Dog Articles, Diseases

Foxtails (Grass Awns) in Cats and Dogs

Animals Affected

Dogs and cats

Overview

Foxtails, or grass awns, are arrow-shaped stickers that are produced by some types of grasses that have gone to seed.  Foxtails carry grass seeds.  They evolved to embed in the skin and be spread by animals.

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Acral Lick Dermatitis and Lick Granulomas in Dogs

Animals Affected

Dogs

Overview

Acral lick is a syndrome in which dogs excessively groom the skin at the junction of the leg and the foot. This can result in trauma and irritation to the skin, known as dermatitis. As the process continues, a fleshy pink mass known as a granuloma may develop at the site.

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Fever of Unknown Origin in Cats and Dogs

Animals Affected

Cats and dogs

Overview

Fever of unknown origin is a common syndrome in cats and dogs.  Affected animals experience an elevated body temperature, usually accompanied by lethargy, weakness, and lack of appetite.

As the name implies, the cause of fever of unknown origin is not determined in most cases.  However, most pets with the syndrome are treated for bacterial infections.  This treatment usually is successful.

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Ear Hematomas (Aural Hematomas) in Dogs and Cats

Animals Affected

Primarily dogs; occasionally cats

Overview

Aural hematomas occur when blood accumulates underneath the skin in the external portion of the ear.  A noticeably swollen area develops on the ear.  The area is often painful or irritating to the pet.

Aural hematomas develop when trauma occurs to the ear.  Direct trauma or chronic, violent head shaking can break blood vessels in the ear.  Broken blood vessels allow blood to accumulate under the skin, forming a hematoma.

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Hot Spots in Dogs

Animals Affected

Dogs

Overview

Hot spots are areas of skin that rapidly become irritated and infected, resulting in hair loss, moistness, and inflammation of the area.   They are called “hot” because they develop very quickly–in many cases overnight.  Often, self trauma such as excessive licking or scratching is involved in the development of hot spots.  However, hot spots can occur in the absence of licking or scratching.

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Allergies in Dogs

Animals Affected

Dogs

Overview

Allergies are the most common cause of skin problems in dogs.   In dogs, allergies often cause itching, hair loss, and inflammation of the skin.   In some dogs, allergies help trigger ear problems (such as ear infections) as well as skin problems.

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IBD (Inflammatory or Infiltrative Bowel Disease) in Cats and Dogs

Animals Affected

Cats and dogs

Overview

IBD is a common syndrome in which the stomach, intestines, or colon (or a combination of the three) becomes chronically irritated.  This results in chronic or intermittent diarrhea, vomiting, or both.

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Arthritis in Dogs

Animals Affected

Dogs

Overview

Arthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is a condition in which one or more joints in the body deteriorate.  Arthritis may occur as a result of trauma, natural aging, or syndromes called dysplasias in which the joints do not develop properly.

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Damaged, Torn, or Broken Toenails in Dogs

Animals Affected

Dogs

Overview

Damaged toenails are very common, especially in active dogs.  Most nail injuries occur as a result of a nail catching or snagging on plant matter, carpet, or other material while the dog is running.

Damaged toenails are extremely painful at the moment of injury.  In many cases, pain will persist until the damaged portion of the nail is removed by a veterinarian.   However, the vast majority of dogs with injured nails make complete recoveries.

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Diabetes Mellitus (Diabetes) in Dogs

Animals Affected

Dogs

Overview

Diabetes mellitus (known simply as diabetes) is a serious disease of dogs.  The main characteristic of diabetes is an inability to control the level of sugar in the blood.  This leads to chronically high blood sugar levels, which in turn lead to the symptoms of the disease.

Management of diabetes in dogs is challenging but possible.   With proper treatment, many diabetic dogs lead essentially normal lives.  However, without treatment the disease inevitably leads to serious complications.

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