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    Taking Care of your Miniature Schnauzer at Home

    Much of what you can do to keep your dog happy and healthy is common sense, just like it is for people.  Watch their diet, make sure the get plenty of exercise , regularly brush his teeth and if something seems unusual consult your Vet.   Unlike us humans we know when we don't feel well so it is up to us to know our dogs and read their body language.  Schnauzers are very stoic and do not show us that they are in pain, so if in doubt consult your Vet. 

     

    When I moved to a new town first thing I did was to check out the Vet Clinics, I sat outside each one and monitored the clients coming and going.  Once I decided which one I wanted to

    know more about I made an appointment making sure I was seeing a Senior Vet or one of the

    partners.  I took my dogs along and when it was our turn we headed off to the consult room,

    Now what can I do for you he asked.   Nothing was my reply - I'm here to introduce myself and my dogs to you.  I think he thought me nuts at the time!!  But as I explained I need someone I can rely on to look after my dogs.  They cant tell me that there is something wrong but they rely on me to do something if I THINK there is something wrong and thats where YOU come into it.   After that visit we developed a wonderful friendship and I always had trust in him to take care of my precious dogs.  I hope that you too can develop a wonderful friendship/relationship with your vet.

     

     

    Routine Care, Diet and Exercise

     

    •  Build a routine care into your schedule to help your mini stay healthy.  Watch the diet, and make sure they get regular exercise.  Brush the teeth at least a couple of times a week.

    •  Keep your dog's diet consistent with a high quality pet biscuit, and dont feed people food.

    •  Feed a diet appropriate for their age.

    •  Exercise your dog regularly, but don't overdue it... Like any athelete build up the distance slowly.

    • Have your dog groomed regularly - every 6 - 8 weeks.  But in between times make sure that you Brush and Comb at least a couple of times at week.

     

    What to Watch For

    Call and make an appointment with your Vet if you notice any of these signs

     

    • Vomiting or Chronic diarrhea

    •  Weight loss or weight gain

    • Lumps, bumps and moles

    • Lethargy, mental dullness or excessive sleeping

    • Behavioral changes  - Fearfulness, agression

    • Limping or lameness

    • Hair loss

    • Coughing or difficulty in breathing

    • Inability or straining to urinate

    • Blood in stools

     

    Dental Disease

    Dental disease is the most common chronic problem in pets.  It starts with tartar build-up on the teeth and progresses to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth.

     

    Diabetes

    If your Mini has diabetes, it means they have a problem regulating how their body processes sugars and carbohydrates.  It is a serious condition and one that is important to diagnose and treat as early as possible.  Symptons include increased eating, drinking and urination, along with weight loss. 

     

    Ear Infections

    Mini's can get ear infections, which are painful and annoying.  Infections can be caused by bacteria, yeast and allergies.   If you notice that your pup is scratching or shaking their head or there is a foul odor about the ears or that the ears seem painful to touch, please consult your Vet.

     

     

    C.J.C. or Congenital Juvenile Cataracts

    Can be  present at birth and progress to cause blindness. Surgery is available but can be costly.  Today this defect is extremely rare among dogs from show lines. A warning, no such efforts were made in commercial puppy mills, so dogs who descend from pet store stock are still at risk! This is one defect where having Champion parents is a plus!  A Veterinary Opthamologist can diagnose puppies at an early age. Good breeders routinely have all their litters eyes checked.

     

    Pancreatitis

    This is occuring  with increasing frequency in Miniature Schnauzers. The exact mechanism is poorly understood, but appears to be associated with the fact that many Miniature Schnauzers have high blood serum lipids (fats).  Clinical signs generally include vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy and depression.  It is an emergency situation which warrants immediate veterinary care. Treatment includes intravenous fluids, antibiotics and dietary control.

     

     

    Kidney Stones

    Although there are many types of stones known to affect dogs, Miniature Schnauzers suffer most commonly from either Struvite and/or Calcium Oxalate uroliths.

     

    Struvite stones (Magnesium ammonium phosphate( are the most common type. Experimental and clinical studies have provided convincing evidence that the vast majority of Struvite stones occur following infection of the urinary tract with urease producing bacteria (especially staphylococci.) This infection results in the urine becoming more alkaline. Mineral crystals are less soluble in the alkaline environment and tend to clump together, forming stones. Studies at the University of Minnesota revealed that Struvite stones can form within 2 to 8 weeks following an infection. Some have been detected in puppies as young as 5 weeks.

     

    As the stones form, they can lead to irritation of the urinary tract, making bacterial infection more difficult to treat. A vicious cycle begins. Untreated, bladder stones can lead to blockage of the urethra (particularly in male dogs) serious illness and death. This is a medical emergency. Any Miniature Schnauzer whom you suspect has a blockage (eg. straining to urinate) needs immediate medical attention!

     

    Treatment of Struvite stones involves antibiotic and dietary management, urine acidifiers and/or surgery. Eradication or control of urinary tract infection is the most important factor in preventing recurrence.