page contents

Library

Dogs + Medical Conditions

  • An unplanned weight loss of more than 10% of a dog’s body weight is considered abnormal. Weight loss occurs because calories absorbed from the diet do not meet the calories being used by the body. This can occur due to many factors including excessive cold or physical activity, disease states that heighten the metabolic rate, insufficient calories or poor diet, inability to ingest the diet, inability to digest and/or absorb the nutrients in the diet, and loss of nutrients from vomiting, diarrhea, or polyuria. As well as a thorough history and physical exam, testing such as bloodwork, urinalysis, and imaging may be needed to determine the underlying cause in order to institute targeted treatment.

  • Abscesses are firm or compressible, often painful swellings that contain pus. They can develop in many areas of the body including around tooth roots, anal glands, under the skin, or in the liver. Abscesses are caused by the introduction of bacteria through wounds, injuries, or bloodborne in the case of an internal organ abscess. Any area of the body that becomes infected can eventually cause an abscess to form such as anal gland abscess, bite wound abscess, prostatic abscess, or brain abscess from inner ear or sinus infection. Treatment depends on severity and location and usually involves removal of the pus either through drainage or surgical removal, the use of antibiotics based on the type of bacteria and location of the abscess, and pain control medications. Monitoring after initiating treatment includes watching the site for additional drainage if the abscess was superficial or monitoring the pet for improvement of clinical signs. Delayed treatment of abscesses can lead to chronic draining tracts or worse.

  • Canine acne is an inflammatory disorder of the lips and the skin of the muzzle. Dogs with mild cases of acne often have red bumps or pustules on their skin. This can, in more severe cases, lead to generalized swelling of the lips and muzzle, bleeding wounds, or scabs on the face. Commonly affected breeds include Boxers, English Bulldogs, Great Danes, German Shorthaired Pointers, and others. A variety of treatments are available and depend on the underlying cause of the acne.

  • Acupuncture is one aspect of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that focuses on restoring the energy balance in the body to promote healing. The technique requires the insertion of fine needles into the dog’s body at specified points, called acupuncture points, where nerves and blood vessels converge. It is often used to treat dogs with arthritis and joint inflammation and may reduce the amount of medication a dog needs for these conditions. This handout explains how the treatment works and what to expect when your pet sees a veterinary acupuncturist.

  • Acute caudal myopathy results from overuse of the tail, causing a strain or sprain of the muscle groups used for tail wagging. Possible scenarios leading to limber tail include hard/vigorous play within the previous 24 hours, prolonged swimming, or active hunting within the past few days. The tail may droop limply between your dog's rear legs, or it may stick straight out behind him for a short distance before drooping. Uncomplicated acute caudal myopathy is treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medication.

  • Acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome, also known as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, is an acute disorder of dogs characterized by vomiting and bloody diarrhea. There are several possible causes and contributing factors involved and diagnosis is often a process of eliminating other causes of bloody stools and gastrointestinal distress. Affected dogs will appear severely ill and, if left untreated, may die. In most cases, the disorder appears to run its course in a few days if the dog is given appropriate supportive care.

  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome, also known as shock lung, is a life-threatening complication of critical illness in dogs, such as systemic infection or disease, severe trauma, or near-drowning. Treatment involves targeting the underlying cause while also supporting the dog's compromised lung function with the use of an oxygen cage, an oxygen line direct to the dog's nasal passages, or in severe cases, a mechanical ventilator. Unfortunately, the prognosis for this condition is poor.

  • Addison’s disease is caused by the decreased release of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone from the adrenal cortex. Most commonly caused by immune-mediated destruction, Addison’s disease can also be caused by trauma, infection, neoplasia or hyperadrenocorticism treatment. Clinical signs are non-specific and often come and go. Common signs include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, and weight loss. Some patients present in an Addisonian crisis which includes severe weakness, severe vomiting and diarrhea and requires immediate medical intensive care in hospital. Addison’s is diagnosed using history, bloodwork, urinalysis, and ultimately an ACTH stimulation test. Addison’s is treated by administering synthetic replacements for aldosterone and cortisol. Prognosis is good once dogs have been stabilized on medication.

  • Amyloidosis occurs when amyloid proteins are deposited outside of cells in various tissues and organs, causing tissue and organ dysfunction. It is uncommon in dogs, except in Beagles, Chinese Shar Peis, Collies, Treeing Walker Hounds, and English Foxhounds. Signs depend on the organs involved, but kidney involvement is most common. If kidneys are involved signs include mouth ulcers, weight loss, vomiting, and dehydration. For dogs with liver involvement, signs include weakness, pale gum color, distended abdomen, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, abdominal pain, and collapse. There is no specific medication for the treatment of amyloidosis in dogs, with treatment focusing on kidney support. Shar Peis may be treated with colchicine to reduce the effects of amyloid deposition.

  • Anal sac disease is a common problem in dogs that can be very uncomfortable or painful. Signs to watch for, diagnosis, and treatments, including identifying and managing underlying causes are outlined in this handout.