THE ABC OF GUNDOG HEALTH IS FOR...
Vicky Payne looks at an inherited disease, a bacteria of the intestines, and an emergancy procedure beginning with G
Gastric dilatation volvulus
One of the biggest veterinary emergencies! In GDV, the stomach fills up with air or a mixture of gas and food material, before flipping around and cutting off its blood supply. In some cases, the spleen is also involved.
Dogs appear uncomfortable and may pace about and try to vomit, although affected dogs either don’t bring anything up or just bring up large amounts of foamy saliva which can’t pass into the stomach. In short-coated dogs you may also see a swelling behind the ribcage. The dog will soon go into shock with either very pale or very dark red gums.
Dogs with suspected GDV must be taken to a vet immediately (phone the vet first) as they will die without immediate surgical intervention. Sadly, many cases die even with surgery and hospital care. Deep-chested breeds such as HPRs are particularly susceptible, and the problem sometimes runs in breed lines.
Ingesting air while eating, exercising soon after eating, and overeating (especially fermentable foods) have all been linked to increased GDV risk.
Giardia is a protozoal parasite found in the intestines. It is commonly associated with outbreaks of food poisoning in humans, and can cause chronic, intermittent diarrhoea in dogs, especially puppies. Infection is more common where larger numbers of dogs are kept, and puppies may not show symptoms until ‘stressed’ by moving to a new home with a different diet.
If your dog or puppy has diarrhoea for more than three days, or if they have recurrent diarrhoea, your vet may want to examine a faecal sample. The most accurate tests look at faeces pooled over three days. The lab can identify worms, bacteria, and protozoa to allow your vet to treat appropriately. Your vet may use antibiotics or antiparasitic treatments to treat giardia. After treatment, a probiotic supplement will help your puppy recover a normal gut flora and reduce the risk of further infections.
Glaucoma is increased pressure in the eye. In a normal eye, the amount of fluid is carefully regulated to maintain the shape of the eyeball, but with glaucoma, fluid enters more quickly than it leaves, causing pain, damage to the retina and blindness if untreated.
Glaucoma can occur after an eye injury, with lens luxation (most common in terriers) or after cataract surgery. In some dogs, the drainage angle is narrowed which increases the risk of glaucoma. This abnormality is believed to be inherited in several breeds, including flat-coated retrievers, cocker spaniels, springer spaniels, and Spanish water dogs. In addition, the Hungarian vizsla and golden retriever are being monitored.
Glaucoma should be suspected if the eye appears to be bulging, especially if it is painful and there are large blood vessels on the white of the eye. If you are concerned about an eye, seek urgent veterinary attention. Breeding dogs that are at-risk breeds should be screened at around one year of age and every three years after that. The drainage angle can narrow as dogs age. Dogs tested since July 2017 have been graded from 0 to 3. Ideally, only dogs with 0 or 1 grades should be bred from.
If your new puppy is suffering on its new diet, ask your vet to check it for Giardia parasites