WJTV News Channel 12 - A needy dog may be indication of bigger problem

Is Your Pet Normal?

A needy dog may be indication of bigger problem

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Craig Rothwell says his dog Ferris seems to want to go for a ride, but then appears to hate it once he's inside. Craig Rothwell says his dog Ferris seems to want to go for a ride, but then appears to hate it once he's inside.

Sudden blindness, fear of men and being needy -- if that sounds familiar to pet owners, those quirks could be dangerous for your furry friend.

The Conti's have three pugs -- Olivia, Eloise and Tater. And the Rothwell's have three rescues -- Ferris, Odon and Maggie. To say the two families have their hands full would be an understatement.

But their cute pups come with a lot of quirks, so the families wanted to know what's normal and what's not.

Gene Conti pointed to one particular instance when one of his pug's eyes popped out while playing.

"She got into a little play with our boxer who we had at the time," Gene recalled. "Pugs have the bulging eyes and it's not uncommon for their eyes to pop out, so her eyes popped out."

Olivia went blind soon afterwards, and by that point there was nothing the Conti's could do.

"That's not normal," said Dr. Heather Moeser with Downtown Mobile Vet. "What they need to do is, if you stretch the optic nerve you can go blind, and in Olivia's case that's what happened."

Gene's wife, Betsy, said Tater also has some abnormalities, explaining she find "gunk" in his skin folds.

"Tater has a lot of folds and things," Betsy said. "It kind of gets a little gunky in here, so every day after Tater has his a little breakfast I have to clean the folds of his little nose out."

While Moeser said that's normal, she said that the "gunk" could turn into a problem.

"You can get dermatitis or infections in those folds," Moeser said. "What we recommend is, if you have a pug or squishy faced dog that has a lot of moisture especially in the summer, is to get boogie wipes."

Pugs are also notorious for following their owners a little too close. Betsy explained, "If you have a pug, it's like having a clown Velcro'd to your leg all day long."

But Moeser said that's simply part of the breed's genes.

"They were bred to be royalty," Moeser said. "They're very good companion dogs -- sometimes too good."

For the Rothwell's, their dog Odon growls at only men.

"They protect their territory," Moeser said, adding that it's not normal and should be addressed with behavioral therapy.

Ferris, on the other hand, has a different problem, and doesn't seem to know what he wants.

"He loves the concept of going out and getting in the car, but once he's there he hates it," Craig Rothwell explained. "He rests his head on my shoulder and pants a lot."

Moeser said that's a sign of an anxiety disorder -- something she says can be helped with medication.

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Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

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