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Medical Conditions

  • Diabetes mellitus results from an inadequate production of insulin from the pancreas. The primary treatment is replacement by insulin injections. The body’s response to the injections needs to be regularly monitored by glucose curves over 12-24 hours. There are several glucometers that can be used at home for this purpose. Insulin must be stored and reconstituted carefully to ensure dosing is accurate. Giving subcutaneous injections of insulin can seem daunting at first, but by following the directions in this handout, it will quickly become second nature to both you and your pet. Hypoglycemia can result from too much insulin, not enough food, or excess exercise. Pet owners are trained to recognized hypoglycemia and treat or obtain emergency veterinary attention.

  • Chronic degenerative valve disease (CVD) is a consequence of degeneration of the valves between the atrium and ventricle on both the right and left side of the heart. The changes in the valves stops them from forming a tight seal between the atrium and ventricle when the heart is squeezing or pumping. This causes the valves to leak blood backwards into the upper chambers, and an abnormal sound called a heart murmur.

  • Eclampsia is hypocalcemia in a dog who has recently given birth. Breeds such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Toy Poodles, Miniature Pinscher, Shih Tzu, and other small breeds are at an increased risk. Eclampsia is considered an emergency and immediate medical attention should be sought. It can quickly progress from weakness to tremors, seizures, or paralysis. Treatment involves immediate intravenous injections of calcium and other drugs. Recovery from eclampsia is usually rapid and complete if treated early.

  • An anaphylactic reaction or anaphylaxis is an immediate hypersensitivity reaction to a foreign substance, especially a foreign protein. Any foreign substance can produce an anaphylactic reaction. Clinical signs are dependent on the route of exposure (mouth, skin, inhalation, injection, etc.), the amount of antigen and the level of the pet's IgE response. An anaphylactic reaction is a medical emergency and immediate treatment is required.

  • The lens is the transparent structure within the eye that focuses light on the retina. The lens can fall backwards into the eye known as a posterior luxation, where it rarely causes discomfort, or it can fall forwards into the eye, called an anterior luxation. Anterior luxation blocks the drainage of fluid from the eye resulting in glaucoma or increased intra-ocular pressure (IOP). An anterior (forward) luxation is an emergency and can lead to further complications such as glaucoma and blindness. Surgery can help preserve vision if done promptly, but ultimately some cases may lead to removal of the entire eye. If the lens luxates posteriorly, or falls into the back of the eye, it causes little or no discomfort. These cases may not require any treatment.

  • A gastropexy is a surgical procedure that is sometimes performed in large breed dogs to prevent gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat. A gastropexy may be performed prophylactically or may be done as part of the surgical management of GDV.

  • The definition of a pneumothorax is an accumulation of air outside the lungs, but inside the chest wall. The air outside the lung prevents the lungs from inflating normally, and can lead to lung collapse. There are several variations of pneumothorax.

  • Ferrets have several unique problems; understanding these problems will allow you to better care for your pet and minimize future health care problems.

  • Bladder stones are rock-like formations of minerals that develop in the urinary bladder. All stones form because of disease or inflammation in the bladder. The most common signs of bladder stones in the cat are blood in the urine and straining to urinate. Large stones may act almost like a valve, causing an "on-off" or partial obstruction at the neck of the bladder. In males, small stones become lodged in the urethra and cause an obstruction. X-rays (with or without contrast dyes) or ultrasound may be necessary for diagnosis. The fastest way to remove bladder stones is via a surgical procedure called a cystotomy. Special diets or passing a catheter may be successful for some bladder stones. Your veterinarian will advise you of the best course of action for your cat’s particular situation.

  • Cystine bladder stones appear to be the result of a genetic abnormality that prevents a dog from reabsorbing cystine from the kidneys. While bladder stones in general are somewhat common in dogs, cystine bladder stones are rare. Your veterinarian may be able to palpate the stones or may need to perform imaging studies such as a bladder ultrasound or a contrast radiographic study. There are two primary treatment strategies for treating cystine bladder stones in dogs: urohydropropulsion or surgical removal. Dogs that have developed cystine bladder stones in the past will often be fed a therapeutic diet for life. Unfortunately, cystine stones have a high rate of recurrence, despite careful attention to diet and lifestyle.