Arthritis is an inflammation of any joint in the body. The inflammation can have many causes. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis which can be due to wear and tear on joints from over use, aging, injury, or from an unstable joint such as which occurs with a ruptured ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in the knee. The chronic form of this disease is called degenerative joint disease (DJD). It is estimated that 20% of dogs older than one year of age have some form of DJD. One study showed that 90% of cats over 12 years of age had evidence of DJD on x-rays.
Veterinary care is crucial and effective for a wide variety of conditions. The following is a partial list of some of the most common. If you do not see your pet’s specific condition listed, we encourage you to give us a call so we can personally address your particular concerns.
Bloat & Gastric Torsion is a serious condition and your pet should be rushed to the emergency room if this occurs. Certain breeds of dogs
with deep chests and narrow waists, such as hounds, Bouvier des Flandres, or Doberman Pinschers are more susceptible to a syndrome of gastric torsion and bloat.
This occurs when the stomach twists on its supporting ligaments and the contents begin to release gas pressure. A similar disease is seen in cattle and horses as well. Dogs who experience such an attack are very susceptible to another which is usually more severe, and this is one case where immediate veterinary care is needed, normally requiring abdominal surgery to prevent a recurrence.
What is cancer: Cancer, by definition, is the uncontrolled growth of cells. Any type of cells in the body can become cancerous. Once these cells grow out of control, they take over areas previously occupied by normal cells; sometimes these tumor cells break off and travel to other areas of the body. Wherever these cells lodge they can start new tumors. This process continues until there is not enough normal tissue remaining to sustain normal bodily functions. There are a number of factors that influence how fast a cancer may grow or spread: type of cancer cell, location, genetics, as well as any concurrent illness or debilitating condition the patient may have.
Canine distemper is caused by a virus that is shed in bodily fluids of infected animals. The virus affects primarily the lungs, intestines, and nervous system. Symptoms of the infection can include coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, inappetance, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, and encephalitis. Secondary infections can present as discharge from the eyes and/or nose, and pneumonia. Puppies, especially those from shelters, are at the highest risk. Currently there are no antiviral medications to treat canine distemper. Treatment is aimed at controlling secondary bacterial infections with antibiotics and supportive care as needed. Vaccination aimed at preventing distemper is the best strategy. Puppies should be isolated from other dogs until they have completed their series of vaccinations at 16 weeks of age.
The Parvovirus is known worldwide and causes disease in many different species of animals. Different strains of virus only infect certain types of animals. For example, the Canine Parvovirus (Parvo) will mainly infect dogs and does not cause disease in cats or humans. Feline Parvovirus, a different strain of virus, causes a different type of disease known as Feline Distemper.
Canine Parvovirus made its first appearance in the late 1970s and was first identified as a distinct disease in 1978. As a result of global travel and the importation of animals, the disease spread around the world in only one to two years. Most canines at the time had no natural immunity to the virus and its spread was rapid and devastating, especially for puppies.
The Importance of Dentistry
What is periodontal disease?
Over 85% of dogs and cats have some type of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease simply means that the gums and bone that hold the teeth in place are being destroyed by oral bacteria. This preventable disease is the number one diagnosed disease in our pets, yet many animals suffer needlessly. Periodontal disease begins with gingivitis, or inflammation of the gum tissue, which is caused by plaque. Plaque is a mixture of saliva, bacteria, glycoproteins and sugars that adhere to the tooth surface. Within minutes after a cleaning, a thin layer of plaque has adhered to the teeth. Eventually this hardens to become calculus or tartar. Calculus by itself is nonpathogenic – it does not cause disease. However, it does create a rough surface for more plaque to adhere to, and pushes the gums away from the teeth, which increases surface area for more plaque to adhere. Eventually, the supporting structures of the tooth (bone, tissue, periodontal ligament) are destroyed and the tooth becomes mobile and will either fall out on its own or need to be extracted. Signs of periodontal disease are bad breath (halitosis), reluctancy to eat, chewing on one side of the mouth, dropping food, pawing at the face or rubbing the face on the floor, drooling, becoming head shy, and painful mouth/face.
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a life long disorder of dogs and cats that results when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to meet the animal’s needs. Insulin is a hormone needed to transport glucose (blood sugar) into the body’s cells. When there is a lack of insulin in the body, blood glucose rises to abnormally high levels. Over time, this causes damage to body tissues and produces the symptoms commonly seen in animals with DM.
Early symptoms, such as weakness, weight loss, change in appetite and depression can be mild and may go unnoticed by the owner. Increased thirst and frequent urination more commonly results in a visit to your Veterinarian where tests can be done to identify what may be affecting the family pet. Urinary tract infections are more common in diabetic pets than in normal animals.
Epilepsy (often referred to as a seizure disorder) is a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent unprovoked seizures. It is commonly controlled with medication, although surgical methods are used as well. Epileptic seizures are classified both by their patterns of activity in the brain and their effects on behaviour.
In terms of their pattern of activity, seizures may be described as either partial or generalised. Partial seizures only involve a localised part of the brain, whereas generalised seizures involve the entire cortex. The term ‘secondary generalisation’ may be used to describe a partial seizure that later spreads to the whole of the cortex and becomes generalised. All the causes of epilepsy are not known, but many predisposing factors have been identified, including brain damage resulting from malformations of brain development, head trauma, neurosurgical operations, other penetrating wounds of the brain, brain tumor, high fever, bacterial or viral encephalitis, stroke, intoxication, or acute or inborn disturbances of metabolism. Hereditary or genetic factors also play a role.
Feline distemper or feline panleukopenia is a highly contagious viral disease of kittens and adult cats caused by the feline parvovirus. It is also called panleukopenia as it affects the bone marrow and causes low white blood cell counts. It is relatively common in unvaccinated cats and is often fatal, especially in young kittens. It has been referred to as Feline Distemper, but in fact, it is a different virus than canine distemper and causes different symptoms.
Early symptoms of feline distemper infection are lethargy and loss of appetite then rapid progression to severe, sometimes bloody diarrhea and vomiting. These signs are very similar to other diseases, some serious, some not so serious. Therefore, if any abnormal behaviors or signs of illness are observed, it is important to have your veterinarian examine your pet as soon as possible. A diagnosis of distemper is presumed if vomiting and diarrhea are present along with a low white blood cell count. A diagnosis of distemper is confirmed when the virus is detected in blood or feces.
A common parasite, fleas are found in almost every area of the world and can be found on dogs, cats, and many other mammals. They survive year to year even in cold climates because they live on pets, in buildings, and on wild animals.
There are four stages to the flea life cycle. Eggs are laid by an adult female flea which is on a host. The eggs roll off into the environment and after a few days they mature into larvae. Larvae survive by eating eat flea feces, flea egg shells, organic debris, and other flea larvae. They can crawl and move as far as six inches per day. After a few days, and once conditions are conducive, larvae mature into pupae. Pupae have very thick shells and are very resistant to environmental conditions. After a few days, and once the pupae detect a host is present, they mature into adult fleas that hop on another host.