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Vet Clinic: Top 5 Dog Ailments

Friday, 2 October 2009

Vet Clinic, Five Most Common Dog Ailments

Many people end up going to their vets with problems that they can solves themselves, thus paying money for something they may have been able to solve themselves.

Who is the guest?

Liam Moriarty, Dogs Best Friend!
Liam Moriarty originally from Celbridge qualified from UCD Veterinary College 2001. He has worked in a number of veterinary practices in the UK and Ireland prior to establishing Hermitage Veterinary Clinic in 2005.

He has an interest in all pets and has two dogs "Robin" a golden retriever and "Bobo" a border collie. Liam (and the two dogs) can be found most days at Hermitage Veterinary Clinic in Lucan and is available for consultation by appointment!

Top Dog Ailments

Top five main issues for dog owners.
. Gastrointestinal problems - typically Vomiting and Diarrhoea
. Skin complaints
. Lameness
. Obesity
. Dental problems

. Gastrointestinal problem

Firstly for gastrointestinal problem ie tummy upsets. This can be a sign of serious illness but more commonly is something minor. So what can you do at home and when do you need to bring him to your vet? Well, if your dog has an upset tummy the first thing to do is fast him for up to 24 hours, then feed him bland food for a few days. If your dog is vomiting copious amounts or unable to hold down water this can be more serious, he is at a risk of getting dehydrated and may need a visit to the vet.

Many times the upset will be due to the dog eating something unusual or could be due to a minor infection.

. Skin complaints

This is a huge area in small animal veterinary practice. Some skin problems can be complicated, and difficult to treat. The first step and owner can take before bringing their dog to the vet is to treat their dog with an effective flea treatment. They should be able to pick up a flea treatment over the counter from their regular vet. Sometimes the skin condition may be more problematic and difficult to diagnose. Dogs can suffer from skin conditions that would be similar to adult eczema and this is usually easier to treat than to cure.

. Lameness (limping)

If your dog is lame the first thing I would say to do is to rest him. This means that the dog is to have no walks and needs to avoid stairs and slippy floors for a day or two to see if he gets better by himself. If he is very lame or not bearing weight he needs to see a vet. Usually dogs are limping because they've had a bang of some sort on one of their legs. In this instance its important to ensure that common sense prevails so if your dog is in obvious distress or has an injury which is noticeable that you get him to the vet.

. Obesity
This is a huge problem with our dogs today in Ireland, so really have to mention it. On average I'd say that 30% of the dogs that we see in the clinic are overweight. Its important to make sure that your dog isn't overweight as they'll be more susceptible to health problems if they're overweight.

Problems such as, (sourced from
. Increased stress on heart and blood circulation
. Increased load on joints and skeleton
. Higher incidence of respiratory problems
. Higher anaesthetic risk
. Increases surgical difficulty
. Increased risk of Diabetes (mellitus)

. Dental Problems
Up to 70% of dogs aged 4 and over have dental disease. Owners may not know much about their dogs dental health. Its important to keep your dogs teeth clean and to maintain good oral hygiene to ensure that they're teeth are healthy. Tartar buildup causes gum disease. Diet alone will not ensure healthy teeth.

Do dogs tend to pick up winter ailments?
In terms of infections dogs tend to pick up more infections in the summer months eg. kennel cough, fleas Here are a few conditions which tend to worsen in winter.

. One is arthritis. A huge percentage of dogs aged 7 and over suffer from arthritis. The signs include lameness, difficulty rising after rest, stiffness at the start of a walk which can gradually worsen. Cold weather tends to exacerbate arthritis.
. Dogs tend to get less exercise in winter - therefore weight gain can be a problem.
. Also a word of warning - antifreeze is a common cause of poisoning in pets. It is highly toxic in small doses but also is sweet to taste so be very careful if using it.

Top three tips for keeping your dog well over winter;
. Exercise well - your dog still needs to walk at least once per day, in all weather
. Treat for fleas - fleas are often seen as only a summer problem but sometimes can get worse of winter when central heating is switched on
. Watch out for signs of arthritis in older dogs.

For more information on Liam, please visit