OKEMA SHOW CHIHUAHUAS
ABOUT CHIHUAHUAS
BREED PROFILE

Temperament – Chihuahuas are very alert and intelligent dogs.  They are excellent companions.  They exhibit terrier-like qualities.  Graceful, swift, friendly and fearless are adjectives that come to mind.  This is also a breed that recognizes its own kind.
Grooming- There are two coats, long and smooth; neither require a lot of grooming.   A wet washcloth or baby wipe can often be enough.  The long coats require brushing at least once a week.  The smooth coats need to be brushed every other week.  My Chihuahuas get weekly baths and love all the brushing they can get.  Teeth should be brushed on a regular basis.  Never use human tooth paste, only use paste formulated for dogs.  Nails should be clipped about every other week.
Longevity- Chi’s are known for living to be in their late teens.  You can help towards this longevity by spaying or neutering at a young age, keeping the dog at ideal weight, feeding a good quality food, proper exercise, and working on good dental hygiene.
Health Concerns – The Chihuahua is very blessed in that the breed has few health problems overall; however, a few problems that are seen in the Chihuahua are described below.  Patella luxation (slipping kneecap) is probably the most common health problem in the Chihuahua breed.
1.Patella luxation:  The patella is similar to the human kneecap.  I have my puppies checked by my veterinarian for a second opinion.  In doing this I know the patellas are tight.  However, injury in the future can create a problem causing a patella to slip.  The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) lists the Chihuahua as having a 10% affected rate, but this may be under estimated as there are some that think if the dog is walking it doesn’t have a problem.   Patella luxation can either have genetic causes, or environmental causes (injury).  As a Chihuahua ages, slight looseness might be seen, especially in dogs that are overweight and have continued pressure on the ligaments/patella.  Visual signs of grade 2 (and higher) patella luxation include skipping, holding the rear leg up for a short time as the dog walks or runs.  Grade 1 patella luxation does not usually have any visual signs except the patella can manually be pushed out of place quite easily by hand.  Patella luxation can cause permanent lameness later in life, as well as arthritis, especially in more serious cases (grade 2 and higher).  If your dog has this painful problem, your veterinarian might be able to give you some options to help alleviate the symptoms, depending on the seriousness of the problem.  This might include glucosamine/choroditin, pain killers, or surgery.
2.Teeth Issues:  Because the Chihuahua is small, he also has a very small mouth.  This small mouth can cause problems with the mouth being too small for the teeth, which causes overcrowding. Overcrowding teeth can cause food to be trapped between the teeth, resulting in plaque and tartar buildup, as well as premature tooth-loss.  Keeping the teeth clean is essential to keeping the mouth and the rest of the dog healthy.  Dogs that have dirty teeth are found to be at much more risk of heart, liver and kidney damage from the bacteria entering the bloodstream.  To help with this problem provide chew toys and keep your Chihuahua’s teeth brushed at least weekly.  Another issue, although less serious and easily corrected, is retained puppy teeth.  As the adult tooth comes in, sometimes the puppy tooth does not fall out on its own.  The teeth most often retained are the long canines and the small incisors in the front.  I tell people the best time to remove retained teeth is when you take your pet to be spayed or neutered, this way the dog is only under anesthetic once, and for the rest of his life food can’t get trapped between the puppy and adult teeth.  Tartar Control is important in maintaining a healthy dog.  Besides brushing, there are now dental sealants available for dogs and additives for their drinking water that aid in dental health.
3.Hypoglycemia:  is the scientific name for a condition where the sugar level suddenly drops in a small animals system.  The problem is caused by the dog (puppy) burning off more energy than he is taking in.  The first signs of this problem is usually staggering and falling over as though they are drunk.  Or they can be observed lying on their side paddling with their front feet as though they are swimming.  If these symptoms are observed, you must act very quickly in order to save your puppy’s life.  YOU HAVE TO GET THE SUGAR LEVEL UP TO BRING THE PUPPY OUT OF THIS SITUATION, AND IT MUST BE DONE VERY QUICKLY.  Usually you do not have time to get them to a Vet before they suffer irreparable damage.  Honey is the best remedy for this situation.  But if honey is not available, use light karo syrup or anything that is super sweet.  If you don’t have any of this on hand, then run about an inch of water in a coffee cup and stir in 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar and stir quickly until it dissolves.  Then you must get some of the mixture into the puppy.  At this point, you will find the puppy clinches it mouth shut and will not lap it up on its own.  By inserting a finger into the corner of the puppy’s mouth you can pry it open far enough to get a fingertip covered with honey into its mouth.  Or in the case of the sugar water, an eye dropper, straw, or even dropping it through the opening in the mouth one drop at a time from a spoon.  Once the puppy gets a good taste of the sweet substance, it will usually start licking its tongue out and will start to recover in a very short time.  If your puppy is experiencing episodes of hypoglycemia, it is usually a sign that it is not taking in enough food or it has an underlying problem that may need medical attention.   Sometimes, this problem can be corrected by just stirring in a teaspoon of sugar to the puppy’s water supply daily until the episodes subside.  A good preventative for puppies is to give them “DYNE” which is a calorie supplement that can be purchased at local feed stores or pet stores.  Give the puppy ½ cc 3-5 times a day or you can put it on the puppy’s food.  Ever since I found this product I have never had a puppy go hypoglycemic.
4.Hydrocephalus: is characterized by a build-up of fluid around the brain, caused by a variety of reasons.  Symptoms of hydrocephalus includes a very domed head, small size, very large or multiple moleras (also known as a soft spot), listlessness, sluggish/sleepness, poor coordination, and seizures.  Some Chihuahuas may show symptoms early on, while others may not show symptoms until they are older.  Some Chihuahuas are able to live with a mild case of hydrocephalus throughout adulthood.   


OFFICIAL AKC CHIHUAHUA STANDARD
APPROVED AUGUST 12, 2008 EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2008

GENERAL APPEARANCE: 
 A graceful, alert, swift-moving, compact little dog with saucy expression and with terrier-like qualities of temperament.
SIZE, PROPORTION, SUBSTANCE:  
Weight - A well balanced little dog not to exceed 6 pounds.
Proportion – The body is off-square, hence slightly longer when measured from point of shoulder to point of buttocks, than heights at the withers.  Somewhat shorter bodies are preferred in males.
Disqualification – Any dog over 6 pounds in weight.
HEAD
A well rounded “apple dome” skull, with or without molera.
Expression – Saucy
Eyes – Full, round, but not protruding, balanced, set well apart – luminous dark or luminous ruby.  Light eyes in blond or white-colored dogs permissible.  Blue eyes or a difference in the color of the iris in the two eyes, or two different colors within one iris should be considered a serious fault.
Ears – Large, erect type ears, held more upright when alert, but flaring to the sides at a 45 degree angle when in repose, giving breath between the ears.
Stop – Well defined.  When viewed in profile, it forms a near 90 degree angle where muzzle joins skull.
Muzzle – Moderately short, slightly pointed.  Cheeks and jaws lean.
Nose – Self-Colored in blond types, or black. In Moles, blues, and Chocolates, they are self-colored. In blond types, pink noses permissible.
Bite – Level or scissors.  Overshot or undershot, or any distortions of the bite or jaw should be penalized as a serious fault.  A missing tooth or two is permissible.
Disqualifications – Broken down or cropped ears.

NECK, TOPLINE, BODY
Neck – Slightly arched, gracefully sloping into lean shoulders.
Topline – Level.
Body – Ribs rounded and well sprung (but not too much “barrel shape”).
Tail – Moderately long, carried sickle either up or out, or in a loop over the back with the tip just touching the back (Never tucked between legs).
Disqualification – Docked tail, bobtail.
FOREQUARTERS
Shoulders - Lean, sloping into a slightly broadening support above straight forelegs that set well under, giving free movement at the elbows.  Shoulders should be well up, giving balance and soundness, sloping into a level back (never down or low).  This gives a well developed chest and strength of forequarters.
Feet – A small, dainty foot with toes well split up but not spread, pad cushioned. (Neither the hare nor the cat foot). Dewclaws may be removed.
Pattern – Strong.
HINDQUARTERS 
Muscular, with hocks well apart, neither out nor in, well let down, firm and sturdy.
Angulation – Should equal that of forequarters.  The feet are as in the front.  Dewclaws may be removed.
COAT
 In the Smooth Coats, the coat should be of soft texture, close and glossy. (Heavier coats with undercoats permissible).  Coat placed well over body with the ruff on neck preferred, and scantier on the head and ears.  Hair on tail preferred furry.
In Long Coats, the coat should be of soft texture, either flat or slightly wavy, with undercoat preferred.
Ears – Fringed.
Tail – Full and long (as a plume).
Feathering on feet and legs, pants on hind legs and large ruff on the neck desired and preferred. (The Chihuahua should be groomed only to create a neat appearance).
Disqualification – In Long Coats, too thin coat that resembles bareness.
COLOR
Any color – Solid, marked or splashed.
GAIT
The Chihuahua should move swiftly with a firm, sturdy action, with good reach in the front equal to the drive from the rear. From the rear, the hocks remain parallel to each other, and the foot fall of the rear legs follows directly behind that of the forelegs.  The legs, both front and rear, will tend to converge slightly toward a central line of gravity as speed increases.  The side view shows good, strong drive in the rear and plenty of reach in the front, with head carried high.  The topline should remain firm and the backline level as the dog moves
TEMPERAMENT
Alert, projecting the “terrier-like” attitudes of self importance, confidence, self-reliance.


THE CHIHUAHUA MOLERA
(SOFT SPOT ON TOP OF HEAD)

Historically, the Chihuahua developed in Mexico and the United States has displayed a “soft spot” on the top of the head.  In the Chihuahua this spot, or fontanel, is known as a Molera; and is the same as that found in human babies.  In the past, this molera was accepted as a mark of purity in the breed, and it is still mentioned in most Chihuahua breed standards the world over.
It is important to note that while many Chihuahua puppies are born without the molera, there are probably just as many born with one and its presence is nothing to become alarmed over.
Unfortunately, many lay people and some veterinarians not familiar with the Chihuahua have tried to link the mere presence of a molera with the condition known as hydrocephalus.  This causes many new comers to the breed serious concern and undue worry.  The truth is that a domed head with a molera present does not predispose the Chihuahua to this condition.  Along with the observations of devoted breeders over the years, there is adequate medical evidence to support this statement. 
In “Diseases of the Brain” 1989, Green & Braund stated that clinically normal toy breeds may have open fontanels without associated hydrocephalus.
Drs. Walker and Rivers, Veterinarians at the University of Minnesota concluded that there did not appear to be any relationship between the presence or size of a fontanel and the condition of hydrocephalus.
Dr. Alexander de Lahaunta of Cornell University in New York, one of the top neurologists in this country, stated that it would be wrong to conclude that any opening is abnormal.
While it would be impossible to list all the medical documentation here on this page, these few included here are perfectly clear, the presence of a molera does not mean the Chihuahua has a medical problem.
The Chihuahua is a little dog!  They belong in the house, at their owner’s side, receiving all the love they deserve to receive.  With or without a molera, the healthy Chihuahua that is loved and given proper veterinary care will live well into its teens as an irresistible member of the family.

TEA CUP STATEMENT

The Chihuahua is a Chihuahua!!!  The Official AKC Breed Standard describes the Chihuahua as a small dog that comes in two varieties or coat types.  The difference in the coat type (the Long Coat and the Smooth Coat) is the only official description used to identify a difference within this breed.  The standard does not categorize the Chihuahua by size.  
For the purpose of showing and record keeping AKC includes the Chihuahua and 19 other breeds in the Toy Group.  Therefore, irrespective of their weight or physical stature All Chihuahuas registered with the AKC are considered to be a toy breed of dog.
As with all living things, there will be size variance between individual dogs within the breed.  Look within the human family – brothers and sisters will differ in height and in weight, as well as other physical attributes.  They are described as humans, male or female, and there is seldom if ever a need to break the description down further.  The same holds true in regard to the Chihuahua, they are Chihuahuas, either Long Coat or Smooth Coat.
Unfortunately, the additional adjectives used to describe the size difference and physical appearances are many and have been misused for so long they now seem legitimate.  Teacup, Pocket Size, Tiny Toy, Miniature or Standard – are just a few of the many tags and labels that have been attached to this breed over the years.  These terms may be used to entice prospective buyers into thinking that puppies described in this way are of greater monetary value.  They are not and the use of these terms is incorrect and misleading.
Occasionally, within a litter, there may be a puppy that is unusually small.  That puppy is a small Chihuahua and any other breakdown in description is not correct.  To attach any of these additional labels to a particular puppy is to misrepresent that Chihuahua as something that is rare or exceptional and causes a great deal of confusion among those new fanciers who are looking for a Chihuahua.
We recognize that many Chihuahua fanciers do want the very small puppy.  While they are adorable and can be perfectly healthy, the buyer should be cautioned as to the extra care that may be required with regard to their general health and well-being.
This statement can be found in the Chihuahua Club of America website.

HOUSE TRAINING:
1.Be consistent!!!  Choose a spot where you want your puppy to go potty, take the puppy there every time, and come up with a word(s) that you will use every time you want the puppy to go. Say go potty, then when the puppy goes say good girl or good boy.  You can also use a Pee Spot Pheromone Stick which will help your dog learn the right place to seek relief.
2.Crating a puppy when you are not going to be around is a good way to keep the puppy from soiling your home and it also protects the puppy from mischief which can be dangerous.  Dogs will instinctively not soil in the same place where they sleep, unless left unattended.  If the puppy is 2 months old they should not be expected to hold it for more than 2 hours.  This is a good rule to follow, for however many months old the puppy is the number of hours you can expect them to hold it.  At 6 months the puppy can hold off for approx. 6 hours.  Always reward your puppy with praise and above all be patient, you are dealing with a “puppy”.  Never be harsh with a puppy or put their nose in the accident.  You will end up with a confused and timid dog.  You can also reward your puppy with treats when they do their business.
3.Just as with children, never let the puppy out of your site unless it is protected from the dangers of the environment safely in its crate.  A puppy will always sniff and root around when it needs to go potty.  Keep an eye out for this behavior and take the pup outside to his spot before he ever has a chance to go in the house. I use pet gates to restrict puppies to one room so I can keep a better eye on them.
4.If you don’t have a fenced yard you can train your puppy to go indoors on a puppy pad.  I use a pretreated pad with pheromones and they also make a plastic holder to secure the pad.  This holder is worth investing in, as puppies will use the pad as a toy and drag it through the house ripping it into pieces, etc.  Please use the biodegradable pads and do your part for the environment.  You can also use a puppy litter box.  Pet stores sell a product called “Yesterday’s News” which is newspapers that have been recycled into pellets.  You can buy the pheromone spray to apply to this and it helps stimulate the training process.  When you first use this the puppy will try to eat or chew on the pellets, but they soon learn it is not a toy or food.
5.It is important to clean up after your puppy, should they have an accident in the home.  They make several odor removers that you can get at the pet store.  Left behind smells is a cue to your puppy that it is okay to go there again, and this will severely set back training.
6.The majority of dogs can be house trained and if they are not, I don’t place the blame on the puppy.  If you don’t have the time to train the puppy, it is not the puppy at fault.  I did not say it was an easy task; it will take time and a lot of patience.
OKEMA SHOW CHIHUAHUAS
STEVE BUIE, 405-426-2379

VACCINATION NEWS FLASH

I would like to make you aware that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats.  Some of this information will present an ethical and economic challenge to vets, and there will be skeptics.
Some organizations have come up with a political compromise suggesting vaccinations every 3 years to appease those who fear loss of income vs. those concerned about potential side effects.  Politics, traditions, or the doctor’s economic well being should not be a factor in medical decision.  (A good vet will always have a booming business, in spite of this new protocol for vaccinating).
NEW PRINCIPLES OF IMMUNOLOGY
Dogs and cats immune systems mature fully at 6 months.  If a modified live virus vaccine is given after 6 months of age, it produces an immunity which is good for the life of the pet (ie: Canine Distemper, Parvo, Corona, etc.)  If another MLV vaccine is given a year later, the antibodies from the first vaccine neutralize the antigens of the second vaccine, and there is little to no effect.  The titer is not “boosted” nor are more memory cells induced.  Not only are annual boosters for parvo and distemper unnecessary, they subject the pet to potential risks of allergic reactions, and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.  “There is no scientific documentation to back up label claims for annual administration of MLV vaccines.”  Puppies receive antibodies through their mother’s milk.  This natural protection can last 8-14 weeks.
PUPPIES AND KITTENS SHOULD NOT BE VACCINATED AT LESS THAN 8 WEEKS.  Maternal immunity will neutralize the vaccine, and litter protection (0-38%) will be produced.  Vaccination at 6 weeks will, however, delay the timing of the first highly effective vaccine.  Vaccinations given 2 weeks apart suppress rather than stimulate the immune system.  A series of vaccinations is given started at 8 weeks and given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age.  Another vaccination given at 16 months will provide “Lifetime” immunity.    

           When you receive your puppy

1.Your puppy has just taken the longest trip of its life.  You have been expecting him or her.  They have not been expecting you.  They are still trying to figure out what has happened, everything in their life has changed.  They have been removed from the security of their mother and the comfort of their siblings.  It is our nature to want to show them to as many as we can in a day.  I do not recommend this; let the puppy get to know you and your family.  Give the puppy time to adjust to their new environment.  Remember they have never seen you, or this new environment.
2.I do not recommend that you take your puppy to dog parks, etc at first.  Wait till they have all of their shots to give them as much immunity as possible from the deadly diseases of Corona, Distemper, Parvo, Lepto, etc.
3.Do not hold the puppy as much when you first get them, they are like human infants they will get sore if passed back and forth , as no  two people will hold them the same.  The proper way to hold a puppy is to support them close to your body, never putting your fingers under the armpits, this in time will make their front legs bow out, and lead to arthritis when they get older.  I support the back legs when I pick them up, because small toy breed tend to throw their back legs out (due to sudden fear) if they are not supported.  If this is not done you end up with a mature dog, when picked up it will throw the legs out.  Everything you teach as a puppy will follow them through life.  You are now the caretaker of the puppy.   I am responsible for bringing the puppy into the world. I am putting my trust in you to love and take care of their every need.
4.We currently are feeding Simply Nourish dry food.  When you first get them, keep about a ¼  cup of this out all the time.  They are use to drinking distilled water, as this helps  with tear stains that are common in toy breeds.  If this becomes a problem I recommend “Angel Eyes”.  A. E works internally and changes the ph to eliminate  tear stains. If this does not work for you give us a call or email for more advice. 
5.When you get your puppy they usually do not feel like eating, due to everything being different and the shipping did not help either.  I recommend, picking up a tube of Nutra-Cal at your local pet food store.  When you first get the puppy squeeze out ½ inch and give to the puppy.  They may resist but they have to have it.  This will restore their sugar level, which is a must.  30 minutes later repeat this.  2-3 hours later repeat again.  This should get their system back to equilibrium .  I also send a tube of "Dyne" which is a calorie booster that I instruct how to use when you receive your puppy.
6.I also recommend you have canned Iams Chicken and Rice or Lamb and rice dog food.  Give them 2 spoonfuls mixed with water and mix it till it is soupy, about the consistency of cake batter.  Feed this 3 times a day, until the puppy is back to eating well.  I do this for 2 reasons, one is to make sure they are getting enough water and the second reason is to keep calories up after being stressed. Do not give the beef flavor in any brand, as this can lead to loose stools which can lead to dehydration.   If they will not eat Iams I give Gerber Chicken with Chicken Gravy mixed with water till soupy.   A spoonful is generally enough fed 3/Day.  You can use the off brand of baby food if desired.  Feed this for approximately 3 weeks, gradually weaning them off this food to only dry puppy food. We like to feed boiled chicken also.
7.     Lucky # 7----  Make sure you finish the shot regiment, it is the insurance policy for your new puppy.  I give Duramune Max 5 at 8 and 11 weeks, which cover Distemper and Parvo, at 14 weeks I give Duramune Max 5 CvK which also cover Corona.  At 17 weeks I give Duramune Max 5 CvK and I give a 5th shot at 20 weeks called Duramune Max 5 CvK/4L which covers Lepto.  With this shot, some Vets do not recommend, as there are side affects to this shot, so visit with your vet on this shot.
8.      You should keep your puppies teeth brushed at least every 48 hours.  Use toothpaste formulated for dogs, never use human toothpaste.  I use a finger tooth brush  and dip the toothbrush in "Listerine Whitening Orginal" and start them when they are young, and as adults they do not resist having their teeth brushed.  Just as oral hygiene is important to us and our health it is very important to our pets.  I do recommend that you have at least 2 vet checks/year for your pet. Even with proper brushing, your pet will need to have his or her teeth cleaned by your vet.
9.I start my puppies on heartguard at approximately 4 months old.  There are many brands to choose from, but it is a must that they receive this monthly.  
10.For external parasites I use K-9 Advantix, but there are many brands out there to choose from, consult your vet in your geographic area to learn what is best.
11.For internal parasites I use Nemex 2, your puppy was given this at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks.  You should have a fecal test done at approximately 12 weeks to determine if they have picked up this problem.  I also use Droncit 2/year for the prevention of tape worms.  Panacur can also be given and usually is for 3 days in a row before the puppy comes to you.
12.You should keep your pets ears cleaned. There are many products on the market to assist you with this.  For ear mites I use Ivomectrin 1% and place a drop in each ear, and to date have not ever had any problems with ear mites.
13.If your puppy does not want to sleep at night and wants to keep you up also, try placing a stuffed animal in with them or maybe a ticking clock and a lot of times they will go to sleep with this added comfort.  Another good item to use is a heating pad, but place it under the bedding and make sure it is one that has a low setting.  A lot of the new ones only have one setting.  The items I have listed are meant to help and assist you in the care of your new puppy.  I wish you the best with your new puppy and hope you have many years with them.   
14. For an additional $25 I can microchip your pet.  This helps to locate your puppy should they get lost or to identify if stolen.  I use the AVID Microchip.
15.         When you receive your puppy, you will also receive a 3cc syringe with Albon/Zole (Metronidazole).  Give 1/2 cc each day for 6 days.  This is used to help prevent your puppy from Giardia and/or Coccidia (Coccidiosis).   Giardia are single cell organisms (protozoans) commonly found in the intestines of many animals.  Coccidia are microscopic parasites (single celled) that infect the intestine.  When a puppy is stressed such as shipping and moved to a new environment, one or both of these organisms can create health problems for your new puppy.  If you want to read more on Giardia or Coccidia please visit the next section.


ABOUT CHIHUAHUAS
CHIHUAHUA BREED PROFILE:
OFFICIAL AKC CHIHUAHUA STANDARD:
THE CHIHUAHUA MOLERA (SOFT SPOT):
TEA CUP STATEMENT:
HOUSE TRAINING:
VACCINATION NEWS FLASH:
WHEN YOU RECEIVE YOUR PUPPY:
GIARDIA AND COCCIDIA INFO:
INJURY vs. PATELLA LUXATION
Giardia are actually protozoans (single celled organisms) and are commonly found in the intestines of many animals, including the dog.  This microscopic parasite clings to the surface of the intestine, or floats free in the mucous lining the intestine.  Dogs can carry Giardia organisms, but not all show signs of this.  The signs are diarrhea, bloody or mucousy stool often accompanied by gas production and is most seen in puppies, rather than adult dogs.  

Giardia occurs in two forms: a motile (swimming) feeding stage that lives in the intestine, and a non-motile cyst stage that passes in the feces.  Encystment occurs as the parasite travels from the small intestine to the large intestine.  The cyst are fairly resistant, and can survive for several months outside the animal as long as sufficient moisture is present.  Mature cysts are usually found in the feces of infected animals.  Animals become infected by ingesting these cyst.  The ingested cysts then break open in the new host's intestine to release the motile feeding stage (trophozoite).  Giardia reproduce by a process of cell division called binary fission.

The signs of Giardia can be mild to recurring diarrhea consisting of soft, light-colored stools, to acute explosive diarrhea in severe cases (dehydration of small puppies can be fatal if not treated).  Other signs associated with giardiasis are weight loss, listlessness, mucus in the stool, and poor appetite.

Diagnosis is confirmed by finding the cyst or motile stages in the feces.  A negative report does not rule out Giardia!  Because cysts are only passed periodically, several fecal examinations may be necessary to diagnose this parasite.  At least 3 fecal samples, examined over a period of seven to ten days, should be examined.  Special stains can be used to assist in identifying these microscopic invaders.

The treatment of Giardia is by antiprotozoal drugs.  The drugs commonly recommended are Metronidazole and Quinacrine and in my preventative formula I use Zole that is commonly used to treat fish.  

Please see the next subsection for information on Coccidia.
  
Coccidia are single celled organisms that infect the intestine.  They are microscopic parasites detectable on routine fecal tests in the same way that worms are, but coccidia are not worms and are not susceptible to deworming medications.  They are also not visible to the naked eye.  Coccidia infection causes a watery diarrhea that is sometimes bloody and can be a life-threatening problem to an especially young or small pet.

Where do Coccidia come from ? ----  Oocysts are passed in stool to the outside world and began to mature and sporulate.  After they have adequately matured, they become infective to any host that accidentally swallows them, which in this case the dog.  Coccidia comes from fecal contaminated ground and are swallowed when a pet grooms/licks the dirt off itself.  This is a common parasite and is not necessarily a sign of poor husbandry.  

What happens inside the host (dog)? ----  The sporulated oocyst breaks open and releases sporozoites.  These sporozoites each finds an intestinal cell and begins to reproduce inside it.  Ultimately, the cell is so full of what are at this stage called merozoites that it burst, releasing the merozoites that seek out their own intestinal cells and the process begins again.  As the intestinal cells are destroyed in larger and larger numbers, intestinal function is disrupted and a bloody, watery diarrhea results.  The fluid lass can be dangerously dehydrating to a young or small pet.

How are Coccidia detected? ----   A routine fecal test is a good idea for any new puppy whether there are signs of diarrhea or not as youngsters can be commonly parasitized.  I have a minumum of 2 fecal tests done a year on my Chihuahuas.  Naturally if you noticed the signs of Coccidia, you would need to have your Vet do fecal exams.

The most common medicines used against coccidia are called coccidiostats.  They inhibit coccidial reproduction.  The Albon I supply with each of my puppies is supplied as a preventative, due to puppies getting stressed in new locations, new people, separated from siblings, etc.  Once treated the coccidia numbers stop expanding, thus it is easier for the immune system to catch up and wipe out the infection.  The time it takes to clear the infection depends on how many coccidia organisms there are to start with and how strong the puppies immune system is.  A typical treatment course lasts about a week, maybe two weeks.  It is important to note this medication should be given until the diarrhea resolves plus a couple of extra days.  Medication should be given for at least 5 days.  In dogs sulfa-based antibiotics are the most commonly used coccidiostats.

Can people or other pets become infected? ---  While there are species of coccidia that can infect people (Toxoplasma and Cryptosporidium, for example), the Isospora species of dogs are not infective to people.  Other pets can become infected from exposure to infected fecal matter, but it is important to note that this is usually an infection of the young (i.e. the immature immune system tends to let the coccidia infection reach large numbers whereas the mature immune system probably will not).  

If your pet shows any of the symptoms, take them to your Vet.  Dehydration in small pets can be life threatning.

                                                                           INJURY vs. PATELLA LUXATION

Luxating means to dislocate. You have Medial Luxation where the Patella is displaced inside of the knee and Lateral Patella Luxation where the Patella is displaced to the outside of the knee.  To start with you have Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture which occurs suddenly with a tramatic injury (where a Chi had no symptoms of Patella Luxation and all of a sudden does).  Another injury type is a Patella Fracture which usually occurs because of a direct blow to the knee cap.  Another injury type is Patella Tendon Rupture which can be caused by over extension such as climbing stairs or rapidly going down stairs or steps. Last and not least is Collateral Ligament Injury which is generally a sign of injury as opposed to Patella Luxation.  Not all Patella Luxation is genetic induced or a congenital defect. Each of the Injury items has to be evaluated by a licensed Vet that specilizes in this field of study. Before you conclude to Patella Luxation have your pet examined closely as with injury a lot of the time the care needed is to give the pet rest and to keep them from over exerting. This can be accomplished by placing the pet in a pet taxi and possibly providing a  heat blanket so the inflamation can diminish. Patella Luxation and injuries have to be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine if it is an injury or Patella Luxation.