10 Health Problems Puppies Face

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Puppies are like children in a lot of ways, most especially when it comes to matters of their health. If you have recently found yourself the proud parent of a new puppy then you are learning first hand – probably very quickly – just how much like children puppies really are, here are 10 health problems puppies face. One of the first things that you are likely to notice is their need for special food. All puppies need specially formulated puppy food for the first year of life much like babies need specific types of formula and baby food. The next thing that you are likely to notice is the need for relatively frequent trips to your local vet’s office. Although these visits are not as frequent as what you would expect with a new baby they are pretty frequent in the first year. These visits are very important to ensure that your puppy is as healthy as possible.

10 Health Problems Puppies Face;

Communicable Diseases

There are many different diseases and viruses that can kill a puppy that has not been immunized against them. This is why it is recommended that all puppies begin getting vaccinated when they are between 6 and 8 weeks old. In addition to this, these vaccinations should be repeated every 3 to 4 weeks until approximately 16 weeks of age. Some of the diseases that these immunizations help to prevent include parvovirus, distemper and rabies.

Intestinal Parasites (Worms)

Even very young puppies can get worms and this is most likely from the mother. Some worms can remain in the system of a dog and lay dormant for months or even years. In some cases when a dog becomes pregnant it allows these worms to become active and pass them on to the mother’s offspring. This is a common problem for puppies however with the proper attention it is fairly easy to treat with a trip to your local vet. In order to determine if your puppy has worms the vet will take a small stool sample. This will allow your vet to determine the specific type of intestinal parasite that is present as well as determine the best course of treatment for the problem.

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Cleft Palates

It is not always easy to tell when a puppy is born with a cleft palate but one sure sign that this is a possibility is if milk bubbles from the puppy’s nose when nursing. If you suspect this condition it is important that you speak to your vet as soon as possible. There are ways that this problem can be dealt with or corrected. For example, puppies with cleft palates may be hand fed rather than nursed by the mother. In some cases surgery may also be an option to correct this defect.

Hernias

There are two basic types of hernias both of which are not entirely uncommon. An umbilical hernia occurs at the sight where the umbilical cord was attached whereas an inguinal hernia is in the groin area. In most cases either of these hernias can be corrected whenever the dog is spayed or neutered unless parts of the bowels or other organs become tangled in the hernia in which case emergency surgery may become necessary.

Cryptorchidism

This condition more commonly known as undescended testicles can affect one or both sides. If the testicles do not descend on their own by the age of about 16 weeks then it is most likely that they will never descend. Because this condition increases the risk of cancer as well as other problems the affected testicle should be surgically excised.

Retained Deciduous Teeth

Basically this condition occurs when your puppy begins growing his adult teeth and the baby teeth fail to fall out on their own. While this is quite common it is even more so in toy breeds. In some cases it may be necessary to have these retained baby teeth surgically removed.

Skeletal Abnormalities

There are many different conditions which may affect the skeletal structure of a dog. In many cases evidence of such abnormalities may be present in the earliest stages of a puppy’s life. Some of the most common of these conditions include hip dysplasia, hypertrophic osteodystropy, patellar luxation and osteochondritis dissecans.

Demodicosis

This condition, also known as demodectic mange is one that is pretty common in puppies. Demodicosis is a skin condition that is caused by a mite that infests the hair follicles. This generally results in bald spots near the affected area. In most cases this problem clears up on its own however in extreme cases your vet may recommend treatment depending on the severity of the problem.

Hypoglycemia

This illness, also referred to as low blood sugar, occurs when a puppy – particularly toy breeds – has used large amounts of energy and has not eaten an adequate amount of food to regulate their sugar levels. Some common signs of this problem include extreme sleepiness, lack of coordination and weakness. Feeding your puppy often can be helpful in avoiding this problem.

Portosystemic Shunts

These are blood vessels which are abnormal and carry blood away from the liver causing the liver not to be able to properly process the blood. This causes toxins to accumulate in the bloodstream and prevents the puppy from getting the proper nutrition which also affects growth as well as energy levels.

It is not difficult to care for a young puppy if you simply take the time to educate yourself. This includes learning the specific needs of the breed of puppy that you have chosen including the proper check-up and vaccination schedule as well as the best choice in types of food. Any questions you may have concerning your puppy should be directed to your local vet in order to get the best answers.

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Based in Toronto Canada, Animal Rights Advocate and Relentless Volunteer!

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