(Continued from last week)

You may recall that we were discussing the features to which special attention must be paid when we are purchasing or adopting a young puppy.  We ended up by referring to some aspects of the physical examination.  Let’s continue in this vein.

Physical examination of the male puppy

In addition to all that we mentioned in the last few columns, we must now specifically examine the reproduction organs of the male puppy.

Firstly, push the foreskin (prepuce) back to confirm that it slides back and forth easily.  Adhesions between the prepuce and the head of the penis, as well as strictures of the foreskin, require veterinary attention.  Both testicles should be present in the scrotum.  A dog with an undescended testicle cannot be exhibited at pet shows and should not be used for breeding.  Some pups still do not have descended testicles at six weeks (the earliest age at which you would be acquiring the pups); yet later on the testicles do descend into the scrotum.  This condition must be recognized as a genetic deficiency.  As such, when that male pup becomes an adult and is capable of mating and siring his own offspring, he should not be allowed to so do.  He should not be permitted to perpetuate the genetic fault.  In fact, I would seriously advocate that the dog should be neutered (castrated).

Physical examination of female puppies

pet cornerExamine the vulva.  Look for pasting of hair or discharge.  Juvenile vaginitis is a common problem and requires treatment.

In general, and in addition to that which we have already documented, the skin and hair around the anus should be clean and healthy looking.  Signs of irritation, such as redness and hair loss, indicate the possibility of worms, chronic diarrhoea, or a digestive disorder.

The coat should be bright and shiny and carry the correct colour and markings for the breed.  Excess scales, itching of deposits in the coat suggest mites, fleas and other parasites.  Moth-eaten areas of hair loss are typical of mange or ringworm.  There is an almost puppy specific mange (cheyletiella mange), also called ‘walking dandruff’ which is caused by a large reddish mite, the presence of which is recognized by a heavy dandruff over the pup’s head, neck and back.

Both male and female puppies must be examined for soundness and correct structure.  The legs should be straight and well formed.  Structural faults include legs which bow in or out, flat feet with spread toes, and feet with extra toes (dew claws).

The gait of the puppy should be free and smooth.  A limp or faltering gait may simply be due to a sprain or a hurt pad, but hip dysplasia and other joint conditions would have to be considered.

Another quick aside

A book was written by Alexander Horowitz and published since 2009.  Only now have I received a copy.  The book is entitled Inside of a Dog.  It makes for exciting reading and addresses our experiences of living with/treating dogs and attempts to share with us an understanding of the minds of our canine companion animals.  Every dog owner/caregiver should seek to acquire a copy of this book.

Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals.  Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you do not wish your pet to have puppies or kittens, you may exploit the GSPCA’s free spay and neutering programme. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.


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