Squamous cell carcinoma* is a malignant tumor in dogs that most commonly occurs in the oral cavity, including the tongue, tonsils, and gingiva. Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for 5 percent of skin tumors in dogs, and are the most common tumor of the toe. Dogs with unpigmented skin on the nose may develop this cancer from long-term sun exposure.
Campylobacter spreads through contaminated food (meat and eggs), water, or contact with stool of infected animals. Dogs infected with Campylobacter might show no signs of illness at all or might have diarrhea and a slight fever.
Urinary incontinence* is leakage of urine, usually due to incompetence of the urethral sphincter in adult dogs and ectopic ureter (a congenital condition in which the ureter enters the urinary tract posterior to the urethral sphincter) in puppies. In adult dogs it is most commonly seen in large spayed females. The lack of estrogens in spayed dogs has been linked to development of incontinence. Replacement of estrogens, phenylpropanolamine, and surgery have all been used for treatment.
Mouse and rat poison is commonly found in the house or garage. Dogs readily eat these poisons, which look like small green blocks and are very attractive to them. The poisons work by depleting stores of Vitamin K in the body, without it, blood cannot clot properly. Clinical signs of poisoning include depression, weakness, difficulty breathing, bruising, and bleeding from any part of the body. These clinical signs often take 3 to 4 days to show up. A blood test will show that the blood is not clotting properly. If the poison has only recently been ingested (within 2 to 3 hours), the dog should be given apomorphine or hydrogen peroxide to make it vomit. Activated charcoal can be given to absorb any remaining poison in the gastrointestinal tract. Then the dog is given Vitamin K supplementation for 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the type of poison. At the end of treatment, the clotting times should be tested again. The prognosis is good in these cases. However, if the dog is already showing signs of poisoning, it is too late to try to remove the poison from the body. A whole blood transfusion or plasma is given to treat the anemia and to try to control bleeding. Vitamin K is also given. The prognosis is poor in these cases.
“If you think your dog is too skinny, it’s probably the right weight,” Case say. Dogs with excess weight are more prone to joint problems and diabetes, among other health issues (sounds familiar). How to tell if Fluffy is chubby? “It’s all about the feel,” she adds. “Ribs shouldn’t be visible, but easily felt.” Tip: Rub your hands up and down your dog’s flank. You should feel the ridges of its ribs without having to push in to find them.
Chocolate poisoning symptoms can last up to 72 hours. PetMD offers this chocolate toxicity meter to gauge your dog’s level of poisoning, but it’s still best to see a vet right away. For a true life story, read our post, My Dog Ate Chocolate. Here’s What Happened Next.
Subvalvular aortic stenosis (Subaortic stenosis; SAS) is a congenital disease in dogs characterized by left ventricular outflow tract obstruction by a discrete ring or tunnel of fibrous tissue immediately below the aortic valve. It is inherited in Newfoundlands, and also found in Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Boxers, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, and Samoyeds. Signs include a left basilar systolic heart murmur, weak femoral pulse, fainting and exercise intolerance. Dogs with severe SAS are predisposed to dying suddenly.
Infectious diseases that affect dogs are important not only from a veterinary standpoint, but also because of the risk to public health; an example of this is rabies. Genetic disorders also affect dogs, often due to selective breeding to produce individual dog breeds. Due to the popularity of both commercial and homemade dog foods, nutrition is also a heavily studied subject.
Treat your dog to prevent fleas, ticks, heart worm, and other ickies from making your dog their home, says Kerns. The health effects of infestation are far worse than pesticide side effects. That said, don’t overdo it, she warns. “Use what’s absolutely necessary for your environment,” rather than mindlessly dosing your dog every month against pests it’s not like to encounter. Tip: You can check the prevalence of pests in your area at capcvet.org.
Facial nerve paralysis* is most commonly caused in dogs by trauma, otitis media, or as an idiopathic condition. Signs include an inability to blink, drooping of the ear, and drooping of the lips on the affected side, although in chronic conditions fibrosis occurs and the ear and lips may appear to be in an abnormal position.
Thrombocytosis* is a condition characterized by an excess of platelets. Most cases are physiologic (caused by exercise) or reactive (secondary to some cancers, blood loss, or certain drugs). Rarely the condition is caused by a primary bone marrow disorder. In this last case, the platelets may not function normally, causing the blood to not clot properly.
Plasmacytomas* are common skin tumors in dogs that derive from B lymphocytes. Most are benign. Tumors of B lymphocyte origin that affect the bone marrow and are diffuse throughout the body are malignant and are called multiple myeloma*.
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The first symptoms in people can start days to months after exposure and include generalized weakness, fever, and headache. Within a few days symptoms will progress to confusion, anxiety, behavioral changes, and delirium. If you have been bitten by a dog or other animal and feel that there is a risk for rabies, contact your health care provider right away. Once symptoms appear, it is almost always too late for treatment.
“Be aware of it and insist a blasto test be done early,” Picken says. “It’s a small price to pay to eliminate the possibility of a tragic outcome. I found the perfect rescue dog and was ecstatic about the thought of having so many good years with him. To go from that to the heartbreak of losing him so quickly is a pretty steep fall.”
Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, is characterized by an increase in glucocorticoids secreted by the adrenal glands. About 85 percent of cases are caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland, while 15 percent are caused by an adrenal tumor. The pituitary gland produces a hormone that signals the adrenal gland to produce cortisol; a tumor can cause it to produce the adrenal-stimulating hormone even when it is not needed. Signs include increased appetite, increased drinking and urination, a pot-bellied appearance, muscle weakness, and lethargy. Cushing’s can be caused by overuse of steroid medications; in some cases, stopping the medication is enough to solve the problem. Diagnosis can be difficult as there are no tests with both high sensitivity and specificity. Treatments inclulde mitotane, trilostane, ketoconazole, or selegiline. Surgery is used in some cases of adrenal tumors.
Jump up ^ Häggström J, Boswood A, O’Grady M, et al. (2008). “Effect of pimobendan or benazepril hydrochloride on survival times in dogs with congestive heart failure caused by naturally occurring myxomatous mitral valve disease: the QUEST study”. J. Vet. Intern. Med. 22 (5): 1124–35. doi:10.1111/j.1939-1676.2008.0150.x. PMID 18638016.
We also need to be aware of the regular check-ups and standard treatments that can apply to all dogs, such as vaccinations, desexing, dental care, worming as well as treating fleas and ticks. Other common health issues that you might come across include allergies, arthritis, diabetes, ear infections and obesity. Getting to know the basics of your dog’s health and wellbeing will go a long way to ensuring they live a long and happy life with you by their side.
Jump up ^ Reynolds, Cecily A.; Bain, Perry J.; Latimer, Kenneth S. “Canine and Feline Cryptococcosis”. College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia. Archived from the original on 2006-09-11. Retrieved 2006-11-27.
Cardiomyopathy, or disease of the heart muscle, is also seen in dogs and is associated with large breeds (the exception being Cocker Spaniels, a medium-sized breed). Dilated cardiomyopathy is seen in Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, St. Bernards, Dobermanns, Boxers, and other large breeds. Dobermanns, in addition to heart muscle failure, are prone to ventricular arrhythmias. Boxer dogs are predisposed to a unique cardiomyopathy with clinical and histological changes analogous to human arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). The disease has been termed “Boxer cardiomyopathy” or “Boxer ARVC”, and is characterized by development of ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Affected dogs are at risk of syncope and sudden cardiac death. Myocardial failure and congestive heart failure are rare manifestations of this disease.
Toxocara roundworms cause a parasitic disease known as toxocariasis. Dogs and people can become infected by accidentally swallowing roundworm eggs from the environment. In addition, larval worms can cross through the placenta, milk, or colostrum of a mother dog, passing the infection to her puppies. Infected puppies usually do not develop and grow well and might have a pot-bellied appearance.
Although the name suggests otherwise, ringworm isn’t caused by a worm at all—but a fungus that can infect the skin, hair and nails. This highly contagious disease can lead to patchy areas of hair loss on a dog and can spread to other animals—and to humans, too.
Older, small breeds of dogs are prone to congestive heart failure due to degeneration of the mitral valve. This condition is known to be inherited in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Degenerative valve disease is the most common form of heart disease in dogs. Mitral insufficiency leads to turbulent blood flow and increased pressure in the left atrium. This causes increased pressure in the pulmonary blood vessels and pulmonary edema (a build-up of fluid in the lungs). Decreased output of blood by the left ventricle causes the body to compensate by increasing sympathetic tone and activating the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS). Increased sympathetic tone leads to increased peripheral vascular resistance and increased heart rate and contractility of the heart muscle. Chronic elevation of sympathetic tone damages the heart muscle. Activation of the RAAS results in increased retention of water and sodium by the kidneys, vasoconstriction, and other effects that result in increased blood volume. It also results in an increase in diastolic pressure and leads to pulmonary edema. Treatment for congestive heart failure has historically focussed on two types of drugs that address these concerns: diuretics (especially furosemide), which decrease blood volume, and ACE inhibitors, which interrupt the RAAS. Recently, pimobendan – which increases the force with which the heart muscle contracts, and is also a vasodilator – is being more widely used in the treatment of congestive heart failure caused by valvular disease. A major veterinary study, called the QUEST study (QUality of life and Extension of Survival Time), published in September 2008 found that dogs with congestive heart failure receiving pimobendan plus furosemide had significantly better survival outcomes than those receiving benazepril (an ACE inhibitor) plus furosemide. However, ACE inhibitors and pimobendan have different mechanisms of action, and many veterinary cardiologists recommend they be used concurrently. Within the past decade, a new surgical technique has been developed for mitral valve repair that replaces or strengthens the mitral valve chords with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) prostheses and tightens the mitral valve ring to reduce or eliminate regurgitation.
Echinococcosis is a parasitic disease caused by eating or drinking food and water contaminated with a specific type of tapeworm eggs or through contact with an infected animal. Dogs become infected by eating tissue of an infected animal. Dogs rarely show any signs of disease, but if they are infected with a large number of worms, dogs can have diarrhea and enteritis.