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Stomach Flu with Bloody Diarrhea in Dogs

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE) in Dogs

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis is identified by blood in the vomit and/or stool, often due to a food borne illness. Because it is a serious disorder than can be potentially fatal, immediate veterinary care is required.


Continuous vomiting and/or diarrhea are the most common symptoms. Other symptoms include:


Infectious gastroenteritis is caused by pathogens (infectious agents). Some of the pathogens most commonly associated with infectious gastroenteritis include:

E. coli, Salmonella and Corynebacterium are the most significant intestinal pathogens because they can be passed from animal to human or vice versa. Salmonella infections are also important due to association with reproductive disorders.

Sudden dietary changes and/or dietary toxins may cause irritation and/or affect the immune system. Eosinophilic gastroenteritis, a chronic form of the illness, has been associated with allergens in dog foods. Gastroenteritis may be also observed due to irritation caused by stress, toxins, physical obstruction, ulcers, and abdominal disorders.

Gastroenteritis is not specific to any breed or gender, however, small breed dogs are more prone to infectious gastroenteritis.


It may be difficult to identify the cause of gastroenteritis. Therefore, invasive diagnostic procedures may be required if routine diagnostic procedures are not successful.

A brief outline of diagnostic procedures:

Medical history:

  • Physical obstruction, tumors, ulcers, intestinal blockage, etc.
  • Information about the severity, progression and magnitude of the vomiting and diarrhea
  • The vaccination record may help in ruling out a parvoviral infection

Physical observations:

  • A skin test to determine the presence and extent of dehydration
  • An abdominal palpation to check abdominal pain and/or abdominal obstruction
  • An examination of mucus membranes to determine hemorrhagic losses
  • Cardiovascular function provides information on dehydration and/or blood loss
  • Visual observation of the vomit and/or stool to determine if there is blood present

Routine blood/biochemical tests:

  • Packed cell volume (hematocrit) data to confirm hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
  • Biochemical tests (i.e., liver, kidney, blood protein, and blood sugar)

Fecal study:

  • Cultural assays to identify any potential microbiological or parasitic organisms


  • To locate any potentinal physical obstruction, tumor, ulcer, intestinal blockage, etc.


Examination through feeling


Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ


A type of slime that is made up of certain salts, cells, or leukocytes


A medical condition in which the small intestine and stomach become inflamed


a) Mass per volume b) The number of animals in a given area


A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts


The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine

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What to Do When Your Dog is Diagnosed with Cancer: Treatment, Prognosis, and Costs

By David F. Kramer

Few diagnoses in the veterinary world bring more pain to a dog owner than one simple word: cancer. The mind instantly goes to the perceived harshness of chemotherapy, surgery or radiation treatments, the likelihood of remission, and the possibility of losing the battle altogether. And while conditions such as kidney and heart disease can be more difficult to treat and have a poorer chance of survival than some types of cancer, this doesn’t stop the specter of cancer from casting a dark shadow over your pet and family.

An obvious first question to a diagnosis of cancer in our dogs is simply, why? The truth is that there is often no definitive reason. While some cancers are more common in certain breeds and in a few cases, causative links to specific genes or toxins have been identified,  for the most part luck plays the biggest role in determining whether or not your dog may one day be afflicted.


According to Veterinary Oncologist Dr. MJ Hamilton of Crown Veterinary Services in Lebanon, NJ, there are many signs that could be indicative of cancer. “Usually, we’ll see big changes at home. So things like decreased mobility, lethargy, changes in appetite, collapse, or inability to urinate,” says Hamilton. The specific symptoms that a dog develops depends on the type of cancer involved, where it is located, and how far it has progressed.

Hamilton, says a diagnosis of cancer comes from further testing. “Usually it’s during a workup that you’ll find it; either through an ultrasound, biopsy, or cytology.”


When it comes to treating dogs with cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are typically recommended either alone or in combination. Veterinary medicine has made some recent strides in other treatments, such as immunotherapy or antibody therapy, but these are less prevalent than the first line treatments.

The course of your dog’s treatment will be determined by your veterinarian or veterinary oncologist, and will depend on the type of cancer, as well as other factors. Whenever it is feasible, surgery to physically remove as much of the cancer as possible is usually part of treatment. Surgery may be the only type of therapy that is recommended, or it will be performed before or after chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

While chemotherapy is a blanket term for using drugs to combat disease, such treatments for cancer come in several forms. According to Dr. Joanne Intile, staff oncologist at the East End Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center in Riverhead, NY, chemotherapy can be administered orally, intravenously, topically, subcutaneously, intramuscularly, intratumorally (directly into a tumor), or intracavitarily (into a body cavity).

Chemotherapy can be adjuvant: used after a tumor is removed in the hopes of killing the remaining or residual cancer cells; neoadjuvant: which is used prior to surgery to reduce the size of an existing tumor; or induction: which is used to hopefully bring about a remission for specific types of blood borne cancers.

The majority of dogs treated with chemotherapy don’t suffer much in the way of serious side effects. Most dogs will not lose their fur during chemotherapy, but some breeds (those with continuously growing haircoats like Poodles and Old English Sheepdogs) might experience some thinning of hair. Your dog might also experience temporary diarrhea or vomiting and have less of an appetite. Bone marrow suppression is another worry with chemotherapy treatments because it can lead to anemia and/or increased risk of infection. But these types of side effects are typically treatable. The Clinical Oncology Service at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania estimates that the chance of “severe side effects… is estimated to be less than 5% of all pets receiving chemotherapy. With proper management, most animals recover uneventfully within a few days.”

Your vet will keep track of your dog’s progress through regular examinations, bloodwork, and discussions with you regarding what you observe at home. He or she may make changes in the dosage or choices of drug that are used for treatment based on how your dog responds to them.

Depending upon the type of cancer and how it is affecting your dog, your vet may recommend radiation therapy rather than chemotherapy.

Dr. Rick Chetney Jr., of VRC in Malvern, PA, is a veterinary oncologist who specializes in radiation treatments to fight cancer. “Radiation therapy is a localized therapy, like surgery,” says Dr. Chetney.

“It’s often used for tumors that we can’t surgically remove because they’re up against necessary structures such as the heart or brain. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment—once we inject it, it goes all throughout the body battling microscopic disease when it starts spreading to other locations. Again, radiation is more localized.”

“A definitive radiation therapy protocol is given once daily—usually with between 16 and 20 daily treatments—so it takes about three or four weeks,” says Dr. Chetney. “An individual treatment takes about an hour and a half to two hours, and most of that time is spent waiting for the patient to become sleepy from the sedative, and then later to recover from the anesthesia. The treatment itself only takes about 5-10 minutes.”

Animals are given varying levels of sedation for radiation treatments, mainly to keep them still. There’s no direct pain from the radiation treatment itself although some discomfort, skin problems, or fatigue may be associated with its effects.

If you live close to your treating oncologist, you might be able to bring your dog to its daily radiation treatments. If distance is an issue, the animal can be boarded during the week for treatments and be permitted to go home to recuperate over the weekend. 


Once a cancer diagnosis is determined, among the first considerations is cost. Even with research into this topic, you may find very little definitive information. Consulting with your vet or oncologist will certainly help get you a ballpark figure, but he or she may be hesitant to nail down a specific figure since it’s impossible to predict just how your dog will respond to treatment. 

Veterinary insurance is an option and many types cover cancer treatment (most likely partially)—but as is the case with people, rules concerning pre-existing conditions will generally prevent you from getting coverage once your dog has been diagnosed. Your veterinary oncologist will lay out a treatment plan and proposed rate, but there are many factors that can affect the eventual cost.

“It varies wildly, and it’s something I really can’t answer,” says Hamilton. “There are some cancers that are very affordable and inexpensive to treat, and others that really start to add up. Some cancers can be a couple hundred dollars a month, and others that start to add up into the thousands before you’re done. Everything is completely customized to that pet, what we know, and what the wishes of the family are.”

According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, an initial visit to confirm a cancer diagnosis can be upwards of $200. Major surgery to remove a cancerous tumor deep inside the body, or that will require reconstruction, can start at $1,500. Chemotherapy treatments might range from $200 to $2,000, depending upon the type and severity of the cancer. Radiation therapy can range from $2,000 to $6,000 or higher. You will also need to factor in additional medications that might be needed—such as pain relievers or antibiotics—which could cost another $30 to $50 per month for an indefinite period.


During and after treatment for cancer, dog owners might be tempted to look to the East for a different approach to medicine. One veterinarian who uses the Eastern approach is Dr. Patrick Mahaney of Los Angeles, CA, who specializes in natural and alternative treatments for pets. According to Mahaney, this type of pet care is imperative before, during, and after a cancer diagnosis.

“It’s crucial that all veterinarians and pet owners be attuned to whole-body health, especially when a pet is diagnosed with cancer and is going through surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy,” says Mahaney. “What’s not totally addressed in the veterinary oncology community is nutrition. We’re so dependent on processed, commercially available pet foods, primarily kibble, and really it’s not the ideal thing for any pet to eat. It’s fairly simple to make dietary changes to a whole-food based diet that can really benefit whole-body health.”

Mahaney is dubious of the current state of most available pet foods that make up the multi-million dollar pet food industry. It all begins, he says, with the concept of “feed grade” products that are welcome for animals, but judged unsuitable to be fed to humans. Mahaney believes in a life-long pet diet that consists of whole and human grade foods.

“Whole food feeding is key. Human grade ingredients have lower thresholds for certain substances that can be toxic—even carcinogenic. Mold-produced toxins (called mycotoxins), including aflatoxin and vomitoxin, can irritate the intestines, suppress the immune system, and are carcinogenic (cancer causing). You want to be sure that while your pet is being treated that their food is not going to further contribute to cancer,” he says.

While a diagnosis of cancer in your dog is by no means a certain death sentence, it’s sure to be a stressful time for both dogs and their families. Your veterinarian and veterinary oncologist will work with you to give you options for treatment and help walk you through any difficulties that come with it.

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Vestibular Disease in Dogs

by Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell

Canine idiopathic vestibular disease, which is also sometimes called “old dog disease” or “old rolling dog syndrome,” can be very scary for pet parents. To the untrained eye, the symptoms may mimic serious, life threatening conditions such as stroke or a brain tumor.

The good news is that this condition, which is described by veterinarians as fairly common, typically disappears in a matter of days.

VCA Animal Hospitals define vestibular disease as a sudden, non-progressive disturbance of balance.

“Idiopathic refers to the fact that veterinarians can’t identify the source of the balance issue,” said Dr. Duffy Jones, DVM, a veterinarian with Peachtree Hills Animal Hospitals of Atlanta in Georgia. “There are a lot of theories such as inflammation, but as with some humans who suffer from vertigo, we really don’t know the cause.”

Dr. Keith Niesenbaum, DVM, a veterinarian with Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital in Garden City Park, New York, and who has been practicing for 32 years, said that idiopathic vestibular disease is more common in older dogs and there really isn’t a breed that is immune.

“Anecdotally, I’ve seen it more in large breed dogs, but it can also happen with small breeds as well,” Niesenbaum said.

Symptoms of Idiopathic Vestibular Disease 

Deb Hipp of Kansas City, Missouri, was preparing to go out of town for a few days when her 17-year-old dog, Toby, suddenly had more trouble than normal getting up.

“He has some mobility issues, so I thought he was just tired, so I waited another ten minutes and tried to get him up,” Hipp said. “On the second attempt, he was having trouble placing his paws to stand and I immediately took him to the emergency vet.”

Hipp thought Toby might have had a stroke, but the veterinarian made a note of Toby’s eyes, which were darting back and forth. After some blood tests and a more thorough exam, he diagnosed idiopathic vestibular disease. By that time, in addition to not being able to stand and the darting eyes, Toby also displayed other symptoms of the disease, which include:

  • Head tilt, which may be slight to extreme
  • Acting dizzy and falling down, which may remind people of someone who is drunk
  • Nausea and/or vomiting  
  • Dogs may also turn in circles or roll

“The symptoms are acute, or immediate,” said Jones. “The symptoms will not be a slow progression but happen all of a sudden. There really aren’t any symptoms that can be a sign this is coming on.”

Medical Treatment for Idiopathic Vestibular Disease

Jones said it is important to get your dog to its veterinarian as soon as you see any of the signs, as the symptoms are similar to that of other more serious conditions, such as an inner ear infection, stroke, brain tumor, or seizure.

Jones said idiopathic vestibular disease is confirmed by a veterinarian upon a complete physical examination, such as checking the eye movement, which would be rolling in cases of a stroke, and lifting the paw and flipping it over to see if the dog puts his paw back. “If the dog can flip his paw over, it typically isn’t a stroke,” said Jones.

Niesenbaum said that once the condition is diagnosed, the dog is typically treated at home unless the dog is vomiting and is at risk of dehydration, at which point he will hospitalize the dog so it can be put on IV fluids.

“If the dog goes home, we will typically prescribe an anti-nausea medication and something to help with dizziness,” Niesenbaum said.

Home Treatment for Idiopathic Vestibular Disease

Jones said that dogs can eat, but due to the nausea, they may not want to eat. He added that it is important to watch for hydration issues. Other concerns include keeping the dog in a confined area, and not allowing them to climb stairs or be on the furniture.

“The dog will really be off balance and if there are stairs or he gets on the furniture, he may fall and break bones,” said Jones.

Another consideration, especially if it is a large dog, is getting the dog outside to go to the bathroom. This was a big concern for Hipp, whose dog, Toby, weighs 60 pounds.

“Toby had mobility issues, so I had bought a special harness to help him up,” said Hipp. Still, when Toby was in the first days of idiopathic vestibular disease, he was dead weight, not being able to stand or walk at all.

After conferring with her veterinarian, Hipp was advised to hospitalize Toby.

“I was leaving town and didn’t want to leave him with the pet sitter. Although we were convinced Toby would recover, I didn’t want her to have to pick him up and take him outside,” said Hipp.

Niesenbaum said if you don’t have a harness, you can use a towel as sling to help your dog stand.

The good news is that like most dogs with this condition, Toby completely recovered within a matter of days and now even goes on his daily short walk. “It can sometimes take a couple of weeks, but if they’re not improving after 72 hours, we know it could be something more serious,” said Jones.

Some dogs do not recover completely from the head tilt. Even if your dog has appeared to have completely recovered, it’s important for the dog’s veterinarian to see the dog again just to be sure.

“I don’t get to give a lot of good news to owners of geriatric dogs when they have serious conditions, but this really is the ‘good news’ condition in that most dogs will survive and recover completely,” Jones said.

This article was verified for accuracy by Dr. Katie Grzyb, DVM. 


“Old Dog” Vestibular Disease

Head Tilt, Disorientation in Dogs

Loss of Balance (Unbalanced Gait) in Dogs

Don’t Kill Old Rolling Dogs

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Vaginal Inflammation in Dogs

Vaginitis in Dogs

The term vaginitis refers to inflammation of vagina or vestibule in female dogs. Although this conditions is uncommon, it may occur at any age and in any breed.

Symptoms and Types

  • Discharge from the vulva
  • Male attraction (due to vaginal discharge)
  • Frequent urination (polyuria), even in improper locations
  • Frequent licking of the vagina (due irritation caused by inflammation)


Vaginitis may occur due to feces or urine contamination of the organ or collection of blood at the site. An injury to the vagina or abscess formation may also lead to vaginitis. Other common underlying causes include:

  • Urinary tract infections (viral or bacterial)
  • Vaginal tumors
  • Zinc poisoning
  • Problems with urinating


After completing a complete medical history of your animal, your veterinarian will perform a physical exam, including a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel. Although the results of these tests may be normal, there are exceptions. In some dogs, the urinalysis may indicate inflammation, while biochemical testing may indicate abnormally high hormones, a sign of uterine inflammation or pregnancy.

To rule out neoplasia, foreign bodies, and/or constriction of reproductive tubes, your veterinarian may recommend abdominal X-rays. Ultrasounds can also be of great help in diagnosing vaginal masses.

A sample from the vagina may be gathered for further testing. For instance, it may be cultured and microscopically examined or it may be sent to a laboratory to identify whether pus, blood, or feces is present in the sample.

Your veterinarian will also examine the inside of vagina — either with his/her finger or a special instrument called a vaginal scope — to rule out the presence of a mass, tumor, foreign body, blood-filled cavity, or abnormal narrowing of vagina.


The hollow bodily organ that holds the embryo and fetus and provides nourishment; only found in female animals.


A medical condition in which the vagina becomes inflamed.


The genitalia of a female; found on the outside


An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


The foremost portion of the nose and nasal cavity; includes the nostrils


A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells


The time period in which a female is receptive to male attention


Excessive urination


The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance


A localized infection, usually a lesion filled with pus. Can be large or small in size.

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Vaginal Discharge in Dogs

Vaginal discharge refers to any substance coming from the animal’s vagina. Types of discharge can include mucus, blood, or pus. Since there are so many causes for this medical condition, consulting with a veterinarian is highly recommended.


Symptoms can include discharge from the animal’s vagina, spotting of blood, scooting the hindquarters, attracting males.


Reasons for why an animal would experience discharge include:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Foreign body
  • Vaginal trauma
  • Abnormal cells in the vaginal area
  • Fetal death
  • Retained placenta following a birthing
  • Vaginal infection

Some antibiotics can cause vaginal discharge. Estrogen medications given during some phases of the animal’s heat or estrous cycle, medications containing male hormones, and certain antibiotics can alter the vaginal cells, leading to excess discharge.


Upon examination, the veterinarian may find blood, pus, urine or feces in abnormal quantities. The veterinarian will need to review the animal’s medical history and make a risk assessment. Radiograph or injection imaging may be used to examine the body for any more underlying medical conditions that would cause the vaginal discharge so that proper treatment can be prescribed.


A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells


The organ of mammals that comes while a female is pregnant; may also be referred to as afterbirth


A type of slime that is made up of certain salts, cells, or leukocytes

estrous cycle

The reproductive cycle of female animals

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Urinary Tract Obstruction in Dogs

Urinary tract obstruction is a medical emergency causing the dog to strain while urinating, producing little or no urine each time. The obstruction may be due to inflammation or compression on the urethra, or simply a blockage. Treatment is available and the prognosis of this issue will depend on the severity of the obstruction.

Urinary tract obstruction occurs mostly in male cats, but dogs and female cats may also be affected. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD library.


The first sign of a urinary obstruction is straining to urinate. This may actually look like constipation because the dog will hunch over while it is urinating. Because of the abnormal passage of urine, the stream or flow of urine will be interrupted and may appear cloudy. If any urine is seen, it may appear dark or blood tinged.

The pain involved causes many dogs to cry out and they will stop eating and become depressed. Vomiting or retching may also occur. If the dog does not receive medical treatment, renal failure can develop, which can be life threatening within three days of symptoms.


There are several known risk factors for a urinary tract obstruction including urinary tract stones, urinary disease (particularly common in female dogs), and prostate disease (in male dogs).

The accumulation of minerals in the urinary tract can also cause the formation of an obstruction (crystals or stones). In addition, tumors, lesions, and scar tissue can lead to an obstruction.


The veterinarian will carefully feel the dog’s abdomen. Acute renal failure results from the increased pressure in the renal system and the inability to eliminate urea and other waste products usually eliminated in urine. This results in increased waste products and potassium in the bloodstream. An initial baseline blood panel is important to determine the appropriate fluids and other treatment that may become necessary.

As the treatment progresses, additional blood samples will likely be taken to determine changes in the dog’s condition. Additional blood analysis and imaging, including X-rays or ultrasound may be helpful to determine the cause of the obstruction or other contributing diseases or illnesses.


A tube found between the bladder and the outside of the body; used to assist in urination.


The product of protein being metabolized; can be found in blood or urine.

renal failure

The failure of the kidneys to perform their proper functions


The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance

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Urinary Tract Infection, Lower (Bacterial) in Dogs

Bacterial Infection of Bladder and/or Urethra in Dogs

The invasion and colonization of bacteria in the urinary bladder and/or the upper portion of the urethra may result in infection when the local defense system, which helps protect against infection, is impaired. Symptoms related to this type of infection include inflammation of the affected tissue and urinary difficulties.

Dogs of all ages can be affected, but vulnerability increases with advancing age. In such cases, stone formation, prostate disease, and tumors are frequently seen. Additionally, female dogs are more susceptible to bacterial infections of the lower urinary tract than males.

Symptoms and Types

Some dogs with bacterial infections of the lower urinary tract may not show any signs, but many more do. A few of the more common signs include:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Blood in urine (hematuria)
  • Cloudy or malodorous urine
  • Frequent urination, but only in small amounts
  • Urinary incontinence, especially during confinement or at places that are not customary (i.e., locations he has not peed before)
  • Urination when bladder is touched (occasional)


E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Proteus spp. account for more than half of all cases of bacterial infections of the lower urinary tract. Less common bacteria include Streptococcus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, and Corynebacterium spp.


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to your veterinarian. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination as well a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC). Although the results of the CBC and biochemistry profile are often normal, urinalysis findings will provide valuable information for initial diagnosis. For instance, pus, blood, or proteins are often seen in the urine. The urine sample, which is taken from the bladder with a syringe, is then cultured to grow the causative bacteria (allowing for sensitivity testing).

Once the bacteria is identified, your veterinarian will recommend suitable antibiotics for treatment. X-rays and ultrasonography of the lower urinary tract may also reveal the presence of stone or other abnormal lesion.


An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


A tube found between the bladder and the outside of the body; used to assist in urination.


A change in the way that tissue is constructed; a sore


Blood in the urine


A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells

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Urinary Tract / Kidney Stones (Calcium Phosphate) in Dogs

Calcium Phosphate Urolithiasis in Dogs

Urolithiasis is a condition in which stones (uroliths) are formed in the urinary tract. There are various types of these stones seen in dogs — among them, those made from calcium phosphate. Also known as apatite uroliths, calcium phosphate stones are more often found the kidneys than the urinary bladder.

Symptoms and Types

The symptoms may vary depending on the location, size, and number of stones within the urinary tract. In fact, some dogs display no outwardly visible signs of the issue; it is only discovered later during a routine checkup, if at all. The following are some typical symptoms associated with calcium phosphate urolithiasis:

  • Increased urination (polyuria)
  • Difficulty urinating (e.g., dribbling of urine)
  • Pain when urinating
  • Blood in urine


  • Excessive calcium in diet
  • Excessive use of mineral supplements (e.g., vitamin D)
  • Various kidney diseases/infections 


After completing a complete medical history of your animal, your veterinarian will perform a physical exam on the dog, including a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel. Although the results of these tests may be normal, there are exceptions. In some dogs, the biochemistry profile may show abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood. In dogs with severe kidney damage or urinary tract blockage, high levels of waste products like urea may be found in the blood.

Biochemical changes related to underlying disease are also helpful in diagnosing the underlying disease or condition. Additionally, microscopic urine examination is useful in identifying the type of stone.


A medical condition in which the bladder is filled in full or in part with bladder stones.


An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


The product of protein being metabolized; can be found in blood or urine.


Excessive urination


A tube found between the bladder and the outside of the body; used to assist in urination.

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Unruly Behaviors in Dogs

Jumping, Digging, Chasing, and Stealing Behaviors in Dogs

All of these actions are within the range of normal dog behaviors. However, a dog that is not kept active enough may behave excessively in one or more of these ways. This can be especially true of dogs that are normally high energy by genetic disposition or character. 

Jumping up excessively as part of a greeting, for example, can be associated with separation anxiety and the excitement of having the human companion return home. Digging can often be associated with other behavioral disorders, neurologic disorders, or abdominal pain.

Symptoms and Types

  • Jumping on people
    • During arrivals, departures or greetings
    • Exploring the contents of countertops
  • Digging
    • Along a fence line
    • In areas of recent gardening
    • At rodent holes
    • On interior flooring
    • Worn claws (nails)
  • Stealing
    • Items displaced, hidden
    • Food items missing from surfaces (i.e., tables)


  • Jumping
    • Excitement, encouragement of excited behavior
    • Separation anxiety
  • Digging
    • Following scent of rodents
    • Anxiety
    • Regulation of body temperature
    • Boredom or lack of adequate exercise
    • Hunting behaviors (food catching or retrieval)
    • Escape from confinement
    • Pain
    • Separation anxiety
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
    • Neurologic disease
  • Stealing
    • May be attempt to get your attention
    • Desire for a food item, lack of internal discipline
  • Chasing
    • Herding instinct
    • Hunting
    • Play
    • Defense


An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


Anything that produces an action or reaction


An animal’s attitude or temperament

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Unintentional Eye Movement in Dogs

Nystagmus in Dogs 

Nystagmus is a condition defined by the involuntary and rhythmic oscillation of the eyeballs; that is, the eyes unintentionally move or swing back and forth. Nystagmus can occur in both dogs and cats and is a characteristic sign of a problem in the animal’s nervous system.

Symptoms and Types

There are two types of nystagmus: jerk nystagmus and pendular nystagmus. Jerk nystagmus is characterized by slow eye movements in one direction with a rapid correction phase in the opposite direction, while pendular nystagmus is characterized by small oscillations of the eyes with no movement being distinctively slower or faster than the other. Of these two types, jerk nystagmus is more commonly seen in dogs. Other common signs associated with nystagmus include head tilting and circling.


There are a variety of causes that may lead to nystagmus, many of which stem either from a peripheral vestibular or central vestibular disease. Sometimes called the “balance system,” the vestibular system is the sensory system responsible for maintaining proper balance of the head and body.

Peripheral vestibular diseases that may lead to nystagmus include hypothyroidism, traumatic injuries (such as those acquired in a car accident), and neoplastic tumors. Nystagmus-causing central vestibular disorders include tumors, thiamine deficiency, viral infections (such as canine distemper), and consequent inflammation, heart attacks, hemorrhages in the heart, and exposure to toxins (such as lead).


Nystagmus is often diagnosed via an analysis of cerebrospinal fluid, which can also reveal inflammation associated with the disorder. Brain imaging (e.g., CT scan) is another diagnostic procedure used to identify brain abnormalities. Otherwise, your veterinarian may conduct analysis on the urine and bacterial cultures and serologic testing to check for infectious agents in the body.

vestibular disease

Any disorder of the neurons that may be characterized by rolling, circling, falling, etc.


The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance


The involuntary rhythm of the eye at night


A medical condition in which the body has lost fluid or water in excessive amounts