Hookworm

Hookworms are small, thread- like parasites of the small intestine where they attach and suck large amounts of blood.  These parasites are found in almost all parts of the world, being common in dogs, and occasionally seen in cats.

Symptoms are usually diarrhea and weight loss.  The parasites can actually suck so much blood that they cause pale gums from anemia, and black and tarry stools.  Young puppies can be so severely affected that they die.  Infection can be by ingestion of breast milk from an infected mother, by ingestion of infective eggs, or by skin penetration of infective larvae.

read more

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a congenital disease that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It can be found in many animals and, rarely, humans, but is common in many dog breeds, particularly the larger breeds. In the normal anatomy of the hip joint, the thigh bone (femur) joins the hip in the hip joint, specifically the caput ossis femoris. The almost spherical end of the femur articulates with the hip bone acetabulum, a partly cartilaginous mold into which the caput neatly fits. It is important that the weight of the body is carried on the bony part of the acetabulum, not on the cartilage part, because otherwise the caput can glide out of the acetabulum, which is very painful. Such a condition also may lead to maladaptation of the respective bones and poor articulation of the joint.  In dogs, the problem almost always appears by the time the dog is 18 months old. The defect can be anywhere from mild to severely crippling. It can cause severe osteoarthritis eventually.

read more

Heartworm

Heartworm has been diagnosed in dogs in all parts of the world and is actually very common. This may be due to the fact that heartworm has a virtual 100% prevalence rate in unprotected dogs living in highly endemic areas. Heartworm, also known as Dirofilaria immitis, is transmitted by mosquitoes. The mosquito injects a microscopic larvae which grows into an adult worm six to eighteen inches long inside the heart of the affected dog.

The worms can cause mild symptoms, such as coughing, but with time, more severe symptoms such as congestive heart failure, weight loss, fluid build up in the abdomen, fainting spells, anemia, collapse, and death usually occur.

read more

Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV)

Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) is a life threatening, acute condition that requires immediate medical attention.  Certain breeds are more prone to this condition: Boxers, Great Danes, Standard Poodles, Saint Bernards, Irish Setters, Dobermans, Weimaraners and Gordon Setters.  These breeds are considered deep-chested (large chest and narrow waist) but any similarly shaped dog can be at risk.

Diagnosis of GDV is made based on physical examination, history and abdominal x-rays.  Often GDV happens when a pet eats a large meal and then becomes very active.  Initially the dog may become restless, try to vomit or retch continuously but is unable to produce any vomit.  This is because the stomach has twisted, preventing anything entering and exiting the digestive system.  The pressure inside the stomach starts to increase and the dog may salivate and pant excessively.  As the patient’s condition progresses they become lethargic, have a swollen stomach and eventually collapse.  If not treated, the internal organs can be damaged and without timely treatment this condition is fatal.

read more

Fleas

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.

read more

Feline Distemper

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.

read more

Epilepsy

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.

read more

Diabetes Mellitus

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.

read more

Dentistry

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.

read more

Canine Parvovirus (CPV)

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.

read more

Pin It on Pinterest