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Symptoms

Is your pet becoming less active, less playful, or desiring shorter walks? The following symptoms could be early signs of OCD, Arthritis or Hip Dysplasia.

  • Moving more slowly
  • Difficulty getting up
  • Weight shift to another leg
  • Personality change
  • Reluctant to walk, jump or play
  • Refuses using stairs or the car
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in behavior
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Lagging behind
  • Yelping when touched
  • Limping
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Archive for the ‘Cancer in Dogs’ Category

Why Dogs Vomit Blood

Monday, September 21st, 2015


When a dog vomits blood it is suffering from a condition known as hematemesis. Hematemesis could be a temporary condition or a sign of chronic gastrointestinal illness.

The most common reasons why dogs vomit blood are: (1) a small amount of bright red blood indicating an injury in the mouth or throat, (2) a significant amount of dark, clotted blood indicating a serious gastrointestinal condition.

Some symptoms that may accompany a dog’s vomiting of blood include: rapid weight loss, bloating, excessive thirst (this can also be a symptom of diabetes in a dog), or darkened stools.

There are some acute illnesses a vet will need to test for and exclude before the possibility of a chronic condition can be diagnosed. These include poisoning of the animal, swallowing of a foreign object, parasites in the gastrointestinal tract, or bad reactions to prescribed medications.

There are some serious chronic gastrointestinal illnesses and diseases than can also cause a dog to vomit blood, including kidney disease, tumors, bowel obstructions, or liver disease.

When a dog vomits blood, it should be considered just as serious as if it were a human vomiting blood. A responsible pet owner will call their vet for an emergency visit should their dog begin vomiting blood.

Don’t take a chance that it’s nothing serious or that the problem will go away on its own. Your pet deserves better treatment than that.

Veterinary Specialists

Monday, July 13th, 2015


There are several types of veterinary specialists that often assist regular veterinarians in their practices. A general veterinarian is effective at treating most of the ailments and diseases of a pet dog, but there may be a time when a specialist needs to be called in to handle more serious conditions.

Specialist veterinarians are trained to handle specific treatments dealing with animals. These include surgery, anesthesiology, emergency care, nutrition, and dentistry.

Surgical Specialists
Surgical veterinary professionals specialize in animal surgical operations. They receive specialized training for an extensive variety of different surgical techniques that many veterinarians are not trained to undertake nor are qualified to perform.

Because surgery can be very stressful and dangerous for an animal, you’ll want to be sure your pet is in the hands of a trained surgical veterinary specialist.

Anesthesiologists
Just like in humans, anesthesia is used during animal surgery and occasionally during some diagnostic testing procedures. Most vets will use anesthesia for certain diagnostic tests but many use the skills of an anesthesiologist when a dog needs to undergo a surgical procedure.

The anesthesiologist is trained to handle cases of allergic reactions and the treatment of life-threatening situations related to the administration of anesthesia.

Emergency Care Specialists
Emergency care specialists are trained to handle any type of animal emergency medical condition including traumas, strokes, heart attacks, and emergency injuries. These specialists are trained to react rapidly to a pet’s needs and diagnose the situation quickly so treatment or life-saving measures can be undertaken.

Nutrition Specialists
Nutritional specialists are beneficial in prescribing the healthiest and most appropriate diet for a pet. Some dogs suffer from obesity and its related ailments and diseases. A nutritional specialist can assist you in putting your dog back on track to controlling its weight and improving its health.

Nutritional specialists are also useful when certain medical conditions like diabetes require a change in diet. For diabetes, a specialist will recommend a strict low-sugar diet to help your dog control its diabetes.

Dentistry Specialists
Because dental care is vital to the overall general health of an animal, dental veterinary specialists are concerned only with animal dentistry. Examining an animal’s teeth and cleaning them properly can be a difficult task for both an owner and a veterinary assistant. If your dog’s teeth or gums are in bad condition, it’s a good idea to have a trained dental specialist examine and treat the dog’s teeth, and mouth, to restore your pet to optimum health.

Urinary Incontinence in Older Dogs

Monday, July 6th, 2015


It is not uncommon for older dogs to have incontinence problems; even younger dogs can have this disorder if they have a congenital deformity or have experienced an injury to the nerves that control the bladder muscles. However, urinary incontinence in older dogs is a far more common problem for anyone who owns an aging dog.

Understanding how a dog’s bladder works will shed some light on the problem. Dogs store urine in their bladder and when they need to urinate, the urine passes out of the body through the urethra. Normally, a dog is able to control the passage of urine, but if it loses control over the bladder the result is incontinence.

A band of muscles at the base of a dog’s bladder creates a valve that keeps urine from leaking out of the bladder. Dogs produce hormones that help them control these muscles consciously. Estrogen helps strengthen the bladder muscles in female dogs, and testosterone strengthens the same muscles in male dogs.

But as dogs age their bodies produce fewer of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. A dog that has been spayed or neutered is more likely to suffer hormone deficiencies. When this happens, urinary incontinence causes small amounts of urine to leak out of the dog’s bladder while it’s resting or sleeping.

Older dogs are most prone to urinary incontinence though younger animals can develop the condition due to congenital abnormalities or injury. Urinary incontinence in an older dog will usually begin to manifest itself when a dog is about eight or nine years old. Spayed females can develop urinary incontinence as early as three to five years of age.

Treatment for urinary incontinence in older dogs usually includes an oral medication prescribed by your vet. Phenylpropanolamine is the most common, non-hormonal drug used for both male and female dogs. Sometimes a vet will recommend hormone replacement therapy to treat urinary incontinence in an older dog. In these cases, daily doses of hormone substitutes need to be administered when treatment is begun, and once the dog begins to respond to treatment, the dosage schedule is reduced to once a week.

Side effects from hormone replacement drugs are rare in dogs. In some cases the medication doesn’t completely clear up the incontinence symptoms. If that happens, your dog will probably need to wear a dog diaper during the day and night.

Older dogs with urinary incontinence are also more susceptible to bladder infections because the muscles at the base of the bladder become looser, making it easier for bacteria to enter the dog’s organ. If this happens to your dog, antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian can be helpful in treating any bladder infections.

Skin Lumps and Bumps in Dogs

Monday, May 25th, 2015


It’s not unusual to find skin lumps and bumps on your dog at some point in its lifetime. Lumps can appear either on or just under a dog’s skin.

It is important to have these lumps checked by your veterinarian, especially if the lumps are new, bleeding, oozing or rapidly increasing in size. Many lumps and bumps under a dog’s skin are harmless, but others may be malignant or may become malignant.

Skin tumors are among the most common tumors in dogs. Fortunately, many of these tumors are benign and not a cause for worry. The lump may be simply a pimple or an allergic reaction to an insect bite. Sometimes these skin masses are malignant and require prompt medical attention, so it would be wise to have your dog examined by a veterinarian to assess any skin bumps that you detect on your dog.

The options for treating skin tumors depend entirely upon the cause of the tumor. For example, benign fatty masses rarely require removal unless they bother the dog owner.

Most veterinarians recommend that malignant skin masses be removed as soon as possible. The tissue removed during the operation is sent to a pathology laboratory to determine whether all of the tumor cells associated with the mass have been removed. X-rays may be taken to determine whether cancerous cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes or other areas like the bone marrow or lungs. Blood tests are done to evaluate the dog’s overall health and response to any proposed treatments.

Sometimes radiation or chemotherapy treatments (or both) will be used in addition to surgical removal of the mass in order to improve the chances of a dog’s full recovery.

Tumors can recur after surgery so regular checkups are important if the dog had a malignant skin tumor removed or treated.

Skin lumps and bumps on your dog could be any one of these types:

(1) Hematoma which is a collection of clotted blood beneath the skin;

(2) Basal cell tumor in the form of a nodule on a narrow base or stalk. It will be round, normally hairless, and may be ulcerated. These tumors are usually found on the head, neck, and shoulders of older dogs;

(3) Lipoma which is a soft round or oblong growth underneath the skin;

(4) Ceruminous gland adenoma. This is a pinkish-white dome-shaped growth in the ear canal that may become ulcerated and infected;

(5) Epidermal inclusion cyst recognizable as a firm lump beneath a dog’s skin. These cysts sometimes discharge cheese-like material and become infected;

(6) Histiocytoma is a button-like fast-growing mass that may appear anywhere on a dog’s body;

(7) Melanoma is a brown or black pigmented nodule that appears in areas of dark skin. If melanomas grow in the mouth of a dog, they are usually malignant;

(8) Skin papillomas grow out from the skin and may look like a wart. These are not painful or dangerous;

(9) Squamous cell carcinoma is a gray or reddish-looking ulcer found on the belly, scrotum, feet, legs, lips, or nose that doesn’t heal. It sometimes looks like a cauliflower.

If you find any skin lumps or bumps on your dog that resemble one or more of the above descriptions, you should contact your vet to schedule an examination.

Why Dogs Vomit

Monday, May 11th, 2015


There are many reasons why dogs vomit so if you find your dog vomiting, don’t automatically assume that your dog has an illness.

    The most common reasons why dogs vomit include the following:

(1) Eating foreign objects or plant material. If your dog has swallowed a solid object of some kind it will often vomit it back up. If the foreign object is small enough, it can pass through the intestinal system and you’ll see it in your dog’s stool. If it’s too large or has sharp edges, your dog will continue to suffer and an emergency visit to the vet for x-rays will become a necessary life-saving action.

If you believe your dog may have eaten leaves or berries from a bush, you need to be sure the plant is not poisonous. The easiest way to check is to go online to the ASPCA poison control website at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control. There you’ll find a list of toxic and non-toxic plants, the 17 most common poisonous plants, and animal poison control FAQs.

(2) An allergy to certain foods.
If you have recently started your dog on a new diet and the vomiting began shortly thereafter, you might try mixing half of its old food with half of the new food and watch closely for changes in behavior or lingering illness. It’s possible that an intolerance or aversion to ingredients in the new food may be causing the vomiting. If you suspect this may be the cause, you can continue changing the ratio of old food to the new food to see if the vomiting goes away.

(3) Eating greasy foods or foods higher in fat content.
Table scraps or desserts can easily cause intestinal distress and vomiting in any dog. Their systems were not designed to digest rich, fatty foods that many humans eat on a daily basis. These types of food are often not healthy for us, let alone for our dogs. If your dog vomits soon after scarfing down something from your table, it’s a clear indication that you need to avoid giving it any types of food you normally eat.

Causes of vomiting that require a visit to the vet for diagnosis and treatment:
(4) Infection with parasites, viruses or bacteria can cause gastrointestinal infections also known as viral gastroenteritis. Diarrhea and vomiting are the most obvious symptoms. Many different types of bacteria and parasites can also cause GI infections and diarrhea but most of these are not serious and will go away on their own after a few days; however, others can be serious.

(5) Ulcers which can be caused by anti-inflammatory medications prescribed for skin conditions, arthritis, or other chronic health problems. Pain relief medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen inhibit a hormone-like substance that acts as a protection for a dog’s stomach lining. Prolonged use of these medications can cause severe stomach ulcers in dogs. Another less common cause of canine stomach ulcers is a mast cell cancer in the dog’s skin. Mast cell cancers release histamine which leads to stomach ulcers.

(6) Kidney Failure.
Early signs of kidney failure in dogs are increased water consumption and increased urine output. Signs of more advanced kidney failure include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting and diarrhea.

(7) Cancers.
Some possible signs of cancer that warrant a visit to your veterinarian include any new lump or bump; a change in size, shape, or consistency of an existing lump; a runny nose, especially if bloody; difficulty urinating or bloody urine; limping or a change in gait; foul breath and lethargy.

(8) Inflammatory bowel disease.
The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown. Genetics, nutrition, infectious agents, and abnormalities of the immune system may all play a role. The most common signs of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Vomiting is more common when the stomach or upper portion of the small intestine are affected and diarrhea is more common when the colon is involved. There is an increase in the frequency of defecation, but less stool is produced each time. There is often increased mucous or some blood in the stool. Sometimes stools become loose. Many times the diarrhea and vomiting may be irregular.

(9) Liver disease.
The early signs of liver disease include chronic intermittent vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting is more common than diarrhea, loss of appetite, or weight loss. Drinking and urinating more often than normal may be the first signs, and a key reason for visiting the vet.

Whenever your dog continues to display any of these symptoms and the cause is not readily apparent, you should schedule an exam with your vet. Your pet’s health and life may depend upon it.

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