Vet’s ad­vice

Sporting Gun - - GUNDOG HEALTH -

Pre­sum­ing you feel she should be fit enough, it is im­por­tant to try and sep­a­rate this prob­lem into two is­sues – med­i­cal and man­age­ment. The for­mer will clearly re­quire some vet­eri­nary in­put. The lat­ter, some thought and de­tec­tive work on your part.

Med­i­cal

A large num­ber of med­i­cal con­di­tions can cause the loss of form that you de­scribe.

Even in a young bitch, womb prob­lems, such as en­dometri­tis, can re­sult in a vague malaise that is dif­fi­cult to di­ag­nose. Of­ten, af­fected bitches have a poor ap­petite, an in­creased thirst and oc­ca­sion­ally they vomit. Any vagi­nal dis­charge should be re­ported to your vet. A non-in­va­sive ul­tra­sound scan, cou­pled with rou­tine haema­tol­ogy, can be di­ag­nos­tic.

Heart and res­pi­ra­tory con­di­tions are usu­ally in­di­cated by cough­ing, breath­less­ness and ex­er­cise in­tol­er­ance. Any cough­ing dog should be iso­lated and rested. Mon­i­tor­ing the rest­ing res­pi­ra­tory rate is a good way to as­sess your dog.

Af­ter be­ing at rest for 10 min­utes, count the rate for 30 sec­onds and dou­ble it. Nor­mal rates are around 20 or less. Any con­tin­u­ing in­crease de­serves in­ves­ti­ga­tion, as does a per­sis­tent rate over 30. Heart is­sues can give a blue tinge to gums, while res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions cause red con­ges­tion.

Com­pli­cated blood disor­ders, such as auto im­mune haemolytic anaemia, are not un­com­mon in spaniel breeds. Af­fected dogs have pale gums, some­times with lit­tle haem­or­rhages called pe­techiae.

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