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Archive for the ‘General Dog Health’

Fire Ant Bite Treatment for Dogs – How to Treat a Dog’s Fire Ant Stings

March 25, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Allergic Reaction Symptoms in Dogs, Dog Allergies to Stings and Bites, Dog First Aid and Veterinary Emergencies, Dog Injuries, Fire Ant Bites in Dogs, First Aid for Stings and Bites, General Dog Health, Insect Bites and Stings, Symptoms of Anaphylaxis in Dogs, Treating Fire Ant Bites and Stings

Learn How to Treat Fire Ant Bites and Stings in Dogs and Learn the Symptoms of Allergic Reactions in Dogs With a Fire Ant Allergy. (Jithin K.U. Photo)

Pet owners living in the southeastern United States and South America — locations where fire ants are present — may be interested in my latest article, titled How to Treat Fire Ant Bites in a Dog – Insect Sting Treatment in Dogs, Allergic Reaction Symptoms in Pets.

This article discusses how to remove fire ants from a dog’s body (there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this – the wrong way will result in many more fire ant stings!), how to treat fire ant bites in dogs, along with how to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis due to a fire ant allergy.

Treating Fire Ant Stings in a Dog Who’s Allergic to Fire Ant Venom

Unfortunately, this latest pet care article was inspired by experience. On Tuesday, March 23, 2010, I was out for a game of fetch with my pit bull, Sasha-Simöne, when she stepped in a fire ant nest. (Fire ants are very uncommon in southwest Florida.) Just a few fire ant bites triggered an acute response in my robust, peppy and healthy pit bull.

This dog’s fire ant stings caused a near-instantaneous reaction – white gums,  low blood pressure, vomiting, a refusal to walk and swelling to the leg that sustained the fire ant stings. Fortunately, Sasha-Simone has recovered and she’s now doing well, although we are still caring for her fire ant bites and the veterinarian recommended a course of Benadryl. Benadryl is safe for dogs; it’s given to treat minor allergic reactions, therefore, it’s an effective way to treat itching from fire ant bites in a dog.

(Please note that not all over-the-counter medications are safe for dogs; pet owners should never give Benadryl or any other over-the-counter medication to a dog or cat before consulting a veterinarian. Some OTC medications —like Tylenol and Ibuprofen — are deadly for dogs and cats and even “safe” medications can elicit a deadly reaction in a dog who has certain medical conditions or in a dog who takes other medications. And some over-the-counter drugs are safe for dogs, but deadly to cats, and vice versa. So always consult a veterinarian before giving over-the-counter medication to a dog or cat. Okay, that’s the end of the OTC medication and pets spiel! )

How to Treat a Dog’s Fire Ant Bites and Prevent Infection

This pet care article also discusses how to treat a dog’s fire ant stings in the days following the attack. Fire ant bite pustules will form within 12 to 36 hours after the stings occur (note: fire ant bites are actually a bite and sting in one – these little red ants bite away a little chunk of skin, while simultaneously injecting venom). If the pet’s ant bites are not treated properly, an infection will occur.

Fire ant bites are itchy – very itchy! In response, dogs bite and scratch at the fire ant bites frequently and intensely.  This makes a dog’s fire ant bites more prone to infection, since they’re apt to break open the pustules and the act of scratching introduces bacteria from the dog’s mouth and feet, thereby contaminating the fire ant bites. This article explains how to clean fire ant bites in a way that reduces the chance of infection, and it provides information on how to recognize the symptoms of infected insect stings in a dog.

Pet owners will also learn how to treat the dog’s itching from fire ant stings, which can be extremely itchy, yet painful. Swelling from the ant bites will also require treatment.

To learn more, read How to Treat Fire Ant Bites in a Dog – Insect Sting Treatment in Dogs, Allergic Reaction Symptoms in Pets.

Pet owners may also want to learn more about how to treat fire ant bites in humans, as there’s a good chance the owner will sustain at least a few stings and bites while trying to help the dog.

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Is My Dog Dehydrated? – Simple Tests to Determine if a Dog is Dehydrated

March 18, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Capillary Refill Time in Dogs, Dog Dehydration, Dog Symptoms, How to Test a Dog for Dehydration, Pale Gums in a Dog

Use a liquid syringe, also called an oral medicine dispenser for pets, to give Pedialyte to a dehydrated dog. Click to Learn More or Purchase – Creative Pet Products Oral Medicine Dispenser for Pets, $5.99 at PetSmart

Wondering, “How can I tell if a dog is dehydrated?” There are a couple simple tests that can be used to determine if a dog is dehydrated. These methods to test for dehydration can also be used for a sick cat or in cases where a cat won’t drink or eat.

The Skin Pinch Test for Dehydration in Dogs

In a dehydrated dog, the skin will lose its elasticity. The more dehydrated the dog, the less elasticity will be present in the dog’s skin.

There is a simple test for dehydration that can be performed at home. This is called “the pinch test” or “the skin pinch test” for dehydration:

  • Locate an area of loose skin on the dog’s body. Usually, the scruff of the neck is the best place to perform this test.
  • Gently pinch a bit of skin and pull it away from the dog’s body, creating a “tent.”
  • Hold the skin for 2-3 seconds and then release your grasp.
  • Observe the skin as it flattens out.

In a healthy dog, the skin will return to its normal position instantly. In a moderately dehydrated dog, the skin will take 1 second or longer to flatten.

In cases of very severe dehydration, the dog’s skin will remain a bit “tented” for several seconds or until you rub the area. If the latter is observed, this should be regarded as a medical emergency and the pet will require immediate transport to a veterinary clinic for treatment.

Sometimes, it can help to perform this test when the pet is healthy, as this provides a point of reference for the future. If other healthy pets are present in the household,  you can perform this home test for dehydration on the healthy pet as a comparison.

Checking the Dog’s Gums for Symptoms of Dehydration

Another fairly easy test for dehydration involves checking the dog’s gums.

In a healthy dog, the gums will be slick and pink in color.

In a sick, dehydrated dog, the gums will feel sticky or dry when you run your finger across the surface.  The a sick dog’s gum color will be pale and he will exhibit slow capillary refill time.

Dog Dehydration and How to Treat a Dog for Dehydration

Dehydration can be a potentially deadly situation. A dog’s diarrhea and vomiting is one common cause of dehydration; fluid loss occurs over the span of a day or two. If a dog won’t eat and drink at all, dehydration can set in within a matter of hours and the situation can turn critical within 24 to 48 hours.

If left untreated, a dehydrated dog will suffer kidney damage and organ failure. In many cases, when a dog won’t drink or eat, the underlying disease, infection or other health problem that caused the dehydration in the first place will worsen very quickly.

Dog dehydration can be treated in a few ways, including:

  • IV Fluids for Serious Dehydration in a Pet – In serious cases of dehydration, a dog will have low blood pressure, kidney problems and other very serious symptoms. An IV will be inserted into a vein and the dog will receive fluids via his circulatory system.
  • Subcutaneous Injection of Fluids for Sick Dogs – The fluid (called Ringer’s Solution) is injected under the dog’s skin; the pet’s body absorbs the fluids, thereby treating dehydration.
  • Pedialyte for Dogs With Dehydration – To treat minor dehydration at home, mix 50% Pedialyte (unflavored) with 50% water. If the dog won’t drink voluntarily, the the dog can be given liquids by mouth using a fluid syringe. Feeding wet dog food can also be helpful. Pet owners can saturate dry dog food with hot water. Add enough water to cover the kibble and wait 15 minutes for the food to absorb the fluid. The kibble will swell as it becomes soft and mushy.

Readers may also want to read related articles, including information about how to check a dog’s capillary refill time, along with how to check a dog’s gums, along with photos of pale gums in a dog and photos of normal gums.

Pet owners can learn about these topics and more on The Sick Dog Blog. Visit The Sick Dog Blog’s Archives to read more!

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