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Westie Health Concerns

Chocolate
Diarrhea
Fleas and Ticks
Pink Nose
Red Beards and Rusty Paws
Skunks
Yellow Bile

Even a healthy dog will occasionally exhibit some symptoms that cause concern. It is always advisable to call your veterinarian when your Westie is troubled by something new. Some minor problems are common to Westies and can be treated at home, once you have confirmed with your vet that the symptom has no serious cause.

Chocolate and Dogs
By David the Dogman David Klein FDTCB. F.inst D. Canine Behaviourist
Chocolate made for human consumption can cause death in dogs. Dogs are sensitive to a class of chemicals called methylxanthines. Caffeine and theobtomine are members of that family. Dogs simply cannot metabolize and excrete methylxanthines as efficiently as humans. The half-life of those compounds in the human body is in the order of 2 to 3 hours, in the dog it is more like 18 hours. In a dog the compounds are taken up by the liver and transmitted via the bile into the intestine. They are then converted back into the original methylxanthines for another circuit through the animal. This repeats itself a number of times and instead of getting rid of the substances the dog keeps repoisoning itself

There are many formulations of chocolate with varying amounts of caffeine and theobromine. The lethal dose of sweet milk chocolate for a dog is 2 oz per kill gram of bodyweight. For a 5 kilogram dog this would be about 280 grams. A lethal dose of milk chocolate for a 25 kilogram would be about 1.4 kilograms. Dark chocolate is at least 10 times as lethal. A 25 kilograms dog could die from the methylxanthines in 5 ounces. Symptoms include vomiting, hyperactivity, restlessness, hypersensitivity to touch (a dog will jump when touched very rapid heartbeat and rapid breathing rate. A loss of control of leg muscles, muscle tremor seizures, general weakness, coma and finally death follow. IMO it would be a tragic mistake to encourage a dog to develop a taste for chocolate. A small dog left alone in a house with a box of chocolates might well follow his nose to the goodies and commit suicide by poisoning. Commitment, Firmness, but kindness.

If your dog has consumed chocolate, rush him to emergency care immediately.

Brought to you by: World Wide Information Outlet, a NEW way of sharing information online - FREEWare Content. Copyright 1997 by David Klein.

Diarrhea
Mild diarrhea can be caused by a change in diet, eating table scraps, colds and other medical problems. If your dog has diarrhea, consult your vet for the probable cause. If the diarrhea was caused by dietary change, a soothing diet for a few days can be helpful. Cook ground lamb or veal and mix with cooked while rice with a little butter. This meal will help add bulk without further irritating the bowels.

A severe case of diarrhea requires medication. The old formula of Biosol M worked immediately. Although slower-working, the new Biosol is also effective. Diamycin or amphoral are also effective. An infant dose of Kaopectate can also solve the problem.

In puppies, diarrhea can be very dangerous. If the pup seems dehydrated. give only pedialyte, or sugar water. Amforol is recommended Bloody Diarrhea, often caused by stress. It also helps the stomach cramps. Your vet can order if for you from Fort Dodge. A single order of 100 tabs will cost approximately $140 and has a 2 yr. exp. date.

Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks thrive in the hot, humid months. Fleas love warmth, cover and moisture. Ticks love to climb and can be found on bushes, tall grass, and even birds! All the "spot" medications available probably do a fair job, though some dogs have acted slightly ill for a few days upon initial application. Combination flea birth control and heartworm preparations have been reported to have serious side effects.

Dogs who have the natural oils stripped from too frequent bathing or the wrong shampoo usually are more susceptible to infestation. Vegetable oil-based Murphy's Oil Soap, found in the cleaning section of any grocery store, contains the natural protectants, cedar oil and citronella. You can also clog the airways of the fleas with cornstarch by sprinkling on the dog and brushing out.

Battling fleas requires constant vigilance in many parts of the country. Their presence is not always obvious at first. It's a good idea to periodically go through the dog's coats looking for evidence of fleas. Normally flea "remains" are easy to spot and found in such areas as the base of the tail on the back.

In the Summer, checking for ticks every night is a good idea. Check top of head, ears, armpits and groin. You can recognize the tick by its round body and visible legs. If the tick has burrowed its head into the skin, be sure to remove the entire head to avoid infection. Remove the tick with tweezers and swab the irritated area with alcohol.

If you have more than one dog, finding flea evidence on one calls for treating the problem for all. Start with bathing and spraying each dog. Vacuum all rugs and discard the vacuum cleaner bag, away from the house. Wash all blankets and bedding. Release a fogger in every room of the house.

Use 20 Mule Team borax (laundry detergent section of store) on the carpets. Apply liberally; sweep in, then vacuum out in a few days. Borax dries out the protective shell of the flea causing it to crack open and die. As a preventative, you may want to fog twice a year, in the Spring and in the Fall after the first heavy frost.

If you treat the dog and not the house, the flea reproduction cycle that will never be broken. Either treat both or you will always see fleas. These little pests can have their eggs hatch weeks after you think they are gone!

Partial List of Flea-fighting Products Product

Adams Flea Off Mist Initially gets the fleas off the dog.
Vet Kem Fogger Kills fleas in a room for a number of weeks.
Brewers Yeast* or Garlic A dog whose diet includes these supplements tastes bad to the fleas.
Cedar Bedding Repels fleas and other dogs. Watch for allergic reaction.
Solid Gold Shoo Concentrate Mix it with 6 parts water and lightly mist it on the dog.
Citronella Oil A few drops added to water can be sprayed on bedding or misted around the dog before a walk in a area suspected of infestation.
Pennyroyal If nobody is pregnant or trying to be (dogs, cats or humans), pennyroyal-herb or oil - is a superb flea repellent.

* Should not be used when dogs have the tendency towards yeast infection

Pink Noses
A soft, black nose is one of the most attractive Westie features. Noses can lighten from exposure to irritants, lack of sunlight, vitamin deficiency and/or age.

If your dog begins to lose the black pigment in his nose, use glass or metal dishes, rather than plastic. Give the Westie more time outdoors in the sunlight. Try a multi-vitamin, such as Pet Tabs, daily. Pet Tabs can be purchased in pet supply shops. Homeopathic remedies include blue-green algae and colloidal silver

Noses will also lighten with age. In that case, the nose turns lighter brown, rather than pink. But, sometimes, no matter what you do, the nose will not regain its pigment.

Red Beard or Rusty Paws
It is not unusual to encounter a Westie with a pink to brownish-black beard and/or pink paws. In addition to compromising the dog's appearance, this discoloration can evidence itching and irritation. Some of the major causes and suggested solutions for this problem appear below.

Contributing Cause Solutions

1. Contact with nickel-plating: water dishes, metal clasps on harness or collars, tags Use pottery water dishes. Coat the metal clasp with 2 or 3 coats of finger nail polish to protect against direct contact.
2. Vitamin C deficiency Add a few drops of lemon juice to drinking water. Plain vitamin C is likely to upset tummies. Ester C can be found in health food store. 250 mg. per ?? may clear up the problem within a few months
3. Food allergies Food containing beef, soy, wheat or other ingredients may trigger allergic reactions. Lamb and rice or fish and potato formulas can be used to avoid this reaction.
4. Enzyme deficiencies Dogs in the wild ate small game whose stomach content contained half-digested vegetation. It has been theorized that the chlorophyll from the practically digested plants provided a need supplement now missing from the canine diet. Special supplements can be purchased at the pet store containing these enzymes and fatty acids. Alfalfa pellets (rabbit food) can be added to the food as a very inexpensive supplement. Green beans are another good source. The Missing Link and Solid Gold Seameal also can be part of the solution.

Temporary Measures
For temporary whitening, mix grooming chalk with hydrogen peroxide into a paste. Put it on the stained areas and let it dry and than wash it out. Sometimes it works and sometimes not.

Skunks
After an altercation with a Skunk, removing the scent can be challenging. One classic remedy includes soaking in a solution of tomato juice and water.

Another is a mixture of 1 oz Dawn dishwashing liquid, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1-quart peroxide. Leave on dog for 5 minutes and rinse. Another remedy is Massengil. Shampoo dog, rinse and then pour on straight Massengil.

Yellow Bile
Westies have a sensitive digestive system . Vomiting and bringing up yellow bile is not an unusual occurrence. In some cases there may be a real problem when a dogs brings up yellow bile, but in most cases it is a minor problem. Before assuming the cause, you will want to have the pancreas and liver checked by your vet.

Usually, the bile is a sign that the stomach is too empty. Extreme heat can also bring on this reaction. Feeding the dog more often is helpful. Make sure the dog doesn't go to bed with an empty stomach and give him or her a small amount of food first thing in the morning.

Rich food can also be the culprit. Make sure the dog food is a brand recommended for terriers and try eliminating dairy products. Westie owners have had good results with Nutro, California Natural, Beowulf and Solid Gold.

The bile leaves a nasty yellow/green stain if allowed to dry. The portable, hand-held "Little Green Machine" by Bissell is a handy tool for combating stains. The solution sold with the machine will eliminate the mark in a flash. Nature's Miracle cleaning solution will also cut through the stain with a fair amount of scrubbing,

Nature's Miracle can be found at most pet supply stores. It is useful for eliminating most biological stains, including urine and excrement, blood and vomit.


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