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Health problems

Dog Health Information - Extensive library of dog health information.
Anal Glands
Our cavalier king charles spaniels have had problems for several years. Their anal glands have not emptied themselves and results in biting of the rear end.
The food that we used to feed was the commercial tinned stuff, and not a cheap brand either.
We had tried in the past to empty them ourselves - especially if you have an uncomfortable pet in the middle of the night. Read the books and tried the lubricated gloved finger - but never managed anything!!
Since changing over to barf - the dogs faeces are much harder and drier; and commonly does not leave a stain on the footpath (as it always used to). Because of this we are hoping not to have to pay for the vet to express these in future. Guinness still does seem to get the runs sometimes - I think that is when he has had too much of his meaty bones - and needs a system rest.
Ear Infections
Could all of our problems with Guinness be associated with alergy to the commercial food we used to feed him?
As the commercial foods generally contain alot of grain, which our dogs should not eat, they can become alergic to them.
One of the ways that alergies show is excretions in the ear. Guinness has had ear infections for ages. Our vet has given him drops and oral antibiotics. Sometimes it seemed to work. Then it would all come back. Lots of head shaking and scratching and very red ears.
Swabs just cost us money and proved nothing.
His ear problem probably was the cause of an infection behind his left eye. This made the eye protrude, his third eyelid swell
, and caused facial paralysis. This paralysis is getting better now. After he had his ear cleaned out and the absess lanced.

Guinness with poorly third eyelid
Caused by infection behind his eye

His BARF diet contains no grain. Hopefully if this was the cause of the problem, then perhaps we may have some improvement.

Anyway, BARF should improve his overall health and ability to fight infections so this may be on his side.
During his treatments, our vets also suggested cleaning out with vinegar/ water solution ; and also salt solution. These did not work for us - probably because of the dirt in his ears. You may like to try them on a dog with a condition
that is not as chronic. (Once you have tried the BARF diet)
UPDATE DATED 4th April 2006
I regularly check his ears - and 'Touch Wood' - there has been little change. So am very pleased.

Canine Vestibular Disease
Now this one is really frightening. Guinness got this first. He just started falling over, as though he was having a stroke.

The vet pointed out the eye movement flicking side to side - which identifies the problem. This problem is connected to the inner ear, and causes dissyness. It can take weeks to get right, but Guinness was back to normal within a few hours!
He has had subsequent attacks - the latest of which may have caused the current facial paralysis on his right side. He can no longer blink on this side - apart from his third eyelid. His right ear is further down his head and his lip protrudes. There
is some sign of improvement but who knows.
UPDATE DATED 4th April 2006
Guinness's right eye - though has some movement has probably got to the best it is going to. Consequently, as other literature says - the eye will protect itself by pulling itself inside the skull. This is noticeable to me, though Shirley had not seen it till I showed her.
His ears seem to be back to normal now.

Tarmac, (bless him) also got this once. And it struck him badly. No instant improvement. We had to hold him up to toilet - and used one of those car harnesses to help him. Also, because of his dissyness, he refused to go to his bowl. We used a small animal feeder like a syringe. Filled this with cream/milk and fed him by hand. We were so happy, one night when we heard him drinking on his own.

It took him 3 weeks to recover well enough, and he was left with a head tilt and bit of a droopy lip.
Eye Infections / Ulcers / Dry eye

Due to the protrusions of Cavalier's eyes. They are less sensitive, so do not readily wash out any dirt with their tears.

This has led to red eyes and ulcers.
BARF is supposed to help, due to improved immune system performance. Fingers crossed.
Tarmac ended up losing an eye when an ulcer turned really bad.
The other eye was diagnosed with dry eye - which we treated daily with Optimune.

Optimune drops stop the body's immune system from attacking the tear glands (that's what the vet said) so allow the tear glands
to produce the tears. Works well - but should so expensive!! The drops need keeping cool - so we keep them in the fridge - and use
a freezer block when we go on holiday with them.
Heart Murmer

Common problem in cavaliers - so the vet always tells us.
The breader of Willow said that it is in the bloodline - and that his lines are clear. If so there is more hope if other breeders are responsible and only breed dogs who are clear.
Tarmac had it and died of it. Guinness has it and from recent x-rays shows quite an enlargement in his heart.
I think that heart tablets are expensive. The way they work is to reduce the rate of the heart - giving it more chance to fill up and
pump right - rather than the ineffective heart beats that the defective heart is producing.
Apparently feeding heart can help.
When Guinness had to go in for an operation to remove his infection behind the eye, the vet was not concerned that he had a heart
murmer and was 9 years old. He said that under sedation his blood pressure would be lower giving less strain on his heart.
Just started a new treatment for Guinness to help his heart. This is using supplements that have been used successfully on animals and humans for heart problems.
L-Carnitine - I think the dose is 1g per 10lb of body weight (we are using 5 x 500mg tablets per day)
Taurine - the dose is about half of the above (we are using 3 x 500mg tablets per day)
Will report on his progress as things develop. Fingers crossed.
Some other supplement ideas are Ginger and Cayeen Pepper. I have heard of some doctors who swear by it - can help immediate recovery from heart attack.
Guinness is now on heart tablets - called Vetmedin. Also, he is on water tablets occasionally - makes him pee for England.
Found out that I was entitled to a FREE PRESCRIPTION - that is the law at the moment. Your vet should not charge you.
I then bought my Vetmedin off the internet at a much better rate than our Vets were doing it at.
If you believe the literature - then with a healthy nutritious diet - worms and fleas will be greatly reduced.
I've got my fingers crossed but the fleas keep coming. Perhaps they might not like to stay on my two - especially with the brewers yeast in their diet which is supposed to help.
There is a lot of talk about the problems with the toxins in the standard flea and worm treatments, so I am trying to find out more. At the moment we are trialling a solution of essential oils and water in a cheap water sprayer. There are several oils that are good - and a combination is probably preferable.
I put in 10 drops of each of following:-
Tea Tree
You then spray the dog all over. This is used as a repellant - so the fleas should jump dog. At this point you might want to try the idea below.
One suggestion is Diatomaceous Earth - a very sharp powder which cuts into the insects and they die. Need to know more about this one, but it is sold as a flea treatment.