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24–27 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

How to Help Your Puppy Through His Fear Imprint Period :: Prevent Future Health Issues by Screening Your Dog Early :: What to Do With a Frenzied Puppy :: A Guide to Advanced Obedience Training

Prevent Future Health Issues by Screening Your Dog Early

The thought that your puppy could have an orthopedic problem or a congenital disorder that could show up now probably isn't one of the first things that comes to mind when discussing canine diseases. But it is possible for conditions such as Hip Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation and others to be present this early. It is also possible to screen for congenital disorders such as liver and kidney disease.

It's good news, really, that you can find out about things such as hip dysplasia and heart disease now when you can do preventative surgery. Preventative surgery is less invasive than corrective surgery and works well when done around this age. It's also beneficial to start any needed medications for the disorder. There are a few things that will help you know if screening for these diseases is advisable.

Reasons to Decide to Screen for Orthopedic Disorders

  1. Consider your puppy's breed or breeds. Very large dogs such as the Irish Wolfhound or the Newfoundland are much more likely to have orthopedic problems. Also, large breeds and, even small ones, such as the Wolfhound, Dachshunds, and Yorkies are predisposed to Portosystemic Shunts.

  2. Look for signs such as a stiff walk or swinging hips when walking. Cracking joints can also indicate a problem, though sometimes joints just crack to crack.

  3. Notice your puppy's attention to joints. If he's licking or nibbling around his elbows, it could indicate a problem.

  4. Look out for pain. If your pup has trouble getting up or jumping up and yelps when in action, take him to your vet.

Reasons to Decide to Screen for Congenital Problems

  1. Again, consider your puppy's breed or breeds. The breeds mentioned above with the predisposed Shunts are also often associated with liver disease as the two are related. The Bedlington Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer also have congenital liver problems.

  2. Know the signs of liver disease. Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, a swollen belly and pale gray feces.

  3. Know the signs of kidney disease. Symptoms include a huge increase in drinking water, vomiting, weight loss and muscle weakness.

  4. Ask about any unusual symptoms in your puppy. Confer with your vet. You can't possibly know all the possible congenital diseases so rely on her advice. Be precise and clear about any symptoms your dog is displaying. That way, you're likely to catch most congenital disorders early.

It's easy to screen for these conditions and you can add it to an already planned visit to the vet such as your pre-surgery checkup for spaying or neutering. Your vet will conduct a thorough hands on exam to look for disorders such as Hip Dysplasia. However, later on, you may have to do more extensive tests such as radiographs. Blood tests can reveal many congenital disorders.

It may seem unlikely to you that your ball of fur could have anything wrong with him. We tend to think that illness and disorders don't occur until later in life. But the good news is you can prevent a great deal of suffering now by being on top of your puppy's health.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

How to Keep Your Puppy Off the Christmas Tree

Puppies should be supervised at all times. She or he should be crated while alone, leashed while you are around. Time to teach the "leave it" command. You will really mean it when you fear for the dogs safety! Baby gates might deter him - unless he's that curious kind that looks to defeat all confinement. If he's leashed it's easy to give a sharp leash correction if he goes near the tree. Put the tree up for a few days without trimming to get the dog used to it without risking fragile ornaments.

~Liz H., owner of German Shepherd mix

When Puppies Lose Their Teeth

Puppies have a full set of 28 milk teeth - 4 canines, 12 incisors and 12 molars. The incisors and canines grow in first, the molars last. At around three to four months of age, your dog is going to start losing milk teeth and growing in her adult set of teeth, which consists of a total of 42 teeth - a lot more than the puppy teeth she has. The first to fall out are going to be her incisors, her front teeth. She will start growing her adult incisors first. Around four to five months of age you will see her adult molars and canines to grow in. By about six months, she should have her full set of adult teeth.

~Chris & Brian C., owner of German Shepherd

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