Saturday, February 10, 2007

First Aid Treatments for Your Shih Tzu

Connie Limon
Be prepared for injuries and accidents for your Shih Tzu. Accidents can and do happen. Sometimes they can be quite serious. Being prepared for emergencies can increase chances of saving the life of your Shih Tzu and/or reducing the severity of the injury.

Every Shih Tzu owner should have a basic first aid kit. Items included in the kit should be:

* Ace bandage * 1-inch adhesive tape * Anticoagulant powder * Topical antibiotic ointment * Bandage scissors * Betadine soaked gauze sponges * A 2-1/2 inch gauze roll * Gauze sponges * Hydrogen peroxide solution, 3% * Spoon splint * Rectal thermometer

Cuts or lacerations are one of the most common accidents. Even though most likely your Shih Tzu will be kept indoors and carefully guarded, there is always the chance of an unpredictable accident or injury. For cuts or lacerations the most important thing to have on hand is bandage material, cleaning material and anticoagulant powder (the kind of powder you and/or your groomer would use for nails being cut too short).

I keep anticoagulant powder always close at hand when I am grooming my Shih Tzu. No matter how careful I am it seems I always cut a nail too short and it makes me just want to cry and scream to see just the least bit of blood coming from my Shih Tzu nails. I reach for the anticoagulant powder and some q-tips while apologizing for the nick. I dip the q-tip in the anticoagulant powder and apply it to the spot that is bleeding, applying as much pressure as possible for several minutes. This same method will take care of most minor wounds. Larger wounds should be seen by a vet immediately. Even a very small wound, other than a toenail cut too short, should be reported to your vet.

Another problem especially with dogs and the Shih Tzu are bee stings. If this occurs your best bet is to call your vet for his advice. You can give Benadryl, but you will need to call your vet for exact dosage and the go ahead to give this. A good plan may be to ask in advance and have whatever the vet recommends on hand in case of a bee sting emergency. It is reported that most dogs do not have a problem with bee stings, but some may have respiratory difficulty. If your Shih Tzu gets a bee sting, by all means carefully watch him or her for at least 24 hours.

Since the Shih Tzu is considered to be a small breed dog, regardless of the exact pounds, the Shih Tzu may have bouts of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Signs of hypoglycemia are the Shih Tzu will be lethargic and weak. You can rub karo syrup on the gums to quickly give the Shih Tzu an extra boost of glucose. I always keep Nutri-cal on hand to use for this with my Shih Tzu. Multiple episodes of hypoglycemia can be a sign of a more serious problem that should be reported to your vet for proper evaluation.

You should be able to distinguish between choking, gagging and coughing. Coughing may be brought on by strenuous exercise and go away once your Shih Tzu has settled down. Gagging may happen if your Shih Tzu swallows incorrectly and gets food caught in the trachea. If this occurs, a modified Heimlich maneuver can be used. Bend over your Shih Tzu, wrap your hands around its chest and do a quick jerking movement. This technique may be enough to dislodge something caught in the trachea. Choking can be caused by either an obstruction or a defect in the trachea. In the case of choking you should get your Shih Tzu to a vet as soon as possible. You might try to open your Shih Tzu's mouth and remove the obstruction if this is the cause of the choking. Be aware that you could receive a bite; therefore, this is not highly recommended.

If your Shih Tzu is hit by a car, get him or her on a firm surface. If that is not available, put your Shih Tzu in a blanket. You want to move the Shih Tzu in one piece with a minimal amount of motion. In this case, you need to transport your Shih Tzu to the vet as soon as possible.

Poisonings are a major concern. There are three more common types of poisonings in dogs, they are:

* Anti-freeze * Rodenticide * Garbage ingestion

In all cases of poisonings, contact your vet immediately, even if you only suspect a poisoning has occurred. It takes 24 to 72 hours for clinical signs of a poisoning to manifest. In your first aid kit and nearby your phone keep the National Animal Poison Control Center number, which is 1-800-548-2423.

The treatment for heat stroke is to soak your Shih Tzu in cool or lukewarm water. Provide water, but do not force feed water. Take your Shih Tzu's temperature. Normal temperature is 101 F and 102.5F. Contact your local veterinarian for further instructions and treatment.

In all cases of emergency with your Shih Tzu keep your veterinarian informed. He or she will know best as to how to treat your pet once you have administered emergency first aid treatment.

Author: Connie Limon, Breeder of pet and show prospect Shih Tzu in a variety of colors. Visit us at and sign up for our FREE newsletters. Our website provides a wealth of information. Puppies are sold with health guarantee and are bred from champion bloodlines.

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Congestive Heart Failure Common in Older Small Breeds Such as the Shih Tzu

Connie Limon
Congestive heart failure is a serious condition that does affect older small breeds such as our beloved Shih Tzu. Congestive heart failure is defined as the heart's inability to function normally, which leads to excessive retention of water and salt causing fluid build-up in the lungs. The major underlying cause is degeneration of the heart valves. Dogs and the Shih Tzu with this condition often develop a heart murmur, however, it is important to know and remember that not all dogs who have heart murmurs will develop congestive heart failure.

The three main signs to look out for congestive heart failure in your Shih Tzu or older Shih Tzu are:

1. Exercise intolerance; 2. Labored breathing; 3. And coughing.

Always provide your Shih Tzu with a yearly vet check-up and allow your vet to follow-up on any abnormal findings.

Treatment for congestive heart failure includes:

* Diet low in sodium * Diuretics * Dilator drugs * Digoxin (Digitalis)

A Shih Tzu or dog that has been diagnosed with heart failure usually has a life expectancy of between six months and several years. Treated Shih Tzu and dogs will live longer than those left untreated.

You need to also remember that a degeneration of heart valves is a common aging change in small breed dogs like our beloved Shih Tzu. Also remember that even if your Shih Tzu puppy is diagnosed with a heart murmur, this does not mean he or she will ever develop heart failure.

Many times new owners think a heart problem is the result of in-breeding or line breeding or breeding Shih Tzu that are smaller in the size than the standard show dog AKC calls for as 9 to 16 pounds.

Would be Shih Tzu owners need to realize that the size of any living creature does not dictate the health of that creature, and that most of the statements made in this regard are purely by those who do not have the smaller sizes and are fearful their sales will be damaged by breeders who do have the smaller size Shih Tzu.

It is all about money for most of those who talk the most and loudest against smaller size Shih Tzu. Few of those people are actually worried that you the consumer is going to get burned or that the Shih Tzu breed will be ruined forever by these smaller Shih Tzu gene pools. They are worried it takes dollars from their pockets.

I think if these people are sincerely worried about the Shih Tzu breed being ruined, they need to start donating most of their income derived from their puppy sales and/or Show Dog winnings to research of genetic problems in the Shih Tzu in general. It is my opinion this would benefit the breed much more than "bad-mouthing" people who raise and adore the smaller size Shih Tzu in the hopes that consumers will not purchase them and have to resort to purchasing only the size they promote.

As always please consult with a professional vet of your choice about any kind of health problem related to your pets. This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a pet health problem. It is offered as information only.

Author: Connie Limon, Breeder of pet and show prospect Shih Tzu in a variety of colors. Visit us at and sign up for our newsletters. Our website provides a wealth of information. Puppies are sold with health guarantee and are bred from champion bloodlines.

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Parvovirus is Most Deadly to Very Young Shih Tzu Puppies

Parvovirus is most deadly to Very Young Shih Tzu Puppies
by Connie Limon (Email:
Connie Limon Parvovirus is most deadly to Very Young Shih Tzu Puppies

I am so surprised at how many pet owners and would be pet/Shih Tzu owners do not know which vaccinations are mandatory for Shih Tzu puppies. In this article I will address only the importance of "extra" protection against the deadly canine disease of "parvovirus."

Canine parvovirus is everywhere in the environment. Puppies and this does include Shih Tzu puppies are extra susceptible to parvovirus. The disease usually hits puppies the hardest, although adults can contract the parvovirus disease the same, your Shih Tzu puppy is most vulnerable. It is wise to protect your Shih Tzu puppy against this debilitating, sometimes deadly canine disease.

Parvovirus is shed in the feces of an infected Shih Tzu or any canine species. If another Shih Tzu or any other canine species comes into oral contact with the infected feces, they become inoculated with the virus. The degree to which your Shih Tzu puppy is affected will depend upon its own individual immunity to the disease. If your Shih Tzu puppy's mother was properly vaccinated, she will transfer immunity to parvovirus in the colostrums or first milk. I always vaccinate all my adult Shih Tzu each year.

The maternal antibodies transferred through the Shih Tzu mother's milk to the Shih Tzu puppies may be present in the Shih Tzu puppy for up to 20 - 22 weeks. This does not mean the Shih Tzu puppy will be absolute immune to the parvovirus this entire time.

Most of the Shih Tzu puppy's maternal antibodies to other viruses commonly vaccinated against have disappeared by about 12 weeks, however, the maternal parvovirus antibodies do persist longer.

It is wise to ensure your Shih Tzu puppy is adequately protected against parvovirus no matter when its mother's antibodies begin to wear off. Your Shih Tzu puppy needs to be vaccinated every three weeks starting at about 8 weeks, until it is 20 - 22 weeks old. Keep your older Shih Tzu up-to-date on vaccines as well. As the Shih Tzu ages, or any canine species, their immune system may become impaired and this may leave them more susceptible to diseases.

In addition to proper vaccination of your Shih Tzu puppy, you also need to keep young Shih Tzu puppies isolated from other dogs and out of parks where they may come in contact with infected feces, until they have completed their series of vaccinations. This decreases their chances of being exposed to parvovirus.

Parvovirus Signs:

* Loss of appetite * Lack of energy * Vomiting or diarrhea (the vomitus or diarrhea may be bloody).

Since these signs can indicate many diseases, you will need to see your vet if your Shih Tzu puppy shows any of these. Young Shih Tzu puppies, less than three months of age, can become dehydrated quickly, and die easily if not treated promptly. There is a special test your vet can perform for the parvovirus.

As of this date, there is no drug available that kills parvovirus once the animal is infected. The Shih Tzu or any other canine animal will have to rid itself of the virus. In other words, once a Shih Tzu puppy has contracted parvovirus, the virus will need to runs it course through the Shih Tzu puppy's system. Supportive care is the main treatment of parvovirus infections.

Sick Shih Tzu puppies need to be given fluids if they are dehydrated. Secondary bacterial infections may also result. If an infection develops, antibiotics need to be administered to fight it. Sometimes it is necessary to be kept in a vet hospital setting throughout the course of the disease. Other times, the disease can be managed at home. It depends upon the severity and the recommendations of your vet.

Treatment for parvovirus may take a couple days up to several weeks. This also depends upon the individual animal's immune system, its age and the severity of the case.

It is highly important to clean up the living quarters of a Shih Tzu who has had parvovirus. Parvovirus can exist in the environment for long periods of time. Washing the Shih Tzu's area with bleach and water in a 1:30 dilution will kill the virus. Throw away all feeding and drinking bowls, and all toys that came in contact with the sick Shih Tzu. Bedding can be saved if you will wash it in the bleach solution, but better to just throw it all away to prevent further spread of the infection. Your Shih Tzu can be re-infected as well.

Discard all feces promptly, wear gloves and rinse your own hands with the bleach solution. Humans can spread the disease on their hands if they touch the feces. Very small amounts of fecal material on the Shih Tzu's coat can contain large numbers of viral organisms and can easily be transmitted to other dogs.

Although there are a number of diseases Shih Tzu puppies and other canine breeds are susceptible to acquiring, the parvovirus is the most deadly to very young Shih Tzu puppies. Take all precautions necessary to keep your Shih Tzu puppy safe from this disease.

Author: Connie Limon, Breeder of pet and show Shih Tzu prospects in a variety of colors. Visit us at and sign up for our FREE newsletters. Puppies are sold with health guarantee and are bred from champion bloodlines. Also visit our collection of Shih Tzu articles at

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Controlling Brucellosis in Your Shih Tzu Breeding Kennel

Controlling Brucellosis in Your Shih Tzu Breeding Kennel
by Connie Limon (Email:
Connie Limon
Are you thinking about breeding your Shih Tzu or you are already an established Shih Tzu kennel? You might think about having your Shih Tzu tested for Brucellosis on a regular basis.

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease known very well by food animal producers. Brucellosis can cause a number of breeding problems such as abortions, infertility and decreased milk yield in cattle.

Not only does Brucellosis affect cattle, but it can also affect dogs, including the Shih Tzu, sheep, goats, pigs and even humans.

How is Brucellosis passed in these different species of animals including the Shih Tzu? The major way Brucellosis is transmitted is through direct contact of an infected aborted fetus, or uterine discharge. Brucellosis is also spread when animals eat contaminated feces, and through sexual contact.

Signs of a Brucellosis infection in dogs and the Shih Tzu may include:

* Abortion * Infertility * Infected reproductive organs * Arthritis * Disc disease * Fever * Hind limb weakness * Lethargy * General lymph node swelling

These are signs of many diseases; therefore, it is important to take your Shih Tzu to the veterinarian if it shows any of them. The veterinarian will draw a blood sample to make a definitive diagnosis of Brucellosis in your Shih Tzu.

If your Shih Tzu is diagnosed with Brucellosis be aware that it is difficult to treat. It often takes a long period of antibiotic therapy to get rid of Brucellosis fully. Blood samples are required to monitor the progress of the drug treatment. These blood samples can get expensive.

It is possible for humans to become infected with canine Brucellosis. You could possibly contract the disease of Brucellosis from your Shih Tzu; however, transmission from dogs to people seems to be uncommon.

Since Brucellosis is sexually transmitted, it is important for Shih Tzu breeders to be sure all of the Shih Tzu in their kennel test negative for the bacteria. If your Shih Tzu test positive for Brucellosis, do not breed them. Your Shih Tzu may in fact show no clinical signs of Brucellosis, but still be able to transmit the disease in semen or vaginal fluid. Therefore testing is vital.

When is the best time to test your Shih Tzu for Brucellosis?

* Female Shih Tzu should be tested a few weeks before they come into heat. * Male Shih Tzu should be tested twice a year. * Any new Shih Tzu brought into the kennel should be isolated until tests prove negative results twice. The second test should be done one month after the first one.

Many disinfectants prepared especially for kennel use easily kills the bacteria. The bacteria are also relatively easy to kill with a diluted bleach/water solution.

At the present time in vet science there are no vaccines available for canine brucellosis. Ways to help control Brucellosis in your Shih Tzu kennel include:

* Eliminating positive animals from breeding stock * Proper disposal of waste and wearing gloves to handle any fetal membranes or aborted Shih Tzu fetuses, followed by thorough disinfection of the area.

Questions regarding canine Brucellosis should be directed toward your veterinarian.

Author: Connie Limon, breeder of pet and show prospect Shih Tzu in a variety of colors. Visit and sign up for our FREE newsletters. Our website offers a wealth of information. Puppies are sold with health guarantee and are bred from champion bloodlines. Also visit our collection of Shih Tzu articles at

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

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