Category Archives: Dog Health

Danger For Dogs in Hot Countries

There is a danger for dogs in hot countries,especially the Mediterranean ones such as southern Spain, that I’m going to talk about here comes in the form of a tiny mosquito that flies only after sundown and before dusk, is harmless to human beings and most other animals. It is potentially lethal to dogs.

The mosquito, whose proper name is the Phlebotom mosquitoe, is often referred to as the sandfly mosquito and the disease it passes on to dogs is called Leishmaniasis, commonly referred to as sandfly disease. If it’s not treated by a vet your dog will die. Worse news is that in southern Spain, where I live near the coast, there is a 35% chance of a dog catching the disease.

Leishmaniasis acts in a similar way in dogs as AIDS does in humans. It breaks down the dog’s immune system so that he has no defence against otherwise harmless diseases. Once contracted, a dog with Leishmaniasis will usually begin to deteriorate slowly over a period of a few weeks,when more fur than usual will fall out, the paws will enlarge and bleed, the claws will grow at an unnatural rate and the dog will be less inclined to want to eat, but will often drink more than usual.

Once the disease has taken a firm hold and in the absence of any medication, the dog’s health will start to deteriorate more rapidly, losing weight and becoming listless until finally losing interest in anything much and sleeping for unnaturally long periods. Ultimately, he will go to sleep and not wake up.

If you can catch it quickly enough and get a vet to confirm Leishmaniasis, a series of medications can be given which may prolong your dogs life by several years. However, the medication is expensive and if you are already on a tight budget and especially so nowadays in the wake of the economic problems, this can become a painful dilemma for owners. There is a new treatment called Milteforan which is now available and is given daily on food for 28 days. It is more effective than Glucantime, you can administer it yourself and it has no side effects on the liver or kidneys. After 28 days continue treatment with with Alopurinol for a few months just to be sure and then hopefully no further treatment.

There are some things you can do to prevent your dog contracting Leishmaniasis. Fitting your dog with a Scalibor collar against ticks and fleas will also help to deter the mosquito, although it is not a guaranteed repellent. Keeping him indoors after the sun has set will reduce the risk and having mosquito netting fitted on all your home’s windows and openings is another good measure of prevention. If your dog needs to go outside after dark, make sure it is only brief.

There is nothing you can do to be completely sure of preventing your dog contracting this horrible disease, but taking the above preventative measures will give him the best chances of remaining free of the disease. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leishmaniasis for more details on this disease.

Terry Didcott
For Dogs

Hot Dogs

Following my last post that covered Other Dog Toys, I want to turn my attention to a serious side to owning a dog. But first a little background.

Here in Spain as in the rest of the northern hemisphere we are in the hottest period of the summer and temperatures during the hottest part of the day, between 2pm and 5pm can soar up to the high 30s centigrade and beyond. But that’s the temperature outside, in the sun. People park their cars in the sun and you can bet it gets a lot hotter inside them than it is outside.

Recently, the news headlines screamed at the tragic incident of a little boy of about 2 years old that was left in a car, parked in the sun, by his father who went off to the bank and thought he’d only be a short time. Well, two hours later he returned to the car and found his son dead from the heat.

This is tragic and so sad because it could so easily have been avoided had the father of that boy had enough brain cells floating around in his empty head to understand the implications of his actions. This incident could and should be discussed and investigated at length so that it doesn’t happen again.

But this is not a site about children, but dogs.

Which leads me on to something that is less well reported but every bit as tragic. These are the incidents when dog owners leave their dogs in their cars parked in the sun. Off the go to do their shopping or visit friends or whatever without the slightest regard for the suffering they inflict on their loyal pets. They lock them in with the windows closed and no water to drink and expect them to be there wagging their happy little tails when they return.

The sad and tragic reality is that these ignorant and stupid owners return to their cars to find their so called best friends dead from heat exhaustion – partially cooked in the back seat of their metal tombs.

This is a wake up call to anyone who thinks it is ok to lock a dog in a car in the heat and go away for more than even a few minutes.

If there is no choice and you must leave your dog in your car, at least leave the windows open enough so that some fresh air can pass through. Leave a sturdy bowl with water in a place the dog will not easily knock it over. If you have any shading devices like the reflective silver sheets you can buy cheaply in auto stores, put them up in the front and rear windscreens and even then, make sure you either make your absence short or return to the car often to make sure your dog is OK and not too hot. Also be aware if your dog suffers from any kind of dog allergy that he has had the medication for the day and any other health issue that may be pertinent.

But preferably, if you know that you will not be able to take your dog with you when you leave your car, leave him at home for heaven’s sake and don’t risk his life so foolishly.

Terry Didcott
For Dogs