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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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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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Skin Disease Due to Food Allergies in Dogs

Dermatologic Food Reactions in Dogs

Dermatologic food reactions are non-seasonal reactions which occur following ingestion of one or more allergy causing substances in an animal’s food. The physical reaction is frequently excessive itchiness, with resultant excessive scratching at the skin.

While the pathogenesis of these reactions is not fully understood, immediate reactions and delayed reactions to food are thought to be due to a hypersensitive immune response.  On the other hand, food intolerance is a non-immunologic idiosyncratic reaction due to the metabolic, toxic or pharmacologic effects of the offending ingredients. Since it is not easy to distinguish between immunologic and idiosyncratic reactions, any negative response to food is generally referred to as an adverse food reaction.

Symptoms and Types

  • Non-seasonal itchiness of any body location
  • Poor response to anti-inflammatory doses of glucocorticoids generally suggests food hypersensitivity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive gut sounds, passing of gas, and frequent bowel movements
  • Malassezia dermatitis (fungal skin infections), pyoderma (bacterial skin infections), and otitis externa (inflammation of the outer ear)
  • Skin plaques – broad, raised flat areas on the skin
  • Pustules – pus-containing raised skin inflammations
  • Erythema – redness of the skin
  • Crusts – dried serum or pus on the surface of a ruptured blister or pustule
  • Scale – flakes or plates of dead skin on the skin’s surface
  • Self-induced baldness due to scratching
  • Abrasions/sores on the skin due to scratching
  • Leathery, thick, bark-like skin
  • Hyperpigmentation – darkening of the skin
  • Hives – swollen or inflamed bumps on the skin
  • Giant wheals (elongated marks) on the skin
  • Pyotraumatic dermatitis – infection of the skin wounds due to scratching excessively, and bacteria entering the wounds

Causes

  • Immune-mediated reactions – result of the ingestion and subsequent presentation of one or more glycoproteins (allergens) either before or after digestion; sensitization may occur as the food passes into the intestine, after the substance is absorbed, or both
  • Non-immune (food intolerance) reactions – result of ingestion of foods with high levels of histamine (an antigen known to cause immune hypersensitivity) or substances that induce histamine either directly or through histamine-releasing factors
  • It is speculated that in juvenile animals, intestinal parasites or intestinal infections may cause damage to the intestinal mucosa, resulting in the abnormal absorption of allergens and subsequent sensitization to some ingredients

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your dog, including a dermatological exam. Non-food causes of dermatologic disease should be ruled out. Your veterinarian will order a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis and an electrolyte panel to rule out other causes of disease. You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have preceded this condition, especially regarding any changes in diet, and any new foods added to your dog’s diet, even if temporary.

Food elimination diets are advised for dogs thought to be suffering from adverse food reactions. These diets typically include one protein source and one carbohydrate source to which the dog has had limited or no previous exposure to. A clinical improvement may be seen as soon as four weeks into the new diet, and maximum alleviation of clinical signs may be seen as late as thirteen weeks into the food elimination diet.

If your dog improves on the elimination diet, a challenge should be performed to confirm that the original diet was the cause of disease and to determine what ingredient in the original diet triggered the adverse reaction.

Challenge: feed your dog with the original diet. A return of the signs confirms that something in the diet is causing the signs. The challenge period should last until the signs return but no longer than ten days.

If the challenge confirms the presence of an adverse food reaction, the next step is to perform a provocation diet trial: going back to the elimination diet, begin by adding a single ingredient to the diet. After waiting a sufficient amount of time for the ingredient to prove either agreeable or adverse, if there is no physical reaction, move on to adding the next ingredient to your dog’s diet. The provocation period for each new ingredient should last up to ten days, less if signs develop sooner (dogs usually develop signs within 1–2 days). Should symptoms of an adverse reaction develop, discontinue the last added ingredient and wait for the symptoms to subside before moving forward to the next ingredient.

The test ingredients for the provocation trials should include a full range of meats (beef, chicken, fish, pork, and lamb), a full range of grains (corn, wheat, soybean, and rice), eggs, and dairy products. The results of these trials will guide your selection of commercial foods, based on those that do not contain the offending substance(s).

pyoderma

A disease of the skin in which it emits pus

sensitization

To be allergic to or sensitive to a certain vaccine or medication

urinalysis

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

pustule

A lesion on the skin that is filled with pus

otitis

A medical condition in which the ear becomes inflamed

dermatitis

A condition in which the skin becomes inflamed

hypersensitivity

A reaction to a certain pathogen that is out of the ordinary

antigen

Any substance or item that the body of an animal would regard as strange or unwanted; a foreign disease or virus in the body (toxin, etc.)

pus

A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells

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Prostate Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

Prostatic Adenocarcinoma in Dogs

The prostate gland is an important part of the male reproductive system. It contains many valuable and essential enzymes, including calcium and citric acid,and also plays an important role in the protection and motility of sperm. The liquid secreted by the prostate gland aids in the liquefaction of semen after ejaculation, and in the protection of sperm in the vagina.

Adenocarcinoma is a malignant tumor originating in the glandular tissue, in this case the tissue of the prostate gland, with the capability for growing and metastasizing rapidly to other parts and organs of body, including the lungs, bones, and lymph nodes. Prostatic adenocarcinoma is seen in both intact and neutered dogs, representing about one percent of all malignant tumors found in dogs. This disease can develop in any breed, but it most commonly affects large breeds, and like most carcinomas, it affects older dogs between the ages of 9-10 years.

Symptoms and Types

In adenocarcinoma of the prostate, the symptoms may vary depending upon the presence, extent, and location of metastasis to other parts of the body. Following are the symptoms commonly seen in adenocarcinoma of prostate:

Causes

  • Idiopathic – the exact cause is still unknown
  • Hormonal imbalance is suggested as one possible cause

Diagnosis

You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including a background history of symptoms. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination on your dog, including blood tests and a biochemistry profile. Urine tests are an important part of the diagnostic process. The urine will be examined for the presence of white blood cells, infection, and malignant cells. Abdominal radiographs and ultrasonography will also be performed to view the symmetry, size, and outline of the prostate gland. Prostate tissue will also be taken by prostatic biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

prostate gland

The gland around the urethra that secretes the fluid to allow sperm to move about

semen

The white fluid produced by males in the testicles for reproduction

urethra

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

sperm

The sex cell of male animals; created in the testicles

lymph nodes

Small structures that filter out the lymph and store lymphocytes

biopsy

The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

defecation

The exiting of excrement from the body; bowel movements.

intact

Denotes an animal that is still able to reproduce or is free of cuts and scrapes

adenocarcinoma

The result of a malignant growth of the tissue of the epithelial gland.

malignant

Something that becomes worse or life threatening as it spreads

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Mouth Cancer in Dogs

Undifferentiated Oral Cavity Tumors in Dogs

Undifferentiated oral tumors in dogs are usually found on the roof of the mouth or around the upper teeth. They grow very quickly, involving the bone and tissue near them, and they metastasize quickly and easily to other areas of the body. They are some of the most difficult types of cancer to treat. These tumors are usually seen in large dog breeds between the ages of six months and twenty-two months old. It is uncommon for young dogs to get tumors, but on rare occasions it does happen. One type of tumor that is found in dogs is an undifferentiated malignant oral tumor, where an undifferentiated tumor is one that cannot be determined by a simple biopsic analysis.

Symptoms and Types

  • Excessive drooling
  • Bad Breath (halitosis)
  • Difficulty chewing (dysphagia)
  • Blood coming from the mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Loose teeth
  • Growth in the mouth (oral mass)
  • Occasionally, swollen glands in the neck (enlarged lymph nodes)
  • Swollen or deformed areas on the face near the eyes

Causes

There are no known causes for cancer of the mouth.

Diagnosis

You will need to provide a thorough history of your dog’s health leading up to the onset of symptoms. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. During the examination, the doctor will make a close examination of the inside of your dog’s mouth to see if there is a growth, and will palpate (examine by touch) your dog’s neck and face to check for enlarged lymph nodes. The veterinarian may also want to take a fluid sample from the lymph nodes to determine whether there are cancerous cells there. X-ray images of your dog’s chest may show whether any growth in the mouth has spread to the chest, and x-rays of your dog’s head will also be taken to determine how far the mass has spread into the tissue and bone of the mouth and head. A simple biopsy of the neoplastic tissue will be taken to determine exactly what kind of tumor is present.

radiation therapy

A treatment of certain neoplasms that is administered using an x ray

urinalysis

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

lymph nodes

Small structures that filter out the lymph and store lymphocytes

dysphagia

Condition in which eating and/or swallowing is difficult

biopsy

The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

malignant

Something that becomes worse or life threatening as it spreads

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Mammary Gland Tumor in Dogs

Benign and malignant tumors of the mammary glands occur fairly frequently in unspayed female dogs, in fact they are the most common type of tumor in the group. Spaying can largely reduce the risk of developing this type of cancer, especially if the dog is spayed before it has an opportunity to go into heat. There are two main types of mammary gland breast tumors, each with several subtypes of tumor growth.

The mammary glands’ function is to produce milk to feed newborn puppies. They are located in two rows that extend from the chest to the lower abdominal area; the nipples indicate their location on the trunk of the body. While this condition is more likely to occur in the female population, it does also affect male dogs, albeit rarely. When a male dog is affected by a tumor of the breast, the prognosis is much more guarded and grave.

A genetic basis is possible in some breeds, and there are frequently some genes that can be identified in dogs that are predisposed to cancer of the mammary glands. For example, toy and miniature poodles, English springer spaniels, Brittanys, cocker spaniels, English setters, pointers, German shepherd dogs, Maltese, and Yorkshire terriers have been reported to have an increased risk of developing breast or mammary tumors compared to other breeds. Median age is about 10.5 years (range, 1 to 15 years of age); it is less common in dogs younger than five.

Symptoms and Types

  • Usually slow-growing single or multiple masses in the mammary glands – about half of patients have multiple tumors
  • May have superficial loss of tissue on the surface of the skin over the mammary tissue, frequently with inflammation
  • Mass may be freely movable, which implies benign behavior
  • May be fixed to skin or body wall, which implies malignant behavior or cancer

About half of affected dogs will be diagnosed with the benign form of mammary tumors, which may be classified as complex adenomas, simple adenomas, fibroadenomas, and duct papillomas. The approximate other half of dogs to be diagnosed with mammary tumors will have a malignant form of tumor, which may be osteosarcomas, fibrosarcomas, solid carcinomas, and papillary cystic adenocarcinomas, amongst others.

Causes

Unknown, although likely hormonal or genetic.

Diagnosis

Several diseases could account for the symptoms, so your veterinarian will want to rule them out before arriving at a conclusion. You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health and onset of symptoms.

A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. Diagnostics will include X-rays of the chest and abdomen, which may detect metastasis. It will be necessary to conduct a biopsy of the mass to fully determine its nature, whether benign or malignant. In addition, the lymph nodes will be examined, and a sample taken from them for laboratory analysis.

mastectomy

The surgical removal of the breasts or mammary glands in an animal

mammary glands

The glands in female animals that are used to produce milk; also called the udder or breast

prognosis

The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance

urinalysis

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

remission

The disappearance of the signs and symptoms of a particular disease; this is often used in association with cancer

malignant

Something that becomes worse or life threatening as it spreads

nodule

A small lump or mass of tissue

lymph nodes

Small structures that filter out the lymph and store lymphocytes

biopsy

The process of removing tissue to examine it, usually for medical reasons.

bilateral

Having two sides

benign

Not being able to cause harm; the opposite of malignant.

bitch

A female dog that has not been spayed.

estrous cycle

The reproductive cycle of female animals

intact

Denotes an animal that is still able to reproduce or is free of cuts and scrapes

estrus

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

adenocarcinoma

The result of a malignant growth of the tissue of the epithelial gland.

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Lung Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Dogs

Adenocarcinoma of the Lung in Dogs

Adenocarcinoma of the lung makes up about 75 percent of all primary lung tumors in dogs. This is a malignant neoplasm, with the ability to grow rapidly and metastasize to distant parts of the body, including the organs, lymph nodes, bones, brain and eyes. Like other types of malignant tumors, adenocarcinoma of the lungs is usually seen in older dogs, over ten years of age, and is more common in dogs than cats. Any breed can be affected by this type of cancer, but boxers have been found to be more more at risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the lungs than other breeds.

Symptoms and Type

Most symptoms are related to the respiratory system, but in cases of metastasis the symptoms may vary depending upon the location of the metastasis in the body. Following are some of the symptoms seen in patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung:

  • Pain
  • Dyspnea (difficult breathing)
  • Tachypnea (rapid breathing)
  • Low energy level and lethargy
  • Poor appetite
  • Gradual weight loss
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Lameness, in cases with metastasis to bones
  • Muscle wasting
  • Fever in some patients
  • Ascites (an accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen)

Causes

  • Exact cause is still unknown (idiopathic)
  • Risk factors include residing in an urban environment and passive inhalation of cigarette smoke, but both are unproven

Diagnosis

You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including a background history of symptoms. After taking a detailed history and performing a thorough physical examination, your veterinarian will order various laboratory tests, including a complete blood profile, a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and X-ray studies.

Thoracic (chest) radiographs are the most important tool in diagnosing this condition in pets. An ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT) scan, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used in some patients to confirm the diagnosis. The CT scan and MRI may also help in determining the possibility of metastasis of the tumor into other parts of the body.

prognosis

The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance

malignant

Something that becomes worse or life threatening as it spreads

lymph nodes

Small structures that filter out the lymph and store lymphocytes

idiopathic

Relating to a disease of unknown origin, which may or may not have arisen spontaneously

lethargy

The condition of being drowsy, listless, or weak

adenocarcinoma

The result of a malignant growth of the tissue of the epithelial gland.

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Kidney Stones in Dogs

Nephrolithiasis in Dogs

Nephrolithiasis is the medical term for the condition in which clusters of crystals or stones — known as nephroliths or, more commonly, “kidney stones” — develop in the kidneys or urinary tract. The kidney is composed of thousands of nephrons, each consisting of blood capillaries and a series of tubes through which filtered fluid flows as urine is produced. The tubes of the nephron drain into ducts through which urine flows; these ducts eventually enter the renal pelvis and a tube through which urine follows into the ureter. Kidney stones or kidney stone fragments can also pass through this system of tubes and into the ureter, causing serious complications. 

Both dogs and cats are susceptible to kidney stones. However, some breeds of dog are more susceptible to certain types of kidney stones than others. For example, kidney stones containing calcium and oxalic acid (known as calcium oxalate nephroliths) are more likely to be found in Lhasa Apsos, Yorkshire Terriers, and Miniature Poodles. Kidney stones containing uric acid (known as urate nephroliths), on the other hand, typically affect Dalmatians, Yorkshire Terriers, and English Bulldogs.

Symptoms and Types

Many dogs with kidney stones have no apparent signs; that is, the nephroliths are often not detected until diagnostic testing is done for other medical problems. Some symptoms that may occur include blood in urine (hematuria), vomiting, recurrent urinary tract infections, painful difficult urination (dysuria), and frequent urination with small volume of production (polyuria). Other symptoms may appear but vary depending on the location and type of the stones.

Note that some nephroliths may be “inactive”; meaning, they are not infected, not progressively enlarging, and not causing obstruction or clinical signs. Inactive kidney stones may not require removal, but should be monitored periodically (via urine analysis for example) for any changes.

Causes

There are a number of causes and risk factors that may contribute to the development of nephrolithiasis and the development of uroliths, such as the oversaturation of stone-forming material’s in the dog’s urine. Other potential causes include increased levels of calcium in the urine and blood, diets that produce high (alkaline) urine pH, and recurrent urinary tract infections.

Diagnosis

You will need to give your veterinarian a thorough history of the dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination, ultrasound imaging, and urinalysis. However, in order to confirm the diagnosis, identify the mineral content of the stones, and develop a proper course of treatment, pieces of nephroliths must be retrieved for analysis. This is usually achieved by performing a procedure known as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), in which stones are broken up within the urinary tract using sound waves.

polyuria

Excessive urination

ureter

The tubular shaft found between the kidneys and the bladder

urinalysis

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

pelvis

The term for the hip and related area

nephrolithiasis

The condition in which kidney stones are present

dysuria

Having a hard time urinating; pain while urinating

hematuria

Blood in the urine

ducts

A passage in the body with walls

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Kidney Disease in Dogs

Fanconi Syndrome in Dogs

Fanconi syndrome is a collection of abnormalities arising from the defective transport of water, sodium, potassium, glucose, phosphate, bicarbonate, and amino acids from the kidneys; impaired tubular reabsorption, the process by which solutes and water are removed from the tubular fluid and transported into the blood, causes excessive urinary excretion of these solutes.

Approximately 75 percent of the reported cases have occurred in the Basenji breed; estimates of the prevalence within the Basenji breed in North America range from 10–30 percent. It is presumed to be an inherited trait in this breed, but the mode of inheritance is unknown.

Idiopathic (unknown cause) Fanconi syndrome has been reported sporadically in several different breeds, including border terriers, Norwegian elkhounds, whippets, Yorkshire terriers, Labrador retrievers, Shetland sheepdogs, and mixed-breed dogs. Age at diagnosis ranges from 10 weeks to 11 years, with most affected dogs developing clinical signs from about two to four years. There is no gender predilection.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms vary depending on the severity of specific solute losses, and whether renal failure has developed.

  • Excessive urination (polyuria)
  • Excessive thirst (polydipsia)
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Poor body condition
  • Reduced and/or abnormal growth (rickets) in young, growing animals

Causes

  • Inherited in most cases, particularly in Basenjis
  • Acquired Fanconi syndrome has been reported in dogs treated with gentamicin (antibiotic), streptozotocin (chemical used to treat cancer), and amoxicillin (antibiotic)
  • Also reported secondary to primary hypoparathyroidism (underactive parathyroid glands)

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will conduct a complete blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis to test levels of sodium, potassium, glucose, phosphate, bicarbonate, and amino acids. An analysis of blood gases will also probably be used to determine whether the kidneys are functioning normally with regards to absorption. You will need to give a thorough history of your pet’s health, and onset of symptoms.

Prevention

Avoid drugs that are nephrotoxic (toxic to the kidney), or have the potential to cause Fanconi syndrome (see causes).

polydipsia

A medical condition involving excessive thirst

polyuria

Excessive urination

urinalysis

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

inheritance

Transmitting genes from parent to child

renal failure

The failure of the kidneys to perform their proper functions

idiopathic

Relating to a disease of unknown origin, which may or may not have arisen spontaneously

acute

Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.

amino acids

Organic substances that aid in the creation of proteins; also the end product of the decomposition of certain proteins.

excretion

Eliminating or the material that has actually been eliminated

acidosis

A condition of the body in which pH levels are abnormally low.

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Ingestion of Feces and Foreign Objects in Dogs

Coprophagia and Pica in Dogs

Pica is a medical issue referring to a dog’s craving of a non-food item and the subsequent eating of said item. Coprophagia, meanwhile, is the eating and ingesting of feces.

Generally, neither of these conditions are the result of an underlying disease, however, it can occur. Fortunately, there are treatment options in these types of cases, or behavior modification practices that can be implemented if it is a non-medical 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.

WATCH: WHY DO DOGS EAT GRASS VIDEO

Symptoms and Types

You may observe the dog eating dirt, clay, rocks, soap, or other items that can endanger the dog’s health. The largest organ system that is affected by this behavior is the gastrointestinal tract, especially if foreign objects are being swallowed. You may notice that the dog is vomiting, has loose stools, or has diarrhea. There may be weakness and lethargy in the dog.

Causes

There are several possible causes of dogs eating feces or other non-food items, including malnutrition, vitamin deficiency, increased appetite, or conditions such as diabetes, or thyroid disease. Parasites can be another of the causes for this behavior.

Sometimes a dog will eat their feces if there are undigested articles of food in their stool. Mothers with newborns will also commonly eat the feces of their newborns. As such, puppies may eat feces as an observation of the mother’s behavior or as part of exploration. In addition, a dog may eat feces as a response to recent punishment, to get attention or because it desires to clean its environmental area

Medical Causes:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diabetes
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Anemia
  • Increased hunger
  • Neurological disease
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Malnutrition
  • Thyroid disease

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will be looking to distinguish between medical and behavioral causes. A full physical examination will be recommended to rule out underlying medical causes. If it is not due to a medical condition, the veterinarian will conduct a full history on the dog, including its diet and appetite, handling practices, and information about its environment. This will assist the veterinarian in developing a proper treatment plan.

muzzle

The term for the nostrils and muscles in the upper and lower lips of an animal; may also be used to describe a type of tool used to keep an animal from biting

malnutrition

A condition of poor health that results from poor feeding or no feeding at all

lethargy

The condition of being drowsy, listless, or weak

gastrointestinal

The digestive tract containing the stomach and intestine