Good to Know
Chocolate can be Lethal for a dog.
Chocolate contains theobromine. A naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean, theobromine increases urination and affects the central nervous system as well as heart muscle.
While amounts vary by type of chocolate, it’s the theobromine that is poisonous to dogs.
Symptoms of Chocolate Dog Ingestion and Poisoning
You can recognize that your dog has eaten a toxic dose of chocolate from the symptoms. Within the first few hours, the evidence includes vomiting, diarrhea or hyperactivity. As time passes and there’s increased absorption of the toxic substance, you’ll see an increase in the dog’s heart rate, which can cause arrhythmia, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination or excessive panting. This can lead to hyperthermia, muscle tremors, seizures, coma and even death.
A number of plants are poisonous to pets. These can cause serious illness and even death in some cases.
It’s important to first check the safety of any plants before your pets have access to them. If you’re unsure about the safety of a particular plant, talk to your veterinarian for advice.
Kennel cough is a term loosely used to describe a complex of infections—both viral and bacterial—that causes inflammation of a dog’s voice box and windpipe. It’s a form of bronchitis and is similar to a chest cold in humans. Though it usually clears up on its own, kennel cough is highly contagious to other dogs.
A persistent dry cough with a “honking” sound is the main clue your dog’s caught kennel cough. In most cases, she’ll appear healthy except for the cough. Her appetite and activity level usually won’t change, but don’t be alarmed if she gags and coughs up a white, foamy phlegm—these signs are often worse after exercise, or if she’s excited or pulls against her collar. Some dogs may also develop a fever and nasal discharge.
Dogs can catch kennel cough in several ways. It can spread through aerosols in the air, directly from dog to dog, or through germs on contaminated objects. Kennel cough is often spread in enclosed areas with poor air circulation—while boarding in a kennel or an animal shelter, for example, or through direct contact while sitting in a vaccination clinic, training class or dog-grooming facility.
Kennel cough is so contagious that your pet might even catch it from sharing a water dish at the dog park or by simply greeting another dog. Most kennels will not board your pet without proof of a recent vaccination against parainfluenza and bordetella, two of the main causes of kennel cough.
In most cases, the signs of kennel cough gradually decrease and disappear after three weeks. Young puppies, elderly dogs and other immunocompromised animals may take up to six weeks or more to recover. In some cases, animals may remain infectious for long periods of time even after the symptoms have cleared up.
You should see some improvement in your dog’s condition within one week of treatment, but be alert to how long the symptoms last. If your dog has nasal discharge, is breathing rapidly, refuses to eat or seems lethargic, take her to the veterinarian right away. Serious cases of kennel cough can lead to pneumonia if left untreated.
Much like humans, dogs can suffer from hernias. An inguinal hernia is a condition in which the abdominal contents protrude through the inguinal canal or inguinal ring, an opening which occurs in the muscle wall in the groin area.
In dogs, inguinal hernias may be acquired (not present at birth but developing later in life) or congenital (present at birth). Factors which predispose a dog to develop an inguinal hernia include trauma, obesity, and pregnancy.
Most inguinal hernias are uncomplicated and cause no symptoms other than a swelling in the groin area. However, if contents from the abdominal cavity (such as the bladder, a loop of intestines or the uterus) pass through the opening and become entrapped there, the situation can become life-threatening. Inguinal hernias can usually be diagnosed by finding the swelling caused by the hernia on a physical examination.
An umbilical hernia is a condition in which abdominal contents protrude through the abdominal wall at the area of the umbilicus. Small hernias are generally not a problem. It is recommended to electively repair a larger hernia due to the risk of intestinal loop strangulation.
The exact cause of an umbilical hernia is unknown although most are thought to be inherited. It is most commonly a congenital malformation caused by flawed embryogenesis. The umbilical opening is normal until birth as it contains blood vessels that pass through from the mother to the fetus. This opening closes at birth in the normal pet and a hernia results if the opening fails to close.
Umbilical hernias are more common in dogs than cats. They occur on the midline of the abdominal wall through the umbilical ring and can be a variety of sizes from very small to very big. The hernia appears as a soft abdominal mass at the area of the umbilicus. Depending on the size of the opening, abdominal structures such as falciform fat or omentum can float into the opening. This generally does not cause a problem.
However, if the opening is large enough, an intestinal loop can become trapped which can become a life-threatening problem. For this reason, it is recommended that larger hernias be closed after diagnosis.