Giardia can make dog's mighty sick
Small organism can be big trouble


Fido has diarrhea, is listless, and has lost weight...

The symptoms are typical of several diseases, but if Fido has had contact with dirty (or potentially contaminated) water or with dogs showing similar signs, Giardiasis should at least be suspected.

Giardia are protozoans, tiny, one-celled parasitic life forms with the potential to cause serious illness. Some dogs are carriers who show no symptoms, but others get sick and need treatment.

Like many disease organisms, Giardia mature in stages. Unlike many others, no time elapses between infestation with the dormant phase and activation of the disease. The cysts (the inactive form) are found in contaminated water and feces. Once ingested by the dog, the cysts open and discharge the mobile form known as the trophozoite, a pear-shaped critter with whip-like flagella that propel it through the intestine. If the dog is healthy, the trophozoites may live in the lower digestive tract for years. If the dog has an immature or overburdened immune system, the trophozoites continue to multiply by dividing and can cause the debilitating disease.

The life cycle of Giardia is still somewhat of a mystery. Scientists do know that the trophozoites encyst at some point, and that the cysts are passed into the environment when the dog defecates, but the exact timing and mechanism are not yet known. It is also unclear whether the protozoans are a single species or several species, each with a specific host. Suffice to say, however, that Giardia is an equal opportunity disease that infects several species of animals, including humans. Thus the presence of cysts in the environment can trigger an outbreak in people as well as pets. Cysts can remain viable for several weeks or months in cold, wet environments, so areas littered with feces should be avoided and piles should be removed from backyards.

In the mid 1990s, a guide dog school in England was hit by a severe outbreak of diarrhea. Dr. Maggie Fisher, a veterinarian with an interest in parasitology, helped devise a treatment and disinfection strategy to prevent recurrence. Fisher described the diagnosis and treatment of the disease as follows.

Symptoms: Large populations of Giardia can interfere with the absorption of food and produce feces that are soft, light-colored, and greasy. Mucus from the large intestine may also indicate that the large intestine is irritated even though the colony of active protozoa remains in the small intestine. Blood tests appear normal with the possible exception of an increase in a type of white blood cells and mild anemia.

Diagnosis: Since diarrhea is a common symptom of intestinal infection, causes such as Salmonella and Campylobacter are generally ruled out before testing for Giardia is done. Direct microscopic inspection of feces is necessary to determine the presence of the protozoan. Examination of soft feces may reveal the active trophozoites, and cysts may be found in firm excrement. The number of cysts can vary from day to day, so best chances of detecting this form of Giardia lies in collecting samples over three days for a fecal flotation test or conducting individual tests every two or three days until at least three tests have been done. A quicker test does exist, but it is more expensive and requires an experienced technician to run.

Treatment:There are several options of treatment , some with two- or three-day protocols and others needing seven-to-10 days to complete the job. Flagyl (Metronidazole) is an old stand-by treatment for bacterial infestations that cause diarrhea and is about 60-70 percent effective in curing giardiasis. However, Flagyl has potentially serious side-effects in some animals, including vomiting, anorexia, liver toxicity, and some neurological signs, and it cannot be used in pregnant dogs. In a recent study, Panacur (Fenbendazole), which is approved for use in treating dogs with roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm, has been shown to be effective in treating canine giardiasis. Panacur is safe to use in puppies at least six weeks of age.
In large kennels, mass treatment of all dogs is preferable, and the kennel and exercise areas should be thoroughly disinfected. Kennel runs should be steam-cleaned and left to dry for several days before dogs are reintroduced. Lysol, ammonia, and bleach are effective decontamination agents.

Because Giardia crosses species and can infect people, sanitation is important when caring for dogs. Kennel workers and pet owners alike should be sure to wash hands after cleaning dog runs or removing feces from yards, and babies and toddlers should be kept away from dogs that have diarrhea. When traveling with Fido, owners should prevent him from drinking potentially infected water in streams, ponds, or swamps and, if possible, avoid public areas polluted with feces.

1. Giardia in Dogs by Maggie Fisher, BVetMed, MRCVS; at Vet On-Line, ( a service of Priory Lodge Education Limited.

2. Treatment information is a blend of information from Dr. Fisher and from “Giardia,” an article by Dr. Holly Frisby, Drs. Foster and Smith Veterinary Services Department,(


In the late 1970s, a previously unknown rapid-onset, deadly virus began attacking canine digestive systems with great fury, often killing puppies in 48 hours. Spread through contact with infected feces, the long-lived virus attacked rapidly reproducing cells such as those lining the gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and heart.

Researchers identified the disease as a canine parvovirus, CPV-2, perhaps a mutation of feline panleukopenia or a parvovirus that affects wildlife. CPV-2 also infects coyotes and other canids.

Canine parvovirus survives in the environment for five months or more and clings to shoes, floors, beds, and other surfaces where it can infect the next unprotected puppy to enter the house. It is resistant to most household cleansers but can be killed by bleach.

Parvovirus can decimate a litter, a kennel, a shelter, a pet store once it gets hold. Kennels that experience the disease often close their doors until they bleach every surface, towel, and dog bed.


Parvovirus symptoms and treatment
Parvovirus incubates for seven to 14 days. Initial signs of illness are lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting, followed within 24 hours by high fever (up to 106 degrees) and profuse, often bloody diarrhea. The dog’s abdomen is tucked up and he appears to be in extreme pain. Some puppies show only the first stage of depression and abdominal pain, then go into shock and die.

Parvovirus can also attack the rapidly-growing myocardial (muscle) cells of the heart in puppies born to a bitch who is not vaccinated against the disease. Those puppies that survive this form of the disease often have heart problems and die young.

There are several available tests to determine if parvovirus is the disease-causing agent, but treatment with fluids and antibiotics should commence while waiting for the test results. Puppies with bloody diarrhea are in danger from loss of fluids and electrolytes; they must be rehydrated and given antibiotics to prevent secondary infections such as pneumonia and septicemia.

Food and water should be withheld until the puppy’s system begins to overcome the disease. Small amounts of a bland diet of cottage cheese and rice or a prescription diet can be offered once the diarrhea and vomiting have subsided.


Parvovirus prevention
As with distemper, parvovirus is best prevented by vaccination. However, because there can be a gap between the gradual decline in residual immunity from mother’s milk and the pup’s ability to respond to the vaccination, some

vaccinated puppies may still get the disease. Therefore, cleanliness of the kennel facilities is imperative, especially in kennels with lots of litters and shelters or pet stores that constantly receive new dogs. Kennel runs and puppy cages should be cleaned of organic matter and then bleached before new animals are brought in. Adjacent runs should be bleached if they are contaminated by flowing water during the hosing.

Although it is not as serious in adults as in puppies, parvovirus can attack adult dogs. Therefore booster vaccinations are also recommended, although they may not be necessary every year for pet dogs not exposed to unvaccinated animals or their feces.


Information for this article came from
UC Davis Book of Dogs : The Complete Medical Reference Guide for Dogs and Puppies, School of Veterinary Medicine Staff, Mordecai Siegal editor/Hardcover/1995
Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffin/Hardcover/1992
The American Veterinary Medical Association, disparv

Diarrhea & Vomiting

Grumbling guts, vomiting, and diarrhea are common problems in dogs that have a variety of potential causes ranging from dietary indiscretion to infection to chronic disease, parasite infestation or poison. It can be a simple as an abrupt change in diet or as complex as metabolic disease.

Occasional bouts of upset may be cured by waiting or by use of an over-the-counter medicine such as Imodium or Pepto Bismol, but cases that last more than a day or two or that escalate in severity should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration and other complications, and delay in treatment can impede a return to good health or hinder treatment of a serious condition.


Unfortunately, diarrhea is a familiar symptom in dogs, and the cause is often undiagnosed because the episodes have sudden onset, are easily cured, and occur infrequently.

A symptom of intestinal distress, diarrhea is a change in the frequency and consistency of bowel movements. It can be mild or severe, bloody or not, smelly or not particularly. A dog with diarrhea can also have flatulence, grumbling guts (borborygmus, a wonderfully descriptive term for intestinal bubbling caused by gas), abdominal distention and discomfort, and bad breath. Vomiting may or may not be present.

Some dogs have periodic bouts with diarrhea of undetermined origin, but as long as the symptoms respond well to minimal treatment, no testing is done to determine the origin. Diagnosis of persistent or longstanding diarrhea is critical.

Diarrhea of undetermined origin can often be treated by withholding food for 24 hours to rest the intestines and giving an over-the-counter preparation if advised by a veterinarian. After the period of food withdrawal, a diet of home-cooked diet of boiled hamburger, cottage cheese, or tofu with boiled rice (plain – no flavoring) or tapioca. However, if Ranger is also vomiting or becomes dehydrated, a trip to the clinic is in order.


Diarrhea Causes
Intestinal upset and diarrhea can be caused by stress, bacteria, viruses, parasites, poor digestion, dietary changes, or ingestion of garbage or an indigestible object such as a toy, stick, food wrapper, dirty rag, or other delectable.

Bacterial diseases include Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella varieties, and Escherichia coli, organisms that may be present without causing problems until Rocky is stressed by underlying disease or infestations or immune system weakness. C. jejuni and Salmonella can infect humans as well, so care must be taken to keep children away from sick dogs, to clean messes carefully, and to wash carefully after handling sick dogs.

Viral causes of diarrhea include distemper, corona, and parvovirus. Distemper and parvo generally attack puppies and young dogs. Corona is a less serious infection that also strikes younger dogs and may accompany distemper disease. Vaccinations are available to prevent all three, although many veterinarians do not recommend corona virus vaccine because the disease is less serious than distemper and parvo.

Parasitic causes of diarrhea include Giardia, Coccidia, hookworms, and whipworms. Giardia and Coccidia are protozoa, tiny one-celled animals that can wreck havoc far beyond their miniscule size. Coccidia infection is rare in dogs; most cases involve puppies in crowded conditions in kennels, pet stores, and animal shelters. Diagnosis is confirmed by fecal flotation to identify the eggs. Treatment is available but prevention through cleanliness, disinfection, and heat treatment of kennel surfaces is preferable.

Giardia is more common, and the form of the protozoa that infects dogs may also infect people. Diagnosis is confirmed by fecal flotation, an examination of a sample of bowel movement to locate protozoal cysts. There is a new vaccine against Giardia and treatment is available.

Food-related diarrhea and weight loss can occur if Rainy cannot digest her food because of an enzyme deficiency or cannot absorb nutrients from the food. Tests are necessary to diagnose these diseases.

Inflammatory bowel diseases of unknown origin can also cause diarrhea. This complex of diseases can affect either the small or large intestine and can be managed with diet and with drugs in some cases. However, there is no cure.


Diarrhea is a result of irritation of the small or large intestine; vomiting is caused by irritation of the stomach. Vomiting should not be confused with regurgitation, the spitting up of food shortly after a meal. Vomiting involves retching – stomach contractions that forcefully expel food from the stomach. It is preceded by restlessness, salivation, and licking the lips. Unproductive retching is a danger signal – the dog could have torsion, a condition in which the stomach flips and cuts off both the openings to the esophagus and the intestine and can cause death in an hour or less. Unproductive vomiting is a cue for an immediate trip to the emergency clinic.

Most acute vomiting is not a sign of serious illness. Vomiting after meals can be caused by eating too much too fast. It can be prevented by putting rocks in the bowl so the dog has to negotiate around them to get his meal or by feeding smaller, more frequent meals. Many dogs vomit after eating grass, but it is not clearly understood why grass produces vomiting at some times and not at others or whether the urge to vomit causes or is produced by grass eating.

Some dogs occasionally vomit a frothy, yellow bile a few minutes after waking in the morning, but this does not affect appetite and is not an indication of disease.

Gastritis – an inflammation of the stomach – can occur if Risky has eaten a substance that irritates his stomach lining or if his stomach does not empty in a timely fashion, or is assaulted by bacterial or viral infection. Gastritis can be acute and episodic or chronic. Acute cases can be treated in the same manner as sporadic diarrhea: withhold food for 24 hours and resume feeding small meals that are home-prepared for a day or two. If he vomits after drinking water, ice cubes will help keep him hydrated without causing additional retching.

Chronic gastritis caused by food retention can be diagnosed by x-rays. Disease involving the stomach wall is difficult to manage, and gastritis caused by underlying cancers are usually fatal.

Vomiting can be an indication that something serious is afoot. In addition to direct stomach involvement, vomiting may be a symptom of disease of the kidneys, liver, or pancreas, or could be induced by drugs, electrolyte imbalance, or stress. Chronic retching, blood vomitus, projectile vomiting, and fecal vomiting are cases for the veterinarian to diagnose.


Owners who observe and handle their healthy dogs have a head start on recognizing early signs of illness in their pets. Those who know what a healthy pet acts, feels, and smells like can spot differences in behavior and bodies and determine whether a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.

Healthy dogs have a temperature of 101-102º F, a respiratory rate of 15-20 breaths per minute, and a heart rate of 80-120 beats per minute. They have pink mucous membranes (gums, inside of lips, tongue, inside of eyelids) and rapid capillary refill action in these areas. They have clean-smelling ears and skin and a full haircoat. Their skin is pliant, an indication of proper hydration, and their eyes are clear and bright.

If your puppy or dog shows any of the following signs, be prepared to call your veterinarian.

Eyes: swelling, discharge, redness, etc.
Nose: running, crusting, discharge, etc.
Ears: discharge, debris, odor, twitching, scratching, shaking, etc.
Coughing, gagging, sneezing, retching, or vomiting.
Irregular breathing, shortness of breath, prolonged or heavy panting, etc.
Intestinal activity
Color and consistency of bowel movement
Frequency of defecation
Bloody stool
Evidence of parasites, etc
Change in amout of food intake
Change in body weight
Change in water intake
Dribbling, etc.
Coat & skin
Hair loss
Color change
Bite marks
Evidence of parasites
Licking, etc.
Falling, etc.
Noticing signs is half the battle; keeping a record helps the veterinarian make a diagnosis.

SPAY  or Neuter Early

Early sterilization surgery is a sure-fire way to prevent unwanted litters

The only 100 percent accurate, completely foolproof method of avoiding unwanted litters is to spay or neuter your pet.

The fact that a dog is purebred or registered or “has papers” does not make it a worthy candidate for breeding.

As far as we know, dogs do not miss the ability to procreate; there’s no biological clock ticking away, telling Muffy she is missing the joys of motherhood or reminding Rambo he needs a son to carry on his name.

A spayed bitch doesn’t get cancer of the reproductive tract or drip blood on the floor during estrous periods. A neutered male doesn’t get cancer of the reproductive tract and is more likely to stay at home instead of wandering in search of a lady friend.

Trouble is, there are many misconceptions about canine reproduction, including the age at which surgery can be done.

Most owners and many veterinarians prefer to wait until the dog or bitch is six-to-eight months old, but this may be too late to prevent a litter. However, there is an answer. Early spay and neuter protocols are available for puppies and kittens, protocols that make it easy for shelters to make sure adopted dogs are never accidentally bred and for breeders to prevent litters produced by puppies sold as pets. These surgeries can be done on puppies as young as six weeks old.


General Information

Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract caused by microscopic organisms called coccidia. The disease spreads from one animal to another by contact with infected feces. It is most severe in young or weak animals and often causes bloody diarrhea.

What are coccidia?
Coccidia are small protozoans (one-celled organisms) that multiply in the intestinal tracts of dogs and cats, most commonly in kittens and puppies less than six months of age, in adult animals whose immune system is suppressed or in animals who are stressed in other ways (e.g., change in ownership, other disease present).

In cats and dogs, most coccidia are of the genus called Isospora. Isospora canis and I. ohioensis are the species most often encountered in dogs; I. felis and I. rivolta are the most common in cats. Regardless of which species is present we generally refer to the disease as coccidiosis. As a puppy or kitten ages it tends to develop a natural immunity to the effects of coccidia. As an adult it may carry coccidia in its intestines, shed the cyst in the feces, but experience no ill effects.

How are coccidia transmitted?
A puppy or kitten is not born with the coccidia organisms in its intestine. However, once born, the puppy or kitten is frequently exposed to its mother's feces and if the mother is shedding the infective cysts in her feces then the young animals will likely ingest them and coccidia will develop within their intestines. Since young puppies and kittens, usually those less than six months of age, have no immunity to coccidia, the organisms reproduce in great numbers and parasitize the young animal's intestines. Oftentimes this has severe effects.

From exposure to the coccidia in feces to the onset of the illness is about 13 days. Most puppies and kittens who are ill from coccidia are, therefore, two weeks of age and older. Although most infections are the result of spread from the mother, this is not always the case. Any infected kitten or puppy is contagious to other puppies and kittens. In breeding facilities, shelters, animal hospitals, etc., it is wise to isolate those infected from those that are not.

What are the symptoms of coccidiosis?
The primary sign of an animal suffering with coccidiosis is diarrhea. The diarrhea may be mild to severe depending on the level of infection. Blood and mucous may be present, especially in advanced cases. Severely affected animals may also vomit, lose their appetite, become dehydrated, and in some instances, die from the disease.

Most infected kittens and puppies encountered by the authors are in the four to twelve week age group. The possibility of coccidiosis should always be considered when a loose stool or diarrhea is encountered in this age group. A microscopic fecal exam by a veterinarian will detect the cysts confirming a diagnosis.

What are the risks?
Although many cases are mild it is not uncommon to see severe, bloody diarrhea result in dehydration and even death. This is most common in animals who are ill or infected with other parasites, bacteria or viruses. Coccidiosis is very contagious, especially among young kittens and puppies. Entire kennels and catteries may become contaminated with puppies and kittens of many age groups simultaneously affected.

What is the treatment of coccidiosis?
It should be mentioned that stress plays a role in the development of coccidiosis. It is not uncommon for a seemingly healthy puppy or kitten to arrive at its new home and develop diarrhea several days later leading to a diagnosis of coccidia. If the puppy or kitten has been at the new home for less than thirteen days then it had coccidia before it arrived. Remember the incubation period (from exposure to illness) is about thirteen days. If the puppy or kitten has been with its new owner several weeks, then the exposure to coccidia most likely occurred after the animal arrived at the new home. The authors merely point this out as they have been involved in legal cases as to who was responsible for the cost of treatment, the breeder or new owner. Usually coccidia was present only to surface during the stressful period of the puppy or kitten adjusting to a new home.

Fortunately coccidiosis is treatable. Drugs such as sulfadimethoxine (Albon), trimethoprim-sulfadiazine (Tribrissen) and amprolium (Corid) have all been effective in the treatment and prevention of coccidia. Because these drugs do not kill the organisms, but rather inhibit their reproduction capabilities, elimination of coccidia from the intestine is not rapid. By stopping the ability of the protozoa to reproduce, time is allowed for the puppy's own immunity to develop and remove the organisms. Drug treatments of five or more days are usually required.

How is coccidiosis prevented or controlled?
Because coccidia is spread by the feces of carrier animals, it is very important to practice strict sanitation. All fecal material should be removed. Housing needs to be such that food and water cannot become contaminated with feces. Clean water should be provided at all times. Most disinfectants do not work well against coccidia; incineration of the feces, and steam cleaning, immersion in boiling water or a 10% ammonia solution are the best methods to kill coccidia. Coccidia can withstand freezing.

Cockroaches and flies can mechanically carry coccidia from one place to another. Mice and other animals can ingest the coccidia and when killed and eaten by a cat, for instance, can infect the cat. Therefore, insect and rodent control are very important in preventing coccidiosis.

The coccidia species of dogs and cats do not infect humans.

What is hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar. It occurs when the level of sugar, or glucose, in the blood drops too low to give the body energy. The medical condition of low blood sugar occurs when all 3 of the following are present:

Blood sugar is low.
Low blood sugar is causing symptoms.
The symptoms go away when blood sugar returns to normal
The bloodstream carries glucose-a type of sugar produced from the digestion of carbohydrates and other foods-to provide energy to cells throughout the body. Unused glucose is stored mainly in the liver as glycogen. Insulin, glucagon, and other hormone levels rise and fall to keep blood sugar in a normal range. Too little or too much of these hormones can cause blood sugar levels to fall too low (hypoglycemia)

Normally, blood glucose levels increase slightly after you eat a meal. When blood sugar rises, cells in the pancreas release insulin, causing the body to absorb glucose from the blood, which lowers the blood sugar level to normal. When blood sugar drops too low, the level of insulin declines and other cells in the pancreas release glucagon, which causes the liver to turn stored glycogen back into glucose and release it into the blood. Low blood sugar also triggers the release of hormones by the pituitary and adrenal glands. These hormones also help bring sugar back to normal.

Hypoglycemia is not a disease but a condition that results from a variety of causes.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a health problem that affects many toy breeds of puppies between 5 and 16 weeks of age, especially extremely tiny or teacups and all owners must be on the lookout for it. 

Hypoglycemia is recognized by a healthy puppy suddenly becoming weak, listless, depressed, unaware of its surroundings, and even unable to stand or walk.  Advanced stages include seizures before lapsing into a coma, which is sometimes followed by death.

If your puppy becomes hypoglycemic, it is very important that you react IMMEDIATELY!!!  Give the puppy Nutro Cal, honey or Karo syrup.  Administer the honey or syrup with an eyedropper or if the puppy is too weak to take it, put it on your finger and rub it on the roof of its mouth.  If necessary, pry its mouth open.  Regardless of how you do it, make the puppy take the honey or syrup.  ITS LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!!!  Nutro Cal is a fast acting high calorie supplement and may be given off of your finger.  Keep the puppy warm at all times and rub the puppy very easy, moving the head from side to side slowly rotating it, also move the arms and legs so the puppy will not get stiff.  It may be necessary to give the puppy a couple of doses of honey or Nutro Cal to bring it back.  If the puppy does not respond, CONTACT THE BREEDER OR GET IT TO A VET IMMEDIATELY!!!

Hypoglycemia can occur without warning if a puppy is placed in a new home, misses a meal or is otherwise stressed.

You must remember that puppies eat very small amounts, yet they exert large amounts of energy.  Your puppy should eat 3 times a day.  We feed and recommend Pedigree Puppy Small Bites, which we have supplied a sample for you.  DO NOT CHANGE THE FOOD FOR THE FIRST FEW WEEKS.  If you wish to change food later do so gradually, after the puppy has adjusted to its new home and life. 

A puppy will play until it drops.  It may play so much that it is too tired to eat.  It is up to YOU as its new owner to be responsible.  Very small puppies must sleep about 20 out of 24 hours.  Please be very careful no to over-tire your new puppy, especially the first few weeks.  It is up to you to establish a schedule for you new puppy, and your family, especially be aware of the amount of time children play with your puppy and make them aware that this is a baby and must be treated like one.  It is important no to play with your puppy so much that it becomes exhausted.

We recommend that you try to make the first few days together with you puppy as calm as possible, and remember that this is a very traumatic time for your puppy.  Please resist the urge to take your puppy to visit friends and relatives during this period.  Make this a special time to get to know your puppy, and for you puppy to get to know its new home.

Remember that if there is a problem with Hypoglycemia, it will usually happen during the first few weeks while the puppy is adjusting, and that puppy will out-grow this as it becomes adjusted.

Historically, the Chihuahua developed in Mexico and the United States has displayed a "soft spot" on the top of the head. In the Chihuahua this spot, or fontanel, is known as a MOLERA; and is the same as that found in human babies. In the past, this molera was accepted as a mark of purity in the breed, and it is still mentioned in most Chihuahua breed standards the world over.
It is important to note that while many Chihuahua puppies are born without the molera, there are probably just as many born with one and its presence is nothing to become alarmed over.
The molera in a Chihuahua will occur on the top of the head and may vary in shape and size when present.
Unfortunately, many lay people and some veterinarians not familiar with the Chihuahua have tried to link the mere presence of a molera with the condition known as hydrocephalus. This has caused many new-comers to the breed serious concern and undue worry. The truth is that a domed head with a molera present does not predispose the Chihuahua to this condition. Along with the observations of devoted breeders over the years, there is adequate medical evidence to support this statement

[Adverse Reactions to Dog Vaccinations
At the very least, vaccinations put stress on the dog's immune system for several days. It is common for dogs to be sluggish and generally not feel well while their system is recognizing and responding to the diseases that have been introduced. Additional stress to the dog’s body, such as surgery, should always be avoided during this time period. Dog vaccinations should never be given to a dog who is ill or injured as this will only make it harder for the body to heal. Some dogs have severe allergic reactions with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, whole body itching, collapse, difficulty breathing or swelling of the face or legs. If such symptoms occur, the dog should receive immediate medical attention.

In recent years, veterinarians have begun to link both immediate and long-term health problems to vaccinations. Serious health problems resulting from dog vaccinations include:

Inflammatory bowel disease
Chronic allergies
Auto-immune diseases
Aggressive behavior
Hip dysplasia
Liver, kidney and heart problems
Even a single vaccination carries risks, but most vaccine-related health problems are caused by over vaccinating. Higher vulnerability to diseases such as parvovirus have been passed down in dog breeds that have regularly been over-vaccinated through many generations. While some veterinarians have concluded that vaccinations are ineffective, unhealthy and unnecessary, most still believe in vaccinating but on a much more limited basis than has previously been the standard.

When Are Vaccinations Appropriate?
Obviously, high exposure dogs, such as dogs living in cities, active show dogs and dogs who stay in kennels are more likely to need vaccinations than rural dogs who are well contained and have little or no exposure to other dogs. There are many other factors to consider, such as geographic location and family history. Ask yourself these questions:

Does the dog live in an area where disease is common and easily spread due to climate and population?
Does the dog’s parents and grandparents have a history of vaccine-related illness, such as hip dysplasia and cancer?
[edit]Safer Ways to Vaccinate
If vaccines are given at all, they should always be kept to a bare minimum. Dogs should only be vaccinated for diseases that they are truly likely to be exposed to, and vaccines should be administered as infrequently as possible. In the past, the standard was to vaccinate annually. Although frequency varies with each type of vaccine, recent research has shown that most dog vaccinations are effective from three to seven years, and some last for the dog’s entire lifetime. Titer testing can be used to determine whether a dog still has the needed antibodies and can help prevent over vaccination.

Dog vaccinations are often administered several at a time, in 3-way, 5-way or 7-way bundled shots. Adverse reactions and impact to the immune system can be minimized by administering vaccines separately and waiting three months in between each vaccination

Deciding whether or not to vaccinate can be one of the most confusing and frightening choices a dog owner has to make. While on one hand, dogs can die, have shorter lives or suffer long-term debilitating illness; if vaccinated, exposure to life threatening and deadly diseases such as parvo, rabies and distemper is a very real concern. Dog owners should thoroughly research the vaccines they are considering for their dogs and evaluate each situation individually.

A lot of Chihuahua's will have an alergic reaction to Lepto shots, this is why it is advised that Chihuahua's should not receive it at all. I gave Lepto shots to all my dogs for years, then one day my vet told me not to give it. I told him I had never had a reaction, he said, I still think you shouldn't give it, there hasn't been a case of Lepto. in Kansas for many years! Why take a chance? Well, that was over 10 years ago, I haven't given it since. For those of you that don't know, the way dogs are exposed to Lepto is, drinking water or eating food that a mouse or some other animal carring this desease has urinated in, or sniffing a tree where an animal carring this desease has urinated on. With most people that have Chihuahua's, this is not going to ever happen. We don't let our precious babies do these things. Please Use Caution when giving the lepto shot to Chihuahua's

There are many sources of stress.  Simply moving a puppy to a new home, holding him too much, contending with another pet, or being allowed too much playtime are just a few of the many sources of stress.  A new puppy is nervous and excited because they are unfamiliar with their surroundings and their new families which causes a lot of stress.  They are like babies who need regular scheduled time for eating, sleeping, drinking, going to potty and playing.

A quiet place of it's own, IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ITEM TO HAVE FOR A NEW PUPPY. It can be a carrier, a cage, a playpen or a small enclosed area in a quiet room of your home.  The crate serves two purposes.  It will housetrain your pet and it protects its health and well being while it grows.  The crate provides a secure, comfortable place where it can rest, eat, drink and play at his own pace.  The crate should be placed in an area where the termperature stays about the same all the time.  Avoid areas that are drafty (cooling vents).  Provide a comfortable bed in the crate since puppies sleep approximately 90% of the the time until they are older.  They will need food and water available to them at all times whether they are in the crate or out of the crate for their playtime.  This allows them to eat, rest and drink, as they need to so they can grow properly.  Crating the puppy is not punishment, it is protection!  It can in some cases save their life.

AVOID EXCESSIVE HANDLING.  Too much of this can add stress and overtire the puppy.  A tired puppy will not eat; he only wants to sleep.  Missing a meal can be a life threatening thing with a young, small puppy.  It can lead to a condition called Hypoglycemia.  A puppy can be played with for about 30 minutes at a time at first.  Taking him out for his potty break should begin the playtime.  This schedule for playing can be increased gradually, week by week, as the puppy grows older and becomes stronger.  The rest time should remain the same.  He needs at least 2 hours or more at a time in his crate, undisturbed, for rest.  GIVING HIM THE QUIET TIME FOR REST IS A MUST!  *The stress of moving a puppy can sometimes bring on illness.  If you notice any sign of illness before or after the post examination by a vet, contact the breeder  immediately.

Switching foods is not only stressful on a new puppy's stomach, but so is switching water at times.Do not just assume your puppy is eating.  The best way to make sure is to put a small handful of dry food on or close to pups bed several times a day and if this disappears you know your puppy is eating something.  You can also soften some dry food with warm water to entice your puppy to eat until it is adjusted.  A PUPPY MUST EAT.  We suggest that you buy a gallon of bottled water and gradually mix it with tap water to let your puppy adjust to it. Stress, new surrounding, a trip to his new home and new food and water can cause stomach upset and loose stools. After a week your new puppy should feel right at home and do well with his new family and surroundings.

Remember a puppy has to eat  ""HAS TOO!"" a puppy that  doesn't not eat when it is a tiny breed will die .
Nutri-cal is wonderful for those in between meal snacks,just a tiny bit keeps the blood sugar up and will prevent all kinds of problems . even our show dogs get  nutri-cal 3 times a day when on the show circut .
When in doubt call the breeder of your puppy  or your vet .

A backyard gate left ajar or a door left open a moment too long can bring anguish to a Chihuahua  dog owner and danger to a pet loose and lost. The procedure of microchipping pets can help some animals find their way home.
Looking for a way of identifying your Chihuahua  so if it's lost they could be recovered? The procedure involves injecting a microchip encased in a plastic tube under the pet's skin between the shoulder blades. The chip itself is inert, it has no battery and uses no energy. When a scanner is run over the part of the animal that contains the chip, the scanner will display a number, which will match your Chihuahua  up with its registered chip  and eventually, it's owner. You can't feel it, you can't even tell the chip is there. It's not disfiguring and it doesn't require sedation for insertion like other permanent identification can.

Inserting the microchip takes only about as long as vaccinations. And almost any pet can be microchipped including turtles, snakes, birds and ferrets as well as cats and dogs. But the chip is not a replacement for a collar and tags. For more information ask your vet as most are now very familiar with this procedure. The AKC Companion Animal Recovery program will enroll any animal identified with a microchip (regardless of the manufacturer) or any other type of permanent identification for a one-time fee of $12.50, an animal is enrolled for life. The recovery service is in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Disclaimer: All information contained on this page is gathered from  various general sources (ie: internet, books, magazines,my 31 years as a breeder, etc)  and  is used to put the page together, and is listed here as general interest to the reader.

Please do not use the information provided on this site to diagnose and/or treat your pet. This information is not meant to take the place of a licensed veterinarian. Only a licensed veterinarian can properly diagnose and treat your pet for its condition.

If you choose to use the information provided here to diagnose and/or treat your pet; this site and the site's owners will not be held legally or financially responsible for any sicknesses, injuries or deaths resulting from your decision to do so. Thank you.
What is Patellar Luxation?


The patella, or kneecap, is part of the stifle joint (knee). In patellar luxation, the kneecap luxates, or pops out of place, either in a medial or lateral position.

Bilateral involvement is most common, but unilateral is not uncommon. Animals can be affected by the time they are 8 weeks of age. The most notable finding is a knock-knee (genu valgum) stance. The patella is usually reducible, and laxity of the medial collateral ligament may be evident. The medial retinacular tissues of the stifle joint are often thickened, and the foot can be seen to twist laterally as weight is placed on the limb.

Patellar Luxation Categories

Patellar luxations fall into several categories:
Medial luxation; toy, miniature, and large breeds

Lateral luxation; toy and miniature breeds

Lateral luxation; large and giant breeds.

Luxation resulting from trauma; various breeds, of no importance to the certification process.
Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are either known to be heritable or strongly suspected.

Medial Luxation in Toy, Miniature, and Large Breeds

Although the luxation may not be present at birth, the anatomical deformities that cause these luxations are present at that time and are responsible for subsequent recurrent patellar luxation. Patellar luxation should be considered an inherited disease.
Clinical Signs
Three classes of patients are identifiable:

Neonates and older puppies often show clinical signs of abnormal hind-leg carriage and function from the time they start walking; these present grades 3 and 4 generally.

Young to mature animals with grade 2 to 3 luxations usually have exhibited abnormal or intermittently abnormal gaits all their lives but are presented when the problem symptomatically worsens.

Older animals with grade 1 and 2 luxations may exhibit sudden signs of lameness because of further breakdown of soft tissues as result of minor trauma or because of worsening of degenerative joint disease pain.
Signs vary dramatically with the degree of luxation. In grades 1 and 2, lameness is evident only when the patella is in the luxated position. The leg is carried with the stifle joint flexed but may be touched to the ground every third or fourth step at fast gaits. Grade 3 and 4 animals exhibit a crouching, bowlegged stance (genu varum) with the feet turned inward and with most of the weight transferred to the front legs.

Permanent luxation renders the quadriceps ineffective in extending the stifle. Extension of the stifle will allow reduction of the luxation in grades 1 and 2. Pain is present in some cases, especially when chondromalacia of the patella and femoral condyle is present. Most animals; however, seem to show little irritation upon palpation.

Lateral Luxation in Toy and Miniature Breeds


Lateral luxation in small breeds is most often seen late in the animal's life, from 5 to 8 years of age. The heritability is unknown. Skeletal abnormalities are relatively minor in this syndrome, which seems to represent a breakdown in soft tissue in response to, as yet, obscure skeletal derangement. Thus, most lateral luxations are grades 1 and 2, and the bony changes are similar, but opposite, to those described for medial luxation. The dog has more functional disability with lateral luxation than with medial luxation.

Clinical Signs
In mature animals, signs may develop rapidly and may be associated with minor trauma or strenuous activity. A knock-knee or genu valgum stance, sometimes described as seal-like, is characteristic.

Sudden bilateral luxation may render the animal unable to stand and so simulate neurological disease. Physical examination is as described for medial luxation.

Lateral Luxation in Large and Giant Breeds


Also called genu valgum, this condition is usually seen in the large and giant breeds. A genetic pattern has been noted, with Great Danes, St. Bernards, and Irish Wolfhounds being the most commonly affected. Components of hip dysplasia, such as coxa valga (increased angle of inclination of the femoral neck) and increased anteversion of the femoral neck, are related to lateral patellar luxation. These deformities cause internal rotation of the femur with lateral torsion and valgus deformity of the distal femur, which displaces the quadriceps mechanism and patella laterally.

Clinical Signs
Bilateral involvement is most common. Animals appear to be affected by the time they are 5 to 6 months of age. The most notable finding is a knock-knee (genu valgum) stance. The patella is usually reducible, and laxity of the medial collateral ligament may be evident. The medial retinacular tissues of the stifle joint are often thickened, and the foot can often be seen to twist laterally as weight is placed on the limb.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------IT CAN AT TIMES BE CAUSED FROM AN INJURY,SUCH AS JUMPING OFF THE SOFA AND HITTING THE FLOOR WRONG >> HAVE YOU EVER TWISTED YOUR KNEE ??

What  vets sometimes don't tell you  is  even after spending the money  on surgery as the dog  ages he will most likely  limp and  have some pain as  just  like  humans were a  surgery  or  injury happened  arthritis sets in .Chihuahua that are  under 10# are  never going to weigh  enough to put  excessive  weight on the  limb and  are sometimes better off without the invasive procedure done .

Although the obvious benefit of spaying and neutering is prevention of accidental, unwanted pregnancies, these procedures can benefit pets and owners in other ways as well.

Besides preventing unwanted pregnancies and litters, spaying can benefit your pet?s physical health and can help avoid behavioral problems that can damage the human-pet relationship.

Females may be spayed when they are as young as 2 to 4 months old, although many veterinarians still choose to perform the procedure when pets are 5 to 6 months old. All animals are individuals, so talk with your veterinarian about the best time to spay your particular pet.

Physical Benefits of an Early Spay
Most female dogs and cats become sexually mature around 6 to 9 months of age. Spaying a dog or cat before her first estrus cycle (or "heat") substantially reduces her chance of developing ovarian or uterine cancer. Spaying early may also reduce her risk of developing breast cancer (the second most common malignancy in pets). In addition, spayed pets will not develop pyometra (an infection in the uterus), which can be life threatening and require emergency surgery. Pyometra is common in older, unspayed females.

Of course, spaying also prevents unplanned pregnancies and unwanted litters. Pregnancies that occur when females are very young can adversely affect their health and the health of their offspring.

Female dogs in heat will have a noticeable bloody discharge. Although pet-sized panties and sanitary pads are available to assist in controlling this discharge, for pet owners, spaying eliminates the need to cope with resulting stains on carpets and furniture.

Intact (unspayed) females may also experience "false" pregnancies. During false pregnancies many of the physical and behavioral changes associated with pregnancy are evident, despite the fact that an egg has not been fertilized.

Behavioral Benefits of an Early Spay
During the stage of the heat cycle when females are receptive to males, they may attempt to escape from the house or they may attract unwelcome male suitors. Females may also begin marking their territory with urine, especially if there are other pets (male or female) in the household or immediate neighborhood. Female cats in heat may pace incessantly and engage in plaintive meowing. Spaying your female can help prevent many of these undesirable behaviors.

Besides taking away his ability to impregnate a female, neutering can benefit your pet?s physical health and can help avoid behavioral problems that can damage the human-pet relationship.

Males may be spayed when they are as young as 2 to 4 months old, although many veterinarians still choose to perform the procedure when pets are 5 to 6 months old. All animals are individuals, so talk with your veterinarian about the best time to spay your particular pet.

Physical Benefits of an Early Neuter
Male dogs and cats usually become sexually mature between 4 and 7 months of age. Neutering substantially reduces the chance of males developing testicular cancer and can help prevent development of perianal tumors and some diseases of the prostate.

Behavioral Benefits of an Early Neuter
As males mature, they become increasingly protective of their territory. Undesirable behaviors associated with territorial protection include aggression toward other animals (particularly males) that enter a male?s self-established territorial boundaries and urine marking of those boundaries. Fights caused by territorial aggression often result in severe injury to one or both animals involved. Stains and odors resulting from urine sprayed on walls, carpets, and furniture can be difficult to impossible to remove.

Intact (unneutered) males will also actively seek out receptive females, which means that roaming and escape are potential problems. Males that roam may be injured by other animals, be hit by cars, consume garbage or contaminated water, or become lost. Roaming animals also cause problems for communities by getting into trash containers, defecating in public areas or on private lawns, ruining shrubbery, creating noise and other disturbances, and posing a risk of injury and disease to themselves and to community residents.

Research has shown that neutering may prevent or effect positive changes in all of these behaviors. The behavior most consistently impacted by neutering is roaming behavior.

To accomplish surgical neutering, a veterinarian removes certain reproductive organs. The procedure is performed with the pet under general anesthesia.

If your dog or cat is a female, the veterinarian will remove her ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. Although commonly referred to as spaying, the technically correct name for the operation is an "ovariohysterectomy" and it eliminates the production of eggs.

If your dog or cat is a male, the veterinarian will remove his testicles. Although usually referred to as castration or neutering, this operation is properly called an "orchiectomy" and it eliminates the production of sperm.

Before performing the procedure, your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination of your pet and may do certain laboratory tests to ensure that there are no underlying medical problems such as kidney or liver disease, diabetes, or chronic infections that could put your pet at increased risk for complications during or after surgery.

Prior to surgery, pet owners will be given instructions to withhold food and water for a specified time. Following these instructions carefully is important to maximize your pet?s safety during anesthesia.

After surgery, your pet will be carefully monitored as it recovers. Any postoperative pain or discomfort is usually relatively short in duration and can be controlled with medication. Some veterinarians may choose to keep your pet overnight after the surgery for observation, whereas others may prefer to send your pet home the same day as the surgery. In either case, once your pet returns home, you should follow your veterinarian?s instructions carefully to ensure that your pet recovers completely and successfully from his/her operation.

Frequently Asked Questions
Is the operation painful?
Spaying or neutering is performed under general anesthesia and, therefore, your pet does not feel pain during the procedure. After surgery there may be some discomfort, but this is part of the normal healing process, does not last long, and can be controlled with medication.

When should my pet have the operation?
Generally speaking, as early as possible. Pets don?t understand the concept of "planned parenthood" and as soon as your pet becomes sexually mature, he/she is capable of producing a potentially unwanted litter. Although traditionally veterinarians have recommended spaying/neutering around 6 months of age, prepubertal (8 to 12 weeks of age) spaying/neutering has gained increasing support among veterinarians. Most veterinarians recommend that females be spayed before their first estrus or "heat" period to maximize the procedure?s cancer-sparing benefits. Because all pets are individuals, talk to your veterinarian about the best time to neuter your particular pet.

Is the operation expensive?
Professional fees for spaying and neutering reflect the difficulty of the procedure involved and your pet?s size, age, sex, and overall health status. If the fee seems high, remember that surgical neutering is permanent. It is a life-time investment in your pet that can solve a number of problems for your pet, you, and communities already burdened with too many unwanted dogs and cats. It actually could save you money in the long run. The cost of boarding your female pet during one or two "heat" periods to prevent accidental exposure to neighborhood males, for example, may well equal the cost of having it spayed. A litter, wanted or unwanted, also means added expenses. A nursing mother needs extra food and care, and once weaned, her offspring must be fed as well. New puppies and kittens also need preventive medical care such as vaccinations and may have to be treated for parasites. Even if your pet never has a litter, reproductive disorders may require surgery similar to or even more expensive than spaying.

Will it change my pet?s intelligence or disposition?
Only for the better. Spaying and neutering have no effect on intelligence. Most spayed and neutered pets tend to be gentler and more affectionate. They become less interested in other animals and spend more time interacting with their owners.

Will spaying or neutering make my pet fat?
Removing the ovaries or testicles does affect metabolism. For this reason, spayed or neutered pets will tend to put on weight more easily if permitted to overeat. The important phrase here is "if permitted to overeat." The diet of every cat and dog should be carefully regulated to prevent him/her from becoming overweight.

Are there alternatives?
The most obvious way to prevent mating is to keep your pet confined during its fertile periods. This becomes extremely difficult for males when one realizes that once they reach sexual maturity, males can mate any time they are not confined.

Females may become pregnant only during their estrus or "heat" periods. These cycles usually occur twice a year in dogs and at least 2 or 3 times a year in cats. Many cats come into "heat" as often as once every 2 or 3 weeks during certain times of the year.

Because pets are capable of mating so much of the time, confinement is not particularly convenient for pet owners. It also does nothing to eliminate accompanying problems, such as spotting, spraying, or susceptibility to uterine infection and breast cancer.

Veterinary medical scientists are currently working to develop a pill or other convenient method of birth control, but such nonsurgical methods are not currently available in the United States. At present, other than confining your pet, the sure way to keep your pet from mating is to have it surgically spayed or neutered.

But my pet is a purebred...shouldn?t I be breeding it?
Breeding is a complicated business. Before you breed you need to ask yourself: "Does the animal fit the breed standard?" "Does the animal have a stable temperament?" "Are the animal and the prospective mate healthy?" "Is the animal free of any discernable genetic diseases?" "Do I have the time and financial resources it takes to breed and care for the offspring?" A good breeder is careful about the animals they breed, takes the process very seriously, and ensures that offspring are placed into good, responsible homes.

Can?t I make extra money selling puppies or kittens?
Breeding dogs and cats is generally not lucrative; more often, breeders barely break even or money is lost during the process. Responsible breeding is expensive because it involves stud fees, registration fees, extra food, housing costs, veterinary care, and advertising. The time involved is considerable as well. Mothers and puppies must be cared for and responsible owners for the offspring must be identified.

Isn?t this a good way for children to learn about the miracle of birth?
Children may learn about the birthing process in far simpler and less costly ways. Plenty of books, videotapes, CDs, and DVDs are available that portray the miracle of birth in a wide range of animals, providing a far greater appreciation of the process than can be gained through watching a single dog or cat deliver a single litter.

Will spaying and neutering eliminate the problem of unwanted and homeless dogs and cats?
Spaying and neutering pets may help reduce the problem of unwanted dogs and cats, but surgery alone is not enough. Unowned and stray animals are a large part of the problem because these animals give birth to unwanted puppies and kittens at an alarming rate. Many communities have greatly reduced their unwanted animal populations by enforcing existing animal control regulations. Other communities have found they needed to pass more stringent laws and enforce them more rigidly.

As a concerned citizen and a responsible pet owner, you should do everything you can to see that leash laws and other animal control regulations in your community are up-to-date and adequately enforced. Making sure that your pet doesn?t contribute to the problem of unwanted offspring is an important part of that responsibility.