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Rodenticide Toxicity

 

Overview

Rodenticide toxicity is the accidental ingestion of products used to kill rodents such as mice, rats and gophers. Poisoning is most commonly caused by ingestion of a product containing one of the following ingredients: bromethalin, cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), strychnine, zinc phosphide or anticoagulant (warfarin, fumarin, chlorophacinone, diphacinone, pindone, bromadiolone, brodaficoum).

The affect on the animal will depend on the type of poison ingested and the amount. Bleeding disorders, neurologic problems, gastrointestinal distress or kidney failure can occur. Without treatment, rodenticide toxicity can be fatal.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Rodenticide toxicity is generally diagnosed by bloodwork, urinalysis and clotting tests. In some cases, examination and testing of the stomach contents may be beneficial.
  • Treatment depends on the type of toxin ingested, severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. If ingestion was recent, inducing vomiting is often recommended followed by administration of activated charcoal. Intravenous fluids, blood transfusion, muscle relaxants, medications for kidney failure or brain swelling or vitamin K therapy may be necessary, depending on the specific toxin ingested . Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.

What to Watch for*:

  • Lethargy
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Increased thirst or urination
  • Incoordination
  • Difficulty walking
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Chronic Kidney Failure

 

Overview

Chronic renal (kidney) failure (CRF) is a common problem in cats. The digestion of food produces waste products, which are carried by blood to the kidneys to be filtered and excreted in the form of urine. When the kidneys fail, they are no longer able to remove these waste products, and toxins build up in the blood producing clinical signs of kidney disease.

All breeds of any age can be affected. However, older pets are commonly affected as the prevalence increases with age. The average age of diagnosis in cats is nine years.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Chronic kidney failure is generally diagnosed by physical examination, biochemical tests and urinalysis.
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Treatment for chronic kidney failure includes fluid therapy to correct dehydration, dietary therapy with protein restriction and medications to help counter potassium and phosphorus imbalances. Some animals may benefit from treatment for anemia. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.

What to Watch for*:

  • Increased thirst
  • Excessive drinking
  • Increased urination
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Bad breath
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination when walking
  • Depression

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Addison’s Disease

 

Overview

Hypoadrenocorticism, also called Addison’s disease, is an endocrine disorder that results from a deficient production of adrenal gland hormones. The most common cause of Addison’s disease is destruction of the adrenal gland tissue by the pet’s immune system. In Addison’s disease there is usually a deficiency of cortisol and a mineralocorticoid (aldosterone). Cortisol is responsible for combating stress. Aldosterone regulates the water, sodium, potassium, and chloride concentrations in the body.

Addison’s disease is an uncommon disorder in dogs and is extremely rare in cats. It is thought to be inherited in Leonbergers, standard poodles, andNova Scotia duck tolling retrievers. Certain other breeds may also be predisposed, such as the Airedale, bearded collie, German shepherd dog, German shorthair pointer, Great Dane, St. Bernard, English springer spaniel, West Highland white terrier, wheaten terrier, and Portuguese water dog.

Addison’s disease most often affects young to middle-aged dogs. About 70 percent of affected dogs are female.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Addison’s disease can be difficult to diagnosis since it mimics many other diseases. It is generally diagnosed by a thorough history, physical examination, bloodwork, urinalysis and an ACTH stimulation test.

  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Pets with Addison’s disease are treated with cortisol and mineralocorticoid replacement therapy.  Some will need fluid and electrolyte support. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition. 

What to Watch for*:

  • Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive thirst

 

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

 

Overview

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a viral infection that attacks the immune system of cats. It is a retrovirus similar to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and a syndrome similar to AIDS occurs in cats. Affected cats may have a variety of symptoms including infections caused by a poorly functioning immune system, anemia and low blood-cell counts, infections of the gums and mouth, cancer or neurologic disease.

FIV is not contagious to people; it is an infectious disease spread from cat to cat, primarily by biting. FIV has been found in the mother's milk and can be transmitted from mother to kitten. Transmission among household cats through normal contact is thought to be unlikely. Outdoor and male cats are predisposed.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • FIV is diagnosed through blood tests such as an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), IFA (indirect immunofluoresence) or Western blot test. Cats that have been vaccinated for FIV will have positive test results. For this reason, only unvaccinated cats should be tested.
  • Treatment depends on the disease process, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Nutritional support is important to maintain health. Masses may be biopsied and surgically removed. Affected cats should be kept indoors to prevent spread of the virus. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.

What to Watch for*:

  • Chronic infections
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Anal Sac Disease

 

Overview

The anal sacs are glands located near the anus (rectum) that produce secretions which are normally expressed during defecation. The secretions from these glands are normally foul-smelling and straw-colored with brown flecks.  The normal function of these glands is to mark territory with a unique scent.  Anal sac contents may also be expressed in times of fright producing a terrible odor in the area.

Dogs are more commonly affected with anal sac disease than cats, and small breed dogs are more commonly affected with anal sac impaction than large breed dogs. Older female dogs are more commonly affected with anal sac tumors.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Anal sac disease is generally diagnosed by a thorough history and rectal examination.  Bloodwork, abdominal x-rays and abdominal ultrasound may be recommended if an anal gland tumor is suspected.

  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Pets with anal sac disease may be treated with anal gland expression, antibiotics, or in chronic cases or tumors, surgical removal of the glands. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition. 

What to Watch for*:

  • Scooting
  • Frequent licking of anal area or tail base
  • Reluctance to sit or sitting asymmetrically to avoid pressure on the painful anal sac
  • Straining to defecate, difficulty defecating, production of ribbon-like stools
  • Painful swelling at the 4 o’clock or 8 o’clock locations around the anus

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Allergic Dermatitis

 

Overview

Allergic dermatitis is a general term to describe a group of skin allergies that may be caused by a multitude of factors in dogs. The most common classes of allergic dermatitis seen in dogs are flea bite allergy, food allergy and atopy. Atopy, also called atopic dermatitis, is an allergic condition caused by inhaled allergens, or absorption of allergens through the skin

Atopy and flea bite allergy are usually seen in young adults, whereas food allergy can be seen at any age. There are a number of canine breeds predisposed to the development of atopy and some animals may be prone to development of certain allergies due to genetic factors. Allergic signs may be seasonal, depending on the cause of the allergy.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Allergic dermatitis is generally diagnosed by a thorough history, physical examination, skin scrapings, skin cytology and bloodwork. Additional tests such as allergy blood tests, intradermal allergy testing and dietary trials are also beneficial.

  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Pets with allergic dermatitis may be treated with special shampoos, topical medications, antibiotics, antihistamines, steroids, special diet or immunotherapy. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition. 

What to Watch for*:

  • Scratching, licking, chewing or biting skin
  • Red, raised scaly areas on the skin
  • Thickened skin
  • Loss of hair

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Cognitive Dysfunction (Dementia)

 

Overview

Dementia, also known as senility or cognitive dysfunction, is a change in behavior seen in older dogs. Some feel it may be a normal aging change, however there appears to be a substantially accelerated form of dementia seen in some dogs.

The two most common complaints of owners with senile dogs are loss of housetraining and wandering during normal sleep time.

Cognitive dysfunction is seen in male and female dogs of all breeds that are at least 10 years old or older. The problem is progressive and the cause is unknown.

Dogs with cognitive dysfunction can disrupt their family’s routine with the house soiling, vocalization, wandering, and diminished family interaction.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Dementia is generally diagnosed by history and physical examination findings. There are behaviors that are typical for dogs with dementia. To rule out underlying disorders, bloodwork and x-rays may be recommended. In some cases, CT or MRI may be beneficial.

  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Some dogs benefit from behavior modification exercises and some can improve on medications such as deprenyl (Anipryl).  Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition. 

What to Watch for*:

  • Lameness
  • Decreased interaction with the family
  • Increased irritability
  • Slowness in obeying commands
  • Alterations in sleep-wake cycle
  • Decreased responsiveness to sensory input problems performing previously learned behaviors

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Congestive Heart Failure

 

Overview

Heart failure is a condition, caused by an abnormality in the structure or the function of the heart, in which it is unable to pump normal quantities of blood to the tissues of the body. The heart is a pump, and when it fails, it often leads to fluid retention in the lung and the body cavities leading to congestive heart failure.

Dogs of any age and any breed can develop heart failure. There is a predisposition for heart failure caused by cardiomyopathy in giant canine breeds. Many older, small breed dogs develop heart failure from abnormal function of the heart valves as the valve tissue degenerates.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Congestive heart failure is generally diagnosed by chest x-rays, electrocardiogram (EKG) and an ultrasound examination of the heart (echocardiogram).
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Acute therapy may include diuretics, Nitroglycerine ointment, oxygen as well as drugs to help maintain blood pressure if needed. The majority of dogs with congestive heart failure are treated at home with a diuretic (water pill) such as furosemide (Lasix) and angiotension converting enzyme inhibitors such as enalapril or benazepril and dietary sodium restriction. Additional drugs such as Digoxin and pimobendan may also be used with certain types of disease. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition. 

What to Watch for*:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficult breathing
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Atopy

 

Overview

Atopy is an itchy skin disease of animals that is caused by an allergy to substances in the environment that are contacted through the air, either by absorption through the respiratory tract or contact through the skin. Atopy is thought to be an inherited disease and is the second most common allergic skin condition in dogs; only flea allergy dermatitis is more common.

Symptoms of atopy usually begin relatively early in life, often by one year of age. Symptoms usually are seasonal at first, with most dogs showing clinical signs in the summer months when airborne allergens (such as plant pollens) are present in higher concentrations. As atopic dogs age, their symptoms tend to become less seasonal as they become allergic to more substances. Eventually, their itchiness can occur year-round.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Atopy is generally diagnosed by a thorough history, physical examination, skin scrapings and possibly allergy testing (blood tests or intradermal testing).
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.

What to Watch for*:

  • Licking or chewing at skin, especially paws
  • Scratching or rubbing muzzle and/or ears
  • Frequent head shaking
  • Red, inflamed skin

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Epilepsy

 

Overview

Idiopathic epilepsy is a specific term referring to a seizure disorder that has no identifiable cause. The terms epilepsy, seizure, fit or convulsion all mean the same thing; the physical manifestation of a sudden, excessive electrical discharge of neurons in the brain that results in a series of involuntary contractions of the voluntary muscles, abnormal sensations, abnormal behaviors, or some combination of these events.

The physical manifestations of a seizure can vary with different pets from between a far-away look or twitching in one part of the face to your pet falling on his side, barking, gnashing his teeth, urinating, defecating and paddling his limbs.

Seizures usually appear suddenly and end spontaneously, and can last from seconds to minutes. Idiopathic epilepsy can occur in all breeds. In some breeds, idiopathic epilepsy has been proven to be genetic. These breeds include German shepherd dogs, keeshonds, Belgian tervurens, beagles, Irish setters, Saint Bernards, poodles, wirehaired fox terriers, cocker spaniels, Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers. Epilepsy typically starts at around 2 to 5 years of age.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • There is no test that will definitively diagnose epilepsy. It is considered a diagnosis of exclusion; all tests are negative for other causes of seizures therefore it is probably epilepsy. To rule out other diseases, a thorough history, physical examination and bloodwork is performed.  Additional tests may also be preformed depending on your pet and your veterinarian.
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Pets with epilepsy are commonly treated with Phenobarbital, diazepam or potassium bromide to control the seizures. Additional drugs to control seizures are being developed and may also be treatment options.  Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition. 

What to Watch for*:

  • Seizures
  • Staggering
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Gnashing teeth

Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

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