Here is below some information about your dog's health, hoping that this piece of advice will save you some unnecessary vet visits.
Dog's temperature is normally around 38 to 38,5°. There is fever when the body temperature rises to 39°. Be careful of stress because a simple visit to the vet can bring up your dog's temperature to 39°. You can buy a soft flexible thermometer for your dog. You can suspect a case of fever if your dog is sad when you call him, if he sleeps a lot, has a sad look, a hot and dry nose, shakes and shivers and an overall impression of heat coming for the dog's fur. A visit to the vet is then mandatory.
Fever being a sign of an infectious battle, stay alert and do not give your dog anything before taking him to the vet so as not to interfere with the vet's diagnosis!
Your dog was vaccinated at the breeder's when he was 6 weeks old for various diseases (parvovirose disease, Maladie de Carré « hard pad disease », etc.) then another vaccine at 8 weeks against parvovirose, leptospirosis, hepatitis, Maladie de Carré and kennel cough, a booster shot is vital a month after this second vaccine. Your companion will only be completely protected 10 days after that, this is why you should be extremely careful and not take your puppy to high-risk areas (public places, dog conventions, pet stores…).
At three months you puppy can be vaccinated against rabies, and you can discuss with your vet the necessity for Lyme disease vaccination, especially if you are in a tic-infested region.
Important information: an annual booster shot is mandatory.
Your dog was wormed regularly at the breeder's; I do lab analyses of puppy stools to make sure that I don't miss anything.
After getting your dog, worm him every month up to 8 months, then twice a year for the rest of his life (spring, fall). See with your vet what is best for your dog.
Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea, anemia, etc. It is possible if your dog is infested to have his stools analyzed; this is a low-cost test that can help your vet decide what treatment is best for your dog.
External anti-parasites devices
Don't neglect protecting your dog against fleas, tics, etc.. Fleas can be very hard to get rid of once your dog is infested, and even if you treat your dog he gets reinfested right away.
The only solution is prevention. Tic is also highly concerning because of piroplasmosis in dog and Lyme disease in humans.
Here are the symptoms:
Your dog is very tired, his urine is coffee-colored, his mucous membranes are white and he has a high fever.
Don't wait, run to the vet, even at night as an emergency. Your dog's life depends on it.
Your dog's general state should alert you, if your dog is tired and drawn, take him to the vet. On the contrary, if there aren't any other symptoms, try to find the cause.
Diarrhea can be caused by various things : eating “junk”, a cold or heat-stroke, too much food, stress, parasites… diarrhea is mostly benign and of little consequences. Everything should be fine and you might want to put your dog on a diet for 24 hours.
Make sure the last worming was recent, especially for puppies, and a good internal cleaning usually solves the problem.
If diarrhea persists for more than 2 or 3 days, don't hesitate to go to the vet.
A dog left too long in the sun, while waiting in a car while your shop, or running around in the summer heat, a male excited by a bitch in the middle of summer, etc.. : all that can cause a heatstroke which can be fatal if you don't act fast.
The dog starts to pant noisily with his mouth open wide to breathe in as much air as possible. If nothing is done he can go into a coma.
The first thing to do is to wet the dog with cold water by all possible means, roll him into water, splash him, etc.. First wet his head. Once he is all wet, lie him down in a cold room and put wet towels on his head. Call your vet immediately.
If you are going on vacation in a hot area make sure you spray water on your companion's head regularly. In summer go for a walk early in the morning or late at night.
Torsion of stomach
The bloating/torsion of stomach can be fatal to your dog if nothing is done to prevent it. Even if this problem is not Bernese-specific, it is good to talk about it because often dog die because owners do not know the symptoms of this disease.
Bloating/torsion of stomach is considered an accident because we don't really know what causes it. Some risk factors are:
· A deep and narrow thorax
· A cereal-rich food
· Only one meal a day
· Exercise before or after meals
· An abnormal esophagus
Learn how to recognize the symptoms:
1. Nausea, unproductive retching, hyper salivating,
2. Bloating of the anterior part of the abdomen looking like a tambourine, in a few minutes your dog looks like an inflatable balloon,
3. Breathing difficulties,
4. State of shock with coma
Those four signs occur one after the other, the second symptom indicatse that the stomach is filling up with gas, symptoms 3 and 4 show the onset of disorders: rib cage compression, vascular, neurological and cardiac complications.
Act as fast as possible and go to the vet, this is an emergency. The vet only has 1 to 2 hours before internal damages set in. After treating the state of shock your dog is in, he will set back the stomach in its place and will surgically fix it to prevent a new incident. Whatever the treatment sometimes your vet might not save your dog. Don't blame him, stomach bloating/torsion is one of the worst canine disorder.
· No exercising and no stress after a meal.
· Your dog should eat a reasonable amount of food. A large amount of food at one time is very dangerous.
· Your dog should not eat too fast.
· Avoid changing his food all of sudden.
· Give him a high-quality, digest food.
· Don't make him drink a too-large quantity of water right after exercising.
Make sure you clean your dog's ears thoroughly, with baby wipes or a specific cleanser. Never use q-tips, if your dog moves when you clean his ears you could rupture his eardrum.
HIP DYSPLASIA (HD)
This is a delicate topic which should be mentioned here. Clinical signs vary from one dog to the other. The only real way to be sure that your dog has hip dysplasia is an X-ray, but not at two months old.
This condition affects the hip joint and many breeds can be affected to some extent. The first signs usually appear between four and eight months old when the puppy may show signs of difficulty in rising from a sit or down position, or perhaps show a peculiar swaying gait with the hind legs tucked under the body in an effort to transfer the bodyweight forward to reduce discomfort. The vast majority of affected dogs lead a normal or near normal life as maturity will bring muscle development and greatly improve balance and coordination, which will compensate for joint laxity or deformity.
Ever since I've started breeding dogs I only work with dysplasia-free bitches and stallions. Unfortunately, I can not guarantee that your dog will not develop hip dysplasia, it is always a risk.
To limit those risks, here are two indications of things you can do when you bring your puppy home:
- Food: it should be high-quality food but not large quantities, your puppy should first build strong bones which can help carry his weight in the future. Wanting a sumo puppy can only ruin his future health. The leading dog food suppliers have done a great effort on their products' quality, give your puppy a large dog-specific food and all will go well.
- Exercise : should be limited at first, don't let your puppy get tired when he's growing, long walks are forbidden, let him play around the house at his own pace or go to a nice spot, sit down and watch him play around, he is all rubber-like and if you exercise him too much you might cause him harm. Don't let your dog go up and down the stairs, or jump at the back of the car. Following those easy tips can help prevent hip dysplasia. Be patient and soon you can fully enjoy running around with your dog.
Some Bernese die young because of this cancer, research is making progress to better know and treat this dreadful disease. I will complete this chapter when more information is available.
I've gone over major health issues; don't be scared after reading those lines because I do my absolute best to select healthy and strong dogs. If by any lack of luck your dog has a health problem, don't think badly of me, I would never let a puppy leave my home if I had any doubt about his health condition.
Do not hesitate to contact me should you have any concerns about your dog.