Dogs + Medical Conditions

  • Inside the eye is a lens that focuses light on the back of the eye, or retina. Vision occurs at the retina. The structure of the eye is similar to a camera, which has a lens to focus light on the film. A cloudy or opaque lens is called a cataract.

  • The intervertebral discs allow movement in the spine and act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae. If the disc degenerates or is damaged in some way, the disc may bulge and put pressure on the spinal cord and/or the roots of the spinal nerves that come off the sides of the spinal cord. This pressure can cause symptoms ranging from severe pain to weakness to paralysis. There are several breeds that experience a higher frequency of the condition. The severity of a dog’s clinical signs depends upon several factors. Conservative management with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication is recommended with a gradual onset of clinical signs or when clinical signs are limited to pain and/or a mildly wobbly gait. Surgery is recommended when there are repeated episodes of neck pain, when neck pain is severe, when there are severe nervous system deficits, or when the dog has not responded to conservative treatment.

  • Cervical stenosis is caused by compression of the spinal cord, usually at the base of the neck. Although the spinal cord compression occurs in the neck, the hind legs are often affected first. In severe cases, the dog may suddenly develop total paralysis of all four limbs. The condition is most prevalent in Great Danes and Doberman Pinschers. It is diagnosed by myelography, CT scans, or MRI. Anti-inflammatory drugs and analgesics may relieve the initial discomfort, but the greatest chance of success lies with surgery. Most pets enjoy a relatively normal lifestyle following surgery.

  • Cherry eye is a common name for a prolapsed third eyelid gland. The gland is mainly responsible for tear production in the eye, and treatment is recommended to prevent long-term damage. Treatment involves surgical replacement of the gland, though some dogs will have a recurrence of the problem.

  • This handout summarizes the normal function of the dog heart, and outlines the abnormalities and changes associated with degeneration of the four different valves found in the heart. An explanation is provided of clinical signs associated with valve disease, as well as the recommended tests and treatments for this condition. Staging of heart disease is also discussed.

  • The kidneys have many functions. They principally act to remove waste products from the blood stream, regulate the levels of certain essential minerals such potassium and sodium, conserve water and produce urine. The kidneys have a large amount of spare capacity to perform their various functions so at least two-thirds of the kidneys must be dysfunctional before any clinical signs are seen.

  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a slowly progressing cancer of a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte. It can develop at any age but is more typically detected in middle-aged to senior dogs. It also seems to be more prevalent in German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. This disease is often asymptomatic and detected on routine lab screening. Further diagnostic procedures, as well as treatments and prognoses, are described in this handout.

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or chronic bronchitis is a slowly progressing inflammatory condition of the lower airways. It most often affects small or toy breeds from middle-aged and senior dogs. The most common sign is a chronic dry cough. Exercise intolerance, collapsing, wheezing, or noisy breathing may develop as the condition worsens. Airborne irritants/allergens, chronic respiratory infections, obesity and dental disease are implicated in triggering the disease. Diagnosis can be made by ruling out other causes of cough through a minimum diagnostic database, radiographs, bronchoscopy, and cytology and culture of lung material obtained through tracheal wash or bronchoalveolar lavage. Treatment aims to minimize inducing factors including weight loss and avoidance of environmental irritants, as well as employing medications such as corticosteroids and bronchodilators. If using long-term, these medications are most often given using metered dose inhalers to manage the disease successfully.

  • Clostridial enterotoxicosis is a complex and poorly understood syndrome characterized by diarrhea that is associated with the bacteria Clostridium perfringens (CP). It is associated with either acute or chronic diarrhea. Clostridial enterotoxicosis is not caused by the bacteria directly, but rather by a toxin produced by the bacteria. Most cases of intestinal bacterial overgrowth are treated on an outpatient basis using antibiotics, nutrition, and probiotics.

  • The general condition of your dog's skin and coat are good indicators of his health. A healthy coat should be shiny and smooth, not brittle or coarse, and healthy skin should be supple and clear, not greasy, flaky, or bumpy. Selective breeding has led to the development of dogs with various coat characteristics requiring varying grooming needs. Nutrition also plays an important role in skin and coat maintenance.