Should I Be Concerned About My Dog’s Bad Breath?

As veterinarians with years of experience treating our furry friends, one of the most common concerns we hear from pet owners is about their dog’s bad breath. While it’s easy to dismiss as a mere inconvenience or a result of something they ate, persistent bad breath in dogs can sometimes be a sign of underlying health issues.

Why Does My Dog Have Bad Breath?

Dogs, just like humans, can develop bad breath for a variety of reasons:

  • Diet

If your dog has recently consumed something pungent, it’s natural for their breath to reflect that. Foods like fish or certain treats can leave a lingering odor.

  • Oral Hygiene

Just as humans can get bad breath from not brushing, dogs can develop halitosis from a buildup of plaque and tartar. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help prevent this.

  • Gastrointestinal Issues

Sometimes, the cause of bad breath can be traced back to the stomach. Gastrointestinal problems, or the consumption of non-food items, can result in an unpleasant odor.

  • Underlying Health Concerns

Persistent bad breath can be a sign of more serious health issues, including diabetes, kidney disease, or liver problems.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken.”

What Should I Do About My Dog’s Bad Breath?

If you notice that your dog’s bad breath persists despite a change in diet or improved oral hygiene practices, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian. We can conduct a thorough examination, recommend specific treatments or interventions, and rule out more severe health concerns.

While occasional bad breath in dogs can be normal, especially after eating certain foods, persistent or severe bad breath should not be ignored. It’s always better to be safe and have your pet checked out to ensure their overall health and well-being.

Tampa’s Friendliest, Most Comprehensive Veterinary Care is at Affordable Pet Hospital

If you are in Tampa Bay and have concerns about your dog’s breath or any other veterinary needs, don’t hesitate to contact Affordable Pet Hospital at (813) 991-9898. You can also request an appointment online. We’re here to help with all your pet care needs, including keeping your pup’s breath as fresh as possible!

What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Dogs?

As pet owners, we always want the best for our furry friends. Their health and well-being are of utmost importance. Kidney disease is a common condition that can affect our canine companions, and early detection is crucial for effective treatment. In this post, we will explore the symptoms of kidney disease in dogs, helping you recognize potential warning signs and take prompt action to protect your beloved pet’s health.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Canine Kidney Disease

Kidney disease, also known as renal disease, refers to the impaired function of the kidneys. The kidneys play a vital role in filtering waste products from the blood and maintaining a proper balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body. When kidney function declines, waste products and toxins can build up, leading to various symptoms. Here are some common signs to watch out for:

  • Increased Thirst and Urination

Excessive drinking (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria) can be indicative of kidney disease. If you notice that your dog is drinking more water than usual and needing more frequent bathroom breaks, it may be a cause for concern.

  • Decreased Appetite and Weight Loss

A decline in appetite and unexplained weight loss can be signs of many health conditions, including kidney disease. If your dog has been showing a lack of interest in food or has experienced a significant drop in weight, it’s essential to consider kidney issues as a potential cause.

  • Vomiting and Diarrhea

Gastrointestinal disturbances like vomiting and diarrhea can be associated with kidney disease. These symptoms may arise due to the body’s inability to eliminate toxins properly. If your dog experiences persistent vomiting or diarrhea, consult a veterinarian for a thorough examination.

  • Lethargy and Weakness

A dog with kidney disease may exhibit generalized weakness, lethargy, and a lack of energy. If you notice your once-energetic companion becoming increasingly tired or unwilling to engage in usual activities, it’s worth investigating further.

  • Changes in Urine

Pay attention to any alterations in your dog’s urine. Some common changes associated with kidney disease include blood in the urine (hematuria), cloudy or dark-colored urine, or increased frequency of accidents in a house-trained dog. Keep an eye on the litter box or outdoor bathroom areas for any unusual signs.

Get Your Dog’s Kidney Function Checked Out Today

Kidney disease can manifest in a variety of ways, and the symptoms mentioned above are just some of the possible indicators. If you suspect that your dog may be experiencing kidney problems, it is vital to seek veterinary care promptly. At Affordable Pet Hospital, we specialize in providing compassionate and comprehensive care for your beloved pets. Call us today at 813-991-9898 or visit our website to schedule an appointment online. Our experienced veterinary team can conduct thorough evaluations, including blood tests and urinalysis, to assess your dog’s kidney function. Early detection and intervention can greatly improve the quality of life for dogs with kidney disease.


Your dog’s health is our top priority. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any concerns or questions about kidney disease or any other pet-related issues. Together, we can ensure your furry friend lives a long, happy, and healthy life!

Understanding Dental Disease in Dogs

As pet owners, we often focus on providing our furry companions with proper nutrition, exercise, and regular veterinary care. However, one aspect of their well-being that often goes unnoticed is dental health. Just like humans, dogs are prone to dental disease, which can lead to discomfort, pain, and various health issues if left untreated. In this post, we will delve into the common dental diseases in dogs, their causes, symptoms, and preventive measures.

Periodontal Disease: The Most Common Dental Disease in Dogs

Periodontal disease is the most prevalent dental condition in dogs. It begins with the buildup of plaque, a sticky film composed of bacteria, saliva, and food particles, which eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar accumulation irritates the gums, leading to inflammation known as gingivitis. If not addressed, the condition progresses to periodontitis, where the gums recede, tooth roots become exposed, and infection can set in.

Causes and Risk Factors of Dental Disease in Dogs

Several factors contribute to the development of dental disease in dogs. Poor dental hygiene, lack of regular tooth brushing, and inappropriate diets high in carbohydrates and sugars can increase the risk. Additionally, certain breeds, such as small dogs and brachycephalic breeds, are more susceptible due to their crowded teeth and unique jaw structures. Age, genetics, and overall health also play a role in dental health.

Recognizing the Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs

Detecting dental diseases in dogs can be challenging since they often hide discomfort or pain. However, there are some signs to watch out for, including:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Discolored or loose teeth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty eating or loss of appetite
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Changes in behavior or mood

Prevention of Dental Disease is Best for Your Dog

Preventing dental disease in dogs starts with establishing a regular dental care routine. Here are some preventive measures you can take:

1. Brushing

Get your dog accustomed to regular tooth brushing using a dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste. Start gradually and reward positive behavior.

2. Dental Diets and Treats

Opt for specially formulated dental diets and treats that promote chewing and help reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

3. Dental Toys

Provide your dog with appropriate chew toys designed to promote dental health. These toys can help massage the gums and clean the teeth.

4. Regular Veterinary Dental Check-Ups

Schedule routine dental examinations with your veterinarian. They can perform professional dental cleanings if necessary and identify any dental issues at an early stage. If you’re in Tampa, Affordable Pet Hospital is available to help you with all your dog’s dental health needs!

5. Maintain a Balanced Diet

Feed your dog a nutritionally balanced diet that supports overall health, including dental health.

Professional Dental Cleanings

In some cases, professional dental cleanings under anesthesia may be required to address severe dental disease. During these cleanings, the veterinarian will remove tartar and plaque, polish the teeth, and perform a thorough oral examination.

Dental Disease Care and Prevention in Tampa

Dental disease in dogs is a common yet often overlooked aspect of their overall health. Regular dental care and veterinary guidance will not only improve their quality of life, but also prevent the progression of dental disease and potential associated health issues. Remember, a healthy smile leads to a happy and vibrant dog! To find out more about how Affordable Pet Hospital can help you care for your dog’s dental health, give us a call at 813-991-9898 or contact us online.

Can Dogs Suffer From Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease is fairly common in humans, but can dogs really suffer from this condition? The answer is a resounding yes, and it’s more common than you might think. Up to 10% of dogs are affected by this condition, according to the University of Michigan.

What is Kidney Disease?

Kidney disease, also known as renal disease, refers to any condition that affects the function of the kidneys. These vital organs are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood, producing urine, and regulating electrolyte balance. When the kidneys are damaged or not functioning properly, it can lead to a variety of symptoms and complications.

Signs of Kidney Disease in Dogs

So, how does kidney disease manifest in dogs? The most common signs include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Blood in the urine

These symptoms can be indicative of other health conditions as well, so it’s important to bring your dog in for a thorough examination if you notice any of these signs.

What Causes Kidney Disease in Dogs?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of kidney disease in dogs. Some of the most common include aging, breed predisposition, exposure to toxins, infection, and underlying health conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. Early detection and treatment are key to managing kidney disease and preventing further damage to the kidneys.

Treatment for Kidney Disease in Dogs

At Affordable Pet Hospital, we offer a range of diagnostic and treatment options for dogs with kidney disease. Our experienced veterinarians will perform a thorough physical examination and may recommend blood and urine tests to assess kidney function. Depending on the severity of the disease, treatment options may include changes to your dog’s diet, medications to manage symptoms, and in some cases, hospitalization for supportive care.

Disease Management is Essential

We also believe in the importance of ongoing monitoring for dogs with kidney disease. Regular check-ups and blood work can help us track the progression of the disease and make adjustments to treatment as needed. Our goal is to help your dog maintain the best possible quality of life, even in the face of this challenging condition.

Get Your Dog the Care They Need for Kidney Disease

If you suspect that your dog may be suffering from kidney disease, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us at Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa. Our compassionate team of veterinary professionals is here to provide the care and support your furry friend needs to thrive. We understand that managing a chronic health condition can be overwhelming, but we’re here to guide you every step of the way. To schedule an appointment, simply call us at 813-991-9898 or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to helping your dog live their happiest, healthiest life.


Causes & Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Dogs

As a pet owner, your dog’s health and well-being are top priorities. One of the most common health issues faced by dogs is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that affects millions of dogs worldwide. At Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa, we understand how important it is for pet owners to recognize the signs of this condition and take appropriate action to ensure their pets’ comfort and health. In this blog post, we will explore the causes and symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs to help you better understand this common canine ailment.

Causes of Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Osteoarthritis is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects the joints. The condition occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints begins to break down, leading to inflammation and pain. There are several factors that can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in dogs, including:

  • Age

As dogs grow older, the cartilage in their joints becomes more susceptible to wear and tear. This natural aging process makes older dogs more prone to developing osteoarthritis.

  • Genetics

Certain breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, have a higher predisposition to developing osteoarthritis due to their genetics.

  • Weight

Excess weight puts additional strain on your dog’s joints, which can accelerate the breakdown of cartilage and lead to osteoarthritis.

  • Trauma or Injury

Previous joint injuries, such as fractures or ligament tears, can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis in the affected joint.

  • Infections and Immune System Disorders

Some infections and immune system disorders, like Immune-Mediated Polyarthritis, can also contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in dogs.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Recognizing the symptoms of osteoarthritis in your dog is crucial for early intervention and proper treatment. Some common signs of osteoarthritis in dogs include:

  • Limping or Lameness

One of the most noticeable signs of osteoarthritis is limping or favoring one leg over the other. This may be more evident after your dog has been resting or sleeping.

  • Stiffness

Dogs with osteoarthritis may exhibit stiffness, particularly after periods of inactivity. You may notice that your dog has difficulty getting up from a lying position or seems reluctant to move around.

  • Swollen Joints

Inflammation caused by osteoarthritis can lead to visibly swollen or enlarged joints.

  • Decreased Activity

A dog suffering from osteoarthritis may become less active and show reduced interest in activities they once enjoyed, such as playing fetch or going for walks.

  • Pain

Dogs with osteoarthritis may show signs of discomfort, such as whining or yelping when touched or when attempting to move.

  • Behavioral Changes

Chronic pain can cause changes in your dog’s behavior, such as irritability, aggression, or depression.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian, such as the caring professionals at Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa. Early intervention can help slow down the progression of the disease and improve your dog’s quality of life.

Osteoarthritis Care for Your Dog in Tampa

Osteoarthritis is a common health issue faced by dogs, with various causes and symptoms. As a responsible pet owner, it is vital to be aware of the signs of osteoarthritis and seek prompt veterinary care if you suspect your dog may be suffering from this condition. At Affordable Pet Hospital, our team is ready to help you and your pup navigate treatment for osteoarthritis symptoms, so they can have the best quality of life possible. We offer wellness exams, critical care services, chiropractic treatments, and more. Call us at 813-991-9898 or schedule an appointment online at our Cross Creek Boulevard location today.

Best Treatments for Dogs with Allergic Dermatitis

Here at Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa, we see many cases of dogs with allergic dermatitis. Allergic dermatitis (also known as atopic dermatitis) is a skin condition that results from an allergic reaction to a substance in the environment, such as pollen, mold, or food. Symptoms can include red, itchy skin, hair loss, and even skin infections. While it can be a frustrating condition to manage, there are several effective treatments available to help manage symptoms and improve your dog’s quality of life.


One of the most effective treatments for dogs with allergic dermatitis is medication. Antihistamines, corticosteroids, and immunosuppressive drugs can help reduce itching and inflammation and can be administered orally or topically. Your veterinarian can recommend the best type of medication for your dog based on the severity of their symptoms and other medical conditions.


Another effective treatment for dogs with allergic dermatitis is dietary management. In some cases, a food allergy may be the underlying cause of a dog’s skin problems. Switching to a hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diet can help eliminate the source of the allergy and improve symptoms. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your dog’s diet can also help. Your veterinarian can recommend a high-quality diet that is appropriate for your dog.

Lifestyle Changes

In addition to medication and dietary management, there are several lifestyle changes for you and your dog that can help manage symptoms of allergic dermatitis. These include regular bathing and grooming, using a medicated or grain-free shampoo, doing foot soaks to remove allergens from the feet, and vacuuming more frequently. Speak with your veterinarian to learn about these simple changes that can have a huge impact on your dog’s allergic dermatitis symptoms.


While some immunosuppressive drugs can be given orally, for cases of allergic dermatitis caused by genetics or that have not responded well to less invasive treatments, immunotherapy injections may be the best option. These injections are given in a very similar manner to immunotherapy injections in humans and are customized to the dog’s specific allergy triggers.

Allergic Dermatitis Treatment for Your Dog in Tampa

It’s important to remember that managing allergic dermatitis can take time and patience. In some cases, it may take several weeks or months to see improvement, and it may be necessary to try several different treatments before finding the best solution. With the right combination of treatments, however, many dogs with allergic dermatitis can live happy, healthy lives. If your dog is struggling with allergic dermatitis symptoms and you live in the Tampa area, contact Affordable Pet Hospital at 813-991-9898 to schedule an appointment today.

How to Tell if Your Dog Has Cataracts

You’ve probably heard about cataracts in humans, but did you know that your dog can get cataracts too? It’s true! This eye condition can affect dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. However, certain breeds are at a higher risk of developing cataracts. Additionally, other factors can also increase your dog’s risk of developing cataracts. In this post, we’ll break down how to spot canine cataracts and where to get the best treatment for your pup in Tampa Bay.

What are Canine Cataracts?

Just like in humans, cataracts in dogs are cloudy areas on the lens of the eye. Cataracts can be present on one or both eyes, vary in size, and vary in opacity. They are usually white or gray.

Symptoms of Canine Cataracts

In addition to white or gray spots on the lens of one or both eyes, canine cataract symptoms also include:

  • Bumping into furniture
  • Not recognizing familiar people
  • Clumsiness
  • Hesitance to climb or jump
  • Unsure footing
  • Misjudging distances
  • Unusual gait
  • Changes in eye color
  • Changes in pupil size
  • Changes in pupil shape
  • Rubbing or scratching the eyes
  • Squinting
  • Watery eyes

Predisposing Factors for Canine Cataracts

While any dog can develop cataracts, veterinary and animal researchers have noticed some trends in canine cataract diagnosis. Certain breeds are more susceptible to developing cataracts, including:

  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • Boston Terrier
  • Golden Retriever
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Siberian Husky

There are some other factors that also put your dog at higher risk for developing cataracts:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Advanced age
  • Eye inflammation
  • Eye trauma
  • Other eye diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Low blood calcium levels
  • Nutritional issues
  • Electric shock
  • Exposure to toxins

Leading Cause of Canine Cataracts

Genetic predisposition is the biggest risk factor for your dog developing cataracts. If your dog is one of the breeds listed above or has a parent or relative with cataracts, consult with a veterinarian about prevention techniques and the possibility of genetic testing.

Getting Treatment for Canine Cataracts

At Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa, we provide a full range of veterinary services, including canine cataract treatment. From prevention methods to surgery, we can show you all your cataract treatment options. Call us at 813-991-9898 or contact us online to schedule your dog’s cataract treatment today.

Reasons for Ear Infections in Dogs

If your pup seems to always get ear infections, you’re not alone. Dogs do typically have more ear infections than humans, but why?

Ear Canal Shape

Dogs are more susceptible to ear infections than humans due to their L-shaped ear canals, which tend to hold in fluid more than the human ear canal. This is because the human ear canal is more horizontal, so fluid can flow out easier. But ear canal shape is only part of the story.

Moisture Buildup

Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria or yeast sitting in moisture that has built up in the dog’s ear canal. The ear canal shape helps hold the moisture in, allowing the bacteria or yeast to proliferate.

Predisposing Factors

While an ear infection can happen anytime, there are some factors that seem to predispose dogs to getting them:

  • Physical trauma to the ear
  • Cleaning the ears too much
  • Not cleaning the ears enough/wax buildup
  • Some endocrine disorders
  • Some autoimmune disorders
  • Foreign objects in the ear canal
  • Allergies, especially allergic skin disease and food sensitivities
  • Ear mites or other parasites
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Elongated or floppy ears
  • Other ear abnormalities

Signs of Ear Infections in Dogs

The signs and symptoms of an ear infection may vary from dog to dog, but there are some telltale signs that most dogs exhibit:

  • Excessive shaking of the head
  • Scratching at one or both ears
  • Rubbing the head against objects
  • Whining
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Odd eye movements
  • Ear discharge
  • Odor coming from the ear
  • Redness in the ear canal
  • Swelling of the ear canal
  • Crusting or scabbing in the ear canal
  • Balance and coordination problems

Ear Infection Treatment in Tampa Bay

If you think your dog has an ear infection, getting treatment quickly is essential to prevent the infection from causing other issues, such as hearing loss. If you’re in Tampa Bay, you can get quality care for your pup at Affordable Pet Hospital on Cross Creek Boulevard in Tampa. Just give us a call at 813-991-9898 or request an appointment online to get your furry friend back to 100% today!

Common Genetic Disorders in Dogs

Just like humans, dogs can inherit certain conditions and disorders from their parents. Some of these inherited conditions are due to chromosomal or DNA differences, while others are caused by physical variations that predispose the dog to issues. Many people mistakenly believe that genetic disorders only affect purebred dogs, but mixed-breed dogs can also be affected.

In addition, environmental factors still play a big role in the development and progression of many of these genetic conditions. This means that just because a dog displays a genetic marker for a condition, there is no guarantee that the dog will actually develop that condition without environmental influence as well. This also suggests that dog owners can make environmental adjustments to decrease their dog’s likelihood of developing the said condition.

In this post, we’ll summarize some of the most common genetic or hereditary disorders in our canine friends:


It is widely known and accepted that certain breeds of dogs are more susceptible to allergies, indicating that a genetic source is a likely cause. Breeds known to be vulnerable to hereditary allergies include (source and source):

  • Labradors
  • Golden Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • Poodles
  • Spaniels
  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers
  • French Bulldogs
  • Jack Russell Terriers
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Chinese Shar-Peis
  • Wirehaired Fox Terriers
  • Dalmatians
  • Boxers
  • Boston Terriers
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Scottish Terriers
  • Shih Tzus

Allergies typically manifest as skin-related symptoms like excessive itchiness, licking, and scratching. This is known as atopic dermatitis or atopy. Other canine skin issues that relate to allergies are chronic inflammatory otitis, recurrent hot spots, and pruritus. Immunotherapy is the preferred method of treatment for canine allergies, just like humans. Comfort measures to soothe and heal the affected skin areas are also required.

Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia is the most common musculoskeletal disorder found in dogs and causes instability, and eventually dislocation, of the hip joints. Dogs with a genetic predisposition to hip dysplasia usually show excessive hip laxity at very young ages. Proper assessment during puppy visits and neutering/spaying can identify hip laxity and help the dog owner prepare for the potential of dysplasia. In some cases, preventative surgery on the hip joint is recommended.

Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)

Some people just fawn over a dog with a short snout and flat face, like pugs, English bulldogs, French bulldogs, and boxers. However, these cute facial features can come at a price. The mismatch in proportions of the skull to the soft tissues in the nasal area causes serious breathing issues in these breeds, especially during and after strenuous activities. Many of these short-snouted breeds (often called brachycephalic breeds) cannot even handle relatively short walks or moderately-high outside temperatures. Prevention of BOAS must occur at the breeding stage by only choosing dogs that do not show signs of BOAS as breeding partners.

Bladder Stones

Bladder or urine stones are concentrated, crystallized minerals that build up in a dog’s urine. The amino acid cystine is a common culprit in developing bladder stones. Bladder stones can be extremely painful and impair the dog’s urinary function. In fact, changes in urinary behavior is usually the first sign a dog owner will observe in this disease process. However, bladder stones are often only found after the dog receives a radiograph for another reason. While they can affect any dog, there are certain dog breeds that tend to display genetic markers predisposing them to the development of bladder stones, including Dalmations, Newfoundlands, Bichon Frise, Miniature Schnauzers, Labrador Retrievers, Australian Cattle Dogs, Miniature Pinschers, Mastiffs, American Pit Bull Terriers, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Rottweilers, Dachshunds, and Scottish Terriers, among others.

Inherited Cancers

Many cancers that affect dogs have a definite genetic link. While this post is not long enough to delve into all the different types of canine cancers that are connected to their genes, some of the most common types include:

  • Lymphoma
  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Mast cell tumor
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Malignant melanoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Mammary tumors
  • Transitional cell carcinoma
  • Histiocytic sarcoma

Heart Disease

Heart disease in dogs can be brought on by both genetic and environmental factors. Congenital issues (those present at birth) usually cause physical alterations that impair cardiovascular function, while inherited issues (those programmed in the dog’s DNA) may not be obvious at birth and delay development until adulthood. Genetic issues that lead to heart disease are often observed in certain breed lines and are more prominent in purebred dogs.

There are many conditions in dogs with potential genetic roots that can ultimately lead to heart disease, including:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Endocardiosis (especially of the mitral valve)
  • Myxomatous valve disease
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC)
  • Subvalvular aortic stenosis
  • Pulmonic stenosis
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Degenerative myelopathy is a devastating condition with no cure. In this disease process, nerve fibers and their protective coverings in the dog’s spinal cord begin to deteriorate. Disease progression is typically slow as the dog becomes unstable on their feet, unable to control its hind legs, and eventually has an inability to stand and paralysis. Comfort measures are the only treatment for this debilitating condition, although early identification with genetic testing and therapy has been shown to slow DM’s progression. German Shepherds and Shepherd mixes, Siberian Huskies, and Collies are by far the most common breeds found with DM, but other breeds can also be diagnosed with DM.

Have Questions About Your Dog’s Genetics?

Is your dog’s breed genetically predisposed to disease? Schedule an appointment here at Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa to get the answers you need about your dog’s health issues from Dr. Morris and her knowledgeable staff. Armed with the best and most recent information, you can help your dog live their very best life for years to come!

How to Tell if Your Dog Needs Behavior Medication

Dealing with a dog can be difficult for anyone, but raising a dog with a behavior problem is downright exhausting. Just like humans, dogs can have a variety of issues that cause inappropriate or undesired behaviors, such as fear, phobias, cognitive dysfunction, compulsive disorders, and frustration issues.

When people deal with issues like these, they typically defer to their family doctor for guidance and advice. Dogs should be treated the same way. Any of the issues listed above warrant a trip to the vet for some further investigation.

Most dogs are able to overcome behavior issues with competent training and never need to consider medications. However, for a small group of dogs, the intensity of symptoms is so high that their quality of life is sorely affected. For these animals, medication to ease the negative behaviors may be their only hope.

A vet may consider behavior modification medication for your dog if the problematic behaviors:

  • Adversely affect the dog’s quality of life or functioning

If your dog becomes so fearful, aggressive, aroused, etc. that they actually harm themselves or others during the chaos, medication may be called for to bring the dog back down to a manageable level. Dogs that are unable to complete normal daily functions, such as toileting or eating, without extreme fear or anxiety are also prime candidates for behavior medication.

  • Prevent the dog from being able to learn

While hands-on training is the preferred method of correcting problem behaviors, you can’t train a dog that won’t calm down. Medications are sometimes used in the beginning of training plans for dogs that are extremely wound up. These medications are typically tapered off as the dog learns new control skills.

  • Do not match the intensity of the provoking trigger

If the trigger that is provoking the dog’s bad behavior is mild, but the dog’s reaction is intense, there is a disconnect between the two that needs to be resolved. For example, a dog that barks loudly and aggressively at the same person walking by their yard every day could be an unmatched response.

  • Continue on well after the trigger is removed

Even if a dog barks aggressively at the same person every day, they should calm down once that person is out of sight. If your dog continues the undesirable behaviors well after the trigger is gone, you might have a problem.

If your dog is experiencing behavior issues or any of the above apply, it’s time to make an appointment with a vet. If you and your pooch live in Tampa Bay, the animal care experts at Affordable Pet Hospital would be happy to help you figure out how to help ease your dog’s symptoms and eliminate inappropriate behaviors once and for all. Call us at (813) 991-9898 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today!