Pet Health Care Guide

Pet Health Care Guide

Pet Health Care Guide, The Pet Health Library Content contains information on some of the most common medical problems of dogs and cats. This information is designed to assist pets parents in better understanding their pets health problems.

This information DOES NOT replace professional veterinary care. It is solely for educational purposes. Your pet’s medical condition should be evaluated by a veterinarian before any medical decisions are implemented. If there is a potentially life-threatening emergency involving your pet, take your pet to a veterinarian or veterinary facility IMMEDIATELY.


The fungus lives only in one area: the Lower Sonoran life zone. An animal or person who is sick is not contagious; infection is only through inhalation of a fungal spore released from dirt but only a few spores are necessary for infection to occur.

There are many types of bladder stones, and each tends to form in a specific breed or species under specific conditions. Here are some common forms.

This condition represents a classical excess in cortisone-type hormone circulation in the body. Both cats and dogs can be affected (though it is primarily a dog’s disease) and the onset is insidious. We have assembled an information center to answer all your questions on this relatively common hormone imbalance.

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease involving the body’s handling of sugar. Learn about some of the basics of this common hormone problem of dogs and cats.

Feline lower urinary tract disease was formerly known as FUS and is actually a set of symptoms that can’t be classified as a real disease. See what the symptoms are and what possible treatments there are for them.


Heartworm is a parasite that most dog owners and many cat owners have to be concerned about. The more you know, the better protected your pet can become. We have put together an information center to take you through the parasite’s biology, the preventive medications, diagnosis, and treatment.

Hyperthyroidism is the most common hormone imbalance of cats. This center of linked articles reviews the physiology of the condition, its diagnosis, and the pros and cons of the treatment options.

Our Canine Parvovirus Information Center has several articles that explain the disease, how your dog may contract it, how to prevent it, and how to care for dogs that have been infected.

Viruses are strange life forms. They have only the bare bones of biochemical equipment (barely enough to even qualify for the title “Life Form”). The viral particle’s goal is to attach to a host cell and somehow inject its nucleic acids inside the cell. Soon the host cell is little more than a bag of virus.

Excess thirst, excess urination, excess appetite, poor hair coat and a pot-bellied appearance. This is a classical disease for which lots of information is available. We have attempted to include an explanation of this complicated problem and all the latest information.


Parvoviruses are a large group; almost every mammal species including humans seems to have its own parvovirus. Fortunately, each virus is pretty specific about what animals it can infect (i.e., the pig parvovirus will not infect people, the canine parvovirus will not infect cats, etc.)

Because the canine parvovirus is not enveloped in fat the way the distemper virus is, canine parvovirus is especially hardy in the environment. It is readily carried on shoes or clothing to new areas (which accounts for its rapid worldwide spread shortly after its original appearance). It is able to survive freezing temperatures in the ground during winter, plus many household disinfectants are not capable of killing it indoors.

Whether or not parvovirus infection happens depends on the interaction of three things: Host vitality (including immune experience/vaccination status), virulence of the virus (including how many viral particles the host is exposed to), and environmental factors.

Excess thirst, excess urination, excess appetite, poor hair coat and a pot-bellied appearance. This is a classical disease for which lots of information is available. We have attempted to include an explanation of this complicated problem and all the latest information.

Excess thirst, excess urination, excess appetite, poor hair coat and a pot-bellied appearance. This is a classical disease for which lots of information is available. We have attempted to include an explanation of this complicated problem and all the latest information.

Treatment for parvoviral infection centers on supportive care. This means that the clinical problems that come up in the course of the infection are addressed individually with the goal of keeping the patient alive long enough for an immune response to generate. We do not have effective antiviral drugs and must rely on the patient’s immune system for cure.

A puppy with a bloody diarrhea could have a parasite problem, a virus other than parvovirus, stress colitis, an intestinal foreign body, or may simply have eaten something that disagreed with him. It is important to confirm the diagnosis of parvovirus before embarking on what could be the wrong treatment.


Approximately 10% to 20% of dogs with pituitary dependent Cushing’s disease have a tumor large enough to take up a meaningful amount of space.

We vaccinate puppies in a series, giving a vaccine every 2 to 4 weeks until age 16 weeks. By age 16 weeks, we can be certain that maternal antibodies have waned and vaccine should be able to take. It should be recognized that some individuals, especially those of well-vaccinated mothers, must be vaccinated out to 20 weeks unless a high titer vaccine is used.

At most clinics, a week doesn’t go by without seeing a cat or two in this condition. Cats fight, bite, and get infected. What do you need to know?

Also called hypoadrenocorticism, Addison’s disease results from a deficiency of the hormones that enable adaption to stress. Signs can be vague or can culminate in a circulatory crisis.

Most airlines require pets to be 15 lbs or less to fly in the cabin with their owners (this weight includes both the pet and the carrier). Remember that you will need a USDA Health Certificate in most cases. Check with the airline as to how recent the certificate must be issued.

We get hay fever; dogs get itchy skin. This condition is usually seasonal – but not always – and many treatments are available. Find out the causes and what you can do to relieve your pet’s discomfort.


It may be that Alopecia X is not one hair loss-causing disease but several and we simply do not know how to distinguish them.

Is your pet scooting? Smelling a fishy foul odor? Noticing some licking under the tail? Dogs with impacted anal sacs usually scoot their rear on the ground in an attempt to empty the glands. Some dogs will lick their anal area and other dogs will chase their tails. Cats often lick the fur off just under their tails.

There are three important ways in which the kidney patient loses red blood cells. The first way is bone marrow suppression. The second way is bleeding. The third way is called hemodilution. Maintaining a stable red blood cell quantity keeps the patient energetic and spirited and is crucial to staying alive.

Loss of appetite is one of the most important criteria in determining if a pet is significantly ill or just having a minor malady. When the veterinarian says the pet has anorexia, it means the pet is not eating.

These products may be helpful for dogs with weakness, especially rear leg weakness. These products may be available through your local pet supply store, various Internet sources, or your regular veterinarian’s office. I think they will facilitate the lifestyle of both the dog and the owner.

Nasal aspergillosis is the most common manifestation of the Aspergillus infection.

A hematoma is swelling created by a broken blood vessel after bleeding has occurred inside tissue. Hematomas within the ear flaps (aural hematomas) occur when head shaking breaks a blood vessel. The ear flap may partially or completely swell with blood. This condition is more common in dogs but can occur in cats as well.

Most people have never heard of Babesia organisms though they cause red blood cell destruction in their canine hosts all over the world. Babesia organisms are spread by ticks and are of particular significance to racing greyhounds and pit bulls. Humans may also become infected.

Ted Nugent made cat scratch fever (actually called cat scratch disease) nearly a household name with his song, but most people still know very little about this infection other than it involves a fever spread by cat scratches. In fact, it involves infection by a bacterium called <I>Bartonella henselae</I>, which is spread by fleas.

In older dogs, what looks like a viral wart is probably a sebaceous gland tumor; while there is a 98% chance it is benign, it will not be going away any time soon. Sebaceous gland tumors occur on any location, often in large numbers, and usually in older dogs (and occasionally in older cats).

The goal is to remove the gall bladder before it ruptures. If it has already ruptured, tissue damaged by the rupture must be cleansed or removed.

Preparing for the pitter-patter of little paws? What can you expect and what should you watch for?

A serious, life-threatening emergency. Learn to recognize the signs to get your dog to the vet’s in time to possibly save its life.

Brachycephalic means short-faced. Short-faced breeds of dogs have their own share of unique problems. Be familiar with what they are.

Brucellosis is an important venereal disease in many species. It does not usually come up in pet ownership because most pet dogs are not used for breeding. Once someone has decided to breed their dog, though, it behooves them to know all about this disease, particularly since it can be transmitted to humans.

In renal insufficiency, phosphorus is not anyone’s friend. The failing kidney is no longer good at getting rid of excess phosphorus and phosphorus levels in the blood begin to rise.

Bacterial diarrheas are generally a nuisance for the adult animal but can be lethal to a small puppy, kitten, or even a human baby. Most of these problems stem from contaminated food or fecal contaminated environment. Raw food diets for pets dramatically increase the risk of human exposure.

We get a lot of questions about female dogs having their menstrual periods. In fact, the menstrual cycle is a primate phenomenon; dogs have an estrus cycle that includes a period of false pregnancy. This false pregnancy can last for weeks with the dog producing milk and sometimes mothering a soft toy.

Canine herpes is more of a reproductive problem than a respiratory one; in fact, most infected dogs do not appear to get sick at all. Instead the infections manifests in the pregnancy as resorption of the litter of puppies, abortion, still birth, or death of puppies within a few weeks of life. Transmission occurs through direct contact (sexual contact will do it but the usual route is simply normal nosing, licking, and sniffing) between an infected and uninfected dog.

Hip dysplasia is a common condition of large breed dogs and many dog owners have heard of it but the fact is that anyone owning a large breed dog or considering a large breed dog as a pet should become familiar with this condition. The larger the dog, the more likely the development of this problem becomes, particularly as the dog ages.

Dogs that are infected will shed virus in body secretions whether or not they appear to be sick. Virus transmission can occur from direct contact with an infected dog or with its secretions. A vaccine is available.

Neutering a dog will help prevent or curtail a number of unpleasant behavioral problems and can also prevent prostate disease. This simple surgery is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Click here for an FAQ.

In pancreatitis, inflammation disrupts the normal integrity of the pancreas. Digestive enzymes that are normally safely stored in granules are released prematurely where they digest the body itself. The result can be a metabolic catastrophe. The living tissue becomes further inflamed and the tissue damage quickly involves the adjacent liver. Toxins released from this orgy of tissue destruction are released into the circulation and can cause a body-wide inflammatory response.

Spaying your pet dog is very important not only to keep down pet overpopulation, but also for the health of your dog as well.

Cataracts are an important cause of blindness in the dog. Through special surgery, it may be possible to restore vision. Would you recognize a cataract if you saw one in your cat or dog?

Most diabetic dogs will develop cataracts and go blind. This FAQ can assist the owners of diabetic dogs in knowing what to expect and in decision-making regarding cataract surgery.

Cats get their tails pulled or broken through an assortment of traumas. One might think a tail break would involve an obvious external wound but usually this is not the case; instead, nerve damage (from stretching of the cauda equina nerves) is the usual tip-off.

A cat with this disease clearly has balance issues: he walks with his legs widely placed for fear of falling, and places his feet clumsily. He often leans against walls for support. Sitting still, he may look like a fairly normal cat but once focused, tremors begin getting more wobbly as concentration becomes more intense. Despite the obvious impairment, cats with this condition are happy, able to feed themselves and use a litter box, and are felt to have good life quality.

Has a red lump suddenly appeared in the corner of your pet’s eye? What does it mean and what should you do?

Chocolate may be America’s favorite flavor. We like chocolate candy, ice cream, chocolate drinks, chocolate cakes, just about anything with that flavor. We may want to share our favorite treat with an eager pet but it is best to think twice and reach for the dog biscuits instead.

The word cholangiohepatitis breaks down into “chol” (bile), “angio” (vessel), hepat (liver) and “itis” (inflammation). Putting this all together means inflammation of the liver and bile ducts. It is one of the four most common liver concerns in cats.

When the bronchi are injured by irritants (cigarette smoke, air pollution, biochemical products of infection, etc.), they respond with a healing process that is inherently inflammatory. When the injury becomes ongoing, the inflammatory/healing process also becomes ongoing and the end result involves excessive mucus production in the airways. The mucus obstructs the smaller bronchi, which stimulates coughing, which in turn leads to irritation and then to inflammation and then to more mucus. A vicious cycle results.

The kidneys are made of thousands of tiny filtration units called nephrons. Once a nephron is destroyed by a disease, it cannot regenerate; this means that we all have a finite number of nephrons to last us our whole lives.

See other sources of information on renal disease.

There has never been a class of drug that has more application in disease treatment than the glucocorticoid class. Indeed, this group is rivaled only by antibiotics in lives saved. But side effects from the glucocorticoid group are numerous and can be classified into those seen with short-term use and those seen in long-term use.

When the fluid filling the chest is lymph, the problem is called chylothorax. The fluid is milky when it is drained from the chest, and its whiteness comes being from fat. Chylothorax represents a specific problem and requires specific therapy.

When pets get chronic diarrhea, one of the tests that sooner or later comes up is the test for <i>Clostridium perfringens</i> enterotoxin. <i>Clostridium perfringens</i> is a bacterium and it produces an unpleasant toxin.

Coccidia are parasites that commonly infect young animals housed in groups. Coccidia causes a bloody diarrhea that can be severe enough to be life threatening for a small animal. It’s a common infection.

Colitis means inflammation of the colon and that spells diarrhea – often with fresh blood or mucus – and straining and discomfort for the pet, as well as a mess to clean up.

Difficulty in passing stool can mean extra effort (constipation) or complete impossibility (obstipation). Management can be surgical or with medication, depending on severity. Find out the difference, and find out what Megacolon is, too, on this informative page.

A scratch or scrape on the eye is extremely painful, causing squinting, redness and excess tears. What do you need to know about taking care of a pet with this condition? Read about the diagnosis and treatment of corneal ulcers and erosions.

Cryptosporidium are similar to Coccidia and, until recent advances in molecular biology showed us otherwise, they were believed to be simply another species of Coccidia. They have some particularly unpleasant features.

Cytauxzoon felis is spread by tick bites. Cytauxzoonosis is considered uniformly fatal in domestic cats.

Here’s some factual information about declawing, as well as some nonsurgical alternatives.

This condition is also called red mange. It is not contagious, but it does have a hereditary component. What are the options for treatment?

Demodectic mange in dogs is extremely common, especially in puppies. Demodicosis in cats is much more unusual.

Imagine how your teeth would look and feel if you didn’t brush them daily. The same applies to your pet’s teeth. Here are some ways you can care for your pet’s teeth at home.

Ketoacidosis is one of the most extreme complications of diabetes mellitus that can be experienced. Unfortunately, most cases of ketoacidosis are in patients who were not previously known to be diabetic so the owner and pet must deal with two serious diagnoses at the same time.

The chief issue in the diagnosis of heartworm disease centers around detecting heartworm infection.

It is now well known that optimal dietary management for diabetic cats consists of a high protein / low carbohydrate diet, a completely different strategy than what is recommended for diabetic dogs.

The dietary approaches for diabetic dogs are very different than those for diabetic cats.

Diet can be used to help in many ways and we are lucky to have commercially available diets made specifically for renal patients, even for different stages of kidney failure. The goal of therapy is to prevent or at least postpone advanced uremia (poisoning by toxins that the kidneys could not adequately remove) and extend life expectancy.

Despite its inability to produce recreational euphoria, diphenoxylate hydrochloride is actually a member of the opiate class of drugs. One beneficial effect is an increase in general muscle tone of the small intestine. Increasing tonus means more absorption of water and nutrients and less diarrhea.

Dogs nose around in all sorts of things but they should not get crusty or ulcerated noses. When they do, there is generally a disease afoot and biopsy may well be needed to determine what is going on. Discoid lupus, or DLE, is a common disease of the leather of the nose. Thankfully, it is usually easily treated and there are many options.

Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is an extreme complication of numerous already life-threatening conditions leading to the deregulation of the body’s natural mechanisms of blood clotting and blood clot dissolving.

Most of us have heard of distemper infection for dogs and gather it is very bad. The basic vaccine for dogs is the distemper shot, which vaccinates against distemper, parvovirus and some minor kennel cough agents. Luckily, this is all most people ever hear of distemper.

Doxorubicin is a type of anti-cancer drug called an anthracycline glycoside. It works by impairing DNA synthesis, a crucial feature of cell division, and thus is able to target rapidly dividing cells. Doxorubicin is a very serious anti-cancer medication with definite potential to do great harm as well as great good.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or KCS, is a fancy way of saying the eye is dry. There are many causes of dry eye, but the most common one appears to be immune mediated destruction of the tear-producing gland tissue.

Did you know the most common cause of recurrent ear infections is allergic skin disease? What do you do to keep the ear scratching and head shaking from becoming chronic?

This annoying parasite is a common source of ear infections, especially in cats and kittens. Where do they come from? How do you get rid of them?

If your puppy has an ectopic ureter or even two, the only chance at resolving the incontinence is through surgery. This is expensive and often unsuccessful so it is important to know what you’re getting into.

Ehrlichia are a type of bacteria that infect and live within the white blood cells of their hosts. Different types of Ehrlichia live in different types of white blood cells. Hosts can be human, pet, or wild animals. They are spread from host to host by tick bites.

The usual patient for this condition is a short-haired large breed dog, usually an adolescent, brought in for assessment of a fluid-filled swelling at the point of one or both elbows. This is the classical presentation of the “elbow hygroma,” the body’s response to chronic trauma to the point of the elbow.

Enucleation means removal of the eye. What are the common reasons this procedure may be necessary, what can you expect after surgery, and what complications are possible?

Feline allergic skin disease can take some highly ulcerative forms, especially involving the upper lip. EGC is a hard condition to explain, especially since it has several forms, but we’ll give it a try.

Some blood-tinged droplets sneezed on the floor might be the only sign or there might be a steady bloody drip from one or both nostrils. These findings are alarming as well as messy and we want to identify the cause and take care of it promptly. The problem is that there are many causes and not all of them are localized to the nose, and many are serious diseases.

The esophagostomy or E-tube makes feeding the sickly pet easy and free of mess.

The decision to euthanize a pet should be one that you always look back upon and know that the best decision was made and that you would make the same decision again in the same situation. So how do you know if it is time?

Generally a high digestibility diet is the best choice for an EPI patient. These foods are low in fiber and fat and may be especially helpful for patients with trouble gaining weight. Many animals simply use enzymes mixed with their regular food.

FATE is a serious and painful condition with serious implications. It comes on suddenly and appears to paralyze the cat, causing one or both rear legs to become useless and even noticeably cold. The cat will hyperventilate and cry out with extreme pain. Despite the extreme presentation, the cat may be able to recover from the episode but it is important to understand how it came to be in order to make decisions.

If your cat needs to open its mouth to breathe or if its abdomen moves excessively as it breathes (and it’s not purring), then it may be suffering from feline asthma. Asthma is a recurring respiratory compromise that occurs when the lung airways constrict either spontaneously or in response to stimuli that normally should not cause a reaction.

Feline distemper, caused by a parvovirus, is a life-threatening disease. The virus is considered ubiquitous, meaning it is in virtually every place that is not regularly disinfected. The infection is highly contagious among unvaccinated cats, usually kittens and young adult cats living in groups. Barn cats, feral colonies, animal shelter groups, pet stores, and rescue facilities are high risk for outbreaks.

Does your cat seem to forget where the real litter box is and instead use an imaginary litter box in the middle of the living room rug? This could be caused by medical or behavioral problems.

Hyperesthesia syndrome is felt to be a type of compulsive disorder, usually initiated when the cat is in conflict. The cat wants to perform one behavior but is prevented from doing so and ultimately in frustration performs another behavior. After a while, this second behavior, which frequently is grooming, is performed compulsively.

Formerly known as FUS or FLUTD, feline idiopathic cystitis simply means bladder inflammation of unknown cause. It is a set of symptoms that can’t be classified as a disease.

FIV is a virus that causes AIDS in cats; however, there is a long asymptomatic period before AIDS occurs and our job is to prolong this asymptomatic period.

The infected cat’s immune system is busy coating infected red blood cells with antibodies. Coated red blood cells are removed from the circulation by the spleen. This kills the organism, and the iron is harvested and recycled into new red blood cells. The problem is that so many red blood cells are being destroyed that the cat becomes anemic.

FIP is a serious disease with near 100% mortality, no good test, no good treatment, and no good vaccine. If your cat is an FIP suspect, we know how painful the lack of knowing can be. We hope these resources can provide facts and understanding during this difficult time.

Too often a litter of kittens comes as an almost total surprise. One day you notice that the cute little girl kitten from last fall is a bit round in the middle only the very next spring. No one got around to spaying her and she seemed too young for – er – adult entertainment. What happens when cats give birth?

Spaying your pet cat is also very important, not only to keep down pet overpopulation, but for your personal mental health, as well! It’s also good for the cat… Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions about this procedure.

Does your cat sneeze, have runny eyes, and a runny nose? A cold for a cat is usually just a nuisance as a cold usually is for one of us. Sometimes, though, an upper respiratory infection can be serious.

The goal of the femoral head and neck ostectomy surgery is to create a false hip joint that will be more comfortable and yield better mobility than the diseased joint the patient had before.

Imagine your dog is happily playing in the yard, jumps up to catch a ball, lands badly, and comes up not just lame but weak or even paralyzed in a back leg. The toes knuckle under, perhaps. Maybe his back tilts downward, his rear legs too weak to rise all the way up. You check him over, trying to find where it hurts and it simply does not seem to hurt at all.

Flatulence is a normal biological function.

We all know fleas are a nuisance and can lead to itching and dermatitis, but did you know a heavy flea infestation can be life threatening? The owners of most victims were not aware of the problem. Read more about this condition and who’s most at risk.

Despite numerous technological advances, fleas continue to represent a potentially lethal plague upon our pets. Current products are effective so there is little reason for this; the problem seems to be one of understanding.

Fluid therapy concerns the administration of fluids to bring down (and keep down) the toxin levels of kidney failure. There are many ways to deliver fluids.

Have an itchy pet all year round? Maybe there is a food allergy. Just changing to a new diet probably won’t be enough. Find out what to do here and see if your pet fits the profile for this condition.

Got a cat with a large balding spot? Wondering why the fur is falling out? Chances are excellent that the fur isn’t falling out at all; it is being licked off instead. Is the cat anxious? Obsessive? Maybe, but it’s likely that the cat is just plain itchy. There is generally a medical approach to this problem.

Giardia is the genus of a protozoan parasite that is infectious to both humans and pets all over the world. Diarrhea can precede the shedding of the Giardia. Infection is more common in kennel situations where animals are housed in groups.

In glomerular disease, holes are punched out in the filtration system, allowing molecules that the body needs to keep entering the urine flow and be urinated away. Chronic inflammation leads to the holes in the filtration system.

Most people have never heard of GME or any other form of central nervous system reticulosis until they have a dog with progressive neurologic disease. Frequently what the owner is told is that GME is an inflammatory disease that acts in many ways like cancer and that very little is known about it.

When the heart is not able to pump out the volume of blood it receives (backward failure) or cannot pump out enough blood to supply oxygen to the body (forward failure), the goal is to avoid or resolve a life-threatening crisis. Once the short-term disaster is resolved, we look to a more long-term therapy plan.

Can dogs in Los Angeles, California, get heartworm even if they don’t travel?

Heartworm is a serious problem in many areas of the country. What questions do you have about the disease, its treatment and its prevention?

This bacterium is not new but focus on it by both the veterinary and human medical community certainly is. The role of Helicobacter in stomach ulcer formation is now well recognized. If you have a pet with chronic nausea, you may want to be familiar with this infection.

Hemangiopericytoma is a common tumor in dogs. It does not spread the way one normally thinks of cancer. It does tend to recur at the site where it was originally removed. If left alone, this tumor eventually becomes inoperable, disfiguring, and lethal though generally this takes years.

Hemangiosarcoma has three classic locations: skin and subcutaneous forms, splenic forms, and heart-based forms. With the exception of the skin form, which can often be eliminated by surgery, a diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma is bad news.

A hemivertebra is a congenitally deformed vertebra. Hemivertebrae of the tail are not a problem as there is no spinal cord tissue that far down.

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is a potentially life-threatening intestinal condition of dogs that manifests as sudden onset bloody, watery diarrhea.

The liver failure cat is jaundiced, inappetant, frequently nauseated, and generally an obviously ill animal.

Conjunctivitis in cats is usually of viral origin and usually that means a Herpesvirus. Herpesvirus grow in the tissues of the body that interface with the environment, such as the upper respiratory tissues and conjunctivae.

High blood pressure is an extremely important concern in human medicine. High stress lifestyle, smoking, and high salt diet all contribute to this potentially dangerous condition and virtually everyone in the U.S. knows how serious it can be. But what about our pets? They don’t smoke or worry about the mortgage and they don’t deposit cholesterol in their blood vessels. They do, however, get high blood pressure, especially in age and here is what you probably should know.

Hip dislocation is the common term for the separation of the femoral head from the pelvic acetabulum. The more medical term is hip luxation, and you will probably hear your veterinarian use this term. In order for the hip to luxate, trauma must be severe enough to break the capital ligament. The femur almost always luxates the same way: up and forward.

The histiocytoma is a tumor originating from what is called a Langerhans cell. This cell lives in the skin and serves as part of the immune system by processing incoming antigens and presenting them to other immunologic cells.

The adult hookworm lives in the small intestine of its host. It hangs on to the intestinal wall using its six sharp teeth and unlike other worms that just absorb the digested food through their skin as it passes by, the hookworm drinks its host’s blood. Humans can get hookworms too.

Slight squint, small pupil, raised third eyelid… it all looks pretty strange, as if something is wrong with the eye. In fact, it is not the eye itself that is the problem, but rather it is a nerve problem. Read more about this symptom and its causes.

Hot spots are weepy, wet, red and sometimes bloody when they are fresh, and dry and scabby when they are resolving.

Don’t forget to check the cat’s mouth before releasing him. Many cats know you are waiting to see the licking motions and will try to fool you.

This condition literally means “water head” and is more commonly referred to as water on the brain. The central nervous system is bathed in cerebrospinal fluid that is secreted by chambers inside the brain. When fluid builds up, there is no room in the brain for extra volume and disaster can result. This condition is particularly common in dome-headed puppies.

Elevated calcium starts with the bones. They receive an inappropriate message to mobilize their calcium. This message is either from excess parathyroid hormone or from high amounts of parathyroid hormone-related protein. When calcium is removed from the bones, all that’s left is a fibrous scaffold, which is not really strong enough to support us. Our bones break, even fold.

Three methods of treatment for feline hyperthyroidism are discussed.

Calcium is such a crucial component of our biochemistry that virtually any complete blood panel, whether human or veterinary, will include a measurement of calcium. Our bodies go to tremendous lengths to regulate our blood calcium levels within a narrow range. We need a storage source to draw upon for when we need more circulating calcium as well as a system to unload excess.

Hypothyroidism is the most common hormone imbalance in dogs. While it seems like it would be a simple subject, there are complexities.

We depend on red blood cells to bring oxygen to our tissues and carry waste gases away. Without enough red blood cells we die. We can lose blood cells from bleeding, but sometimes our immune system gets confused and destroys them by mistake. What can we do when this happens?

Platelets can be mistaken by the immune system as invaders. When this happens, antibodies coat the platelets and the spleen’s phagocytes remove them in numbers up to 10 times greater than the normal platelet removal rate.

Most people know someone who gets periodic “allergy shots” for airborne allergies. What this means is that an individually-made serum is created using small amounts of allergens (proteins against which the person reacts). It works for dogs and cats, too.

Does your pet seem to have chronic vomiting or diarrhea? Those can be signs of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Insulin is the injectable medication you use to control your diabetic dog’s blood sugar. Learn how to administer it.

When the body is not able to produce insulin at all, there is no choice but to give insulin injections. Sometimes, however, the body can produce some insulin, just not enough. In this situation, there may be some room for alternative therapy. Read on.

Unfortunately, most insulinomas in dogs and cats are malignant. This is bad news but the good news is that regardless of this fact, surgery is still helpful as the bulk of the tumor (if not all of it) can be removed.

In patients with spinal weakness, it is important to determine whether the problem involves spinal cord compression because compressive lesions can benefit from surgery while degenerative lesions cannot.

There are two types of disease that can afflict the intervertebral disk causing the disk to press painfully against the spinal cord. One type is a much slower degenerative process than the other.

Protein-losing enteropathy is a fancy way of saying that protein is being lost from the body through the intestine. This is a serious problem as the body’s proteins are not easily replaced and the only way to replace them involves the absorption of protein constituents from the intestine.

Los riñones están formados por miles de unidades de filtración llamadas nefronas. Una vez que una nefrona ha sido destruida por cualquier enfermedad no puede regenerarse; esto significa que todos tenemos un número limitado de nefronas que nos tienen que durar toda la vida.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a psychosomatic disease. This means that it is the activity of the mind that causes the symptoms. Most people do not have difficulty imagining having so much anxiety that diarrhea results. Chronic anxiety can similarly result in chronic diarrhea. This is basically what irritable bowel syndrome is all about.

Is it possible to relieve a pet’s itchy skin without the use of cortisone derivatives? Yes, it is.

Infectious tracheobronchitis, commonly known as kennel cough, is a complex of infections rather than infection by a single agent. Find out how infection occurs, how serious it may be, how it is treated, and understand the vaccination.

Most every animal hospital can provide diuresis: a therapy where extra fluid beyond what the patient can drink is provided, thus giving the kidney its medium so that it can remove toxic waste. This works well but there comes a time when even with plenty of fluids, the sick kidney simply cannot get the toxins out. For most patients this is the end of the line. In fact, diuresis may be another choice, though it is substantially more expensive than diuresis and dialysis centers for pets are still few and far between.

Chronic kidney, or renal, failure is common among geriatric pets. As treatment frequently is long term, owners should understand their options. Topics discussed include definitions, medications used in treatment, diagnostics/helpful testing, and monitoring.

To the uninitiated, the impression may be that once your cat or dog receives a new kidney, life is renewed and all the kidney problems are solved. In fact, this is hardly the case. Immune-suppressive medications are needed to prevent rejection of the new organ, not to mention infection and other issues. A kidney transplant is a big deal regardless of the species of the recipient.

Laryngeal paralysis results when the abductor muscles of the larynx cannot work properly. This means no expanding and opening of the larynx for a deep breath; the laryngeal folds simply flop weakly and flaccidly. This means that when one needs a deep breath, one doesn�t get one. This can create tremendous anxiety (imagine attempting to take a deep breath and finding that you simply cannot). Anxiety leads to more rapid breathing and more distress. A respiratory crisis from the partial obstruction can emerge creating an emergency and even death.

The lateral ear resection is a conservative surgical approach for chronic otitis, meant for ears not yet at their end-stage, where it is thought that more efficient cleaning and better canal ventilation will help.

This infection can be caught by humans as well as by dogs. Learn about the leptospira organism, and how we test, treat and vaccinate against the disease (in dogs, that is).

Pets, especially younger ones, have the unfortunate tendency to eat things they shouldn’t and we aren’t talking about food. Toys, socks, rocks and other materials find their way into pet stomachs but when the foreign body is a string, the consequences are especially dire.

Oftentimes a lump turns out to be “just a lipoma” or simply a fatty tumor and nothing to worry about.

Lithotripsy is a funny word for a minimally invasive alternative to urinary stone removal surgery.

After blood testing and medical imaging has led to a diagnosis of liver tumor, many questions must be answered in order to make proper choices.

Using wedge pads to raise the heels actually crushes the heel further and causes more damage.

The first lesson to be learned about the Lyme disease infection is that it manifests completely differently in man’s best friend compared with the human experience. In dogs, Lyme disease is a minor infection not nearly worthy of the attention it has received.

What is leukemia in dogs and why is it bad? Learn about the most common forms of leukemia for dogs: the lymphocytic forms.

This form of cancer, also called lymphosarcoma, is the most common malignancy of dogs, cats, and humans. A plentitude of information is available, information that is necessary in order to make intelligent decisions about an affected pet.

Lymphoma accounts for one third of all cancers developed by cats. When the mediastinal lymph nodes become infiltrated with lymphoma, a mass is apparent in the mediastinum and a cancerous fluid fills the chest, restricting breathing. The fluid can be tapped but it will be back without treatment.

This form of cancer, also called lymphosarcoma, is the most common malignancy of dogs, cats, and humans. Much information is available, information that is necessary in order to make intelligent decisions about an affected pet.

Obviously it is important for a cancer patient to maintain appetite. A good appetite and enjoyment of food is one of the four criteria of life quality that are considered when deciding on euthanasia. Beyond maintaining body condition and getting proper nutrients, however, there are actual nutrients and nutritional strategies that have anti-cancer properties.

Technically known as Malessezia Dermatitis, this is one of the stinkiest and itchiest conditions treated in veterinary dermatology, and it is one of the chief reasons a previously well-controlled allergic dog might suddenly increase itching. What to do? Find some answers here.

In pets, the malignant melanoma patient is usually canine although the iris melanoma of the feline eye is also a well-described condition. Recently new treatments have come to light.

In dogs, there is an 87% chance that a thyroid growth is malignant. Cats with thyroid carcinomas are usually hyperthyroid.

Women get breast cancer, female dogs get mammary cancer. What many pet owners don’t know is that the incidence of mammary tumor development in dogs is higher than in women, as one in four unspayed female dogs are affected. This incidence is huge, yet awareness among owners of female dogs is lacking.

In cats with mammary tumors, approximately 90% are malignant with rapid spread to adjacent glands and the nearest set of lymph nodes.

The usual pet toxicity case involves a dog that has inadvertently eaten a stash of marijuana. In the dog, clinical signs typically begin 30 to 90 minutes after the marijuana has been eaten. Because THC is stored in the body’s fat deposits, the effects of marijuana ingestion can last for days.

Most mast cell tumors arise in the skin but technically they can arise anywhere that mast cells are found. Mast cell tumors are notoriously invasive and difficult to treat.

It may start suddenly one day or come on gradually. The dog seems to in pain when his mouth opens or he attempts to chew. Perhaps he will not open his mouth at all. In time, the muscles around the head (particularly the temple region) hollow out, giving the dog a thin faced look. What is happening?

The medial luxating patella, commonly called “trick knee,” is an extremely common problem in toy breed dogs. An owner typically notices a little skip in the dog’s step. The dog may even run on three legs, holding one hind leg up, and then miraculously be back on four legs as if nothing has happened.

Do you know the difference between vomiting and regurgitation? If your pet has megaesophagus you probably know all too well. Read about the latest in treatment and testing (and see a graphic interactive demonstration).

Meningioma is the most common brain tumor of cats and dogs. Meningiomas are generally benign. In dogs, seizures are the most common sign. In cats, signs are more vague and consist of listlessness and behavior changes.

A microchip can reunite you with a lost pet, serve as proof of ownership in a dispute, or even mean the difference between euthanasia and medical care in an emergency. A chip can be implanted in a matter of seconds while you wait.

Monitoring is crucial to determining your pet’s proper insulin dose. Much monitoring can be done at home; however, some tests simply must be done at the veterinarian’s office.

Myasthenia gravis is a disease that interrupts the way nerves communicate with muscles. There is no treatment for the congenital form. The acquired form, which is an autoimmune disease, is treated medically with immunosuppressive agents.

The problem results when a type B mother cat is bred to a type A tomcat.the type B mother has a uterus full of type A kittens. The feline placenta does not allow antibodies to cross over and this is what is life-saving for the kittens, presuming the humans involved know what to do next. The litter develops normally and is born normally. It is with nursing that disaster strikes.

This is probably the simplest surgical procedure your veterinarian will do. Click here to find out what exactly is done, how it helps, and what to expect about recovery.

Everyone knows the Surgeon General’s warning about cigarette smoking but what about cigarette eating? Nicotine poisoning is a real concern anywhere that a pet may find cigarettes, cigarette butts, chewing tobacco, or even nicotine gum or patches. Dogs, particularly puppies, tend to chew things up first and ask questions later.

A pet does not have to be a senior citizen to require joint care supplements or physical therapy. Degenerative arthritis can result from an injury or can be the result of genetics and joint conformation.

Dogs get sarcoptic mange but what do cats get? It turns out they have their very own mange mite: Notoedres Cati. Notoedric mange is a rarity worldwide and many veterinary dermatologists never see a single case in their entire careers. Notoedric mange exists in small regional “hotbeds,” one of which happens to be the Greater Los Angeles area. Our hospital normally sees at least one confirmed case a month, usually in outdoor or shelter cats. Visit this page for an explanation and pictures.

Obesity has become an extremely important health problem in the Western world, not just for humans but for dogs and cats as well. Recent estimations suggest that up to 35% of dogs and cats in the U.S. suffer from obesity.

The oral squamous cell carcinoma does not spread as you normally think of a cancer spreading, but it’s so locally invasive that it carries a poor prognosis. The only hope of good survival comes from early detection. Learn what to look for and what important risk factors are.

The squamous cell carcinoma is not only the most common oral malignancy in cats, it has one of the poorest outcomes.

To assist in the treatment of canine parvovirus infection, oseltamivir is given orally twice a day for 5 days. The medication should be obtained as soon as the parvo diagnosis is confirmed. Usually an oral suspension is compounded or the human product is given. This medication is not approved for use in small animals.

Osteosarcoma is by far the most common bone tumor in dogs. We see 2 to 3 cases a years Owners need information on which to make proper treatment decisions.

The spayed female pet has no ovaries and should not display any signs of a heat cycle but what happens if she does anyway? Where might these hormones be coming from?

Although a urinalysis can provide a clue, the only way to know for sure that a dog’s bladder stone is an oxalate stone is to retrieve a stone and have a laboratory analyze it.

Most calcium oxalate stones develop in cats between ages 5 and 14 years. 35% of cats with calcium oxalate bladder stones have elevated blood calcium (hypercalcemia). Burmese and Himalayan cats appear genetically predisposed to the development of calcium oxalate bladder stones.

There are several situations where it might be a good idea to interfere with the removal of old bone.

Many people have heard of the pancreas but are not sure what it does, where it is, or what a disaster it can be when it gets inflamed.

Pano is often referred to as growing pains because of the similarity to the human malady.

Spinal damage leading to rear leg paralysis is not uncommon. These “downer” dogs have special needs. Rarely is rear paralysis temporary so management requires commitment. It is not for everyone and it is important to understand what one is getting into; though, for the right owner and patient, management can be rewarding.

Patent ductus arteriosus is the most common congenital heart defects in dogs.

The pemphigus complex is a group immune-mediated skin diseases involving inappropriate immunological attack against one of the normal layers of the skin. Different types of pemphigus involve different areas of the skin.

The anus of a dog with perianal fistulae will show deep open crevices and some oozing pus all around the sphincter. This condition waxes and wanes but ultimately over time is progressive, ulcerating the surface of the anus and its surroundings.

Life with a dog with mobility issues is a challenge and it would be wonderful if a magic pill could make a stiff older dog as supple as a youngster. Despite advances in arthritis medications for dogs, there is more to therapy than giving pills. The more advanced the mobility problems are, the more important physical therapy becomes in maintaining function.

Easy to recognize but not as easy to understand, this condition is often called pillow foot in cats for reasons that are obvious. This condition is described as rare. Most cats do not require treatment.

Stringent control of plaque is crucial to the management of cats with this painful, chronic condition. Expect an affected cat to require teeth cleaning under general anesthesia at least every 6 months. If medical management fails, all teeth need to be removed.

Most people have heard the term pneumonia and know it is a lung infection of some sort. In fact, pneumonia is not a very specific term and essentially means “lung inflammation of some sort.” Pneumonia is an inflammation in deep lung tissues where oxygen is absorbed into the body and waste gases are removed. It has potential to be life-threatening regardless of its cause.

Unwanted pet pregnancy happens and some choices have to be made. Let’s review your options: Have the babies, spay during pregnancy, or medical abortion.

Are you getting ready for the pitter-patter of little paws? As with humans, one can minimize complications with proper care in pregnancy. Having puppies may sound easy and it may seem like the dog does all the work, but that is not always how it turns out.

Heartworm preventive medications are used to periodically kill larval heartworms that have managed to gain access to the dog’s body. At this point, the products available are intended for monthly use. What should you know about each one?

Pulmonic stenosis is the third most common congenital heart disease in dogs. It can be accompanied by additional heart defects to create a constellation of disaster or it can be mild enough to be no more than a surprising incidental finding.

Puppy strangles is a classic but fortunately uncommon disease of puppies less than 4 months old. It causes acute swelling of the muzzle as well as blistering pimples on the face and inner ear flaps. If left untreated it can be fatal and despite the extreme inflammation, infection is not the problem.

Pyometra is the life-threatening infection of the uterus that generally occurs in middle-aged to older female dogs in the 6 weeks following heat. A uterus with pyometra swells dramatically and is filled with pus, bacteria, dying tissue, and toxins. Without treatment, the pet is expected to die.

Pyothorax is one of those conditions where prognosis is reasonably good (assuming the patient is not too far gone at the time of presentation) as long as aggressive treatment is pursued. If one tries to go with inexpensive alternatives to proper treatment, a poor outcome is likely.

Descriptions of rabies go back thousands of years as rabies has classically been one of the most feared infections of all time. Rabies is a serious disease, but fortunately it can also be easily prevented in dogs and cats by proper vaccination.

Facilities offering radiotherapy treatment for feline hyperthyroidism are listed here.

There are several types of rodenticides available. The traditional products are called anticoagulant rodenticides and are discussed here. If one intends to use a rodenticide we encourage you to choose this type over others as there is a readily available antidote for the anti-coagulant rodenticides. Other rodenticides are more toxic and no antidote is available.

Rattlesnakes can be found in rural areas as well as suburban areas where there is sufficient natural habitat. In Northern California snakes will hibernate during cold months and are active March through September. In Southern California they are active all year round. Photographs of rattlesnakes native to California are shown.

Ringworm is not a worm at all but a fungal infection of the skin. It’s contagious to humans, too. This FAQ provides answers.

This common parasite can cause diarrhea and vomiting in cats and dogs, and some pet owners become very concerned when their pet expells a worm up to seven inches in length. Roundworms are also one of the few dog or cat parasites that can be dangerous when transmitted to humans.

This common parasite can cause diarrhea and vomiting in cats and dogs, and some pet owners become very concerned when their pet expells a worm up to 7 inches in length. Roundworms are also one of the few dog or cat parasites that can be dangerous when transmitted to humans.

This common parasite can cause diarrhea and vomiting in cats and dogs, and some pet owners become very concerned when their pet expells a worm up to 7 inches in length. Roundworms are also one of the few dog or cat parasites that can be dangerous when transmitted to humans.

Many dogs and cats have tear-stained faces from chronic excessive tears. Why is this and why is this problem considered one of the hardest to solve in veterinary ophthalmology?

The ruptured cruciate ligament is the most common knee injury of dogs. Chances are that any dog that suddenly has rear leg lameness has a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. The history usually involves a rear leg suddenly so sore that the dog can hardly bear weight on it. If left alone, it will appear to improve over the course of weeks but the knee will be notably swollen and arthritis will set in quickly. Dogs can be presented in either the acute stage (shortly after the injury) or in the chronic stage (weeks or months later).

The garden shops and catalogs are full of gorgeous garden shrubs and flowers. They tell us how to water and how much sunshine is needed, but rarely do they tell us if the plant is pet safe.

Sarcoptic mange is the name for the skin disease caused by infection with the Sarcoptes scabei mite. They are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Also called “scabies,” this mite infection is extremely itchy and contagious. While difficult to diagnose, this condition is usually easy to treat.

With seasonal flank alopecia, a dog loses hair in the flank area on a seasonal basis. Different dogs seem to choose different seasons to lose their hair (fall and spring are popular) and when the season changes the hair generally grows back.

Sebaceous adenitis is inflammation of the sebaceous glands. Biopsy is required for diagnosis.

Any involuntary behavior that occurs abnormally may represent a seizure. Seizures may be caused by situations within the brain (such as trauma or infection) or by situations centered outside the brain (such as low blood sugar, circulating metabolic toxins, or external poisons).

The worst cases of separation anxiety present an unlivable disaster for the pet owner. The animal becomes destructive, soils the house, and vocalizes loudly and unabashedly and, since the behavior occurs almost exclusively when the pet is alone, there is nothing to stop him from creating a spectacular mess and annoying the neighbors every time the owner steps out.

The Chinese Shar-pei, famous for its wrinkles, has gone from the rarest dog breed listed by the Guinness Book of World Records to its current status of popularity. This breed is famous for its aloof temperament and its special medical issues, still, most Shar-pei owners would not trade their breed for any less controversial one.

Existen numerosos signos clínicos asociados con el hipertiroidismo. El signo más característico es pérdida de peso a pesar de un apetito excelente.

Do you have an older cat who is losing weight despite having an excellent appetite? That’s the hallmark sign of hyperthyroidism in cats.

Snail bait is commonly formulated in pellets and flavored with molasses or bran to attract snails, and unfortunately is attractive to dogs as well. Very little snail bait is required to cause poisoning (less than a teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight).

Occasionally spleens grow masses. These are generally either benign or malignant tumors. In dogs, most splenic masses are either hemangiomas or hemangiosarcomas. What does the spleen do and what happens when it’s removed?

Some patients with bladder stones show no symptoms of any kind and the stones are discovered incidentally, but there are some symptoms that might promote a search for stones.

While struvite bladder stones can sometimes be found incidentally while looking into another problem, most of the time they are found when the cat is showing signs of lower urinary tract disease.

Subaortic stenosis, known as SAS, is the most common congenital heart disease of large breed dogs. When a puppy with SAS is born, the stenosis is very small, barely a ridge near the valve, but over the first six months of life the stenosis grows and the murmur (hopefully) becomes more apparent.

Lots of animals require extra fluids, either temporarily or indefinitely, to insure that they receive adequate hydration. The technique is simple, but sometimes daunting to the beginner. Here is a pictured guide to assist with the learning experience of giving subcutaneous fluids to your pet at home.

Considering that the average hyperthyroid cat is a geriatric patient with special potential for high blood pressure and heart disease, quite a bit of patient preparation is necessary to reduce anesthetic risk.

Syringomyelia pertains to the central nervous system: the brain and spinal cord. Anyone contemplating ownership of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel should know what it means.

We have generated some confusion regarding tapeworms not contracted from fleas. There actually is another tapeworm besides the common tapeworm whose segments might be seen on a pet’s anal area or on their feces.

Noticing something like grains of rice that move, something that looks like sesame seeds in your pet’s bedding? Where do tapeworms come from, how can you eliminate them, and why do they come back?

Airway dilation is helpful in situations such as bronchitis and asthma.

Most people don’t know much about tetanus, also called lock-jaw. In fact, pets are fairly resistant to infection, which is why tetanus shots are not included in the standard vaccine series. So what should a dog owner know about tetanus?

The tetracycline antibiotic family provides broad anti-bacterial protection by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis. The body possesses many barriers through which antibiotics have difficulty penetrating (the nervous system, prostate gland, and eye are some examples). Infections behind these barriers can be difficult to treat.

The American Association of Feline Practitioners does not recommend this vaccine.

The goal in long-term management of diabetes mellitus is the alleviation of unpleasant clinical signs (constant thirst, weight loss etc.) and prevention of dangerous secondary conditions (infections, ketoacidosis, etc.). To accomplish this, blood sugar levels should be regulated between 250 mg/dl and 80 mg/dl. This is not as good as the body’s natural regulation but it is a fair and achievable goal in most cases.

Some dogs just seem completely unaffected by even high doses of insulin and it is important to have a step-by-step plan to rule out causes of insulin resistance so that regulation can be achieved.

A new commercial diet created for hyperthyroid cats is now available at your veterinarian’s clinic. Where this diet fits in this picture and whether it should replace traditional therapy or be considered an acceptable last resort remain to be seen over time.

Do you have an older cat who has a weight loss problem despite an excellent appetite? Has hyperthyroidism been diagnosed but you have questions about the different treatments?

This method of therapy is generally considered the safest and most effective method of treatment for feline hyperthyroidism.

Confused about tick protection? This FAQ compares the currently available tick control products to assist you in determining which is right for your situation.

In a TECA, all the diseased tissue including the entire ear canal, bones of the middle ear, etc., are simply removed and the healthy tissue around the ear is closed. This ends what has generally been a long tribulation of pain, odor, ear cleaning, and expensive veterinary medications and rechecks.

Although it is possible to get Toxoplasmosis from cats, no correlation has been found between cat ownership and Toxoplasma infection. There is, however, a very strong association between Toxoplasma infection and working with raw meat as in a slaughterhouse or as a butcher. Be careful handling raw meat.

These itty bitty babies have trouble maintaining body temperature, cut their baby teeth in late and thus have trouble with kibbled foods, and they have difficulty maintaining blood sugar. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) creates listlessness, incoordination (the brain cannot burn fat or protein and relies entirely on sugar), and even seizures.

The patient is almost always a toy breed dog, especially poodles, Yorkshire terriers, and Pomeranians. The disease usually becomes problematic in middle age but can occur at any age. The cartilage defect that leads to the flattened C rings seems to be hereditary.

Tramadol can be used for pain relief in both dogs and cats. (Most non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are dangerous for feline use, so this provides a nice choice for cats with chronic pain issues.)

The transitional cell carcinoma is a particularly unpleasant tumor of the urinary bladder that usually grows in the lower neck of the bladder, causing a partial or complete obstruction to urination. Bloody urine and straining to urinate are typically the signs noted by the owner.

The transmissible venereal tumor, affectionately known as the TVT, may be visible as an external fleshy growth or may simply present as genital bleeding. The tumor is common where there are large numbers of roaming dogs or in shelter situations.

Tremors can involve only certain muscles or body areas or the entire dog. Finding the reason behind tremors is tricky as tremoring occurs for many reasons.

Kittens and cats living in groups have an assortment of infectious diseases to contend with. Tritrichomonas foetus is yet another infectious organism yielding diarrhea in feline patients, usually with a history of group lifestyle.

Dalmatians are different. Being unable to convert uric acid to allantoin is the main predisposing factor to uric acid stone formation and accounts for why 80% of uric acid bladder stones come from Dalmatians.

Every owner of a male cat should be familiar with this emergency condition. The recognition of straining to urinate is the key. Urine flow must be re-established by trained veterinary personnel to prevent death.

When a house pet develops urinary incontinence, many owners fear the worst. Urinary incontinence is usually one of easiest problems to solve so it is crucial that veterinary assistance be sought before an owner’s patience is completely worn out.

The urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common ailments in small animal practices.

Immunization represents stimulation of the immune system, an inherently inflammatory process. Vaccination reactions severe enough to produce shock are EXTREMELY rare and are a function of an individual pet’s immune response.

Fibrosarcomas have been recognized for a very long time as difficult, deeply rooted tumors of cats. What has only recently been recognized is the potential for vaccination to lead to the formation of these tumors.

Vaccination is an important part of a pet’s health and it is should not be skipped over. If cost is a problem there are several approaches one may take but each has advantages and disadvantages.

Most of us know that stroke involves some kind of blood clot lodging or forming somewhere and plugging an important blood vessel, preventing an important area from receiving circulation.

Most people think their pet has had a stroke, but in fact a problem with the vestibular apparatus is to blame. The vestibular apparatus is the neurological equipment responsible for perceiving one’s body’s orientation relative to the earth (determining if you are upside-down, standing up straight, falling etc.).

Most everyone knows that dogs get warts, but did you know that some of these warts are infectious? Find out what they are and how to deal with them.

True VKH syndrome is a human disease, well described for nearly a century. A similar disease in dogs has been described but since we do not know the relationship between the canine and human disease, we are hesitant to call the canine version “VH syndrome” as well. Until we know what is really going on in the dog, we will leave it at VK-H-LIKE syndrome or, more accurately, “uveodermatologic syndrome.”

Von Willebrand’s disease is an inherited blood clotting defect and breeds at high risk should be screened before being allowed to breed.

Before reviewing the clinical signs seen in heartworm disease, an important distinction must be made between heartworm disease and heartworm infection.

The whipworm of dogs is substantially smaller than the other worms (a mere 30-50 mm in length, about a half inch maximum). The “head” (or more accurately the digestive end of the worm) is skinny vs. its stout tail (or reproductive end) which gives the worm a whip shape, hence the name.

We get email weekly from young people of all ages who want to know what is involved in becoming a veterinarian.


Wear and tear on the body is sure to create wounds, some mild, some surgical, and some severe and traumatic. The body is designed to heal damaged tissue regardless of what caused the initial injury and we can help this process by using proper wound disinfection, tissue protection, and trimming.

Xylitol is potentially lethal to dogs. It doesn’t take many sticks of gum to poison a dog, especially a small dog. Symptoms typically begin within 30 minutes and can last for more than 12 hours.

Now that pennies are made of zinc instead of copper, swallowing them can be harmful to your pet. Many veterinarians are unaware of this syndrome and do not realize that pennies are far more than a simple foreign body. This is a recently described disease and many questions are still unanswered.
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