immagine Il colpo di calore nel cane e nel gatto

Heat strokes in dogs and cats

 Among the diseases that can affect a dog or a cat, the heat stroke is probably the most urgent. Death can occur in a very short time if we don’t act proptly.

It is important to know how to recognize the symptoms and know how to act immediately, even before taking the animal to the nearest veterinary clinic: 10-15 minutes of travel could be too much to reach the clinic.

What is heat stroke?

One of the functions necessary for animals is the regulation of body temperature. Vital organs only function in a certain range of temperatures, and each animal has its own methods of maintaining it: there are some like reptiles that "sunbathe", hibernating when it is cold so they do not lose heat and there are others , such as dogs or cats, which use the energy ingested with food.

When it is cold, the heat must be kept in the organism; when it is hot, it must be expelled. We do it with sweat. Cats and dogs don’t do this because they simply dont sweat.

If the heat expulsion mechanism stops working, it will accumulate in the body and be life-threatening.

Cats are generally less subjected because they are desert animals (felines in general) and control body heat better.

In any case, the expulsion of heat in pets takes place with the breath, with which warm humidity is released and the body temperature is lowered.

Because of some poisons that cause involuntary muscle contractions heat is generated. The typical situation are dog that remain tied up without water in the sun, or locked in the car in the sun in summer with the windows closed.

As long as the animal has moisture in its body that conveys the heat to be expelled, it will do so simply by breathing; then it will remain dehydrated, and so the heat will remain inside the organism, bringing the temperature up to 40º-41º.


The first thing we notice is certainly the laboured breathing, which is accompanied by abundant salivation; due to the lack of water, saliva is very thick. The mucous membranes of the tongue and gums are visibly red.

This will start a series of typical symptoms: the animal will no longer control its muscles, so we will see involuntary muscle contractions accompanied by diarrhoea, often with the presence of blood, due to the fact that control is also lost on the intestinal muscles. Vomiting, on the other hand, is rarer.

This will lead to the incoordination of movements and then to fainting, small movements in search of points sheltered from the sun, and in some cases even convulsions. If you don't act quickly, coma and death can ensue.


How to act to avoid heat strokes

Firstly, you need to see where the symptoms are: if you see a dog tied up in the sun that, however, behaves normally, provide a bowl of fresh water and try to track down the owner or contact the traffic police, who can bring it away without legal consequences with the owner. If a dog is locked in the car, you can theoretically break through the window (pursuant to article 54 of the penal code) but if you call the brigade, let them do it if the dog is still "awake".

When you have direct contact with the dog, if the state of heatstroke is advanced, first take him to the shade in a cooler place.

Provide water carefully: a little water at a time, because if they drink too much all together you risk suffocating. If you can get him to a vet quickly, the fluids will be given via a drip directly into a vein which is a safer way.

We must then spread water on the body in order to help the spread of heat on the outside, but here too we should also pay attention. We do not give ice or frozen water, because it would risk to "tighten" the vessels and less blood would flow through. The heat will be dissipated in the worse way possible.

If we have a fan available, let's aim it at the wet animal in order to favour its spread even more. If we have alcohol available, pour it into the points such as the neck and armpits where the blood vessels are more superficial, as it helps to dissipate heat.

When the animal begins to move again, or to "recover", let's take it immediately to a veterinary clinic. It would be a good idea to call as soon as we leave. If we call the clinic on time they will be able to prepare the room with all the precautions on time as soon as you get there. They will be able to immediately intervene without wasting any time, as well as helping you through the phone call on the spot when you are on your own.  


immagine La tosse dei canili nel cane: cos’è e come curarla

Kennel cough: what is it and how do we treat it

 There are many infectious diseases in dogs, some of which are milder, others more dangerous.

When we are dealing with a pathogen that is capable on its own of doing a lot of damage we must implement a strategy that allows us to defeat it.

When a disease is caused by many different  pathogens all together, things get complicated: an example of this situation is kennel cough.

What is that?

Kennel cough is a syndrome, because it manifests itself in very different ways and degrees of severity, and above all it is not caused by a single microorganism, but by many and very different ones.

Imagine being in a ring and having to face a boxing opponent - you would probably succeed. If instead you faced, a boxing opponent, one of karate, one of judo and one of Greco-Roman wrestling it would be complicated to win, even if these opponents are not great fighters individually.

Kennel cough is caused by a series of microorganisms that all affect the respiratory system. Among these we find the canine parainfluenza virus, the canine infectious laryngotracheitis virus, the infectious hepatitis virus (which also causes respiratory problems), but also bacteria such as pasteurelle, bordetella and pseudomonas. 

As we said, these pathogens are not very powerful, especially if the dogs is vaccinated, and normal veterinary therapies can defeat them all quite easily; the problem is that they damage only when there is overcrowding: hence the name of the disease, which often occurs in kennels.

IMG 3501

Transmission occurs by air, via the particles expelled when dogs cough. It is difficult to eliminate it because while one dog may have already recovered, yet another is not and the second infects the first again, who will be coughing again. In this situation, it is difficult to completely eradicate the disease.

What does it do?

Essentially, kennel cough causes cough. Coughing can have many causes, but if many dogs, perhaps in a kennel or in a place where they live together (not the public park, dogs spend too little time there to contract this disease) have a dry cough, they most likely have contracted this syndrome.

Microorganisms in general damage the respiratory mucosa, and create irritation (hence the cough); it is a fairly intense nuisance, but there are hardly any complications as long as you try to keep the disease under control, even if some dogs may have a fever and feel a little worse than others.

How do we treat and prevent it?

As we said before, kennel cough is easily treatable by a veterinarian, and if one of these dogs were adopted, then separated from the others, a week of antibiotics would be enough to destroy the bacteria, improve the general condition of the dog and make him recover so that the body can also defeat viruses.

If we have many dogs (for example, a hunter) who spend many hours in a narrow and crowded place, the only remedy to cure this situation is to reduce overcrowding, even before starting veterinary therapy; otherwise, we would find ourselves in the same situation as we indicated earlier.

As for prevention, if you have only one dog, or two dogs, and you let them live at home, there are no problems: their immune status is too good to be able to contract this syndrome, even if for a couple of hours at day they play and spend time with a dog who is affected by it.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself in a situation where you have many dogs that stay together, try to get them out of the rooms where they sleep several hours a day. Try not to put more than 2 or 3 in the same room, so that the contacts between them are limited. New dogs should be kept in quarantine for a while to avoid the spread of the syndrome if they had it.

Kennel cough is not fatal, but it is decidedly an annoying situation for dogs and also for those around them, who often will not know where to turn their heads to try to eliminate this annoying syndrome.


immagine Pulci e zecche: qual è la differenza e come si riconoscono sugli animali

Fleas and ticks: whats the difference and how do we recognize them on animals

 The spring season brings with it many beautiful things: flowers, green grass, a mild climate and longer days ... however some very annoying animals can also show up. These are fleas and ticks.

Both are parasites, animals that live at the expense of another animal; to be precise, they are skin parasites because unlike other parasites, they do not enter the body but they limit themselves to stay on the surface, obviously causing problems.

In this page, we try to understand what is the difference between fleas and ticks, therefore how we recognize them if they were present on the skin of our animal.

These parasites are not dangerous, but they can transmit many diseases. Prevention is essential and in case our dog or our cat has contracted them, a veterinary visit will be essential to identify the presence of this problem.


You've probably never seen a flea, and you won't see any on your pet's fur either.

In fact, they are very fast animals, which run and jump (even if they do not fly), they move flat sideways, which feed on the blood they extract from the animal by piercing its skin. From animals or humans, without particular differences, because it can affect us too.

If we move the animal's fur to look for them, they will move or jump, which is why they are difficult to see. Fortunately, they leave traces of their passage, their feces. If we pay attention to the roots of the hair, especially if it is light, but even if it is black because they are in contrast with the white colour of the skin, we will see many black dots: those are the faces of the fleas. If faces are present we know for sure the animal will also be present on our dog.

If we identify this situation, it is better to go to a vet as soon as possible because fleas can cause allergy (but we would realize it immediately) or they can transmit Dypilidium caninum. It also affects the cat as well as the dog, and it is a dangerous tapeworm that lives in the intestine.

It is important to prevent them with the pesticide, which we will discuss later, because they can jump on the body of our animal even when it touches another animal that passes by.


These very small animals live on grass and could also continue to live there without giving problems to other animals, except that, just like mosquitoes, they need blood to mature their eggs.

So they climb onto the animals' bodies, bite them on the skin and stay there, inflating until they become “balloons” more than half a centimetre long, greyish, which can be seen very well. They stay there for a few days and then detach on their own, but if in the meantime they have a microorganism inside that causes a disease, this will pass into the blood of the dog or cat. For this reason, they should be removed as soon as possible with the help of a vet if we do not know how to do it because we would risk leaving the mouth stuck in the skin, which would cause an infection.


In cats, they transmit few diseases, whilst in dogs Babesiosis, Erlichiosis and Rickettsiosis are all diseases transmitted by ticks, so a veterinary visit is important to be sure there are no problems after removing the tick.


The best method to prevent the problems we have just talked about is to use the pesticide, a product that can be found in any pet shop (it is not necessary to go to the pharmacy) and which is distributed on the back of the animal about once a month.

This product should also be given,  when fleas and ticks are not there: in fact, it is stinky (for them) and does not encourage them to get on our animal, so in fact it protects it from these parasites. We use the pesticide as prevention, not as a solution to the problem. 

Giving the pesticide when these animals are already there on our pet is completely useless; in these cases, a drug is needed that kills them, and which must be prescribed by the veterinarian.

So let's not forget to give the pesticide, even in the winter months. Fleas and ticks, in fact, survive even in that period of the year, and often do so in the form of microscopic larvae in our home, where it is hot. We must be careful not to forget this small but important habit.


immagine La diarrea nel cane e nel gatto, cause e rimedi

Diarrhea in pets, causes and remedies

 Dog and cat owners are well aware that diarrhea is a fairly common problem in their pets, especially in puppies. What can be the causes diarrhea and what are the remedies to treat it? Let's find out together.

What is diarrhea?

First, we need to clarify what exactly we mean by the term "diarrhea". First of all, it is not a disease, but a symptom of some disorders or pathologies that must be carefully evaluated in order to arrive at a precise diagnosis.

We speak of diarrhea when an animal emits stools of a different consistency than usual, from soft to watery, with a more or less significant increase in the frequency of defecation.

To be clear, the dog is used to going out three times a day, and usually tends to defecate only during one or two of these walks, in case of diarrhea the animal will feel a greater urge to go to the toilet multiple times a day. In the case of the cat, however, he may visit the litter box more frequently.

This is the general definition. There are also special cases, for example the emission of greenish stools or much darker than usual, with the presence of mucus or traces of blood.

Finally, we also need to understand how many times the discharges are repeated, since sometimes it can be an isolated episode.

Being able to collect all the necessary information on your pet's feces and on its behavior related to defecation provides the veterinarian with useful clues to arrive at a correct diagnosis

The causes of diarrhea

Diarrhea can be caused by a long list of factors. Let's see the main ones:

  • Presence of intestinal parasites;
  • Quick change of power supply;
  • Weaning in the puppy and kitten;
  • Unsuitable nutrition;
  • Food allergies or intolerances;
  • Ingestion of plants or irritating / toxic substances;
  • Ingestion of bones;
  • Bacterial infections such as salmonellosis;
  • Viral infections;
  • Inflammation of the intestine;
  • Anxiety and stress;
  • Bowel cancer.

A particular situation is that of the so-called nonspecific diarrhea, which occurs without an apparent reason or cause.

Normally the veterinarian tries to obtain a lot of information from the owner of the animal, in order to understand what could be the cause of the problem.

For example, the presence of very dark, almost black stools, with traces of dark blood may indicate the presence of serious internal bleeding, which urgently requires the intervention of the veterinarian.

On the contrary, traces of bright red blood can be caused by the rupture of small blood vessels in the area of ​​the rectum and anus, due to repeated irritation, or by the presence of sharp fragments that can cause small wounds.

Greenish feces, on the other hand, may indicate that the dog has eaten grass or that he has ingested some substance that may have irritated his intestines. In some cases, however, if the stool continues to turn green, it could be a liver problem.

By carefully observing dog and cat feces with a light, we will also be able to assess the presence of strange residues, for example hairballs, blades or stalks of grass.

Another fairly common situation, especially in puppies and animals that live outdoors, is the presence of thin and elongated formations or similar to grains of rice. In these cases, it is in most cases of intestinal parasites.

What to do

The first thing to do is to contact our veterinarian, especially if diarrhea is frequent.

In the case of sporadic diarrhea, we can ask our veterinarian if it is appropriate to let the animal take lactic ferments, which will help restore the intestines from irritant substances the animal might have ingested.

An excellent remedy is also the use of thickeners for stools, which are mainly available in the form of palatable pastes. Their function is to absorb excess water in the intestine, to make the stool more compact.

Both lactic ferments and thickeners can be used for sporadic episodes of diarrhea, or as a complement to specific therapies for more important problems.

In the case of parasites, the only treatment involves the administration of anthelmintic or deworming drugs, which kill and remove intestinal parasites. The veterinarian should always carry out the prescription of these remedies, after a careful examination of the stool.

In the presence of infections, however, it may be necessary to resort to antibiotics.

We never give our pets human drugs we have in our medicine cabinet. Lactic ferments, antispasmodics, antibiotics and drugs to stop diarrhea must be specific to the dog and cat and must always be prescribed by the veterinarian.

An excellent tip is to regulate the animal's diet. In the presence of food intolerances or allergies it will be necessary to administer a mono-protein or nutraceutical food.

In the case of the puppy, however, we are probably not weaning him in the right way. We ask our veterinarian for advice to understand which food among those specific for puppies and kittens might be more suitable or if it is too early to proceed with weaning.

Avoid offering the dog milk or boiled rice, which could intensify the episodes of diarrhea. Rather, in order not to overload the intestine which is irritated, we can opt for a specific food for diarrhea and gastrointestinal disorders.

immagine La torsione di stomaco nel cane: come prevenirla e curarla

Gastric torsion in dogs: how to prevent and treat it

 Gastric torsion is one of the most common diseases in dogs that must be treated very quickly. A combination of factors including the breed, the food we give to the dog influence the chances of getting one.

Breeders of purebred dogs know this pathology very well and when a person wants to buy the dog, they make sure to give advice to buyers or, in some cases, apply preventive measures. For those who are unfamiliar with the disease, it is important to know how to recognize the symptoms and know how to avoid it.

What is gastric torsion?

Gastric torsion is, as the name implies, the stomach turning on itself. The dog's stomach is a "sack" that has an entry tube, the esophagus, and an exit tube, the intestine. If you twist on itself, the two outlets twist and the gases that are produced (which are usually eliminated with belching or flatulence) remain inside, causing it to swell.

The first predisposing factor to the disease is the laxity of the ligaments: the stomach is held in place by "cords", which are the ligaments that hold it in place. If these strings are too long they tend to move a little too much. There might also be other predisposition factor for example the broad chest typical of some breeds such as the Great Dane and Saint Bernard. In this case, the stomach has a certain possibility of moving inside the abdomen.

Then there is the food: croquettes in this case are the most dangerous food because they are dry, rather heavy and stimulate thirst, which burdens the stomach even more. The last thing is jumping: if your dog starts to become active after a heavy meal, perhaps jumping, the stomach will be in constant motion and it will be very likely that it will rotate on itself.

What are the symptoms?

Initially the animal does not feel pain, but after about thirty minutes the swelling of the stomach (because the gases cannot be expelled) it will start to cause retching. However, they are "dry" retching, the dog will not vomit because the food is clearly "trapped" in the stomach.

The abdomen will swell more and more, and will also be visible from the outside: the dog will thus begin to fidget, and will try to stand up without success and with great fatigue; in fact, this situation causes blood circulation problems. We will see laboured breathing, very profuse salivation, very high heart rate until the mucous membranes of the mouth take on a bluish-white colour. In this case, the dog must immediately be taken to a veterinarian, preferably in a clinic, perhaps by calling when we leave home to be sure to have the operation room ready for our arrival. If we don't, our friend risks dying from cardiovascular collapse.


How is it treated and how is it prevented?

If your dog is already in the twisting phase, unfortunately there is little to do besides running to the vet. Only a surgeon will be able to solve the situation by physically opening the abdomen and returning the stomach to its original position, so that the gases can be expelled. From here on, there will be a need for a recovery therapy that will be indicated by the surgeon himself.

The owner’s role is certainly to prevent this thing from happening.

One solution is the preventive gastropexy. Your dog will have to be operated for therapeutic purposes: the stomach will be tied to the wall of the abdomen. The risk that it can rotate will be minimized.

If you do not want to, you can follow the simple "classic" rules. Do not give the dog a lot of food once a day, but divide it into 2-3 meals during the day;  preferably use moist or wet meals, which makes them drink less and are more digestible.

Finally, if the dog wants to play after eating, avoid enhancing their initiative. The meal stimulates sleepiness, and you will see that after a few minutes he will lie down and start sleeping.

With some simple precautions, we can in fact prevent one of the most risky diseases for our pet.


immagine L’insufficienza renale cronica: come riconoscerla e salvare la vita al cane o al gatto

Chronic renal failure, how to recognize it and and save an animals life

 The kidneys are among the most important organs in the body. Generally, we don't consider them, and when we think of vital organs we think of the heart or the brain: many don't know that if the kidneys stop working, we die.

This applies to both our pets and us. As loving owners as we are, we need to be able to intervene on time if something is wrong.

Chronic renal failure

The main job of the kidney is to filter the blood and thus eliminate the toxic substances that are ingested with food or that are created by the body itself. What are commonly called slags.

If the kidney suddenly stopped working (acute renal failure), for reasons such as kidney infections, we would realize it. The animal would feel sick, would not eat and would have a fever. We should immediately take him to the vet. We could find a solution in order to completely treat the animal.

If there is a situation of chronic renal failure, however, this is not the case.

The kidney is an organ unable to regenerate itself, and once it is destroyed it remains as it is, and the only chances to save the animal are dialysis (artificial kidney) or transplantation.

In its favour, however, there is the fact that the kidneys have a great compensatory capacity. If 30% has stopped working, the remaining 70% roll up their sleeves and manage to do the work of the missing part. Think of the people who lack one kidney and are able to live peacefully with the other.

Chronic renal failure occurs especially in elderly animals, because the stimuli that cause it must act for a long, long time.

Wrong diet, too many drugs taken in the course of life, environmental problems, small renal malformations, infectious diseases such as infectious peritonitis in cats are among the many causes that can slightly damage the kidney, but which in the long run lead to loss of its functionality.

At first, this loss is not seen at all, so we do not know if it exists or not. At some point, symptoms begin to appear, which are increasingly evident over a long time, several months actually.

Knowing how to recognize these problems means, in most cases, saving the life of the dog or cat, because there is a "point of no return" beyond which the chances of survival are almost at zero.

How to recognize chronic renal failure

When there are no symptoms, of course, no one can tell that the kidney is starting to malfunction. Not even the vet can do it, precisely because the kidney can compensate for the loss of function, and the blood and urine tests are perfect.

We begin to realize that something is wrong when the dog or cat starts drinking and urinating more than normal. So far the cause could be the heat or physical activity. Let's not be alarmed, but let's start paying closer attention to precise details to its routine, especially if the animal is elderly.

The dog or cat will progressively begin to eat less.

The kidney, in fact, for its normal functioning, firstly filters and then reabsorbs liquids because it filtered a little too much. Resorption stops working initially, and more water than normal ends up in the urine; for this reason the animal urinates more (and drinks more to compensate).

Then the filtering part stops working: thus, the toxic substances remain in the blood and are not expelled.

This state of malaise leads, as we said earlier, to loss of appetite. By eating less, the animal also begins to lose weight.


Subsequently, these toxic substances will give problems to other organs: one is the stomach, the animal will vomit more and more frequently; another is the intestine, he will have diarrhea. Then there are the mucous membranes; the animal will have ulcers in the mouth, particularly evident when yawning, red and painful.

From here on, we will get to a rather rapid deterioration, and we will notice it because the animal's breath will smell of urine and because the animal will hardly move anymore, it will always sleep. This is when the kidneys hardly work anymore, and the animal is practically poisoned by all the toxins in its circulation.

We don't have to get to this situation. If the animal starts to drink more, vomits occasionally, has intermittent diarrhea that goes away after a few days and then comes back ... Let's take it to the vet and not postpone the visit.

At this point the situation is clearly evident from the analysis, and the sooner we realize it, the sooner a therapy can be started. It will be a therapy that will keep the kidneys in their current state, and will include medicines, physical movement and a change in diet. The kidneys cannot heal, but we can prevent them from getting worse and keeping the situation as it is.

To make this possible, the therapy must be continued throughout life: stopping it means that the kidney will start to deteriorate again.

Chronic renal failure is one of the main causes of death "from old age" of people and animals. Realizing its presence means diagnosing it, and diagnosing it means guaranteeing the animal months if not years of life.