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Dogs + Medical Conditions

  • Brucellosis is a contagious bacterial infection that can cause a number of reproductive problems, including infertility and abortion in breeding dogs. Male dogs infected with brucellosis develop epididymitis, an infection of the testicle. Female dogs infected with brucellosis develop an infection of the uterus. The infection is usually diagnosed by a blood test (rapid slide agglutination test). Treatment with antibiotics is not significantly effective and infected dogs should be removed from the breeding population. In the United States, brucellosis is a reportable disease.

  • A burn is a type of skin injury, commonly caused by heat, fire, or chemicals. Burns are classified based on how many layers of skin are affected; this classification scheme can help predict prognosis. Treatment of burns varies, depending on the severity of the burn and how much of the body is affected. Superficial burns may heal without treatment, while more severe burns may require hospitalization and possible skin grafts.

  • Burr tongue is the common name for burdock tongue (also called granular stomatitis or granulomatous glossitis) caused by ingestion of the burrs from the burdock plant. Burr tongue is most commonly seen in long-haired dogs when they accidentally traumatize their tongue and mouth on the burrs during grooming. The hooked scales of the burrs become embedded in the tongue and gums and cause an intense foreign body reaction. Affected dogs often have small red bumps on the tip and edges of their tongue, front of the lips and gums, and occasionally the base of the nose. Based on the severity of the condition, treatment ranges from letting the injuries heal on their own to administering antibiotics and pain medications, to surgical intervention.

  • These two conditions are the result of calcium being deposited within the skin. They are usually of minor significance in young dogs and cats but can indicate serious underlying diseases in older pets. This handout describes the different types of calcinosis circumscripta and cutis and associated causes, clinical signs, and treatments.

  • One of the more common uroliths in the dog is composed of calcium oxalate crystals. Current research indicates that urine high in calcium, citrates, or oxalates and is acidic predisposes a pet to developing calcium oxalate urinary crystals and stones. The most common signs that a dog has bladder stones are hematuria and dysuria. The only way to be sure that a bladder stone is made of calcium oxalate is to have the stone analyzed at a veterinary referral laboratory. Unfortunately, calcium oxalate stones have a somewhat high rate of recurrence, despite careful attention to diet and lifestyle.

  • Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial intestinal infection usually acquired by exposure to raw meat, poultry or infected water but can be spread between pets and humans. Signs of infection are watery or mucoid diarrhea with straining, possible cramping, lethargy, and fever. Most infections are self-limiting and do not require treatment. As many asymptomatic dogs carry these bacteria, diagnosis can be difficult and includes fecal culture and DNA(PCR) testing. Treatment, if required, is based on fecal culture sensitivity results as the more common infective species are resistant to many antibiotics. Prevention includes good personal hygiene and keeping your pet’s environment clean.

  • Canine coronavirus (CCoV) is not the same virus as SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. Canine coronavirus disease, known as CCoV, is a highly infectious intestinal infection in dogs, especially puppies. CCoV does not affect people, and causes gastrointestinal problems as opposed to respiratory disease. Crowding and unsanitary conditions lead to coronavirus transmission. Dogs may be carriers of the disease for up to six months (180 days) after infection. The most typical sign associated with canine coronavirus is diarrhea, typically sudden in onset, which may be accompanied by lethargy and decreased appetite. There is no specific treatment for coronavirus. Canine coronavirus vaccines are available. This vaccine will only work for the CCoV type of coronavirus.

  • Canine influenza is a relatively new, highly contagious virus that causes respiratory disease in dogs. It has been reported in all US states and some Canadian provinces. Clinical signs include coughing, runny nose, and fever. Definitive testing can be performed in the early stages of the disease. Vaccination is recommended for dogs at a higher risk of infection or morbidity. The virus is not spread to humans, but cats can become infected.

  • Carpal hyperextension is an abnormality of the carpus that causes hyperextension of the joint. There are many causes of carpal hyperextension: in young dogs, it may be caused by a developmental abnormality, it can be caused by trauma, and in older dogs, it may occur as a degenerative condition. Dogs with carpal hyperextension have a noticeable bend at the wrist, forcing their lower limb into an abnormally flattened position. If carpal hyperextension is caused by trauma, it may also be associated with pain and swelling. A tentative diagnosis of carpal hyperextension can be made based on initial observation, but a thorough physical examination is necessary because dogs with carpal hyperextension may also have abnormalities in other joints. Treatment of carpal hyperextension depends upon the severity of the condition.

  • Carpal laxity is a condition in which the carpus has an abnormal or excessive range of motion. Carpal laxity can show up in one of two ways: carpal hyperextension or carpal flexion. The underlying cause of carpal laxity has not been definitively determined but may be caused by nutritional factors (specifically excessive caloric intake and/or excessive calcium intake), genetic factors, and being raised on slippery flooring surfaces. Signs of carpal laxity may be seen at any time from 6 weeks of age onward, but the condition is most commonly noted between three and six months of age. Activity modification is often recommended for affected puppies by keeping them off slippery surfaces. Most puppies with carpal laxity will appear completely normal within six to eight weeks.