Rabies is a virus that can cause a wide variety of symptoms in dogs. Once bitten by a rabid animal, dogs will develop a nasty and irritable temperament within days and usually die with in a week of the first signs. As the virus progresses, the dog will eventually experience paralysis of their lungs and throat causing the animal to suffocate and die.
Rabies is a virus that can be prevented through vaccination annually or every three years. As rabies is common in both domestic and wild animals, most states in the US require dogs to have rabies shots. Many states require proof of rabies vaccination when registering your pets.
Once contracted, rabies is usually fatal. This virus attacks the central nervous system, starting at the brain and radiating throughout the body through the nerves.
Rabies is transmitted from animal to animal or from animal to human through a bite wound that breaks the skin. The virus can also be transmitted through saliva.
Dog Cancer is defined as any type of tumor or growth that invades healthy tissue. Just like humans, dogs get tumors that, unless properly removed, can experience death. Not long ago, cancer was considered to be an uncommon disease in dogs, but as the average life span of dogs has increased over time, so have the incidences of cancer. Cancer is a highly variable disease that has no specific source and can spread quickly causing death before it is detected. Possible sources include genetics, diet, environment, exposure to harmful chemicals, etc.
Older dogs should be checked regularly for abnormal growths. Dogs that experience fevers, weight loss, lethargy and loss of appetite should be taken to a veterinarian for an examination. Once cancer forms it can exhibit itself as an open sore (that bleeds or causes abnormal discharge), lumps under the skin, bulges in the throat (causing difficulty breathing and eating), abnormal bowel movements, etc.
Heartworm is caused by the Dirofilaria immitis parasite. This parasite lives in the heart and blood vessels causing the heart to weaken resulting in death. Although most common in dogs, other animals can also contract this parasite.
Heartworm is transmitted from animal to animal by mosquitoes that bite infected dogs and then inject a healthy dog with the parasite. Once infected, dogs will begin to be affected by the parasite in about 6 months. As the parasites mature and begin occupying the right chamber of the heart, the dog will begin to experience reduced blood flow to its major organs. Heavy breathing and coughing can be early symptoms. Think of it as someone squeezing you tightly.
Prevention is the best approach. Dogs should be given a heartworm pill each month and have at least an annual visit to the veterinarian. There is no excuse for your dog not getting heartworms. Discuss with your vet alternatives to the chewables or pills if they are out of your budget range. Ivermectin, is the main ingredient to “kill” those larvae, but you must properly dose by your dog’s weight or you could fatally poison your dog.
If your dog has not been on heartworm as annual prevention or you are not sure, you must get a blood test taken for your dog or damage could occur administering prevention. Most people don’t understand why the blood test, your vet will explain. Prevention is key to this nasty painful dog disease.