What are the symptoms of canine toxemia?

Often called auto-intoxication or self-poisoning is usually brought about by improper feeding, lack of exercise, bad ventilation, and the use of prohibited foods such as liver, etc.

Dogs kept in confined spaces and not taken out of the house for exercise naturally retain excretions which they retain on account of lack of exercise, especially sporting breeds.

The symptoms of toxemia develop gradually showing a hardened abdomen sensitive to the touch and so sensitive is the dog that he gives the idea of being affected with rheumatism and is listless, refuses food, craves for water and often vomits.

The treatment is to remove the cause of the poisons which are absorbed in the intestinal canal, by giving the dog a course of calomel followed by milk of magnesia, for the time being, meat diet is withheld and one of milk, eggs (raw), cereals, and vegetables substituted, so as to build up the health of the sufferer.

When toxemia has extended over a period of several years complications make it difficult to cure, as dropsy of the abdomen, enlargement, and inflammation of the kidneys also cataract in the lenses of the eyes, heart disease, and asthma also develop.

Most of these troubles are incurable and are attributable to incorrect feeding, hence the necessity for proper feeding of puppies so as to avoid such diseases as toxemia. Often in toxemia, the symptoms develop so rapidly that paralysis of the hind legs is caused, and in about 48 hours the hind legs become quite paralyzed.

A diet is then used of bran of milk, shredded wheat and milk, sour milk, raw eggs, and milk, or white of egg and milk; beef or lamb broth and barley water are also given.

The way to avoid toxemia or autointoxication, therefore, is to observe conditions of correct feeding, plenty of fresh air, and above all, full exercise for all canines, especially those confined in small spaces.


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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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