(Stem Cell Therapy) By Dr. Tyler Simpson |Published July 21, 2019
Small dogs may not have size on their side, but they have more than enough charm to make up for it! Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, Lhasa Apso, and so many other small breeds are adorable, easy to cuddle, and simple travel companions.
Unfortunately, these small pups are also vulnerable to certain health issues.
Since small dogs can be easier to manage and clean up after, it’s tempting to think that they don’t require dedicated preventative care. However, the truth is that small dogs need just as much attention as their larger companions.
Make sure you are aware of the unique health threats facing your small dog, so you can stop problems before they begin!
If you have a large dog like a Great Dane or Mastiff, you might already know that he’s vulnerable to hip and elbow dysplasia, and arthritis.
Small dogs fall on the opposite end of the spectrum; instead of dealing with complications related to movement and speed, they often fall victim to issues caused by not enough movement and too much food.
Humans aren’t the only ones who struggle with obesity. Obesity is a major concern for our canine companions, especially small dogs.
There are a few reasons your small dog is vulnerable to obesity. First, your Maltese or Bichon Frise pup doesn’t get as much exercise as larger dogs. He’s probably perfectly content to lie in your lap most of the day! This means he burns fewer calories altogether.
When you combine this inactivity with high-calorie treats, obesity is the inevitable result. Even seemingly harmless treats like chicken bites or pasta can add up fast. Sneaking your furry friend table scraps on a regular basis amounts to feeding him a full extra meal each day.
Obesity is simple to spot if you pay attention for these symptoms:
To make matters worse, the same foods contributing to your dog’s obesity may also influence another common health issue in small dogs: dental disease.
It’s human nature to express love through food. We celebrate birthdays with cake, honor holidays with feasts, and come together to socialize over beverages. Unfortunately, when we extend this type of love to small dogs, we place our pets at risk of dental disease.
Although your small dog has the same number of teeth as a larger Saint Bernard, he has a much smaller space to fit those teeth! This creates crowding and makes it harder to clean your dog’s teeth effectively. Dental health becomes even harder if you feed your small dog soft foods that are sticky and tend to erode the enamel.
Oral health is inextricably linked to physical wellbeing. It’s all too easy for bacterial infections of the gums to hop into the bloodstream and circulate through the liver, kidneys and heart.
This unfortunately means that untreated dental bacteria along the gumline can spread through the body and quickly translate into kidney disease, heart disease, and other severe complications.
Keep an eye open for these signs of dental disease in your small dog:
Just as in humans, if your dog’s dental disease is identified early, successful treatment is possible!
Though some health problems are impossible to control, the most common small dog health issues can be prevented with a few simple precautions.
To begin, talk to your vet about your small dog’s eating habits. Not all dog foods are created equal, and some aren’t nearly as beneficial as they claim on the label.
Sadly, marketing dollars often have more influence over popular dog foods than their proven health and safety. Your vet can work with you to find the best eating routine and food type for your pup.
Regular controlled exercise also plays an essential role in your efforts to keep your small dog healthy. Take a walk around the neighborhood, play a game in the yard, or head to the dog park.
Small dogs love to run and scurry when given the opportunity, so always try to encourage physical activity- especially if you know you’ll surrender to his begging at the dinner table later on!
Dental decay and disease can also be prevented with the right care. First, ask your veterinarian if she offers a dental care plan. Most vets offer some type of dental package to make sure your dog can enjoy regular dental cleanings. You wouldn’t wait four or five years to visit the dentist, and your dog shouldn’t either.
You can also control and prevent your small dog’s dental decay by choosing the right foods and treats. Canned foods and soft treats, especially those high in sugar, immediately cause bacteria and acid to accumulate until gum disease develops. Hard dog foods help scrape plaque from teeth, which is why it isn’t associated with dental disease.
Specially designed dental bones also stimulate a brushing effect in your dog’s mouth to wash away debris and bacteria. The Veterinary Oral Health Council offers suggestions for canine dental products that are tested and approved to reduce the amount of buildup on your dog’s teeth.
Stem cells exist naturally in the body to heal and rebuild tissues when the body becomes damaged. As soon as an injury appears, stem cells convert into the specific cell that needs to be repaired. They also direct other cells to support and stimulate accelerated healing.
Stem cell therapy is a relatively new regenerative therapy that harnesses the body’s natural stem cell resources to directly treat injured areas of the body with concentrated quantities of stem cells. This is so powerful because it delivers millions of stem cells where only a few hundred would have naturally existed.
With just one treatment canine stem cell therapy accelerates the body’s innate healing capabilities to overcome existing problems and support ongoing wellness.
Stem cell therapy can’t reverse obesity on its own, but it can alleviate many of the problems brought on by obesity. Overweight dogs frequently suffer from joint pain and arthritis due to the extra strain placed on their bodies. Stem cell therapy is a safe and natural way to reduce the inflammation causing all of that pain.
If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, joint pain or arthritis could be the culprit:
Compared to standard anti-inflammatory treatments like NSAIDs, steroids, and painkillers, stem cell therapy addresses the root cause of the problem as stem cells anchor themselves to damaged tissues and begin the process of regeneration. Pain decreases and damaged cells have a chance of recovery.
Once stem cell therapy reduces the pain and discomfort your dog feels, exercise becomes possible once again. You can slowly but surely help your dog increase his activity level and shed that extra weight.
Since stem cell therapy augments the body’s natural healing processes, it’s an excellent way to address heart, kidney, and liver disease.
Your small dog may become especially vulnerable to liver disease as he ages. This condition is defined by elevated levels of liver enzyme.
Symptoms manifest themselves in many different ways, making liver disease among the top five leading causes of non-accidental death in dogs.
Frequent vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, and dark urine are all signs of a liver problem that needs immediate attention. If caught quickly, early-stage liver disease can be controlled and treated using a combination of antibiotics and stem cell therapy.
The antibiotics eliminate any dangerous oral bacteria that traveled through the bloodstream, while stem cell therapy improves your dog’s overall immune function and makes it easier for his body to recover.
The same things can be said for kidney and heart disease. Stem cell therapy is a safe and easy way to address any potential imbalance in your small dog’s body and prevent serious issues before they occur. The anti-inflammatory action of stem cell therapy is especially valuable to reduce heart conditions.
Your dog might not be the biggest on the block, but he’s still a huge part of your life. By taking precautions to keep your dog at a healthy weight and handle his dental needs, you can ensure that his life is as joyful and vibrant as possible.
Dr. Tyler Simpson is a small animal veterinarian in South Carolina with a focused interest in soft tissue surgery, internal medicine, and stem cell therapy for dogs. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, South Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, and the Greater Greenville Medical Association.