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Friday, July 29, 2016

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It’s hard not to smile when you’re playing with a new puppy. An adorable little bundle of fluff and floppy feet has a way of melting hearts, even for the most stoic among us. When you bring a new puppy into your home as well as your family, then caring for you puppy becomes one of your foremost concerns so that they can grow up happy and healthy.

Unfortunately, just like humans, puppies can be stricken with a number of ailments that can affect their health and growth, some of which can even be fatal. In order to help avoid heartache and tragedy, here are 5 common health risks that you should be aware of in your new puppy.

Communicable Diseases- There are a number of communicable diseases in both the human world as well as the dog world. Some of these diseases are parvovirus, canine distemper, and rabies. Not only can these diseases make your new puppy very sick, but if left untreated they can even be fatal. Fortunately, most of these viruses can be avoided by purchasing your dog from a reputable breeder as well as making sure your puppy is getting all the necessary vaccinations in a timely manner.

Intestinal Parasites- Worms can wreak havoc on your puppy’s gastrointestinal tract, which can either cause lasting health issues as they grow into adulthood, or become fatal if left untreated. The problem with worms and other parasites is that even in ideal breeding locations, your puppy can still be infected. Fortunately, parasites are fairly easy to treat and are often diagnosed by your vet during a check up.

Hernias- Hernias are actually fairly common for puppies, and occur when part of the intestine bulges out, typically from either the groin area or around the umbilical cord. If a hernia can be pushed back in, it’s considered to be reducible. The thing to watch out for with hernias is intestinal strangulation, which is when the bowels become knotted or looped and need to be treated with emergency surgery. Otherwise, a hernia can be addressed when your puppy is spayed or neutered.

Skeletal Abnormalities- Sometimes your puppy might not develop exactly as they should. These abnormalities can occur in a variety of different ways includinghip dysplasia, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, patellar luxation and osteochondritis dissecans. These are evident in puppies and are often diagnosed by lameness as well as a fever. Your vet may opt for surgery, strict rest, or a change in diet; all of which can help to curb the problem before it becomes a permanent issue.

Demodicosis- Demodicosis, or mange, is fairly common in puppies and can result in bald spots on either the face or forelegs. Mange occurs when the population of mites (present in all dogs) gets out of control and begins to damage the hair follicles resulting in bald spots. While singular incidents will typically go away on their own, generalized incidents (multiple bald spots around the body) will often require a dip or medication to get the problem back under control.
Fortunately, with these and other diseases that can affect your puppy, there are a wide variety of treatments available. Buying your new puppy from a reputable breeder and taking them to the vet to get checked out can go a long way towards preventing these issues before they start.
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Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the teddy bear dogs Greenfield Puppies website.


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