Pericardial effusion* is a collection of fluid in the pericardium. It is usually serosanguinous (bloody fluid). Serosanguinous accumulation can be caused by cancer, usually hemangiosarcoma or a heart base tumor, idiopathic pericarditis. Rare causes include trauma, clotting disorders, and left atrial rupture. Serous accumulation is rare and caused by heart failure, peritoneopericardial diaphragmatic hernias, uremia, pericardial cysts, or hypoalbuminemia. Rarely pericardial effusion can be caused by infection and consist of pus. An echocardiogram should be done prior to draining the fluid, if possible, to identify the cause (e.g., tumor). Drainage of the fluid (pericardiocentesis) relieves the clinical signs and, in the case of idiopathic pericarditis, can be curative.
Jump up ^ Dunayer EK, Gwaltney-Brant SM (October 2006). “Acute hepatic failure and coagulopathy associated with xylitol ingestion in eight dogs”. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 229 (7): 1113–7. doi:10.2460/javma.229.7.1113. PMID 17014359.
Fleas and ticks of various species can be acquired and brought home by a dog, where they can multiply and attack humans (and vice versa). These two parasites are particularly important to note, now that tick-borne Lyme Disease has become endemic throughout a large area, in addition to other similar diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Although dogs do not seem to be as susceptible to such diseases as humans, similar rickettsial diseases have been spread by dogs to humans through such mechanisms as a dog killing an infected rabbit, then shaking itself off in the house near enough to its owners to fatally infect most of the family.
Vestibular disease* is an uncommon condition in older dogs. Most cases are idiopathic, but it can also be caused by otitis interna, or inner ear infection, tumors, and encephalitis. Signs include nystagmus, head tilt, circling, vomiting, and falling to one side. Idiopathic vestibular disease will usually resolve in a few days to a few weeks.
There are several fungal diseases that are systemic in nature, meaning they are affecting multiple body systems. Blastomycosis, caused by Blastomyces dermatitidis, is a fungal disease that affects both dogs and humans, although it is only rarely zoonotic. It is found mainly in the United States in the Mississippi River and Great Lakes areas. It has also been reported in four Canadian provinces; Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Signs include weight loss, cough, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, draining skin lesions, eye inflammation with discharge, blindness, and lameness. Because dogs are ten times more likely to become infected from the environment than humans, they are considered to be sentinels for the disease. Treatment requires a minimum 60-90 day course of oral antifungal medication or in severe cases intravenous antifungal injections.
Urinary tract infection*, specifically cystitis or bladder infection, is common in dogs and usually caused by bacteria. Signs include blood in the urine (hematuria), difficulty urinating (dysuria), and frequent urination (polyuria). The most common types of bacteria cultured from the urine of dogs with cystitis are E. coli, Staphylococcus spp., Proteus mirabilis, Streptococcus spp., Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter spp.
On the other hand, acute kidney disease is largely preventable. Acute kidney disease is caused by a number of issues: poisoning, infection, or complication from medicines, to name a few. Symptoms are sudden and severe and can include fever, vomiting, change in water intake, change in appetite, and change in amount of urination.
Jump up ^ Raghavan M, Knapp DW, Dawson MH, Bonney PL, Glickman LT (2004). “Topical flea and tick pesticides and the risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish Terriers”. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 225 (3): 389–94. doi:10.2460/javma.2004.225.389. PMID 15328714.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease of people and animals that is transmitted through contaminated water and urine or other body fluids from an infected animal. It is difficult to detect early stages of leptospirosis in animals, but the disease can lead to kidney and liver failure if left untreated.
Diagnosis of canine parvovirus is based on symptoms, physical examination, and laboratory tests. In puppies and dogs that have not been vaccinated, CPV infection often is suspected when bloody diarrhea, loss of appetite, and vomiting develop suddenly. Physical examination may reveal signs of dehydration (e.g., lethargy, sunken eyes, dry gums, rapid heart rate, concentrated urine), fever, abdominal discomfort, swollen lymph nodes, and weight loss.
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia* is uncommon, and is usually caused by trauma. Congenital diaphragmatic hernias are usually communications between the peritoneum and pericardium and are usually incidental findings.
Yes, puppies are a bundle of energy, but even they need disciplined exercise like leash walks. However, don’t start running and hiking with your pooch until your larger-breed dog is at least 1.5 years old. This will help avoid injuries while the growth plates in the legs and other long bones are still knitting closed. Tip: Be sure to build up your dog’s endurance, just as you did your own, if you’re hoping to take it with you on those marathon-training runs.
Female cats and dogs are seven times more likely to develop mammary tumors if they are not spayed before their first heat cycle. The high dietary estrogen content of the average commercial pet food may be contributing factors in the development of mammary cancer, especially when these exogenous sources are added to those normal estrogens produced by the body. Dog food containing soybeans or soybean fractions have been found to contain phytoestrogens in levels that could have biological effects when ingested longterm.
Some diseases and other health problems are common to both humans and dogs; others are unique to dogs and other animals. Dogs are susceptible to various diseases; similarly to humans, they can have diabetes, epilepsy, cancer, or arthritis.
Deafness* in dogs can be either acquired or congenital. Predisposing factors for acquired deafness include chronic infection, use of certain drugs, and most commonly, age-related changes in the cochlea. Congenital deafness can be genetic, seen sometimes in dogs with merle or white coats, or caused by in utero damage from infections or toxins.
Primary ciliary dyskinesia* is a dysfunction of cilia, which manifests as sperm immotility and respiratory disease. Signs include nasal discharge, recurring pneumonia, and infertility. Symptoms develop soon after birth.
Pythiosis is a disease cause by a water mould of the genus Pythium, P. insidiosum. It occurs primarily in dogs and horses, but can also affect humans. In dogs it affects the gastrointestinal system and lymph nodes, and rarely the skin.
Because parvovirus can live in an environment for months, take extra care if there has been an infected dog in your house or yard. Parvo is resistant to many typical disinfectants and can be difficult to eradicate.
Polyneuropathy is a collection of peripheral nerve disorders that often are breed-related in dogs. Polyneuropathy indicates that multiple nerves are involved, unlike mononeuropathy. Polyneuropathy usually involves motor nerve dysfunction, also known as lower motor neuron disease.
Jump up ^ Cerundolo R, Court MH, Hao Q, Michel KE (2004). “Identification and concentration of soy phytoestrogens in commercial dog foods”. Am. J. Vet. Res. 65 (5): 592–6. doi:10.2460/ajvr.2004.65.592. PMID 15141878.
Subaortic stenosis, or SAS, is a genetic ailment that causes a narrowing of the passage of blood between the heart and the aorta. This leads to heart problems and sometimes sudden death. It affects larger breeds such as the Newfoundland Dog and the Golden Retriever. In some dogs, such as collies, the blue merle or harlequin coloring is actually the heterozygote of a partially recessive gene preventing proper development of the nervous system; therefore, if two such dogs are mated, on the average one quarter of the puppies will have severe genetic defects in their nervous systems and sensory organs ranging from deafness to fatal flaws.
Hydatidosis is caused by a cestode Echinococcus. This is usually noticed among dogs, wild dogs, foxes, etc. Due to its importance as a zoonosis, these worms are important to treat. Preventing hydatidosis is an easier task than treating the same. Anthelmintics such as praziquantel may help prevent this condition. Prohibition of the feeding of dogs with uncooked offals may be the best prophylactic measure against these tapeworms.
Ectropion (eyelid folding outward) is a common condition in dogs, usually affecting the lower lid. Breeds associated with ectropion include the Cocker Spaniel, the St. Bernard, the Bloodhound, and the Basset Hound.
Congestive heart failure* is the result of any severe, overwhelming heart disease that most commonly results in pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs), and/or ascites (fluid in the abdomen). It can be caused by the above two diseases, congenital heart defects such as patent ductus arteriosus, pulmonary hypertension, heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) disease, or pericardial effusion. Signs depend on which side of the heart is affected. Left-sided heart failure results in rapid and/or difficulty breathing and sometimes coughing from a build-up of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema). Right-sided heart failure results in a large liver (congestion) and build-up of fluid in the abdomen (ascites), uncommonly fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion), or, rarely, peripheral edema.
Chocolate is a common cause of poisoning in dogs. The toxic principles in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine. Baker’s chocolate is the most dangerous form since it contains higher concentrations of these drugs, followed by semi-sweet, dark, and then milk chocolate. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, difficulty walking, seizures, and heart problems.
Dogs in pet stores, animal shelters, and breeding kennels also are at increased risk. Overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions make it easier for the virus to spread. Certain breeds of dog (e.g., English springer spaniels, rottweilers, Doberman pinschers) and dogs that have another health condition may have a higher risk for developing severe disease.
Our dogs are faithful companions, and they depend on us for good care. To help your canine friend live a healthy life, you should know some of the most common health problems dogs face, their signs, and what you can do about them.
Cancer is a class of diseases in which cells grow uncontrollably, invade surrounding tissue and may spread to other areas of the body. As with people, dogs can get various kinds of cancer. The disease can be localized (confined to one area, like a tumor) or generalized (spread throughout the body).
Ocular tumors* in dogs are found in the eyelid, conjunctiva, third eyelid, cornea, sclera, iris, ciliary body, retina, choroid, optic nerve, and orbit. The most common types are Meibomian gland adenoma (eyelid), papilloma (eyelid), melanoma (eyelid, conjunctiva, sclera, iris, ciliary body, choroid), squamous cell carcinoma (conjunctiva), adenoma (ciliary body), adenocarcinoma (ciliary body), lymphoma (retina, choroid, ciliary body), medulloepithelioma (retina, choroid), ganglioglioma (retina, choroid), osteosarcoma (orbit), mast cell tumor (orbit), and optic nerve sheath meningioma.