Dog Articles, Diseases

Fleas in Cats and Dogs

Animals Affected

Fleas can infest dogs, cats, rodents, and other mammals. People can be bitten by fleas as well.

Overview

Fleas are a parasitic pest of dogs, cats, and other animals. They are blood sucking insects. Minor flea infestations can lead to severe skin and health problems in dogs and cats. Major infestations can be life-threatening.

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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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Rodenticide (Mouse or Rat Poison) Toxicity in Cats and Dogs

Animals Affected

Primarily dogs; occasionally cats

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Heartworm in Cats and Dogs

Animals Affected

Heartworm disease affects dogs most frequently. Cats suffer from heartworm disease less often but are still at risk. Heartworms have been found in people in rare cases.

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Coccidia (Isospora) in Cats and Dogs

Animals Affected

Puppies and kittens. Rarely, adult cats and dogs.

Overview

Coccidia are microscopic intestinal parasites of dogs and cats.   They are extremely common, but they very rarely cause symptoms in adult animals.   In puppies and kittens, they are a frequent cause of diarrhea.

Untreated, severe cases of coccidia in young animals can lead to profuse diarrhea, dehydration, and serious illness.  However, most cases of coccidia do not have these consequences.

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Roundworms (Intestinal Worms) in Cats and Dogs

Animals Affected

Cats, dogs, puppies, and kittens.

Overview

Roundworms (often simply called worms) are extremely common in pets.   In dogs and cats, worms may cause no symptoms whatsoever, or they may cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems.  Many safe and effective treatments and preventatives are available to keep pets free of worms.

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Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid Gland) in Dogs

Animals Affected

Hypothyroidism is common in middle-aged and older dogs.

Overview

Hypothyroidism is a disease of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, produces a hormone called thyroid hormone. Although thyroid hormone plays a complex role in the body, its main effect is to increase the rate of metabolism. Hypothyroidism causes reduced production of thyroid hormone. Therefore, the main problem in hypothyroidism is reduced metabolism.

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Collapsing Trachea in Dogs

Animals Affected

Dogs

Overview

Collapsing trachea is a common syndrome in middle-aged and elderly small dogs.  In the syndrome, the structures that support the wind pipe, or trachea, weaken.  This causes the trachea to narrow during the course of respiration, leading to irritation of the wind pipe and coughing.

Collapsing trachea is a chronic, progressive, and non-curable syndrome.  However, it rarely causes severe compromise to quality of life, and very rarely contributes to premature death.

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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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Pain in Cats and Dogs

Animals Affected

All animals, regardless of species or age, experience pain.

Overview

Animals feel pain under the same circumstances as people. Anything that would cause pain in a person will cause pain in pets.

Symptoms

Symptoms of pain differ among species.

Cats:

Cats instinctively hide pain. Therefore, signs of pain in cats are usually subtle. A cat in pain may:

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