As the dog owner, you can mostly perform routine procedures
yourself but will have to obtain professional care when
required. It is always good practice to develop a good working
relationship with your local Vet. They can be a valuable source
of information on health care practices and other services as
Being in possession of a First Aid Kit for both musher and sled
keeping it up to date with the items as listed in the "First
Aid Kit - Check List". When on the trail to ensure that you
have a Sled dog Emergency First Aid Kit and a Comprehensive
Sleddog First Aid Kit with a Musher's First Aid Kit in your
Monitor their appetite and water intake. Also monitor their
fecal and urine output for abnormalities. Often small changes in
a dog's normal behavior are the first signs of health problems.
Trim nails and groom each dog. If a dog is shedding, grooming
keeps its skin and coat healthy. Administer external parasite
control for fleas, lice, ticks, and so on if and when needed.
Work out a worming program for your dogs with your veterinarian.
The type of wormer will depend on the incidence of intestinal
parasites in your area.
Administer vaccinations for distemper, parvovirus, corona,
hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, bordatella, and rabies
(which is sometimes good for three years). A good time to
vaccinate is in the early in the year before training begins. If
you are mushing, it is recommended that boosters for parvo,
corona, and kennel cough be given prior to the mushing season.
Also perform a thorough physical exam on each dog so that if you
find any problems, you have time to take care of them before
dog should be alert and interested in its surroundings.
and coat. A
dog should be lean but not thin. It should have a healthy,
shiny coat and skin that is a light pink with no raw areas
or excessive flaking. Run your hand over the dog's whole
body, checking for lumps, bumps, and sores. A dog in poor
condition or with an unhealthy coat may be showing signs of
conditions such as hypothyroidism, parasitism (internal
parasites such as worms or coccidia, or external parasites
such as lice, fleas, or mange mites), malabsorption syndrome
(an inability to absorb nutrients), or numerous other
diseases. However, keep in mind that all dogs do not always
look their best. Even a beautiful coat looks rough during
shedding, and a female will shed after she has had pups.
eyes should be clear without excessive tearing, redness, or
a gray or blue haziness on the cornea. The pupils should be
ears should be clean inside without a waxy or pussy
discharge and without a foul odor.
should be no nasal discharge, raw areas, or dry, crusty
buildup around the nostrils.
mouth and teeth should be clean without any strong odors or
excessive tartar buildup. The gums should be pink without
infection along the teeth-gum border. Check for broken teeth
or an uneven bite. Dental disorders may contribute to poor
appetite, poor attitude, or chronic infection.
dog's normal heart rate is 100 to 130 beats per minute, and
its respiratory rate should be about 22 breaths per minute.
These may both be elevated in an excited dog, and both will
be hard to evaluate in the panting dog, but check for
abnormal respiratory sounds. When you try a dog out, run it
near the back of the team for at least part of the time,
even if it is a lead dog, because it is difficult to hear
abnormal respiratory sounds if the dog is too far ahead of
you. Respiratory conditions are most easily detected when
the dog is run fast or in warm temperatures, but any dog
will show distress if it is run too hot.
and bones: Check
the dog for symmetry. Compare the muscles and joints of the
two hind legs and of the two front legs. Swelling on the
foot may be an indication of an old metacarpal fracture;
swollen wrists may be a sign of arthritis. Asymmetrical
muscle masses may indicate lameness or an unequal use of
the feet for signs of scars or excessive licking between the
pads (mahogany, discolored hair). Examine the nails, and
note if the dog has dewclaws. The importance of dewclaw
removal on an adult depends on your plans for the dog.
Check the rectum for open sores, growths, or excessive
A good physical exam will not guarantee how well a dog is going
to run, but it will help to uncover some conditions that would
prevent it from performing to its potential.
Keep in mind to hand in your Vaccination Card for viewing before
partaking at mushing events; therefore keep your vaccinations up to
date to illuminate disqualification on health reasons.
Most vaccinations are given by injection and should only be
done by a veterinary surgeon. You must take your vet's advice as to when
to vaccinate as this may differ according to the vaccine used. Most vaccinations
immunise your puppy against viruses. On collecting your new puppy, you will be
provided with the Veterinary Vaccination Certificate by the breeder. Continue
with the vaccination date as stipulated on the card or booklet.
|What is it?
||What causes it?
||Severe decease that
effects the internal organs; can be spread to humans.
||A bacterium, which
is often carried by rodents, that enters through mucous membranes and
spreads quickly throughout the body.
||Range from fever,
vomiting and loss of appetite in less severe cases to shock,
irreversible kidney damage and possible death in much severe cases.
virus that infects warm blooded mammals. Can be spread to humans if
bitten by such an effected animal.
||Bite from the
carrier of the virus, mainly wild animals.
Stage - dog exhibits change in behavior,
2nd Stage - dog's behavior becomes more aggressive.
3rd Stage - loss of coordination, trouble with bodily functions.
virus, potentially deadly.
of the virus, which is usually spread through the faeces of infected
||Most common -
severe diarrhea. Also vomiting, fatigue, lack of appetite.
Combination of types of bacteria and virus. Most common - Bordetella
bronchiseptica bacteria and para influenza virus.
affecting respiratory and nervous system.
||Virus that is
related to the human measles virus.
||Mild symptoms such
as fever, lack of appetite and mucous secretion progress to evidence of
affecting the liver.
type 1 (CAV-1). Enters system when dog breathes in particles.
include listlessness, diarrhea, vomiting,. More severe symptoms include
clumps of virus in the eyes "blue-eye".
||Virus resulting in
spread through infected dog's faeces.
evidenced by lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.
The most common external parasite is the flea.
In warmer climates these pesky insects can make everyone, dog and human alike,
miserable. A Malamute with fleas can render himself hairless in an amazingly
short time. Fleas spends much of its life off the dog in the grass, beddings,
carpets, cracks in concrete, etc. jumping on the dog for dinner or
transportation. many products are available to treat your infected yard and dog.
Fleas can contribute to many skin problems. Frontline Spray or Top Tip is
ideal to treat your Malamute against fleas and ticks. Consult your vet for which
product to use on your dog when having a flea problem.
Ticks carry several diseases which can affect mammals,
including Spotted tick fever, Canine Ehrlichiosus and Lyme Disease, all of which
poses serious health problems for affected animals. Ticks can be found in wooden
areas, land used for grazing livestock, high grass and coastal areas. During the warmer months on tick-prone areas, be sure to
check both yourself and your Malamute for ticks. In South Africa we get the
larger blue/grey and small red ticks. Never just pull them them off, the head will be left embedded
in the skin which can cause irritation and infection. Instead, put alcohol or
nail polish remover on it to intoxicate or kill it. When it releases its, the
tick can be removed safely and either be burned. Frontline Spray or Top Tip is ideal to treat your Malamute
against fleas and ticks. Consult your vet for which product to use on your dog
when having a tick problem.
|Flies love ear tips and will torment some dogs and ignore
others. If you have this problem with your dog, a petroleum jelly coating may
provide adequate protection or apply Fly-Away ointment to the ears. This can be
obtained from your Vet or Pet Shop.
Most animals and humans have worms and other parasites living
inside their bodies. Most of the worm infections are relatively easy to control.
If they are not controlled they eventually weaken the host dog to the point that
other medical problems occur.
Roundworm infect and lives in the dog's intestines.
The greatest danger of roundworm is that they infect people too. It is wise to
have your dog tested regularly for roundworm.
Hookworm attaches itself with hooks to the intestines
of the dog, but is rarely found in pet or show dogs.
Tapeworm are carried by fleas. The dog eats the flea
and start the tapeworm cycle. Tapeworm infection is not life threatening to
Normally your dog gets treated against worms every time you
take your dog for vaccination. Enquire from your vet.
A WELL BALANCED NUTRITION IS ESSENTIAL
FOR THE WELL BEING AND HEALTH OF YOUR MALAMUTE