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Dogs + Medical Conditions

  • An unplanned weight loss of more than 10% of a dog’s body weight is considered abnormal. Weight loss occurs because calories absorbed from the diet do not meet the calories being used by the body. This can occur due to many factors including excessive cold or physical activity, disease states that heighten the metabolic rate, insufficient calories or poor diet, inability to ingest the diet, inability to digest and/or absorb the nutrients in the diet, and loss of nutrients from vomiting, diarrhea, or polyuria. As well as a thorough history and physical exam, testing such as bloodwork, urinalysis, and imaging may be needed to determine the underlying cause in order to institute targeted treatment.

  • Abscesses are firm or compressible, often painful swellings that contain pus. They can develop in many areas of the body including around tooth roots, anal glands, under the skin, or in the liver. Abscesses are caused by the introduction of bacteria through wounds, injuries, or bloodborne in the case of an internal organ abscess. Any area of the body that becomes infected can eventually cause an abscess to form such as anal gland abscess, bite wound abscess, prostatic abscess, or brain abscess from inner ear or sinus infection. Treatment depends on severity and location and usually involves removal of the pus either through drainage or surgical removal, the use of antibiotics based on the type of bacteria and location of the abscess, and pain control medications. Monitoring after initiating treatment includes watching the site for additional drainage if the abscess was superficial or monitoring the pet for improvement of clinical signs. Delayed treatment of abscesses can lead to chronic draining tracts or worse.

  • Canine acne is an inflammatory disorder of the lips and the skin of the muzzle. Dogs with mild cases of acne often have red bumps or pustules (pimples) on their skin. In some cases, acne may be associated with underlying skin conditions. There are a variety of treatments that may be used for the treatment of canine acne.

  • Acute caudal myopathy results from overuse of the tail, causing a strain or sprain of the muscle groups used for tail wagging. Possible scenarios leading to limber tail include hard/vigorous play within the previous 24 hours, prolonged swimming, or active hunting within the past few days. The tail may droop limply between your dog's rear legs, or it may stick straight out behind him for a short distance before drooping. Uncomplicated acute caudal myopathy is treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medication.

  • Acute hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (AHDS) (also known as hemorrhagic gastroenteritis [HGE]), is an acute disorder of dogs characterized by vomiting and bloody diarrhea. AHDS can affect any breed, age, size, or gender of dog, but it is most common in small- and toy-breed dogs. The exact cause of AHDS remains unknown. An elevated hematocrit in combination with a low or normal total protein is an important clue that a dog may have AHDS. Intravenous fluid therapy with potassium and electrolyte supplementation provides the foundation of AHDS therapy. Dogs with AHDS may die, if left untreated.

  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening complication of critical illness. These underlying critical illnesses may include sepsis, pancreatitis, pneumonia (either due to an infection or the inhalation of foreign materials), trauma, near-drowning, and other severe illnesses. In ARDS, massive inflammation and the release of various inflammatory chemicals leads to the leaking of capillaries within the lungs. Signs of ARDS include increased respiratory rate, blue discoloration to skin and mucous membranes due to poor oxygen delivery, and occasionally coughing. Treatment of ARDS is primarily focused on supportive care and addressing the underlying critical illness.

  • Addison’s disease is caused by the decreased release of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone from the adrenal cortex. Most commonly caused by immune-mediated destruction, Addison’s disease can also be caused by trauma, infection, neoplasia or hyperadrenocorticism treatment. Clinical signs are non-specific and often come and go. Common signs include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, and weight loss. Some patients present in an Addisonian crisis which includes severe weakness, severe vomiting and diarrhea and requires immediate medical intensive care in hospital. Addison’s is diagnosed using history, bloodwork, urinalysis, and ultimately an ACTH stimulation test. Addison’s is treated by administering synthetic replacements for aldosterone and cortisol. Prognosis is good once dogs have been stabilized on medication.

  • Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, is found in fresh and brackish water of ponds and lakes. This microscopic bacteria can also grow in backyard fountains, garden pots, bird baths, and anywhere water is stagnant.

  • An allergy is a state of over-reactivity or hypersensitivity of the immune system to a particular substance called an allergen. Most allergens are proteins from plants, insects, animals, or foods. In the dog, the most common symptom associated with allergies is itching of the skin, either localized (in one area) or generalized (all over the body). The symptoms of allergies can be confused with other disorders, or occur concurrently with them. Therefore, do not attempt to diagnose your dog without veterinary professional assistance.

  • Amyloidosis occurs when amyloid proteins are deposited outside of cells in various tissues and organs, causing tissue and organ dysfunction. It is uncommon in dogs, except in Beagles, Chinese Shar Peis, Collies, Treeing Walker Hounds, and English Foxhounds. Signs depend on the organs involved, but kidney involvement is most common. If kidneys are involved signs include mouth ulcers, weight loss, vomiting, and dehydration. For dogs with liver involvement, signs include weakness, pale gum color, distended abdomen, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, abdominal pain, and collapse. There is no specific medication for the treatment of amyloidosis in dogs, with treatment focusing on kidney support. Shar Peis may be treated with colchicine to reduce the effects of amyloid deposition.

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Pet Health Library

Royal City Paws Pet Centre is pleased to provide a library of professionally written articles updated by practice experts.