Aug, 14 By 0 Comment ,

Taking care of your senior dog

The first 2 years of a dog are equal to 10.5 human years. After the first 2 years, every dog year is equal to 4 human years. They grow so fast that we don’t realize that they are getting older every year. Large breed dogs get older more faster than small breeds. Dogs also get grey hair around muzzle and eyes. As they grow older their body also changes just like human beings. Ageing has effect on all body systems and parts. Some changes are faster in some dogs and some changes are slower. 

As the dog gets older their metabolism slows down. Their dietary requirement for calories also decreases as their activity is also reduced.

Senior dog

Degradation of eyesight and chances to develop glaucoma and cataract is on higher side. Hearing capacity is also reduced. Nails and Hair coat becomes brittle. Skin gets thin, dull and is more prone to bacterial and fungal infections. There is hyperkeratosis (increased keratin) which leads to callus on elbow and foot pads which gets painful when rubbed with hard surfaces. Large breed dogs have tendency to develop arthritis due to changes in vertebral disc. Dashund and basset hound are more prone to this condition. This can cause difficulty in climbing the stairs or car.

Dental diseases are also common in senior dogs. Teeth can degenerate leading to bad breath and odor and in extreme cases it may break or fall off. There is gastrointestinal motility decreases leading to constipation. There is decreased ability to fight against diseases. Decreased heart function and ability to pump blood to other organs. Lungs lose their elasticity there by getting more prone to lung diseases. There is decreased kidney and liver function as well. In spayed senior females, urinary incontinence is very common. Body gets more prone to tumors and cancer. Mammary gland and prostrate are most common glands which are prone to tumors and cancers.

Hypothyroidism, Cushing and diabetes is also very common in aged dogs. Bone marrow is replaced by fat leading to decrease in RBC, WBC and platelets. Decreased activity level, confusion, decreased alertness and disorientation. Decreased immunity leading to more prone to infections and allergies.

Lot of care and affection is required by dog that is getting older. They should be regularly groomed bath along with frequent nail trimming and ear cleaning. Application of petroleum jelly and oils can soften hard foot pads and calluses. Regular 30 minutes walk at least twice a day is most important part of daily routine. Keeping ad-lib fresh water bowls is necessary so they can have water as and when they want. Keep changing water to avoid contamination. Soft bedding should be provided to avoid any injury or pain to pressure points of body. Senior dogs should be well assisted while getting up and down from stairs, couch or cars to avoid further jerk or injury to joints.

Omegas can be effective in reducing inflammation, stabiles immune response and thus can be effective to treat arthritis also. Omega 6 helps in optimizes water permeability and omega 3 regulates epidermal proliferation thus helps in maintaining good hair coat and skin. They are also helpful in promoting circulation in various organs. In elderly dogs omegas should be given with lot of care in co relation to existing disease conditions.

Other supplements include of calcium, zinc, selenium, Vitamin E, b- complex, vitamin A and biotin which helps in maintaining good condition of eyesight, skin, nerve and joints. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate is also very helpful for treatment of arthritis and avoid further deterioration of joints. Various liver supplements can also be provided to improve appetite. Senior dogs undergoing kidney problems should be kept on low potassium diet

FNAC or biopsies can also provide us knowledge about various growths and swelling and what are their tendencies. Your vet can only advice if surgical removal of growth is possible or not or only chemotherapy is feasible.

We can help our companion by getting regular vet visits annual blood checkups, dental check ups,X-rays and ultrasound can help us know our pets body changes better and can give us idea about what should be the best line of treatment to make their life more comfortable and happy.

Aug, 9 By 0 Comment ,

EMS or Cushing?

Equine Metabolic Syndrome or Cushing disease?

Changing lifestyle, increased calorie intake and reduced physical activity leads to potential risk of unhealthy individuals. Horses are not too different from human with this respect: improved grazing pastures, legume, diet rich in carbohydrates, concentrates (which were not easily available earlier) and reduced physical activity and exercise have increased the risk of various metabolic and hormonal disorders in horses. Out of which most common is EMS (Equine Metabolic syndrome) and Cushing disease. Mostly, these conditions are misinterpreted as similar conditions because of similar clinical signs but they are completely different disorders.

Insulin resistanceEquine metabolic syndrome

In both of these conditions there are increased fat deposits, adipocytes, in various parts of the body eg potbellied abdomen, abnormal fat accumulation on the base of tail, shoulders and neck, increased size of mammary glands in females and fat filled enlarged sheath in geldings. Insulin resistance or reduced insulin sensitivity, a condition where cells fail to respond in the normal way to insulin and are unable to utilize it effectively. This leads to the production of more and more insulin making it more resistant, to more calories in the system which are not getting utilized, which in turn leads to obesity. Increased adipocytes give rise to increased production of adipokinins and inflammatory mediators called cytokinins leading to more and more insulin resistance and low grade inflammation which also leads to unmanageable reoccurring laminar deterioration and laminitis. Although horses are less likely to have diabetes, increased insulin resistance and obesity potentially increases the risk of type 2 diabetes .

 

Cushing syndrome

In the Cushing syndrome there is a dysfunction of Paras intermediate of the pituitary gland which is responsible for the secretion of numerous hormones. ACTH (adinocortico hormone) is one of the hormones which act on the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol, glucocorticoid is a steroid hormone which is synthesized from cholesterol. It regulates the metabolism of glucose and fats, suppresses protein synthesis and regulates inflammatory and immune responses in the body. Dysfunction of the pituitary gland leads to an increase in cortisol which will in turn lead to decreased utilization of glucose causing insulin resistance. Various other clinical signs are wavy abnormal hair growth also called hirsutism, increased water intake, laminitis, increase in urination and decreased immunity leading to skin and respiratory tract infections

 

Equine metabolic syndrome

On the other hand, Metabolic syndrome is a result of reduced exercise and increase in calorie intake leading to an increase in cortisol levels and high levels of glucose, meaning extra calories. The condition is also referred to as poor metabolism.  This syndrome is mostly seen in middle age horses and has a genetic predisposition for ponies. Ponies genetic make up is to graze pastures for longer distances and they were majorly used for drought purpose as they could perform even with less amounts of pasture.  But now, easily available calories and less physical activity has made them obese resulting in insulin resistance and laminitis.

 

Diagnosing

The most common test to diagnose Cushing syndrome is the dexamethasone suppression test. In this test, dexamethasone, a steroid, is injected and then blood samples are drawn at regular intervals and compared with the baseline sample. If dexamethasone is utilized properly in the body, its levels will be reduced. Elevated dexamethasone, cortisol levels will indicate Cushing. Other tests are the ACTH stimulation test, determining cortisol levels and glucose levels in urine. Diagnosing insulin resistance by analyzing resting blood insulin concentrations and resting blood glucose concentration after 6 hours of feed deprivation. Another test is combined glucose insulin test. This test is more sensitive than resting blood glucose. Blood samples are analyzed after frequent intervals after glucose and insulin is injected.

 

Treatment

Treatment may involve medication such as Metformin (glucophage), a successful medicine to lower glucose levels in blood stream¹ . Metformin is majorly used by diabetic patients, as it improves the insulin sensitivity at tissue level. Pergolide is a dopamine agonist. Trilostane will reduce the overproduction of Cortisol levels successfully. Studies have revealed pergolide helps in reducing cortisol levels in horses².

The most important part of the treatment is a proper management of diet and exercise. The feed should not exceed 1.5% of body weight.  Regularly monitor the body condition. A formula for body weight estimation is: weight in pounds is equal to girth in inches multiplied by body length in inches divided by 330. Exercise a horse for at least 20-30 minutes daily with gradual increase. Minimize non-fiber carbohydrates and whole grains, avoid flowering grasses high in sugar. Prefer native to improved pastures, grazing muzzles can also be used to avoid excessive grazing. Also increased calorie restriction can worsen insulin resistance and cause hyperlipemia.

Studies have shown that an increase in Omega 3 supplementation is proven most effective in insulin senstivity³. Omega 3 can be effective in reducing inflammation, it stabilizes the immune response and thus can be effective to treat laminitis also.   Other supplements include of zinc, selenium, Vitamin E, vitamin A, proteins and antioxidants also helps in management of laminitis and immunosuppression.

1) http://www.equinews.com/article/use-metformin-treatment-equine-metabolic-syndrome
2) http://www.vet.cornell.edu/labs/place/docs/2009Walshetal.pdf
3) http://www.j-evs.com/article/S0737-0806%2812%2900465-0/abstract

 

Nutrition of Horses with Cushing’s disease

Many horses with Cushing’s disease (also called pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, PPID) also have insulin resistance (IR), though not all do. Horses with PPID should be fed a primarily forage diet that will promote ideal body condition score and avoid obesity, which will worsen IR. Concentrates should be fed only as needed to maintain moderate body condition.

Feeding small, frequent concentrate meals produces less deviation in insulin and glucose concentrations and is less likely to complicate IR. Feeds containing greater than 3% molasses and 20% non- structural carbohydrates (NSC) should be avoided if there is evidence of IR. Pelleted feeds that are higher in fibre (greater than 10%) and fat (greater than 5%) can be fed instead of sweet feed to provide additional dietaryxico 1 energy.

Textures or sweet feeds tend to contain higher levels of molasses and higher NSC content relative to the starch content in grains. While senior feeds are often fed to horses with PPID, these may contain high amounts of molasses and NSC. The most popular feed for older horses in the United States has a similar glycemic index to oats, so it may not be the most desirable feed to use.

Whenever possible, horses with PPID should be allowed turnout time, as exercise improves insulin sensitivity. Forced exercise or work should be reserved for horses that do not have active laminitis and are free of musculoskeletal disorders.

Owners should be aware that pasture grasses can be unusually high in NSC at some times of the year, especially spring and late summer or early autumn when rains trigger growth. Insulin concentration is positively associated with increased carbohydrate content in pasture grass. PPID can worsen IR in susceptible horses, and overconsumption of lush grass can result in laminitis.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) concentrations have a seasonal variation, reaching their highest levels in late summer and autumn in the northern hemisphere. Glucose and insulin concentrations may also rise in autumn, a factor that may combine with a peak in ACTH to contribute to an increased risk of pasture-associated laminitis risk during this season.

Horses with PPID suffer immune suppression and oxidative stress, so attention needs to be paid to the intake of nutrients that boost immunity or contribute to antioxidant function. These include vitamins A, C, and E along with copper, zinc, manganese, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Horses being maintained on forage alone are likely to need supplementation with these nutrients.

Insulin Resistance in horses – what is it?

What is insulin resistance in horses?Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance in horses, or IR for short, is the failure of tissues to respond appropriately to insulin. A hormone secreted by the pancreas, insulin is released when blood sugar (glucose) is high—such as after eating—to stimulate the uptake of glucose by tissues and maintain proper levels of glucose in the body. When tissues do not respond appropriately to insulin the pancreas secretes even more, leading to elevated levels of insulin in the blood or hyperinsulinemia. Together, IR and hyperinsulinemia are referred to as “insulin dysregulation,” which simply means an excessive insulin response to blood sugar.

 

What can be done about it?

IR or insulin resistance doesn’t really cause observable signs in and of itself, but as a component of Equine Metabolic Syndrome and a complication of Cushing’s, it can lead to serious issues such as obesity and laminitis. The first step is getting a diagnosis, which can be easily and accurately done right where the horse lives with a simple blood test done by your veterinarian. The Oral Sugar Test only requires the veterinarian to draw blood twice, 30 minutes apart, in the morning after limited hay (and no grain). If blood levels of insulin (and glucose) are high, the vet may wish to perform further diagnostic tests to get to the root of the problem.

 

What else do I need to know about insulin resistance in horses?

Once a horse is diagnosed with either Equine Metabolic Syndrome or Cushing’s, the vet will work with the owner to develop a treatment plan which may include prescription medication, dietary management  or a feed change, recommendations for turnout/exercise, and the use of supplements. Vitamin E and other antioxidants are necessary for the oxidative stress associated with both these disorders while chromium, magnesium, and other ingredients support proper insulin function.

 

Arthritis in horses

You’ve recently noticed that your horse seems stiff, and you think it might be arthritis. You decide to do some research to see if your theory holds water. Some sources say it might be Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), others suggest Osteoarthritis (OA), but all the symptoms sound the same. No need to panic—osteoarthritis, Degenerative Joint Disease, and arthritis are just different names for the same thing.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is progressive and permanent deterioration of articular cartilage, the specific type of cartilage that lines the ends of bones where they come together to form a joint, such as your horse’s fetlock. Healthy articular cartilage provides a smooth, slippery surface that allows free movement and contributes to the shock-absorbing properties of the joint. As arthritis sets in, articular cartilage becomes compromised, which disrupts the normally smooth surface, causing stiffness and discomfort.

Arthritis is one of the most common conditions that affect performance and pleasure horses. In fact, arthritis is believed to be responsible for up to 60% of all lameness. The joints most often affected by arthritis include the knee, fetlock, coffin, hock, and pastern (where it is often referred to as “ringbone”).

What are the Warning Signs of Arthritis?Arthritis

A horse that appears stiff with uneven gaits and a shortened stride could be displaying signs of arthritis pain. Reluctance to pick up, keep, or change a lead in the canter or lope may also be signs of arthritis. In addition, horses that work at speed, such as jumpers, reiners, and barrel horses, may become unwilling to stop or turn. If you have started to notice some of these signs in your own horse, be sure to talk with your veterinarian.

How is a Horse Diagnosed with Arthritis?

Diagnosis begins with a complete history and physical examination by a veterinarian, including palpation. Next, the veterinarian observes the horse for soundness (with and without flexion tests) while jogged in-hand, lunged, and/or ridden. Nerve blocks may be helpful in localizing arthritis pain. Once a problem in a particular joint is identified, it may be examined further through X-rays (radiography), ultrasound, bone scan (nuclear scintigraphy), CT scan, and/or MRI.

Prescription Medications Available

If your horse has been diagnosed with arthritis, prescription medications may be an important part of your horse’s treatment and management program. Consult with your veterinarian to see if your horse could benefit from intra-articular (IA), intravenous (IV) and/or intramuscular (IM) joint medications.

Supplements that may Lend support

When it comes to supporting healthy joints, many veterinarians agree that there is a role for both prescription joint medications and oral joint supplements. While prescription medications are designed to help reduce inflammation and treat the signs of joint problems, oral joint supplements provide key ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid (HA) to offer daily support for healthy joint fluid and tissues.

In fact, an eight-year study demonstrated that the use of an oral glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate supplement resulted in the decreased need for IA hock injections to maintain soundness in a group of hunter/jumper show horses. While this particular study refers to the injection of hyaluronic acid and/or steroids directly into the joint, the researchers’ findings support the general idea that there is a place for both prescription injectables and daily oral supplements when it comes to maintaining your horse’s joint health.

Common Joint Supplements

  • Glucosamine:Research suggests glucosamine supports the production of new cartilage and helps combat cartilage breakdown.
  • Chondroitin sulfate: Stimulates production of hyaluronic acid and proteoglycans; inhibits enzymes that break down cartilage.
  • Hyaluronic acid (HA):Integral component of joint fluid and articular cartilage; provides lubrication and shock absorption.
  • MSM:Highly bioavailable form of sulfur for building and repairing cartilage; helps support a normal inflammatory response.
  • Vitamin C: A potent antioxidant, vitamin C protects tissues throughout the body and is vital in the production of connective tissues, including cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.

 

Dec, 8 By 0 Comment

Benefits of Omega-3’s for stallions

Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily EPA (eicosapentaenoic acids) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acids) are widely marketed as helping with an arrayOmega-3 benefits for stallions
of ailments, from improving coat quality, reducing allergic responses, and eliminating skin diseases to helping horses with joint disease. The use of omega-3 fatty acids is also widely advocated in breeding stock for various reasons.

“Studies have shown that stallions can benefit from omega-3 fatty acids, especially those used in breeding programs requiring the cooling and freezing of semen for subsequent artificial insemination,” said Peter Huntington, B.V.Sc., M.A.C.V.Sc., director of nutrition for Kentucky Equine Research (Australia).

For example, Goedde* found that feeding a DHA-rich microalgae meal for 60 days, providing 15 g of DHA per day, improved sperm motility in fresh and cooled semen samples. Florida researchers** concurred, noting “omega-3 supplementation may be beneficial in increasing the post-thaw progressive motility of equine spermatozoa.”

Finally, Schmid-Lausigk and Aurich*** reported that dietary supplementation with linseed oil and antioxidants decreased the natural decline in mobility and integrity of the fatty membrane surrounding individual sperm cells in cooled-stored semen.

“Although those results are all positive, KER research suggests that linseed oil is an inferior source of omega-3 fatty acids because it contains short-chain linolenic acid that must be metabolized by the horse to form the biologically active long-chain fatty acids EPA and DHA,” explained Huntington.

Instead of a linseed oil-based supplement, Huntington recommends omega-3 supplements rich in DHA and EPA that supports sperm motility and viability, and boosts cold shock resistance.
Effektri Omega-3 is high in EPA and DHA and antioxidants!

 

*Goedde, L.D., K.M. Brennan, B.A. Ball, et al. 2015. Effects of feeding a yeast-based supplement containing selenized yeast, vitamin E, and a DHA-rich microalgae on sperm motion characteristics. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 35(5):438.

**Adams, L.A., S.T. Grady, J. Seale, et al. Supplementing fatty acids to improve sperm characteristics.

***Lausigk, Y.S., and C. Aurich. 2014. Influences of a diet supplemented with linseed oil and antioxidants on quality of equine semen after cooling and cryopreservation during winter. Theriogenology. 81:966-973.

Source: Kentucky Equine Research Centre

Aug, 9 By 0 Comment

Prevention of sudden cardiac death by dietary pure 3 polyunsaturated Fatty acids in dogs

Rat diets high in fish oil have been shown to be protective against ischemia-induced fatal ventricular arrhythmias. Increasing evidence suggests that this may also apply to humans.
To confirm the evidence in animals, we tested a concentrate of the free fish-oil fatty acids and found them to be antiarrhythmic.

In this study, we tested the pure free fatty acids of the 2 major dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish oil: cis-5,8,11,14, 17-eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5omega-3) and cis-4,7,10,13,16, 19-docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6omega-3), and the parent omega-3 fatty acid in some vegetable oils, cis-9,12,15-alpha-linolenic acid (C18:3omega-3), administered intravenously on albumin or a phospholipid emulsion.

The tests were performed in a dog model of cardiac sudden death. Dogs were prepared with a large anterior wall myocardial infarction produced surgically and an inflatable cuff placed around the left circumflex coronary artery. With the dogs running on a treadmill 1 month after the surgery, occlusion of the left circumflex artery regularly produced ventricular fibrillation in the control tests done 1 week before and after the test, with the omega-3 fatty acids administered intravenously as their pure free fatty acid.

With infusion of the eicosapentaenoic acid, 5 of 7 dogs were protected from fatal ventricular arrhythmias (P<0.02). With docosahexaenoic acid, 6 of 8 dogs were protected, and with alpha-linolenic acid, 6 of 8 dogs were also protected (P<0.004 for each). The before and after control studies performed on the same animal all resulted in fatal ventricular arrhythmias, from which they were defibrillated. These results indicate that purified omega-3 fatty acids can prevent ischemia-induced ventricular fibrillation in this dog model of sudden cardiac death.

Source

Jun, 14 By 0 Comment

Horses and high temperatures – what you need to know!

As the weather heats up, so does the incidence of heat exhaustion and heat stroke in horses. Here’s what you need to know!

Exercise is an activity that enhances and maintains the physical fitness and overall health and wellbeing of your horse. However, exercising during peak summer season might be dangerous for both you and your horse. Exercising in hot weather or high humidity puts extra stress on your body and that of your horse. If you don’t take care of your horse when exercising in the heat, you risk serious illness or heat exhaustion, also called hyperthermia as both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase the horses core body temperature.

Horses generate an enormous amount of heat during exercising and their bodies are unable to rapidly eliminate this heat if the humidity and air temperature is too high. As your horse’s body temperature rises it may experience heat related stress such as dehydration or even a heat stroke. Unnecessary to say this can have a negative impact on its performance and health.

But also when you don’t exercise in hot weather you should see to your horse. Heat can build up easily in hot pastures, small dry open barns with no shade or at poorly ventilated barns.
An increased heart rate (more then 60 beats / minute), increased respiration rate (over 80 breaths / minute), dry Mucous membranes and an increased capillary refill time are some of the indications of heat related shock in horses. Horses who suffer from heat may become dull, restless or uncoordinated. More severely affected horses may show ‘thumps’, this is a spasmodic jerking of the diaphragm and/or flanks. The thermo-neutral temperature of a horse is 38⁰ C  and any temperature above this range is abnormal. A temperature above 41⁰ C indicates heat stroke.

How to recognise a heat strokeHorses heath exhaustion

  • Increase in body temperature (hyperthermia)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark yellow coloured urine
  • Dull and lethargic  behaviour
  • Increased respiration rate
  • colic
  • Increased water intake
  • laminitis
  • Muscle cramps
  • Abnormal gait (way of walking)

No Sweat
While excessive sweating can leave a horse dehydrated, a horse who doesn’t sweat or just partially sweats may be in greater danger because he has no effective way to unload the heat that builds up in his body. Without help, his body temperature may stay high. If it reaches dangerous levels after exercise, the horse might be at risk of a heat stroke. The veterinary term for this condition is anhidrosis. It can affect any horse and it can come on gradually or appear all at once. It’s not well understood how it begins but the important thing is to recognize it and deal with it, together with your veterinarian.

Adjusting the schedule
During seasonal and environmental changes the nutrition, health maintenance schedule, exercise- and training program requires adjustment. Prior planning can greatly decrease the risk and increase the comfort during hot weather. It is also very important to monitor the amount of food and water intake during summer. High carbohydrate and protein diet also generates more metabolic heat which further  deteriorate the condition.

Electrolytes
Horses try to cool their body by sweating and increased respiration rate which decreases heat load. Sweating reduces internal body temperature by evaporation from skin. But it not only causes loss of water but also loss of electrolytes, sodium, potassium and other minerals. Electrolytes are responsible to maintain the osmotic pressure, the fluid balance and the nerve muscle function. Salt based electrolytes such as sodium chloride is the most important one, followed by potassium chloride. Sugar based electrolytes that contains dextrose helps maintaining the mineral level in the body.

What can you do to keep your horse cool?

  • A horse suffering from heat stress can be cooled down by hosing it with cold water. It is important that you start ate the feet and move up slowly.
  • You can also place wet towels on its body and rinse cold water on them.
  • Providing shade though out the day or keep your horse in a cool paddock of well-ventilated stable. You can also turn your horse out at night instead of during the day.
  • Exercise your horse early in the morning or late in the evening, when it’s not so hot. Take frequent breaks, allowing his breathing to recover before you ask for more effort.
  • Cool him out thoroughly after work with cold water, as described. Monitor his vital signs and don’t stop your efforts until they’re normal
  • Make sure your horse has easy access to clean, fresh and cool water all the time!

Adding high fat supplements (also referred to as cooling calories) to the diet is a good idea. These high fat supplements are metabolized more efficiently than any other nutrient and produce less metabolic heat. Maintaining proper body weight of horse by not letting them become too fat is always important.

When do you need to call your veterinarian?
If there is no sign of recovery in 10 to 15 minutes you have to call your veterinarian immediately. In severe cases an intravenous infusion of electrolytes of Ringer lactate or normal saline could be given by your veterinarian for recovery. High temperatures can lead to a cardio pulmonary shock, which can require emergency medication along with oxygen supplementation.

 

Jun, 9 By 0 Comment

How to check the vital signs of your dog

You know the feeling that your dog is not very playful, skipping its meals and does not respond to your commands? He is just sitting in the corner of the house or hiding in its favourite place, not even reacting to the door bell.. Well probably your dog isn’t feeling to well.

It’s helpful to be familiar with your pets vital signs just in case your dog is ever in distress. Knowing how to periodically check and record normal vital signs like your dog’s heart rate is a smart idea. Not only will it give you and your dog some practice doing it, but you’ll be able to use the numbers as a baseline of what is “normal” for your pet in case of an accident or illness.  Vital signs reflect proper working of essential body functions!

Body temperature
TemperatureIt is a myth that one can determine dog’s fever by checking its nose. Wet and cool would mean the body temperature is good but if its nose is hot and dry it would mean it is feverish. Unfortunately this isn’t a reliable way of checking fever, as their normal body temperature is higher than humans therefore it will always feel like the dog’s temperature is not normal. The normal body temperature is between 38° C and 39° C, temperatures over 39,5°C is considered fever and lower than 37°C is hypothermia.

If there is any variation from normal temperature dogs can exhibit various clinical signs e.g. loss of appetite, depression, lethargy, vomiting, stiffness, cough, shivering or nasal discharge. The best way to determine the body temperature of your dog is to check the rectal temperature. You can distract your pet with a treat and take the thermometer (lubricate it first with vaseline or baby oil) and gently insert it about 5 centimeter inside the rectal area. Press the thermometer towards wall of rectum and wait till one minute or until the thermometer beeps. Another way of checking your dog’s temperature is through an infrared thermometer to measure temperature inside ear. This is very easy to do but please note that the ear temperature might be unreliable because of the variation in the anatomical shape of the ear.

A sudden rise or drop in the body temperature could be due to infection, shock, inflammation, environmental temperature, vaccination or accidentally ingestion of toxic material. If you suspect any of this please check with your Veterinarian a.s.a.p. to avoid any complication!

Heartrate dogsHeart rate
Depending on the breed the normal heart rate of a dog is 60 to 140 beats per minute during rest or times of low activity. Deviation from the normal ranges indicates abnormality in your dog’s condition. You can feel   your pet’s heartbeat by placing your hand gently on the chest and press little against it. If you do find it count pulse in one minute, also you can feel pulse on the back side of the front leg or in the inner thigh area of the hind limb. Increased or decreased heart rate can be further confirmed by your vet using a stethoscope.

Respiration rate
Increased panting is a sign of increased respiration rate in a dog. Other abnormal signs could be wheezing, raspy or squeaky sounds and flared nostrils. During rest a dog should breathe 15 to 35 times in a minute. You can also count up and down movement of the chest which would tell you the respiration rate of your pet.  Increased respiration rate could be due to fear, excitement, anxiety or pain. Decreased respiration rate could mean your pet is in the phase of shock, in that case your dog might require oxygen supplementation for recovery, which your veterinarian can provide.

If the increase in body temperature is due to weather condition or due to running, your pets body responses by a higher heart rate (increased blood supply) which leads to an increased respiration rate (panting) which helps in getting body temperature down!

Mucus membrane / hydration status
Check your dog’s mucous membranes of inner cheeks and gums by pulling your dog’s upper lip. Normal mucus membranes are healthy pink and moist, while brick red, brown, pale pink, white or blue colour could indicative an emergency (i.e. shock, loss of blood or anaemia). Jaundice or a yellow colour of the mucous membrane or skin could indicate kidney or liver problems.

Skin test
HydrationThe skin test indicates your dogs’ hydration status. In order to check this, gently pinch the skin of your pet behind the shoulder blade and note how much time it takes to get back to its normal position. If the time is less than 1 second it means the hydration status is normal. If it takes more than 2 seconds, it indicates severe dehydration. Try to give your dog a lot of water and take it to a veterinarian immediately.

By simply measuring vital signs of your dog can help in diagnosing serious illness, and can alert you from potential health risks!

Dr. Shally Jalali

Jun, 1 By 0 Comment ,

Equine Metabolic Syndrome or Cushing disease?

Changing lifestyle, increased calorie intake and reduced physical activity leads to potential risk of unhealthy individuals. Horses are not too different from human with this respect: improved grazing pastures, legume, diet rich in carbohydrates, concentrates (which were not easily available earlier) and reduced physical activity and exercise have increased the risk of various metabolic and hormonal disorders in horses. Out of which most common is EMS (Equine Metabolic syndrome) and Cushing disease. Mostly, these conditions are misinterpreted as similar conditions because of similar clinical signs but they are completely different disorders.
Equine Metabolic Syndrome or Cushing disease?

Insulin resistance
In both of these conditions there are increased fat deposits, adipocytes, in various parts of the body eg potbellied abdomen, abnormal fat accumulation on the base of tail, shoulders and neck, increased size of mammary glands in females and fat filled enlarged sheath in geldings. Insulin resistance or reduced insulin sensitivity, a condition where cells fail to respond in the normal way to insulin and are unable to utilize it effectively. This leads to the production of more and more insulin making it more resistant, to more calories in the system which are not getting utilized, which in turn leads to obesity. Increased adipocytes give rise to increased production of adipokinins and inflammatory mediators called cytokinins leading to more and more insulin resistance and low grade inflammation which also leads to unmanageable reoccurring laminar deterioration and laminitis. Although horses are less likely to have diabetes, increased insulin resistance and obesity potentially increases the risk of type 2 diabetes .

Cushing syndrome
In the Cushing syndrome there is a dysfunction of Paras intermediate of the pituitary gland which is responsible for the secretion of numerous hormones. ACTH (adinocortico hormone) is one of the hormones which act on the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol, glucocorticoid is a steroid hormone which is synthesized from cholesterol. It regulates the metabolism of glucose and fats, suppresses protein synthesis and regulates inflammatory and immune responses in the body. Dysfunction of the pituitary gland leads to an increase in cortisol which will in turn lead to decreased utilization of glucose causing insulin resistance. Various other clinical signs are wavy abnormal hair growth also called hirsutism, increased water intake, laminitis, increase in urination and decreased immunity leading to skin and respiratory tract infections

Equine metabolic syndrome
On the other hand, Metabolic syndrome is a result of reduced exercise and increase in calorie intake leading to an increase in cortisol levels and high levels of glucose, meaning extra calories. The condition is also referred to as poor metabolism.  This syndrome is mostly seen in middle age horses and has a genetic predisposition for ponies. Ponies genetic make up is to graze pastures for longer distances and they were majorly used for drought purpose as they could perform even with less amounts of pasture.  But now, easily available calories and less physical activity has made them obese resulting in insulin resistance and laminitis.

Diagnosing
The most common test to diagnose Cushing syndrome is the dexamethasone suppression test. In this test, dexamethasone, a steroid, is injected and then blood samples are drawn at regular intervals and compared with the baseline sample. If dexamethasone is utilized properly in the body, its levels will be reduced. Elevated dexamethasone, cortisol levels will indicate Cushing. Other tests are the ACTH stimulation test, determining cortisol levels and glucose levels in urine. Diagnosing insulin resistance by analyzing resting blood insulin concentrations and resting blood glucose concentration after 6 hours of feed deprivation. Another test is combined glucose insulin test. This test is more sensitive than resting blood glucose. Blood samples are analyzed after frequent intervals after glucose and insulin is injected.

Treatment
Treatment may involve medication such as Metformin (glucophage), a successful medicine to lower glucose levels in blood stream
. Metformin is majorly used by diabetic patients, as it improves the insulin sensitivity at tissue level. Pergolide is a dopamine agonist. Trilostane will reduce the overproduction of Cortisol levels successfully. Studies have revealed pergolide helps in reducing cortisol levels in horses.

The most important part of the treatment is a proper management of diet and exercise. The feed should not exceed 1.5% of body weight.  Regularly monitor the body condition. A formula for body weight estimation is: weight in pounds is equal to girth in inches multiplied by body length in inches divided by 330. Exercise a horse for at least 20-30 minutes daily with gradual increase. Minimize non-fiber carbohydrates and whole grains, avoid flowering grasses high in sugar. Prefer native to improved pastures, grazing muzzles can also be used to avoid excessive grazing. Also increased calorie restriction can worsen insulin resistance and cause hyperlipemia.

Studies have shown that an increase in Omega 3 supplementation is proven most effective in insulin senstivity. Omega 3 can be effective in reducing inflammation, it stabilizes the immune response and thus can be effective to treat laminitis also.   Other supplements include of zinc, selenium, Vitamin E, vitamin A, proteins and antioxidants also helps in management of laminitis and immunosuppression.