The Kissing Bug Disease And How It Can Affect Your Dog

The Kissing Bug Disease And How It Can Affect Your Dog

Have you ever heard of the kissing bug? Well, unfortunately it’s not a bug that causes people to be extra hungry for lip-on-lip action. Rather, it’s a very dangerous insect that is spreading virtually unseen disease throughout the US. Right now, it’s estimated that about 300,000 in the US are infected with what’s called the Chagas parasite. The Chagas parasite is carried in the fecal matter of the kissing bug, and is spread when the kissing takes little nips out of your face and/or lips while you’re sleeping.

If this doesn’t terrify you into sleeping with one eye open, I don’t know what will. But there’s more to the story. Humans aren’t the only ones that are vulnerable to this parasite (which damages heart tissue and the digestive tract); dogs are very vulnerable too. Humans and dogs are able to give each other the Chagas parasite through a common kissing bug.

Right now there are so cures for it. There are ways to hinder its spread and treat some of the symptoms, but as of now the parasite will remain in your tissue and never leave. The only remotely positive thing about this disease is that it for some reason only flares up in about a third of all people who carry the Chagas parasite. Meaning, if you have the Chagas, you have a two-thirds chance that you won’t have any symptoms and probably won’t even realize you have it.

Kissing bugs are very common in the South in states like Texas, and right now, more and more dogs in Texas are showing up with the Chagas parasite in their system. Several dogs have lost their lives to the Chagas parasite, even some of the “smartest” dog breeds out there are not an exception to Chagas. Furthermore, even hypoallergenic dogs are susceptible to kissing bugs.

But southern US households aren’t the only ones that have a problem with the kissing bug. South and Central American countries have had the same issues as kissing bugs are much more common there. Kissing bugs like to live in the roofs of mud homes and bite the residents while they’re sleeping. Households with dogs will increase their chances of getting the Chagas parasite. Right now it’s being said that dogs are helping spread the Chagas parasite more so than the kissing bugs themselves.

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3 Common Health Problems Among Dogs

3 Common Health Problems Among Dogs

Just like humans, dogs are vulnerable to a number of health issues. While dogs are prone to other problems that humans aren’t, they are still no exception which is why it is crucial that you treat the health of your beloved animal with just as much seriousness as you would a child of your own. Dogs have their own ways of telling you that they are uncomfortable or in pain, but sometimes you have to be proactive and look to make sure your dog is healthy. Here are three common health problems that dogs find themselves with as well as some symptoms to look for.

Ear infections are very common in infants, but also in dogs too. No dog is immune to ear infections. It doesn’t matter if you have a small dog, medium dog, or a large dog; they are just as vulnerable all the same. Ear infections can cause a great deal of discomfort for your dog as his/her ear will itch uncontrollably as well as potentially cause pain. Any time you notice your dog shaking its head in an unusual way, or scratching its ear violently you might want to check its ears. Lots of times the infection can be deep within the ear canal, which can cause imbalance, swelling, and possible discharge to form inside of the ear. It’s best to catch these early because more times than not the dog will make matters worse. Because no amount of scratching and shaking will cure an ear infection, your dog might hurt itself by scratching and shaking too much. This could lead to ruptured blood vessels, and inflammation around the ear.

Worms are another sneaky problem that can be hard to detect because it’s not visible. Worms cause a great deal of discomfort for the dog and also a great deal of pain. A lot of times you will notice a drastic change in attitude in your pooch as he/she will have troubles sleeping, lose weight, and lose its appetite. Some noticeable traits your dog might start doing is scooting on its backside, this is because the worms have cause inflammation and a bad itch inside the dog. Diarrhea is another unfortunate symptom of a worm infestation. While worms is a very common and treatable issue, hookhorms can be fatal – it all depends how serious it is and how quick you are to act. Oral medication is the most common treatment, but whatever you do, do NOT try treating it yourself.

Finally, the peskiest of all dog problems is fleas. Fleas, much like the ear infection, will cause discomfort and itchiness for the poor pup; however, it will be every where rather than in one spot. It doesn’t take long for just one flea to turn into thousands and the more fleas there are the more irritation it brings. Vigorous scratching and biting is a common symptom of fleas, but so is hair loss. Fleas are very treatable, but don’t let your dog suffer; take him/her to the vet right away if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

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Size Matters When It Comes To Dogs

Size Matters When It Comes To Dogs

If you’re thinking about getting a pet, such as a dog, then one of the main factors to base your decision on is probably the size of dog. Big dogs have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses as do medium and smaller dogs, so you really should do your homework before you actually make a decision.

Small dogs for instance are commonly healthier. They have less joint problems and overall are easier to take care of. They don’t leave as big of messes in your yard and can fit more comfortably in a car so you can take him/her out into public. Along with their smaller size comes a decrease in food.

Because small dogs eat less than larger dogs (most of the time) they are less expensive and you don’t have to spend as much money feeding that big belly of his/hers. A smaller frame means that they are easier to bathe as well. Anyone who has bathed a dog knows that sometimes the big boys can be a bit rowdy and cause quite a mess.

If you’re not one for rough-housing and rough play then a small dog is most likely going to be the one you will want. Some of the most common small dogs (25 pounds and under) are Terriers (American Hairless, Australian, Bedlington, Boston, Fox, Jack Russell, Scottish, Welsh, and Yorkshire), Beagles, Chihuahuas, Malteses, Poodles, Pugs, Papillons, and Shih Tzus.

Where small dogs lack, medium-sized dogs pick up the slack. Medium-sized dogs are most commonly favored because they combine both the elements of a small dog and the benefits of a larger dog. They are energetic, playful, and possess the cognitive abilities to really establish a strong relationship with you just like many large dogs can, but they are small enough to where they can be around kids and not be too difficult to take care of maintain.

Medium-sized dogs are classified as being 30-60 pounds. The great thing about medium-sized dogs is that they can still provide security. Most dog owners think that they need a large 100 pound dog if they are going to want a guard dog, but many medium-sized dogs can get the job done just fine.

In addition, medium-sized dogs are extremely versatile and can fit into literally almost any type of home. Some of the most popular medium-sized dogs are Boxers, Bulldogs, Hounds, Terriers (Afghan, American Staffordshire, Boston, Bull, Irish, Manchester, Pit Bull, Skye, and Tibetan), German Pinschers, Collies, Whippets, and Griffons.

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big great dane

Our Big Furry Friends: Some Facts About Large Breed Dogs And Allergies

Who doesn’t love a gigantic furry hound to wrestle around with in the yard? Large dog breeds are fun to run around with if you are a full grown person, but care must be taken if there are children about. A large breed dog can knock a child right to the ground without even trying to however, they are usually very calm and gentle, and make great family pets.

Common sense will tell a person that a large breed dog must be given large amounts of room to live and play in and that these dogs are best suited to a home with a large yard or a farm type atmosphere. While it seems to make sense the opposite is actually true.

Smaller dogs require much more exercise than large dogs do, especially as they grow older. Some smaller dogs tend to bark more than larger dogs, so the larger breed will actually be quieter than the smaller breed.

Large breed dogs are going to be more costly than a smaller breed because they not only eat more, but will usually require a special diet as they age to cope with weight management and bone disorders such as hip dysplasia. The large breed dog is going to eat more than their smaller counterpart so there will be additional costs for food as well as the additional costs of their larger toys, collars, and dog beds. Unfortunately a large breed dog has a shorter life span than a smaller breed, living only seven to ten years.

There are many breeds of dogs in all shapes and sizes, even some which are considered to be hypoallergenic. A few of the larger breeds are the PortugueseWater dog which can grow up to 60 pounds, the Giant Schnauzer, and the Afghan Hound.

Technically there are no dogs that are actually hypoallergenic, just some that seem to work better for those with allergies to animals because they produce less dander. People with allergies are not usually allergic to the hair of an animal but rather the protein found in skin flakes and dander. Also, when your pet goes outdoors they come in contact with plant spores, mold and pollen that they then carry indoors. Antihistamines are found to be the best for relieving symptoms, but it is best to avoid the carrier of the allergen.

There are several things a pet owner can do to help alleviate allergy symptoms such a brushing your pet regularly outside, to keep the dander out of the house as much as possible. Use HEPA air filters to keep the air in your home as clean and dander free as possible. Keep your pets off of the furniture, and remove rugs which can catch dander.

cat

Home Remedies for Cat Cold and Fleas

Everyone hates it when their feline friend is feeling under the weather. If your feline companion is showing distress or discomfort such as constant sneezing, discharge from the eyes or nose, or a fever they should be taken to the veterinarian immediately. However there are some things in the kitchen or bathroom cabinet that you can use to help alleviate some of their more benign issues.

Take fleas for an example. These nasty little parasites can spread things like murine typhus, bartonella and apedermatitis.There are medicines a person could use to combat the blood suckers but it’s possible that your cat may not be able to tolerate the chemicals. The good news is there are home remedies for treating cat fleas that are natural and not toxic to kitty.

There is the tried and true lemon juice spray. For whatever reason fleas are repelled by citrus so spritzing some lemon juice spray on clean bedding or anywhere fleas may be will get rid of the buggers. Don’t forget to spray around baseboards even on hardwood floors; they love to hide in there. The bonus is how nice your home will smell, and the comfort of knowing you didn’t put chemicals on your BFF.

There are also home remedies for treating colds in cats, however if the cat is not eating a vet should be consulted right away. Cats are very small and any amount of weight loss is drastic for their systems. If the cat is turning its nose up at its regular food you may try tuna juice from a can of tuna, or low sodium chicken broth.

If the cat has an eye irritation a saline solution rinse may do the trick. Vitamin E and aloe vera can help to calm itchy or dry skin. If your kitty is having issues breathing they may need more humidity in the air. Placing a humidifier in the room where they sleep may help to alleviate this.

Treating simple issues at home is fine; people have been doing it for years. There are many natural remedies for animals that have been used by farmers for hundreds of years, and can help our pets to live long and happy lives. It’s best to keep in mind however, that even if the treatment you are administering looks to be working it is still a good idea to set up a visit with the veterinarian to ensure that your kitty is in tip-top shape.

Kitten & Dog Friends

Is Your Dog Sharing More Than Your Cats Food?

Let’s face it if something is on the ground, the dog is probably going to eat it. That includes snacks in the couch cushions, morsels dropped during dinner, and anything in the cats bowl. So how safe is it for your dog to eat the cat food?

Cat food in and of itself is not a danger, but it is also not good for the dog. The difference between cat and dog food is much more extreme than you might think. First off, a dog is an omnivore. An omnivore is an animal whose diet consists of animal protein and plant based food. A cat is an obligate carnivore which means that their diet consists of animal protein.

Cat food contains Taurine which is essential to a cat’s diet. If a cat is taurine deficient it can cause deafness, blindness and even lead to heart issues. On the other hand, taurine is completely useless to a dog. In fact, dogs have only 11 amino acids in their body while cats have 12, the 12th being taurine. Dog food is higher in grains, and cats need more protein in their diets than dogs do.

So while it’s OK for pooch to have the occasional snack of cat food it is not OK for them to eat it as a regular diet as this would cause nutritional imbalances that would lead to sickness. A dog eating cat food should be discouraged, or the cat food put away after mealtime.

Dogs and cats in the same household are becoming more common than ever before. Luckily the two animals are different enough that the ailments of one animal do not pass to the other. For example, the difference between canine and feline distemper; technicallythere is no sickness called cat distemper or feline distemper.

For a cat the sickness is actually named Feline Panleukopenia Virus and is only found in domestic and wild cats, ferrets and minks. It is passed through feces, fleas and bodily fluids and will compromise the cats’ immune system. A cat infected with FPV may show symptoms of depression, vomiting, loss of appetite resulting in weight loss, fever and dehydration.

Dog distemper or canine distemper virus attacks a dog’s central nervous, respiratory, and gastrointestinal system. The virus can be spread through infected water or food, or via bodily fluids from another infected animal. Symptoms can include a runny nose, labored breathing, loss of appetite which leads to weight loss, diarrhea, and vomiting which lead to dehydration.

If any animals in your household are exhibiting signs of distemper or virus contact your veterinarian immediately.