Pekingese Anatomy ~ Skull
Did that dog run into a brick wall?

I'll bet you hear that often...

DOGS WITH SPECIAL FACES

Most people are not familiar with the term "Brachycephalic," but if you own a pug, Boston terrier, Pekingese, boxer, bulldog, shih tzu or any one of the other breeds with "pushed in" faces, you should become familiar with this word. The word comes from Greek roots "Brachy," meaning short and "cephalic," meaning head.

Brachycephalic dogs have been bred so as to possess a normal lower jaw, that is, one in proportion to their body size, and a compressed upper jaw. In producing this cosmetic appearance, we have compromised these animals in many important ways and you, as an owner, must be familiar with the special needs of your pet.


 
 
THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

Brachycephalic breeds are characterized by "brachycephalic respiratory syndrome," which affects the different areas of the respiratory tract.  Fortunately, most dogs do not suffer from all aspects of the syndrome but you should be aware of which your particular pet may have.

STENOTIC NARES - This is a fancy name for narrowed nostrils. The brachycephalic dogs begins by having very small nasal openings for breathing. If this is severe, surgical correction is possible.

ELONGATED SOFT PALATE - It is difficult to fit the soft tissues of the canine mouth and throat into the brachycephalic's short face. As a result, the soft palate which separates nasal passage from oral cavity flaps loosely down into the throat creating snorting sounds. Virtually all brachycephalics suffer from this but, except in bulldogs, actual respiratory distress is rare. Excess barking or panting may lead to swelling in the throat which can, inturn, lead to trouble.

TRACHEAL STENOSIS - The brachycephalic's windpipe may be dangerously narrowed in places. This condition creates tremendous anesthetic risk and should be ruled out by chest radiographs prior to any surgical procedures.

 
HEAT STRESS - Because of all these upper respiratory obstructions, the brachycephalic dog is an inefficient panter. A dog with a more conventional face and throat is able to pass air quickly over the tongue through panting. Saliva evaporates from the tongue as air is passed across and the blood circulating through the tongue is efficiently cooled and circulated back to the rest of the body.

In the brachycephalic dog, so much extra work is required to move the same amount of air that the airways become inflamed and swollen. This leads to a more severe obstruction, distress, and further over-heating.

BRACHYCEPHALIC DOGS ARE THE MOST
LIKELY CANDIDATES FOR HEAT STROKE.


Altogether, the upper airways of the brachycephalic dog compromises his or her ability to take in air.  Under normal conditions the compromise is not great enough to cause a problem; however, an owner should take care not to let the dog become grossly overweight or get too hot in the Summer months.  Be aware of what degree of snorting and sputtering is usual for your individual pet plus, should your pet require general anesthesia or sedation, your vet may want to take extra precautions or take radiographs prior to assess the severity of the syndrome. Anesthetic risk is higher than usual in these breeds, though under most circumstances the necessary extra precautions are readily managed by most animal hospitals.

EYE PROBLEMS

With most of the nasal bones compacted, brachycephalic dogs tend to have trouble with the way their eyes seat in their heads.

First, recognize the prominence of the eyes on these dogs. The boney eye sockets are very shallow.  This means that any blow to the back of  the head, even a fairly minor one, can cause an eye to pop from its socket and require surgical replacement. This can happen also with too much pulling against the leash if the pet is wearing a collar.  You may wish to consider a harness for your pet.

Sometimes, the eyes are so prominent that the lids cannot close all the way over the eyes. This will lead to irritation and drying of the center of the eye unless surgical correction is performed. If you cannot tell by watching your pet blink, watch as your pet sleeps.  Dogs who sleep without closing their eyes all the way could do with surgical correction.

Eyelid problems are common in these breeds.  Look for persistent wetness around the eyes.  In some dogs, the shape of the eyelids prevents normal tear drainage and there is an overflow. This problem cannot be corrected surgically and is not uncomfortable for the pet; however, there is a more serious condition which looks similar. This second condition involves the rolling inward of the eyelids such that the lashes rub on the eye.  Surgery may be needed to correct this problem.

Chronic irritation will show as a pigmented area on the eye surface, especially on the side nearest the nose. This is hard to see without a bright light but if it is noted, a search for the cause is warranted. Depending on the location of the pigmentation, surgery may be recommended.

OTHER CONCERNS

The normal dog has 42 teeth in its mouth.  The brachycephalic dog also has 42 teeth but a lot less space to fit them in. This means that the teeth will be crowded and growing in at odd angles which, in turn, traps food debris and leads to periodontal disease at a far younger age than in non-brachycephalics. The earlier you begin using home care dental products, the longer you will be able to postpone full dentistry under general anesthesia.

Skin fold infections are common amid the facial folds of the brachycephalic breeds.  Be sure to examine these areas periodically for redness. The broad headed nature of these breeds makes reproduction a tricky matter as Caesarean section is frequently needed. Difficult labor is common and, as surgical assistance is often necessary, it is important not to breed females with tracheal stenosis (see above). Breeding is best left to the experts.

Altogether, the brachycephalic breeds show plenty of personality and intelligence just as all dogs do but because of their special needs, they require some extra knowledge of their owners.  If you have any questions about your brachycephalic dog, please do not hesitate to call your veterinarian if you have further questions.



TOXIC RAISINS

McGee died of a RAISIN OVERDOSE. 

Three days ago, he ate 18 ounces of raisins which were sitting on the coffee table.  He loved raisins, and he would sit politely waiting for his turn while my two rabbits begged for their raisin treats.  The overdose caused renal (kidney) failure which in turn caused an unusually high concentration of calcium in his blood.  The veterinarian originally suspected rat poison. He vomited repeatedly and by the second day, he could not walk.  He died at the Metropolitan Emergency Animal Clinic in Rockville, Maryland with me and one of his other human housemates at his side.

MCGEE'S DEATH IS THE FIRST DOCUMENTED CASE OF RAISIN/GRAPE TOXICITY IN MARYLAND.

Please help me to spread the word!!!!. As much as veterinarians warn us about chocolate and anti-freeze, your veterinarian
MAY NOT KNOW about raisin and grape toxicity.  Tell your fellow dog owners (especially those who keep raisins for their rabbits), newsletters, breeders, pet food stores, rescue groups, your veterinarian, and anyone else you can think of.  And if your dog eats a lot of raisins or grapes and begins vomiting, get him to the animal hospital IMMEDIATELY, and treat it like as seriously as any other poison overdose. McGee's body has been donated to the National Center for Poison Control
for an autopsy.  I hope that his sacrifice will help bring awareness to dog owners everywhere.  I would like to thank Doctor Carole Foster and Doctor Deborah Weiss and the rest of the staff at the Metropolitan Emergency Animal Clinic for their help and compassion during my friend's last days.

Posted by a Pekepal




CONSTIPATION

Feed your peke canned pumpkin. It has lots of fiber and dogs love it. Feed about 2 tablespoons to start with. If your peke still seems constipated, give them some more. Kelloggs All Bran Buds are also a great fiber source for your peke, especially after surgery if they are taking pain medications. The All Bran Buds keep them from becoming constipated. Give them up to 1/3 cup, one time per day.


DIARRHEA

Kaopectate, Pepto Bismol or Immodium A/D can be used to calm down an unhappy bowel. A dose of one tablespoon for every 10lbs can be given every 6 hours. No food should be allowed for 24 hours. Then use the following bland diet for three to four days:

50% boiled white rice
25% boiled skinless chicken (Diced)
25% lowfat cottage cheese
*Mix well.

During this period your peke should have 3 or 4 small meals daily. Each meal should consist of 1/2 cup of the above per 10lbs. of body weight.

After three to four days slowly wean your peke back to regular food by mixing increasing amounts of its usual food with decreasing amounts of the bland diet. This should take another three days.Kaopectate, Pepto Bismol or Immodium A/D can be used to calm down an unhappy bowel. A dose of one tablespoon for every 10lbs can be given every 6 hours. No food should be allowed for 24 hours. Then use the following bland diet for three to four days:

50% boiled white rice
25% boiled skinless chicken (Diced)
25% lowfat cottage cheese
*Mix well.

During this period your peke should have 3 or 4 small meals daily. Each meal should consist of 1/2 cup of the above per 10lbs. of body weight.

After three to four days slowly wean your peke back to regular food by mixing increasing amounts of its usual food with decreasing amounts of the bland diet. This should take another three days.



CHOKING

When your peke has an object stuck in its throat and isn't able to relieve the problem by coughing and retching, use great caution if you put your hand in its mouth to reach the object. You may not be able to grasp it and you might be bitten! Your best remedy is a modified Heimlich Maneuver, the technique used on humans.

Place your arms around the lower area of the chest and quickly squeeze upward against your chest. This should pop the object out of the pets trachea or larynx. The problem with this technique is that your peke may be panicky and hard to control. If your peke appears to be too agitated to allow you to do the Heimlich Maneuver, you should take it to the vet before it starts having breathing problems.

It is important to be aware that there are many causes to consider when your peke is gagging, retching or coughing. These include kennel cough, heart or respiratory disease or attempted vomiting.



FIRST AID KIT



1. First you'll need a large container like a tackel box for tools or fishing
         
ADD:

2.    Adhesive Tape
3.    Gauze Bandages 3"wide, 2" for smaller pets
4.    Sterile Gauze Pads
5.    A Razor Blade
6.    Scissors
7.    Wire Cutters or Needle Nose Pliers
8.    Tweezers
9.    A Thick Magazine for use as a splint
10.  Tongue Depressors
11.  Eye Dropper
12.  12cc Syringe
13.  Q Tips
14.  Thermometer
15.  3% Hydrogen Peroxide
16.  Antibacterial Ointment ~ Bacitracin for example
17.  Antibiotic Powder ~  Povidone-Iodine or Furacin
18. A&D Ointment
19.  Betadine
20.  Eyewash Container 0.9--2.0% Boric Acid
21.  Sterile Lubricant such as K-Y Jelly
22.  Styptic Pencil, Silver Nitrate Sticks or Pet Shop Bleed
23.  Kaopectate or Pepto Bismol
24.  Mineral Oil
25.  Karo Syrup
26.  Ice Pack or plastic bags for ice
Peke Info Page 2
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