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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.

Symptoms

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

Causes

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.

Diagnosis

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

Radiographs/endoscopy:

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

palpation

Examination through feeling

systemic

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

mucus

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

gastroenteritis

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

density

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

dehydration

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

gastrointestinal

The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine

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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. 

Related

“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)

Causes

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

Diagnosis

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.

uterus

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

vaginitis

A medical condition in which the vagina becomes inflamed.

vulva

The genitalia of a female; found on the outside

urinalysis

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

vestibule

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

pus

A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells

estrus

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

polyuria

Excessive urination

prognosis

The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance

abscess

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

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

Causes

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.

Diagnosis

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.

pus

A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells

placenta

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

mucus

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.

Symptoms 

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.

Causes 

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.

Diagnosis

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.

urethra

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

urea

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

prognosis

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)

Causes

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.

Diagnosis

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.

urinalysis

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

urethra

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

lesion

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

hematuria

Blood in the urine

pus

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

Causes

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

Diagnosis

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.

urolithiasis

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

urinalysis

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

urea

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

polyuria

Excessive urination

urethra

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)

Causes

  • 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

urinalysis

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

stimulus

Anything that produces an action or reaction

disposition

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.

Causes

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).

Diagnosis

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.

prognosis

The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance

nystagmus

The involuntary rhythm of the eye at night

dehydration

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

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Unequal Pupil Size in Dogs

Anisocoria in Dogs

The pupil is the circular opening in the center of the eye that allows light to pass through. The pupil expands when there is little light present, and contracts when there is a greater amount of light present. Anisocoria refers to an unequal pupil size. This condition causes one of the dog’s pupils to be smaller than the other. With the proper detection of the disease’s underlying cause, treatment plans are available that should resolve the issue.

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

The most noticeable symptom is when your dog has one pupil that is visibly smaller than the other.

Causes

There are several potential causes of an altered pupil size in dogs, including inflammation in the frontal region of the eye, increased pressure in the eye, diseases that are focused in the iris tissue itself, a poorly developed iris, scar tissue build up in the eye, medications, and cancer.

Diagnosis

When veterinarians are evaluating the dog’s pupils, the primary goal is to distinguish between neurological and eye-related causes. Ultrasound can be used to detect lesions in the eyes, while computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to identify any lesions in the brain that may be causing the condition.

iris

The colored layer around the pupil