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General dog health

Hip dysplasia
Added on 23/08/2008 at 19:00:58

Hip dysplasia is basicly a badly formed ball and socket joint in the hip which can cause arthritic changes and lamness in a dog.
In the uk the hip scoring scheme is run by th UKKC/BVA and involves an x-ray being taken of a dogs hips once he or she is aged over 12 months of age.

The xray is then examined by a panel of experts and scored in the following way-

Subluxtion - max score 6 EACH HIP
Cranial acetablular edge -max score 6 EACH HIP

Dorsal acetabular edge - max score 6 EACH HIP

Cranial effective acetabuler rim- max score 6 EACH HIP

Acetabular fossa -max score 6 EACH HIP

Caudal acetebular edge- max score 5 EACH HIP

femoral head/neck exostosis-max score 6 EACH HIP

Femoral head recontouring- max score 6 EACH HIP

perfect hips score 0/0 total 0 the worst hips score 53/53 total 106

Each breed of dog is given a "mean score" details of these can be found on the Kennel club website.
In order to prevent hip dysplasia and improve hips only dogs with scores below the mean score should be bred from.

Preventing hip dysplasia..............

several factors can influence the hip score a dog achieves these can include -

1. Age

2. Exercise

3. Diet

4. Hereditary (hip joint shape)

5. Hormones (seasons)

We reccomend always feeding a high quality dog food and puppies should be fed puppy/junior food until they are at least a year old.

Excersise should be limited till a dog matures ,we use the five minute rule! I.E

five minutes per month of life twice daily so a 8 week old puppy would want a 10 minute walk twice daily.

a six month old would want 30 mins twice daily

(C) 2006 Gunfield

Added on 23/08/2008 at 19:04:20

There are two main types of epilepsy-

1. Idiopathic Epilepsy- Idiopathic epilepsy is when there is no known cause for the condition and it is assumed it may be an inherited condition.

2. Secondary Epilepsy – This diagnosis is used when a specific cause for the seizures can be found. A veterinarian will normally run a variety of tests to rule out possible physiological or toxic causes before diagnosing the dog as having the idiopathic version.

There are several types of seizures that are seen in dogs and there are many times an owner isn’t even aware of the problem. An epileptic seizure is the clinical manifestation of abnormal brain activity in the cerebral cortex.
These abnormalities can create seizures that vary from the mild “petit mal” to the generalized, full body “grand mal.”

An epileptic seizure itself can be broken down into four stages.

1. The Prodome – This stage can last from minutes to hours or even days before the manifestation of the actual seizure activity. This stage is typically characterized by changes in the dog’s mood or behaviour.

2. The Aura – The aura stage is when owners first notice the initial signs. Some dogs will begin pacing, licking, salivating, trembling, vomiting, wandering aimlessly, hiding, whining or urinating. Other dogs may exhibit stranger activities such as excessive barking and attempts to get an owner’s attention.

3. The Ictus- This stage is the actual seizure itself. It is a period of abnormal activity in which the most common symptoms are that the dog may lose consciousness, gnash their teeth or appear to be chewing gum, thrashing about with their head and legs, drooling excessively, crying, paddling their feet as if running as well as losing control of their bladders and bowels. There are stranger types of seizures though.

Some dogs will frantically run in circles, others will just chew gum, some suddenly go blank and stare into space and then there are the ones that only have partial seizures in which the twitching is localized in one area. This could in the face, one leg, in the shoulder or over the hips.

4. The Ictal – This stage occurs immediately after a seizure. Owners often report the dog acts drunk, doped, blind or deaf. Other dogs will show signs of pacing endlessly or drinking large amounts of water. Some will seem to pass out and just sleep.

Some of the physiological reasons a dog may have secondary epilepsy are:

1. Hypoglycemia or “low blood sugar.”

2. Hypothyroidism – A condition in which the thyroid functions inadequately.

3. Disease – Seizures are a common symptom of diseases such as encephalitis and distemper

4. Lead poisoning – This can be seen in dogs that like to chew on items such as painted wood.

5. Brain Tumours – This is the most common cause of seizures that begin after the age of 5.

6. Hydrocephalus – The accumulation of excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain.

7. Eclampsia – This occurs when a lactating female’s calcium levels drop to dangerous levels.

8. Toxins – Pesticides, fertilizers, poisonous plants, arsenic, strychnine and chocolate.

9. Trauma – Trauma can occur from some type of severe blow to the head such being hit by a car, bat, kicked or fall.

10. Organ failure – End stage liver or renal failure can often cause

11. Parasitic – Severe cases of intestinal worms, end stage heartworms or even anaemia from fleas and ticks can cause seizures.

Idiopathic Epilepsy is also called primary or hereditary epilepsy.

(C) Gunfield 2005

j c from Fife asked...

I decided to change my german shepherd bitch's dried food because she is quite hyperactive and thought if i put her on a low protein food it might calm her down,after a week on low protein food it's too early to tell if it will make a difference but i have noticed that she is always hungry,just wondered if it was because of the low protein content, i have reduced her from 22% to 18%

Healthy Diet
Added on 05/12/2008 at 14:26:46

I would almost certainly say her hunger will be due to the low protein food. Protein is far more filling as it takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and low protein foods. Low protein food usually is used for older dogs or less active dogs to help maintain a healthy weight and feeding yours this food will not calm her down and if it did it would because she was weak from lack of nutrition. A dogs diet should only be adjusted for health reasons or to maintain a healthy weight.

We have Working Cocker spaniels which are incredibly hyper active but 2hrs walking off the lead a day keeps them exercised enough to be calm and restful in the home but still will get excited and hyper again if the wellies go on or the gun comes out.

The best way to help calm her down is by giving her more exercise than she is already getting. I'm not saying you don't regularly exercise her enough under normal circumstances she just may need more than other GSDs.

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