FOOT PADS CAN
Most people are aware that foot pads can be injured by stepping on something sharp, but what about something hot? Dangerously hot pavement and metal surfaces are hard to avoid in the heat of summer.
Read this quick tip to learn about this hazard and how to minimize risk.
Pavement, metal or tar-coated asphalt get extremely hot in the summer sun.
Harder to remember is summer heat and our dog's feet. Unlike the obvious wounds such as lacerations, foot infections (fungal, bacterial or foreign bodies), burned pads may not be readily apparent to the eye.
Walk your dog early morning, evening, walk on the cool side of the street or in the grass, or get them a pair of shoes to protect their feet.
Miembro del Equipo Veterinario de PROMAR
Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease found primarily in Central and South America, as well as Africa, India and the Mediterranean. Leishmaniasis is caused by a single cell parasite and can only be transmitted by certain species of biting sand fly. The sand fly absorbs Leishmaniasis when pumping the blood of a parasited dog; it can retransmit it to another dog. The disease exists in two forms: Cutaneous Leishmania (skin infection) and Visceral Leishmania (internal organ infections), both types can affect dogs. Visceral Leishmania is much more serious than Cutaneous Leishmania, since it means that the parasites have reached vital internal organs of the dog. Over 95 % of all infected dogs will develop organ infections with this disease. This can be a very slow and progressive disease as it may take up to 7 years for symptoms to develop.
Symptoms of Leishmaniasis in dogs
Weakness, listlessness, intolerance to exercise and loss of appetite (often leading to weight loss). In some cases these symptoms are accompanied with hepatosplenomegaly (enlarged liver and/or spleen), local or generalized lymphadenopathy (disease of the lymph nodes), Kidney failure and a fever. Up to 90% of dogs suffering from symptomatic Leishmaniasis lesions are normally dry and the dog will lose its hair, the dog may also bleed from the nose. The head is usually the first place for the lesions to show, especially on the muzzle and outer ear, lesions on the footpads are also quite common, also if your dog starts to lose the colour or pigmentation in the footpads or the muzzle. Eventually the lesions can spread to the rest of the dogs body causing the limbs and joints of the dog to become swollen. Other symptoms of Leishmaniasis in dogs are chronic diarrhoea often with blood, deformed and brittle nails, and eye infections.
Diagnosing Leishmaniasis in dogs
Leishmaniasis can be diagnosed by a blood test, urine test and lymph node biopsy. Serologic testing will also be done to detect circulating antibodies in the dogs bloodstream.
Treatment for Leishmaniasis for dogs
The most commonly used Leishmaniasis treatment for dogs is with meglumine antimoniate (Glucantime), it has proven effective against Leishmaniasis in dogs, injected either into a vein or under the skin every day for 3-4 weeks for a minimum of 15 injections. This drug is not always well tolerated by leishmanial dogs and is undoubtedly painful for the dog. These injections should be under veterinary supervision throughout treatment. Glucantime is often combined with a drug called allopurinol, which is given daily by mouth for many months, sometimes for life. Allopurinol is not toxic and can be given to the dog by the owner. Another treatment is with amphotericin B, which is injected 2-3 times a week for several weeks, because of its toxicity, the canine patient must be monitored closely by the veterinarian during treatment with this drug. Correct treatment is expensive and takes time and there is always a possibility of a relapse in the future and the need to repeat the treatment. Several types of orally administered drugs are efficient when it comes to merely containing the disease, but the cost for long term treatment can be hard for many dog owners. These drugs are Itraconazole, fluconazole, ketaconazole and miconazole. The other problem with prolonged routine use of such drugs is the risk of drug resistance.
Prevention of Leishmaniasis in dogs Scalibor collars impregnated with deltamethrin worn by the dog have been proven to be 86% effective. The Sand fly is most active at dusk and dawn, in the hottest of months, so keeping your dog indoors during those peak times will help minimize exposure. Advantix when applied once or twice a month, on the back of the neck has been proven to be 88.9% effective.
Prevention of Leishmaniasis in dogs
Scalibor collars impregnated with deltamethrin worn by the dog have been proven to be 86% effective. The Sand fly is most active at dusk and dawn, in the hottest of months, so keeping your dog indoors during those peak times will help minimize exposure.
Advantix when applied once or twice a month, on the back of the neck has been proven to be 88.9% effective.
Worm (internal parasites)
There are 5 different types of dog worms (internal parasites), which your dog can fall prey to. These are: heartworm, hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm and whipworm. As a dog owner, it is recommend that you educate yourself on these worms in order to be able to recognize the symptoms if they should become evident in your dog. Early worm detection is important because each type of dog worm requires a different form of treatment. You should also be aware of the fact that roundworm and hookworm are zoonotic which means that these worms can be transmitted to humans. Some worm infestations may show little to no symptoms, where as others can demonstrate severe symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss. Some dog worms can be seen by the naked eye while some cannot, therefore it is a good idea to ask your vet to perform a stool test for dog worms once a year.
Below you can find a list of common telltale symptoms of dog worm infestation, but keep in mind that these symptoms can also be a sign of a more serious problem. Either way, always consult a veterinarian whenever your dog is not "his usual self."
Low energy level
ROUNDWORMS (Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina)
There are two types of Roundworm: Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonine. This is the most common type of dog worm, which affects the intestines and causes a pot-bellied appearance, mostly in puppies. There are a few ways puppies can become infected. Puppies are often infected before birth through the mothers uterus or through her milk. Puppies can also contract these worms through the ingestion of an infected animal (such as a rodent) or infected soil. Roundworm eggs can live in soil for many years. Once a puppy has ingested the infected soil, the eggs will hatch in his intestines, allowing the worms to live there and grow to adulthood. These adults will then produce more eggs. Roundworms may be found in your dogs stool or vomit. They can grow to about 7 inches in length and have a spaghetti-like appearance. If this type of infestation is not detected early and is allowed a chance to develop, a build up of worms in the intestines can cause an obstruction which may result in death. The symptoms of a severe infestation are: pot-belly appearance, diarrhea, and vomiting, dull coat and weight loss. Puppies should be de-wormed every 2 weeks between 2 and 12 weeks of age, then monthly until he is 6 months old. Once your puppy has reached 6 months of age, he is less susceptible to contracting these worms but should continue to be wormed yearly.
Because Roundworm can be transmitted to humans, it is important to promote good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly. Transmission of this dog worm to humans is usually through infected soil, which may be in your garden or lawn. Because the eggs are sticky and can easily adhere to hands or clothing, make sure children (and adults) wash their hands after playing outside (especially at a park or playground), after playing with the dog and before its time to eat.
Treatment generally involves administering oral medication (de-wormer). Prevent your dog from contracting roundworms by cleaning up there faeces from the garden as often as possible, also administering a heartworm medication. Do not mix wormers and consult your vet before giving your dog any medication, and last, but not least, always remember annual visit to the Vets.
HOOKWORMS (Ancylostoma caninium)
Like Roundworm, Hookworm harbours in the intestines and can also be transmitted to humans. Hookworms can affect a dog at any age. It is a small thin worm that hooks on to the intestinal wall and sucks the blood from its victim, which causes anaemia and perhaps death. Due to their sharp teeth, they also cause bleeding in the intestines. Hookworms are not visible by the naked eye, therefore should be diagnosed by a vet. As with roundworm, hookworms also live and grow to adulthood in the intestines. They can also be transmitted to pups while in the mothers uterus or through her breast milk. A dog infected with hookworm would experience bloody stool, anaemia, weight loss, pale gums, diarrhea and low energy level. Skin irritation can be a sign of a severe infestation. Hookworms can be transmitted to humans by penetration of the skin, making it is possible for people to become infected simply by walking barefoot on infected soil. Hookworms, when transmitted to humans, can cause bleeding in the intestines along with abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Treatment usually consists of oral medications (de-wormer). Hookworm infestation can kill your pup before the worm is ever detected. This is why it is so important to keep up with veterinary visits.
TAPEWORMS (Dipylidium caninum)
The tapeworm gets its name from its long, flat, tape-like appearance. It is yet another parasite that affects the intestines, and like the roundworm, can be seen by the naked eye. Broke pieces of this dog worm would be found in the dogs faecal matter, which give it a rice-like appearance. These pieces of worm, although broken, can be found (still moving) around the dogs anus, in his stool or in his bed. Common symptoms of severe tapeworm infestation are abdominal pain, nervousness, severe itching around the anus, vomiting and weight loss. Transmission to dogs is often caused by the ingestion of infected fleas. Although, humans are susceptible to being infected, a dog cannot transmit the dog worm to a human directly.
Regular over-the-counter de-worming medication is not effective in eliminating this type of dog worm. A prescription dewormer is administered orally or by injection.
WHIPWORMS (Trichuris vulpis)
Whipworms are long, thin (whip-shaped) dog worms that live in the dog's colon and are not visible by the naked eye. They attach themselves to the intestinal walls and feed off of them which, in turn, can cause intestinal bleeding. Common symptoms of whipworm infestation are anaemia, weight loss, flatulence, diarrhea with blood or mucus in the stool and lack of energy. Although whipworms are the most difficult to eliminate among the families of dog worms, there is effective treatment available.
Prescription medications are usually more effective. The treatment lasts for up to 5 days and is repeated after 3 weeks. After this treatment is finished, consult your vet about recommending a heartworm medication (containing milbemycin oxime) as a prophylactic to future infestation. Along with administering heartworm medication regularly, here are other ways to prevent re infection: remove faeces from garden every few days, clean yard with a safe cleaning agent (which kills worms)
Have faeces tested every 6 months (more often if previously infected)
HEARTWORMS (Dirofilaria immitis)
Heartworm, although highly preventable, has the potential to be fatal, if contracted and left untreated.
Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, mostly during the warm months when mosquitoes are most active. The mosquito becomes infected from biting dogs that carry the disease. These dog worms destroy the muscle and tissue of the heart, which can cause congestive heart failure and result in death. At this advanced stage, your dog would experience the typical signs of worms, such as pot-belly, coughing, lack of energy and dull coat. Unfortunately, there are no symptoms of this disease until it has progressed to an advanced stage. For this reason, it is important to start your dog on a heartworm preventative.
General guidelines for dog worm prevention
When walking your dog in a park, picking up his faeces as a standard practice not only prevents soil contamination, but also prevents the spread of many other dog diseases.
Regular visits to the vet and stool testing is a great way to prevent dog worms, as well as other illnesses. Twice-yearly worm testing is recommended. Make sure your dog is tested for worms before starting a heartworm preventative.
High-risk dogs should be screened more often (check with your vet).
Flea control is important because fleas are responsible for the spread of tapeworms.
Most puppies find faeces quite appetizing. Keep your dog away from faeces: his own as well as others. This is the most common form of worm infestation.
Tick fever is the most common name for the disease Ehrlichiosis.
The first phase of tick fever brings about fever, trouble breathing, noticeably swollen lymph glands, a loss of energy and a lack of appetite. The dog may get bleeding problems such as sudden nose bleeds or blood in the stool. Sometimes a dog with tick fever will also have coordination problems.
The phase only happens if the dog is developing the chronic form of tick fever. Unfortunately, there are absolutely no symptoms to this part of chronic tick fever. The only way to tell that the dog is still infected is to do a blood test to see if the bacteria are lingering in the dogs bloodstream. It is possible for a dog to be cured during the acute phase.
The signs are similar to the initial symptoms, but come on far more severely. Instead of a small nosebleed, the dog will hemorrhage out of the nose or eyes. There is also danger that the kidneys or the bowels may hemorrhage as well. The dog wont just lack energy but will not want to move. The dog will often be lame, may have swollen legs and will have noticeable coordination problems.
The acute phase can happen anywhere from 8 to 20 days after the tick has bitten the dog. The subclinical phase can last as little as two weeks but may last for years if the dog develops the chronic type of tick fever. The can dog die in a matter of days when chronic symptoms start. Treatment which may include blood transfusions, must be done immediately.
The only way to prevent these signs of tick fever from happening to a dog is to make sure that the dog does not get bitten by brown dog ticks. This is accomplished by using flea products that will also repel or kill adult ticks. Veterinarians recommend checking a dog any time it has romped in the woods or high grass to be sure that ticks aren't on the coat or body.
Mange is a persistent contagious skin disease caused by parasitic mites. These mites embed themselves either in hair follicles or skin, depending upon their type. They generally infest domestic animals, including dogs and other, livestock (such as sheep scab), wild animals and even humans (such as scabies). There are two types of mites produce canine mange, each type have characteristic symptoms.
Also called demodicosis or Red Mange, demodectic mange in dogs is caused by sensitivity to and overpopulation of parasitic mites as the animal's immune system is unable to keep the mites under control. Most dogs are immune to demodectic mange; however dogs with compromised immune systems and the elderly are at a higher risk. It is not contagious to humans
Dogs affected with demodectic mange do not need to be isolated from other dogs it is generally only contagious from mother to pup during suckling. Demodectic mange is not contagious after weaning. Many puppies will grow out of demodectic mange as their immune systems mature. Demodectic mange can re-occur if the immune system is compromised such as after steroid treatment, stress or illness. Demodectic mange is often self-limiting once the causes of stress or illness are addressed. However, symptoms associated with intense itching should be viewed and treated by a veterinarian.
Sarcoptic mange is also known as scabies and is caused by a mite which inhabits the skin of the infected dog, causing hair loss, itchiness and other skin lesions. Hair loss and crusting frequently appear first on elbows and ears. Skin damage can occur from the dogs intense scratching and biting. Secondary skin infection is also common. Dogs with chronic sarcoptic mange are often in poor condition.
In cases of Sarcoptic mange, affected dogs need to be isolated from other dogs and their bedding, and places they have occupied must be thoroughly cleaned. Other dogs in contact with a diagnosed case should be evaluated and treated. Please seek advice and treatment from your Veterinarian if any symptoms occur.
The Symptoms of Mange in Dogs
Mange is a serious skin disease caused by mites. Such parasites will attack in big numbers and cause severe damages to the ears, face, and limbs of dogs. There are many signs indicating that a dog is suffering from mange.
Here are the most common ones:
Dogs itch and scratch a lot. For most pets, that's normal. However, if they scratch too hard and too often, causing red sores on their skins, then the problem is not a simple skin disease. Mange may be causing this behavior.
When mites attack, the body parts where they burrow themselves into get affected. Hair loss is the most common sign. If in some parts the hair of your dog seems a little thin, the skin shows red blisters and sores, chances are your pet is suffering from mange. It is best that you take it to the vet right away before the problem gets any worse.
Dry, crusty and thickened skin
The moment the skin of your dog becomes exposed due to hair loss, check it thoroughly. Hair loss can be caused by a lot of diseases and mange is just one of them. Your dog has mange if their skin is extremely dry and wrinkled. These are the signs that parasites have invaded the skin of your dog and are continuing to damage it.
Strong, foul odour
As mites invade the skin area, they will reproduce massively. In this case, a dog will experience severe itching. Your dog will scratch its skin all day. As your dog scratches different body parts, the mites will start to spread. When mites increase in number, the odour of your dog changes. Dogs with mange develop odour similar to that of a strong cheese or like athlete's foot.
Sores and blisters
As with most skin disorders, the presence of sores, reddening, and blisters on the skin are expected. You know the problem is worse when there's blood, open wounds, or severe inflammation on the affected areas. At such point, it is best that you take your dog to the veterinarian for first aid and for continual medication.
These are the symptoms of mange on dogs. If your dog exhibits any of these signs, contact a veterinarian immediately. Dog mange can easily be treated during the early stages. Otherwise, the veterinarian might need to employ a more aggressive form of treatment. In the most severe cases, even the strongest antibiotics can't guarantee the full recovery.
Veterinarians usually attempt diagnosis with skin scrapings from multiple areas, which are then examined under a microscope for mites, because they may be present in relatively low numbers, and because they are often removed by dogs chewing at themselves, may be difficult to demonstrate. As a result, diagnosis in Sarcoptic mange is often based on symptoms rather than actual confirmation of the presence of mites. A common and simple way of determining if a dog has mange is if it displays what is called a "Pedal-Pinna reflex", which is when the dog moves one of its hind legs in a scratching motion as the ear is being manipulated and scratched gently by the examiner; because the mites proliferate on the ear margins in nearly all cases at some point, this method works over 95% of the time. It is helpful in cases where all symptoms of mange are present but no mites are observed with a microscope. In some countries, a serologic test is available that may be useful in diagnosis.
Like humans, dogs can acquire diabetes too. Dogs with diabetes need utmost care and support because it is a life-threatening disease that every pet owner should be very concerned about.
The two types are diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is an endocrine disease that is brought about by the malfunction of the endocrine glands.
Diabetes insipidus is characterized by the lack of vasopressin. Vasopressin is an anti-diuretic hormone whose job is to control the kidneys absorption of water.
Diabetes mellitus is characterized by insulin deficiency. It is a condition where the dogs body cant metabolize sugar well. This is the more common and more dangerous type of diabetes that dogs can possibly acquire.
Diabetes mellitus is further divided into two groups, Type I and Type II diabetes. These types are very similar to the types that affect humans.
Type I diabetes occurs during the early years of the dogs life. It is also referred to as juvenile dog diabetes.
Type II diabetes is characterized by the dogs dependency on insulin and it is normally observed in senior dogs and those that have passed their middle years.
Aside from older dogs, bigger dogs are more susceptible to dog diabetes than smaller breeds. Obese female dogs are even more prone to diabetes. Once the pancreas fails to secrete the right level of insulin needed by the dog to utilize all of the glucose produced by the body, the problem occurs.
Diabetes in dogs is a hereditary disease. It is also considered as an autoimmune disease that may lead to further system malfunctions. Early diagnosis is very crucial so that the dogs disease can be reversed. To determine if your dog has diabetes, a sugar blood test is required. Your veterinarian can conduct this test, so schedule a visit as soon as possible. Once diabetes is diagnosed in your pet, regular monitoring is necessary to make sure that your pet remains in good condition despite the onset of the disease.
The management of dog diabetes starts with a proper diet. There are foods that your dog should eat in order to help this condition. On the other hand, there are certain foods that can possibly make your dog's diabetes become worse. When your dog is suffering from diabetes, regular visits to the vet are essential. You may also be required to start using prepared meals instead of giving your dog its regular food.
Certain medications may be required for dogs suffering from the worst cases of this disease. Insulin injections are very important because they can extend the life of your pet and allow it to live normally despite having diabetes.
Diabetes can lead to a variety of diseases, particularly heart ailments. Diabetes can induce the abnormal flow of blood in your pets body, thereby causing a range of circulatory complications. Provide your pet with the right level of care and attention so as to ensure its perfect health at all times.
Causes of Dog Diabetes
Dog diabetes is a disease that doesnt have many external causes. This means most of the causes of this disease cant be prevented or controlled.
One of the main reasons why dog diabetes develops is heredity: This means that if the dogs parents have diabetes, it is very likely that the offspring will also inherit the same problem.
As such, it is very important for a breeder to check the medical history of the dog to be bred. It is essential that dogs used for breeding undergo a full check up so that a breeder can be assured that the dog is not suffering from underlying health conditions that may affect its puppies
Aside from heredity, other risk factors for the dog diabetes are infectious diseases and viruses: It is possible that your dogs condition is triggered by an entirely different disease, which it may have suffered a long time ago. Certain diseases, especially the ones affecting the pancreas, may trigger abnormal production of the hormone insulin. Once this happens, it will be much harder for your pets body to manage glucose or blood sugar levels. This is when diabetes occurs. An example of a health condition that can trigger diabetes is Cushings disease.
The use of steroids in your pet may also be a factor: Dogs that are given steroid shots on a regular basis may eventually develop diabetes. Steroids can also affect the normal functions of the pancreas, thereby causing under production of insulin.
Canine diabetes usually surfaces when a dog is seven to nine years old. Female dogs are at higher risks than male dogs, because of the changes in their reproductive hormones every time they get pregnant. Other breeds that are prone to developing this disease are miniature pinschers, cairn terriers, and keeshonds. These dogs have a genetic structure that is more prone to developing dog diabetes than other breeds. The same is true with dachshunds, poodles, beagles, and miniature schnauzers.
Diabetes is a common occurrence in dogs: It is suffered by one out of every ten dogs in the world. Its prevalence is slowly increasing over time, which is also true of diabetes in humans.
This autoimmune disease is a critical condition that has to be addresses immediately.
Diabetes can slowly affect the entire body system of your dog and eventually cause its death.
It strikes like a silent killer. It rarely produces symptoms and yet, its ill effects can extend to an irreversible condition inside the body. This is the reason why diagnosing canine diabetes early on is very important. When discovered at a much later time, veterinarians may have limited options when treating your pet.
However, todays advanced medications are reaching the peak of research. Sooner or later, a permanent cure for the disease will surface. For now, medications are administered to help your pet to live a normal life despite acquiring the disease.
Symptoms of Dog Diabetes
Dog diabetes is a disease that has to be addressed early on so that its effects can be reversed. Pet owners should be very conscious of this disease, because it may cripple the dog or even be the cause of its eventual death.
Dog diabetes has several signs to watch for, these are:
Lethargy is a symptom of many dog diseases, not just diabetes. This is why it is very important for you to take note of your dog´s condition. Sometimes, the laziness of your dog signifies a serious medical condition. If your dog is not responsive, it might pay to assume that your dog is sick. Take it to the vet for proper diagnosis.
2. Excessive Water Consumption
A dog that drinks water excessively is likely sick with diabetes. Diabetes may cause your pet to consume too much water because of overproduction of glucose, or because glucose can´t be metabolized by its body properly. For such instances, the vet may prescribe certain medications to revert the problem.
3. Increased Urination
If your dog tends to drink too much water, it will urinate often. These two symptoms are related to each other. Talk to your veterinarian if your dog is urinating more than normal.
4. Unexplained Weight Gain or Weight Loss
Because of the lack of activity in your pet, you can expect that it will slowly gain weight. This may also be because of the fact that your dog cannot burn as much sugar as it should because of the insulin deficiency it is suffering from. Weight that is gained abnormally is a major cause for concern, whether or not it is caused by diabetes.
The most challenging thing about canine diabetes is fact that it may not have any symptoms at all. In some dogs, as well as in humans, diabetes may slowly disrupt the functions of the body without showing signs outright. Dog owners are strongly advised to take their pet to the veterinarians for regular checkups so that diabetes can be determined early on.
Diabetes is regarded as a silent killer. This is very true in dogs and humans. The same level of concern is necessary in both cases so that the effects of the disease can be rightfully managed. While a permanent cure for canine diabetes is yet to be discovered, dogs can live a normal life despite their health condition. However, they may require a lifestyle change and undergo regular medications thereafter.
To prevent dog diabetes, pet owners should be very observant of their pets. Always be concerned about your dog´s health and safety by checking on its condition every so often. Sad dogs are sick dogs. Whenever you think that your dog is not doing things that it normally does, take some steps to diagnose its disease and discover what it is going through. Most diseases are controllable if treated in their early stages.
Treatment for Dog Diabetes
If your dog is diagnosed by the veterinarian to be suffering from diabetes, there are some drastic changes that you have to undertake concerning its diet and lifestyle. The vet will provide strict guidelines that have to be followed so that your dog´s health can be restored and managed correctly.
The treatment procedure for canine diabetes starts with the right diet. Low fat and low sugar meals are required so that your dog´s condition won´t deteriorate. Once you take your dog to the veterinarian, you will be given a list of foods that your dog isn´t supposed to eat. The vet will diagnose your dog accordingly and determine how much the disease has affected its system. He will then try to provide medications to reverse this condition.
There are mild cases of diabetes and there are bad cases as well. The milder cases are can be addressed by a simple diet change and by taking the necessary drugs. However, severe cases of this disease may require insulin injections. Such injections can be administered by the vet. It is also possible for you to give the shots yourself, provided that you learn how to do so.
Intravenous insulin is usually administered to dogs with diabetes on a regular basis. Insulin has different types. The veterinarian will be the best one to determine which is best for your pet and at what frequency it should be given. Insulin is usually categorized as short-acting, medium-range, and long-range.
The short-acting versions are usually effective for up to four hours. Medium-range can work for up to one day and the effects of the long-range insulin can last up to 28 hours. However, between these three types, the short-acting insulin injections are the most powerful. It is best administered to dogs suffering from ketoacidosis as well. It is also the initial type of medication given to pets suffering from this particular disease.
Some dogs, especially the smaller breeds, may only require one injection daily to address their condition. However, bigger dogs may need two shots or more so that it can carry on with its normal activities. Even so, pet owners should still take their dogs to the veterinarian at the required intervals because regular monitoring is necessary. The veterinarian may have to adjust the medications so that your dog can properly benefit from them.
Written by Sioban William (Nexo Vets, Albox)
What Is Cushing's Disease?
Cushings syndrome is a disease with very distinct clinical signs in your pet. It is also called hyperadrenocorticism. Two small glands, the adrenal glands that lay just ahead of your dogs kidneys are responsible for this problem. When these glands over prooduce the hormones, cortisones, hyperadrenocorticism results. All the symptoms of Cushings disease are due to this excess of cortisone in the body. Cortisones relax the ligaments of the abdomen and causes enlargement of the liver. This is why dogs with the disease have a pot belly. Cortisones decrease the growth of hair and thins the skin. It increases appetite and thirst, which results in weight gain and excessive drinking and urination. Cortisone decreases muscle mass resulting in limb weakness and debility. The production of connective tissue that stabilizes the joints decreases. Cortisones also regulate the mineral content of the blood.
The Adrenal Glands:
The adrenal glands are regulated by the pituitary gland that is located just beneath your pet's brain. The pituitary produces a hormone, ACTH. ACTH stimulates the adrenal gland to produce cortisones. Occasionally, an ACTH-producing tumor will form in the pituitary gland. This is one form of Cushings disease. It accounts for 85% of all cases. A second form of the disease occurs when a cortisone-producing tumor forms within the adrenal gland. A third form of the disease is man-made. It occurs when a dog receives too much corticosteroid supplementation either in pill form or by injection. Sometimes this is the price of controlling some other serious disease.
What Symptoms Might I See If My Pet Has Cushings Disease?
One of the first signs noticed by owners is excessive drinking and urination by their pet. Female dogs may have urinary accidents at home. Owners sometimes tell me that they have to fill their pets water bowl again and again throughout the day and that their pet cries to be let out to urinate during the night. These dogs also become more susceptible to urinary tract infections.
Another effect of increased cortisone is increased appetite. Dogs with Cushings disease never seem to be full. This constant eating leads to weight gain and obesity.
The hair on black-coated dogs with Cushings disease often develops a rust or brown color.
Cortisone also causes the muscles of the legs to wither and the liver to enlarge so that in advanced states, the dog starts to look like a fat, pot bellied barrel on spindly legs. In this condition the pets exercise tolerance and activity decrease.
It becomes more and more difficult for the pet to jump onto the bed or climb stairs. With time, its hair coat will become sparse especially on both flanks. Hair on the head and legs usually remains normal. It may take very long for your pet's hair to re grow after clipping. The dogs skin thins due to the action of cortisone which causes it to become more susceptible to scrapes and infections. A textbook sign of Cushing s disease is mineralized skin nodules called Calcinosis Cutis.
Dogs that are at high risk for this disease include Silky Terriers, Bull Terriers, Boston Terriers and Yorkshire terriers, Dachshunds, and Poodles. Female dogs seem a bit more susceptible to adrenal gland tumors. Dogs that develop the disease are generally older than five years.
How Will My Veterinarian Diagnose Cushings Disease ?
Cushing s disease is diagnosed through a series of blood tests. These tests not only diagnose the disease but they tell us if the problem is in the pituitary gland or within the adrenal gland(s) themselves. Ultrasound examination of your pet's adrenal gland may detect these tumors. Routine blood analysis often show that the pet has higher than normal levels of Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), cholesterol and blood glucose as well as very dilute urine.
If these results and the dogs other symptoms make us suspect Cushings Disease, we run additional tests: One of these is called a dexamethasone suppression test. The other is an ACTH stimulation test. Both will usually confirm or rule out the presence of this disease and tell us whether to pituitary or the adrenal gland is the root of the problem.
How Can Cushings Disease Be Treated ?
It is not unusual for dogs with Cushings Disease to have other endocrine gland problems such as diabetes or recurrent pancreatitis so their long term survival can be threatened.
If tests determined that there is an adrenal gland tumor, it can be removed. The surgery is quite specialized and dangerous so many veterinarians prefer to have a specialist attempt it or elect to treat the dog medically. Pituitary gland tumors are not usually removed. Most cases of Cushings disease are managed medically.
What Is The Outlook For My Pet?
If Cushing s disease is not treated, it can progress to life-threatening conditions including congestive heart failure, liver failure, kidney failure, diabetes and neurological disorders. Dogs with Cushing s disease are also more susceptible to infections of the mouth, ears, skin and urinary tract. The most dangerous period is the first six months after treatment begins. None of the treatments actually restore normal adrenal function but once the six months period has passed, dogs with the disease may live several more good quality years.
For more information contact Nexo Almanzora Albox on 950 430 814
Written by Sioban Willimas
Information on the the Dog House Foundation website is offered as a guide and not as a substitute for seeking Professional Veterinary prevention,diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with your Veterinarian who can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your pets unique needs or diagnosis for your pets particular medical history.