Dog Articles

Insulin

Overview

Insulin is a drug that is used in the treatment of diabetes in dogs and cats. It requires special handling and storage, it must be given by injection, and it carries the risk of overdose. Despite these disadvantages, insulin is the most commonly used drug in the treatment of diabetes. Without insulin, most diabetic cats and dogs will suffer severe or fatal complications of the disease.

Form and Storage of Insulin

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Hair Loss, Shedding, Balding, and Unkempt Hair in Cats and Dogs

Shedding, unkempt hair, and hair loss in pets are extremely common complaints among owners.   In many cases, shedding is normal and harmless for the pet.  However, hair loss leading to baldness, or hair loss accompanied by itchy, red, scabby, moist, or malodorous skin usually is linked to a medical problem.

Common Causes

More common causes are listed first.  Less common causes are listed later.

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Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

Animals Affected

Primarily dogs; very rarely cats.

Overview

Chocolate contains two compounds, caffeine and theobromine, that are poisonous to dogs.  Caffeine and theobromine are related compounds, and have similar effects on dogs.

Consumption of small or moderate quantities of caffeine and theobromine leads to mild symptoms of agitation and nervousness.  Dogs that ingest large quantities of the two toxins may suffer irregular heartbeats and even death.

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Cimetidine (Tagamet®), Ranitidine (Zantac®), and Famotidine (Pepcid®)

Overview

Cimetidine, ranitidine, and famotidine are related medicines.   They are in a class of drugs called H2 blockers.  They have similar effects and uses in veterinary medicine.

H2 blockers cause decreased production of stomach acid.   In pets, these medicines are prescribed mainly to treat or prevent gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of appetite).  They also may be used to prevent or treat ulcers or irritation of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.

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Swelling of the Face in Cats and Dogs

Common Causes

More common causes are listed first.   Less common causes are listed later.

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Levothyroxine (Soloxine® and Thyro-Tabs®)

Overview

Levothyroxine is used to treat hypothyroidism in dogs. It works by supplementing the dog’s production of thyroid hormone. The effect is temporary. Most dogs with hypothyroidism require lifelong treatment with levothyroxine.

Form

Levothyroxine most commonly is administered as an oral pill once or twice daily.

Side Effects

Side effects of levothryoxine are rare but can include gastrointestinal upset.

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Low Appetite, Decreased Enthusiasm for Food, or Finicky Eating Behavior in Cats and Dogs

Finicky eating behavior and decreased appetite are often related in cats and dogs.  Food preferences and minor behavioral issues are responsible for many instances of finicky eating behavior.

However, a very large number of diseases suppress appetite in pets.   Pets with suppressed appetites may eat less, or may become more selective (finicky) about what they eat.

Common Non-medical Causes

More common causes are listed first. Less common causes are listed later.

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Clindamycin (Antirobe®)

Overview

Clindamycin is a commonly used antibiotic in veterinary medicine.  Clindamycin is used to treat a variety of bacterial infections.   Some of its more common applications include treatment of dental infections, abscesses, infected wounds, and infected bones.

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Mineral Oil-Based Laxatives and Hairball Remedies ( Including Laxatone® and Petromalt®)

Overview

Laxatone® and Petromalt® are commonly prescribed to prevent and eliminate hairballs in cats.  They are laxatives that promote the passage of intestinal contents through the rectum as feces.  Although the two products (and other, similar products) primarily are marketed as hairball remedies, they also are used to treat and prevent constipation.

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Tapeworms in Cats and Dogs

Animals Affected

Dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens.

Overview

Tapeworms are parasites of dogs and cats.   They live in the intestines and, although they rarely cause clinical symptoms or disease in pets, they rob their hosts of nutrients.  Tapeworms are aesthetically unpleasant.

The most common type of tapeworm is spread by fleas. Pets contract this species of tapeworm when they swallow fleas in the process of grooming.  Other tapeworms are spread through improperly prepared food.

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