trimming Dog Nails

  1. Pet your dog and make sure they’re comfortable with you
  2. With one paw in each hand, feel for the end of each nail to know where to cut
  3. Cut just past this point (only into the pinkish area)
  4. Keep cutting until all of the nails are the same length
  5. If you accidentally cut into the black part, apply some styptic powder to stop the bleeding
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Now that you’ve learned how to cut your dog’s nails, you can feel confident doing it at home! If this process continues to be too stressful for either of you, then why not try bringing them to a groomer?

If you want more information on how to do this and other dog grooming basics, check out the video linked below:

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Dogs

Do Dogs Dream?

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Whether or not dogs dream isn’t known with scientific certainty, but it sure is difficult to imagine that they don’t. We’ve all watched our dogs demonstrate behaviours in their sleep that resemble what they do in a fully awake state. Paddling legs, whining, growling, wagging tails, chewing jowls, and twitching noses inspire us to wonder what our dogs are dreaming about.

What we know about dogs and dreams

While our knowledge on this topic is very limited, the following known information helps us believe that dogs do indeed experience dreams. According to MIT News, Matthew Wilson, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, and Kenway Louie, a graduate student in 2001,  have studied the relationships between memory, sleep and dreams. They found that when rats were trained to run along a circular track for food rewards, their brains created a distinctive firing pattern of neurons (brain cells). The researchers repeated the brain monitoring while the rats were sleeping. Low and behold, they observed the same signature brain activity pattern associated with running whether the rats were awake or asleep. In fact, the memories played at approximately the same speed during sleep as when the rats were awake.

Can we apply this to dogs?

Can we take what is known about dreaming in rats and humans and apply the information to dogs? Wilson believes that we can.”My guess is — unless there is something special about rats and humans — that cats and dogs are doing exactly the same thing,” he said, according to USA Today’s website.

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It is known that the hippocampus, the portion of the brain that collects and stores memories, is wired much the same way in all mammals. According to healthday.com, Professor Wilson says, “If you compared a hippocampus in a rat to a dog; in a cat to a human, they contain all of the same pieces.” He believes that as dogs sleep, images of past events replay in their minds, much the same way people recall experiences while dreaming.

In people, it is known that most dreams occur during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health. Dogs also experience periods of REM sleep. Psychology Today’s website says that during REM their breathing becomes more irregular and shallow. There may be muscle twitching during REM and, when one looks closely, rapid eye movements behind closed eyelids can often be observed. It is during REM sleep that behaviours thought to be associated with dreaming (legs paddling, twitching, vocalizing, etc.) are most commonly observed.

What we want to believe about dog dreams

When we observe our dogs as they sleep, it’s just about impossible to imagine that they are not dreaming. Just like the rats studied by Wilson and Louie, it is tempting to believe that our four-legged best buddies are reenacting their recent experiences; playing at the dog park, sniffing in the woods, chewing on a treasured bone, and chasing squirrels.

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The National Institutes of Health says that Sigmund Freud theorized that dreaming was a “safety valve” for our unconscious desires. Perhaps he is correct, and, when our dogs sleep, they dream about catching the neighbour’s pesky cat, continuous belly rubs in conjunction with unlimited dog treats, and stealing the Thanksgiving turkey from the dining room table.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

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Dogs

5 Reasons to why you should test Your Dog for Diabetes

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Did you know that some authorities feel that 1 out of every 100 dogs that reach 12 years of age develops diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a hormonal problem where the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, the hormone that helps push sugar (“glucose”) into the body’s cells. Without the insulin, the body’s cells are starving for sugar; unfortunately, this then stimulates the body to produce more and more sugar (in an attempt to feed the cells). That’s why your dog’s blood sugar is so high (what we call a “hyperglycemia”) with diabetes mellitus.

Without insulin, the sugar can’t get into the cells; hence, why you need to give insulin to your dog with a tiny syringe twice a day. In dogs, this is a disease that can be costly to treat and requires twice-a-day insulin along with frequent veterinary visits for the rest of your dog’s life.

So how do you know if your dog has diabetes? Clinical signs of diabetes mellitus in dogs include:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Excessive urination
  • Urinary accidents in the house
  • Dilute urine
  • Overweight or obese
  • Muscle wasting
  • Ravenous appetite
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Weakness
  • Unkempt or poor hair coat
  • Blindness secondary to cataracts
  • Neuropathies (nerve problems)

As your dog gets older, it’s worth talking to your veterinarian about doing routine blood work to make sure your dog is healthy. This blood work will help rule out kidney and liver problems, anaemia, infections, electrolyte problems and diabetes mellitus. The sooner you recognize the clinical signs, the sooner your dog can be treated with insulin and the fewer complications we see as a result.

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So, if you notice any of the signs above, get to a veterinarian right away. Now, continue on for 5 important reasons to test your dog for diabetes:

1. Your dog will live longer

Diabetes mellitus can shorten the lifespan of your dog, as secondary complications and infections can occur. With diabetes, the body is immunosuppressed and more likely to develop diabetic complications which cause long term harm to your dog.

2. Your dog will be able to see

Did you know that the majority of dogs with diabetes eventually go blind from cataracts? Even in well-controlled diabetic dogs, the excess sugar in the body can have secondary effects on the lens of the eye; it causes more water to influx into the lens, which disrupts the clearness of the lens. As a result, cataract formation occurs, resulting in eventual blindness and secondary inflammation in both eyes. While cataract surgery can (and ideally, should) be performed, it can be costly.

3. You’ll save a lot of money

Treatment for diabetes mellitus includes twice-a-day insulin treatment, insulin syringes, prescription diets, and frequent veterinary trips for blood tests. Also, as diabetic dogs can’t go without their insulin, it may mean hiring house sitters or pet sitters to treat your pet while you are on vacation.

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4. You’ll have fewer urinary accidents in the house

One of the biggest signs of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus is excessive drinking, urination and having urinary accidents in the house. Because of hyperglycemia, dogs are also at increased risk for urinary tract infections, wreaking havoc on your carpet. The sooner you can treat your dog with insulin and get diabetes controlled or regulated, the less your dog will drink and urinate, making your dog more comfortable too!

5. You’ll have more peace knowing that your dog is healthy

As a veterinarian and dog owner, I want to make sure my dog is as healthy as possible. You might already be talking with your veterinarian about vaccines each year in a dog that is older than 7 years of age; next, talk to your veterinarian about doing an annual exam and routine blood work too. It’ll pick up on medical problems sooner, so you can rest assured that your dog is going to live a longer, happier, healthier life!

Having a diabetic pet is also a big commitment, as it requires dedicated pet parents who can give twice-a-day injections of insulin. Caring for a diabetic dog does require frequent trips to the veterinarian to regulate blood sugar. That said, dogs can live with diabetes for years with appropriate care and treatment. When in doubt, make sure to monitor your dog carefully for the signs of diabetes, and seek veterinary attention sooner rather than later to help test for this ever-growing problem!

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