Frequently asked questions about dog diseases

  • What do I have to consider for infestation with intestinal roundworm?
  • Conjunctivitis: Which treatments make sense?
  • What to do against flea infestation?
  • Which causes and treatments are there for bad breath?
  • How can acne in dogs be treated?
  • Are there alternatives to get rid of bad breath in my dog apart from removing tartar?
  • My puppy has diarrhoea. What to do?
  • Is chewing on dew’s claws lethal for dogs?
  • Why does my dog spit out half the water after he has taken a drink?
  • How long does my dog have to rest after a meniscus operation?
  • Is there increased threat of cancer if a dog’s testicles stay in the abdomen?

What do I have to consider for infestation with intestinal roundworm?

Question: This morning, I noticed that my dog, a 10½ week old Swiss mountain dog mix, has intestinal roundworms. After consulting my vet I already started the worm treatment today. My questions on this are: Are intestinal roundworms bad? What do I need to consider? Can I take my dog onto my lap? Is this contagious? Do I have to clean the dog bed?

Answer: Almost every pup has intestinal roundworms as these worms are already transmitted to the offspring by their mother. Worm capsules, which are dormant in the muscles of each dog, are released during pregnancy.

These worms are then transferred to the offspring via the uterus and the milk. A worm infestation of pups with intestinal roundworms is therefore completely normal and also not bad as long as there are not too many worms. For this reason, pups should receive anti-worm treatment for intestinal roundworms every three to four weeks at the beginning.

Intestinal roundworms cannot be transmitted directly from dog to human. They have to mature in the earth for two weeks before they can become contagious. Therefore, you only need to observe no more than the normal hygiene measures when handling your dog. I.e. washing your hands after petting the dog and regular cleaning of the dog bed are fully sufficient. You can also continue to take the dog onto your lap without worries. However, the dog should not foul in places where children are playing or people lie down.

Conjunctivitis: Which treatments make sense?

Question: Bobbie (Dachshund mix, 5 years old) has conjunctivitis. His general condition is good. Following a first examination last Thursday, he was prescribed an eye ointment which did not work. A second, more thorough examination yesterday, Monday, prompted the vet to administer antibiotics and to inform us that she would scrape out “behind” Bobbie’s eye on Wednesday if things hadn’t improved. – We are insecure as we consider the procedure to be rather drastic. Is this standard practice? Are there other treatments?

Answer: The treatment described by you is a relatively harmless routine treatment. It happens frequently in dogs that small blisters occur under the third eyelid (that is a skin which is pulled over the eye from the inner corner of the eye as soon as the dog closes the eye). These blisters can lead to conjunctivitis which often only heals when the blisters are scraped off.

For this purpose, the dog has to be sedated as it is too dangerous to work with sharp instruments on the eye of a dog that is awake (the eye could be injured if the dog moves to ward off). If the dog is asleep, this eyelid is pulled forward slowly with tweezers and the blisters are scraped off. Eye ointment has to be administered for a time following this procedure. The eyeball itself is not touched during this procedure.

What to do against flea infestation?

Question: We have a 1year old dog and a bitch that is 3. Our dogs have been scratching themselves more than usual and at length for some time. At first, we assumed that this was a result of the bitches’ sterilization which was only recently. But in the meantime, both are occupied for long periods to ease the itching. More seriously, my wife and I are also affected by small, strongly itching bumps which can be seen on the skin several at the time. What can one do and what can it be?

Answer: The dogs’ itching can have various causes. The most obvious, as you yourself show signs, are fleas of course. You should first treat the dogs with an effective anti-flea product. It is important to treat all animals in the household as well as the sleeping places of the animals with the anti-flea treatment. You yourself do not have to undergo treatment as dog fleas bite humans only briefly.

The body temperature of humans is unpleasant to dog fleas and therefore they leave after a short time. If no improvement occurs, you should have your animals checked by the vet for other parasites. An allergy of the dogs can also be responsible for the itching. The fact that both dogs are affected simultaneously and you also have noticed bites on yourselves speaks against that.

Which causes and treatments are there for bad breath?

Question: I have a 7 year old poodle mix. He has had very bad breath for some time. Can this be connected to the food?

Answer: Bad odour from the mouth can have different causes. However, there is often a gum infection by tartar behind it. This tartar absolutely has to be removed by the vet as otherwise the gum can be pushed back so far that the teeth can fall out. If the teeth are clean again, the new formation of tartar can be reduced or prevented completely by various care measures for the teeth.

The best care is provided by brushing the teeth with special dog toothbrushes and dog tooth paste. Brushing the teeth two to three times a week can strongly reduce the formation of tartar. If the dog does not allow brushing of the teeth even with careful training, you can offer him special tooth cleaning strips, raw hide bones or raw carrots as an alternative which care for the teeth during chewing. Have your dog’s teeth checked regularly (e.g. when getting annual shots) so that tartar can be removed on time and no gum infections occur.

How can acne in dogs be treated?

Question: My Great Dane bitch is eleven weeks old and has rather a lot of “pimples” below her ear and on her forehead and chin. The breeder told me that this is harmless and just needed to be treated with a tincture which she gave me. As this tincture contains alcohol and the odour is very strong, the dog is reluctant to be treated with it. One of the pimples started to discharge pus which the vet squeezed out and it also bled. Can I treat these “pimples” differently? The vet said that he would have to give her pills if no improvement occurred after a certain time.

Answer: According to your description, your Great Dane has acne. This is an overproduction of tallow, in particular on the chin and lips. Acne often occurs in young dogs of shorthair breeds like Great Danes and Boxers. The tincture, which the vet gave you, is exactly the correct treatment for these pimples even if your pup fights against it, of course.

Unfortunately, the most effective medication is not always the most pleasant. It is also correct that a several week long treatment with pills has to be administered in serious cases. Try therefore to apply the tincture as well as possible. If you’re lucky, it is a juvenile disease which eases off by itself as soon as the first year of age is reached.

Which treatments are available for problems with the anal glands?

Question: Since our bitch (Fox terrier, 6 years old) had her anal glands squeezed out by the vet, she has been having problems with the anal glands, licks herself very often (a few times a day) and “bites” herself (without hurting herself) often in this area. Should we do something against it (if yes, what and which drug to give) or does she “empty” her anal glands herself by this and should we let her do it?

Answer: Anal glands normally empty themselves with every bowel movement. Secretion can accumulate if the faeces are too soft or if the exit ducts of the glands are too narrow. If this secretion is not emptied from time to time (that is why the vet did this), the glands can become infected which is very painful for the dog. If the glands were already very full when they were emptied routinely, it can lead to a slight irritation from being squeezed out. You can try to feed high quality food to avoid this in future so that the faeces are well formed and firm (if this filling up was caused by the faeces being too soft).

The other option is to have the glands emptied regularly by the vet or, if the problem becomes too great, have the glands removed surgically (their only function is scent marking). The dog cannot empty them by licking or nibbling. As the problem with the anal glands is a purely mechanical one, medicine can only reduce the irritation. It is not possible to empty the glands with it.

Are there alternatives to get rid of bad breath in my dog apart from removing tartar?

Question: My dog is an Alsatian-Pomeranian mix, ca. 8 years old and has very bad breath. It is really unpleasant. The vet said that tartar would have to be removed but this is very expensive. Are there other methods to get rid of nasty bad breath?

Answer: Tartar consists of thick layers of bacteria which store minerals and therefore become a rock hard film on the teeth. This film can only be removed by the vet with a special ultrasound machine. If the tartar is not removed, the dog will first get a very painful gum infection, then the gum will be pushed back, the teeth start to rot under the film and fall out over time. If you want to spare your dog these painful conditions in the mouth, you should have the tartar removed quickly by the vet. If you wait until your dog not only has bad breath but also refuses to eat because of the pain, the treatment will only be more expensive.

My puppy has diarrhoea. What to do?

Question: My puppy (Bern Mountain Dog-Munsterland mix, 9 weeks old) has had diarrhoea for 6 days now. Sometimes it is more, sometimes less. I tried to soften my puppy food and feed it mixed with boiled pasta. Unfortunately, she didn’t like that. Then, I tried tinned food, That didn’t work at all. It just “rocketed” out. What can I do so she can have a solid bowel movement? Also: She is not yet housetrained which makes the whole thing even more annoying…

Answer: Please take your pup to the vet immediately. Pups have very few liquid reserves in their body. Diarrhoea in pups can lead to life threatening drying out very quickly. If you wait too long to bring her to the vet, the dog can possibly only be saved by a very expensive treatment (infusion etc.). You therefore should bring her to the vet today and have the diarrhoea treated. The vet will also give you exact feeding instructions according to the cause of illness.

Is chewing on dew’s claws lethal for dogs?

Question: Is it dangerous if my dog (Alsatian, 7 months old) chews off the dew’s claws? I have to admit that I don’t know if they are attached to the bone or not. Acquaintances told me that he could die of this. Is that true?

Answer: The dew’s claw is a claw which is no longer used and which still contains bones in some dogs, but only consists of skin and claw in others. The claw has no function, but the dog can hurt himself on it in some circumstances. Therefore, this claw is generally removed by a small operation. If the dog is chewing on them, then these claws bother him. He cannot die from this but the claws can become infected and have to be treated. Bring your dog to a vet. The vet can then decide if the claws should be removed right away before the dog chews on them even more and they become infected or if one can wait until the dog is sedated due to another procedure and they can be removed alongside.

Why does my dog spit out half the water after he has taken a drink?

Question: Whenever my dog (half-breed, 5 years old) drinks water, he spits half of it back out again. He has been doing that for months. Where does this come from? What can I do against it?

Answer: In principle, there are two causes for drinking water being spat out again. On the one hand, it can be an unpleasant habit by your dog which is not caused by illness. On the other hand, it could be a disease of the throat, larynx (in the sense of an infection or a small foreign object) or of the upper digestive organs, most likely an infection or irritation of the mucosa in the gullet or stomach can be the cause. I therefore advise you to bring your dog to your vet for a thorough examination even if your dog shows no additional symptoms (like vomiting of mucus or food, coughing, retching or similar) to rule out a possible gastritis. Giving the dog lukewarm drinking water could alleviate a simple irritation of the mucous membrane.

How long does my dog have to rest after a meniscus operation?

Question: My bitch (Labrador mix, 4 years old) had a meniscus operation 8 weeks ago (meniscus was removed completely). I was told that she had a play and jumping ban for months. Is that correct? Unfortunately, I have not noticed an improvement so far. After putting weight on the leg (e.g. today), she pulled it all the way up again (but she did run/swim a lot). Is that normal? It is now two months since the operation.

Answer: The knee is a very sensitive joint. Its anatomical structure is very narrow and it therefore reacts quickly to injury, surgical procedures and excess strain with swellings within the joint capsules which can cause pain. After a meniscus operation, the knee joint is lacking the balancing, half-moon shaped meniscus cartilage which adapts the uneven joint partners (thigh and lower leg) to each other. Your dog’s knee joint is therefore still more susceptible to excess strain. During the healing phase following a meniscus operation, it is particularly important to avoid stress (jumping, excessive movement, frequent climbing of stairs etc.).

Excess strain can lead to swelling of the joint and infection. This is painful and can result in a later arthritis. Like in humans, operations of the knee joint require a very long healing period. Therefore, the strict and very long resting period following the knee operation prescribed by the vet is really absolutely necessary. Your dog is already showing the too early excess strain by limping. I can only advise you to follow your vet’s instructions strictly.

Is there increased threat of cancer if a dog’s testicles stay in the abdomen?

Question: My dog (a Slovensky Covac, 3½ months old) has a testicle in the abdomen which my vet told me will not come down. He recommended an operation at one year old – otherwise there is danger of cancer – connected with a castration. Can you give me more information on this and your opinion on this topic!

Answer: Your vet is totally right. Testicles, which did not descend to the scrotum, are located somewhere in the abdominal cavity. The body temperature here is higher than in the scrotum whereby most of these testicles mutate malignantly over the course of several years, i.e. become malignant testicular cancer. This testicle therefore absolutely should be removed as soon as the dog is fully grown. There is no alternative to this. If you do not want to have your dog fully castrated, you can leave the other testicle which is located normally in the scrotum. This makes your dog a complete male. However, you are not allowed to breed with these animals as the “Kryptorchism”, i.e. the failure of the testicles to descend, is hereditary.

Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.