The Dachshund: A Tiny Dog With A Big Personality

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There are few more smile inducing sights than seeing a miniature dachshund confidently standing up to a larger, more docile dog. This tiny creature with short stubby legs and a long body is stubborn, often foolishly so, and will fearlessly frolic with other dogs, cats and any other pet you may have in your home. A lively little mutt, a dachshund is an ideal choice for the first time dog owner due to their relaxed temperament and ability to fit in pretty much anywhere. Your dachshund will be your faithful companion and relish any opportunity he has to sit with you and succumb to your chin rubs.

Although he is a healthy breed, the dachshund has a few medical ailments that need to be watched out for as he grows older. Be aware and get him to the vet if you spot any of the warning signs of the following conditions.

Epilepsy

As with the human condition, dachshunds can develop seizures at any age. Watching your dog have a seizure can be terrifying, but the best thing you can do is stay with him and soothe him until it passes. It is thought that this neurological condition is genetic and incurable. However, there are plenty of medications that can be utilized to get your little hound’s epilepsy under control should he develop it at some point in his life.

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Parasites

In a similar way to other hounds that love their walks, dachshunds are susceptible to anything parasitic ranging from fleas to ticks. The best way to combat this is to ensure your little guy starts a regular flea prevention routine from puppydom. Spot on treatments are the simplest and least intrusive way of giving your dog medication. You place a tiny pipette of medicated liquid onto the back of his neck once a month to keep him protected against the nasty parasitic blighters.

There are many parasites carried by other tiny critters that you need to be aware of. If you have a read of a post about a heartworm dog named Bobby Sue, you’ll see just how deadly parasites can be. Mosquitos can carry heartworms and release the parasitic larvae into a dachshund’s bloodstream after biting his skin. If your little pal starts coughing, seems wheezy or is losing weight, get him to the vet for a check up.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Because dachshunds weren’t blessed with the strongest of vertebra, their elongated shape means that they can find themselves with a whole host of back issues. They may need to have anti-inflammatory medication or have an operation to have discs removed if the pain becomes too great. It’s vital when you lift up your dachshund to give him a cuddle that you support his rear end and back. Because this is such a prevalent problem in the dachshund breed, owners have tried to fend off back problems with visits to a doggy acupuncturist or chiropodist with great success.

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If you find yourself the proud companion of a dachshund, you’ll be welcoming a fiery, entertaining and delightful little creature into your home. He or she will be at the center of many a comical memory and will be a welcome addition to any family.

Cold Facts: Common Health Concerns Among Siberian Huskies

Siberian Huskie

It is no wonder why the popularity of Siberian Huskies has grown exponentially over recent years; they are just so hard to resist. There aren’t many other breeds that are quite as strikingly gorgeous as the Siberian husky, what with those piercing blue eyes, that thick coat of fur and those disarming wolf-like looks. But it isn’t just their appearance that makes them such amazing pets. It is their joyful demeanour, their buoyant energy, their loyalty and friendliness. But the fact they make the best furry friends imaginable is also what makes it so hard to cope with when they get sick. There is an emotional bond that can crush your soul like nothing else.

Yes, Siberian Huskies tend to be incredibly healthy compared to a lot of other breeds, but that doesn’t mean they are free of all health concerns. Quite the contrary, in fact. Of course, the best medicine in your arsenal is knowledge and prevention, which is why we are going to highlight the main health problems of this very special breed:

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Corneal Dystrophy
Unfortunately, Siberian Huskies are known for suffering autoimmune disorders that affect the eyes and one, in particular, is to do with the cornea. Unfortunately, this tends to be a hereditary disease and one that your local veterinarian will probably tell you has no known cure, whether medicinal or therapeutic. What it looks like is tiny white spots in the cornea, with the condition affecting your pups vision. It’s not nice, but the good news is it isn’t painful.

Zinc Deficiency
Another autoimmune disorder your husky is susceptible to is a low level of zinc in their body, which tends to cause hair loss. The most common areas of hair loss are on the face – lips, chin and eyelids – but it can also occur at their elbows, hocks and feet. The obvious thing to do is add a zinc supplement to their diet. However, before you do this we would strongly recommend you speak to your vet first.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Yeah, Huskies tend to get it pretty rough with their eyes, and this is another hereditary example of this. This is a condition whereby your dog’s retina slowly disintegrates over time. The best way to ensure that this condition doesn’t affect your puppy is to have your Husky screened at an early age and let it undergo the necessary examination. While this won’t cure them, it will allow you to make lifestyle adjustments to ensure any progression is put off for as long as possible.

Hip Dysplasia
Ask any vet and they will tell you that a lot of big dogs are prone to hip dysplasia and Siberian Huskies fall into the category. To give you a little more information on it, hip dysplasia is where the joint doesn’t quite fit together properly, making later life a lot harder for them. There are certain things you can do to help your dog if they suffer from this. However, we would also recommend you ask the breeder whether the pups parents have been screened for hip dysplasia. It is hereditary, so those parents who were fine on this front tend to produce a litter that is unaffected too.

The prevention education of vet school that no one tells you about

Jenni Falconer and her dog Alfie

Something that many people do not realise is that vet school is not all about treating diseases or cool surgeries to put animals back together again. A lot of it is about learning how to stop animals getting sick in the first place. This training involves both infectious diseases as well as parasitic diseases – in fact vets are often better trained in this area than human doctors.

It is often said than an ounce of prevention is better than cure, and in the case where it is so simple to do there is little reason not to. However, a survey of 1056 dog owners carried out in February 2017 shows that whilst some people know what dog parasites exist, they do not know the risks.

Over a third of these dog owners said they never think about the parasites their dog may be hosting even though they sleep in the same bed, sit on the sofa together or even lick their face. In fact one in four people didn’t realise that their pet could have parasites without them even being visible.

One of the reasons that so much effort goes into prevention is that sometimes parasites and diseases can affect both animals and humans as a zoonosis. So helping to protect a pet against these parasites in turn also helps protects you and your family especially for those with children. So let’s take a quick look at some of the types of parasites out there, what people think, and what really is true…

Most dog owners are worried about lungworm with 82% of people knowing that it could be fatal to their pet. However 43% also believed it was a big risk for humans, this is not true as it is actually harmless to humans.

Ticks were second on the list with 36% saying they were worried about them, however less than half realised that ticks could cause death because of the diseases they can transmit. Just 28% realised that ticks could also be harmful to humans as they can transmit Lyme disease.

The most dangerous parasite came bottom of the list with just 15% worrying about roundworms and only 7% believing they could be harmful to human health. Roundworms of the Toxocara variety can cause big problems in humans if their eggs are swallowed such as blindness or neurological disease with children at most risk.

Prevention for these parasites has become easier with palatable oral chews available as well as spot-on medications so you can still interact as your dog as normal after the treatment. With so much at risk it was a surprise that the Pet Parasite Action survey found 1 in 6 hadn’t treated their dogs for parasites in the past year.

Your vet is trained to support you in helping to keep your pet healthy, and there are many options of different treatments. Their expert guidance and support can really prove priceless.

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