Illustrated Articles

Dogs + Pet Services

  • Dogs can be bred when they are in heat. Depending on the size and breed of the dog, heats can begin as early as 4 months and can occur as frequently as every 4 months. Spaying a dog either through ovariohysterectomy or ovariectomy is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. Spaying also negates false pregnancies and pyometra and reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Medications exist to control the heat cycle but they carry the risk of serious, potentially fatal side effects. There are no drugs approved for use in the US or Canada.

  • Bites wounds are one of the most common reasons dogs are seen for emergency appointments with their veterinarians. The dog's teeth and jaws are very powerful and the wounds they inflict can crush or tear muscles and skin, penetrate through the chest wall and cause lung collapse, or cause serious or fatal damage to intestinal organs. All bite wounds are considered to be contaminated and/or infected. Left untreated, the bacteria in an infected bite wound will cause a localized abscess or more generalized cellulitis that spreads through the surrounding area. All bite wounds should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Treatment will depend on the extent of the injuries, your dog's general health, and the location of the wounds.

  • Bladder stones are rock-like formations of minerals that develop in the urinary bladder. The most common signs that a dog has bladder stones are hematuria and dysuria. Bladder stones can develop within a few weeks or they may take months to form. Most bladder stones are visible on radiographs or an ultrasonic bladder examination. There are three main treatment options for bladder stones: 1) surgical removal; 2) non-surgical removal by urohydropropulsion, or 3) dietary dissolution. Prevention is possible in some cases, depending on the chemical composition of the stones.

  • When the digestive tract is upset, vomiting and diarrhea may result. Since the causes of these symptoms are varied, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. Often, a bland diet is recommended to rest the digestive tract and to decrease vomiting and diarrhea. Bland diets consist of a single easily digestible protein source and a simple carbohydrate. Pet owners may prepare bland diets at home or choose one of the many commercially available diets.

  • Dogs appear to be more susceptible to blastomycosis than many other species. The blastomycosis fungus seems to target the respiratory tract, although it may spread throughout the entire body. Cytology and/or histopathology are required to diagnose blastomycosis conclusively. Itraconazole is the preferred drug of treatment for most dogs. Prognosis is good for many cases of blastomycosis infection with recovery rates between 50-75%.

  • Blepharitis means inflammation of the eyelid and can affect one or both eyes. The affected eyelid will usually be red, swollen, and itchy. Any condition that can cause irritation of the eyelids can lead to blepharitis. Common causes of blepharitis include congenital abnormalities, allergies, infections, tumors, and occasionally other inflammatory disorders. Your veterinarian will conduct an eye examination to determine the extent of the eyelid involvement. Specific treatment for blepharitis will depend on the underlying cause of the disorder and the prognosis depends on the cause.

  • Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) is an acute life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with large amounts of air and then twists around effectively cutting off the outputs to the esophagus and intestine. It then continues to expand putting pressure on the mucosa, major vessels and diaphragm. Because of the constriction of major vessels returning to the heart, a dog will collapse from lack of oxygen and nutrients to vital organs. Underlying causes are still a mystery but most dogs affected are large breed, deep chested male dogs although any dog can experience GDV. There is a definite risk in dogs that have eaten large meals and then exercise. Bloat may be diagnosed by physical exam but radiographs and other testing is needed to show volvulus. Treatment involves decompressing the stomach with a stomach tube or a percutaneous catheter, shock treatment with IV fluids and emergency medications, surgery to correct the volvulus and identify and remove any necrotic areas of stomach or spleen. Mortality rate ranges from 15-40% in treated cases. There is no guaranteed prevention for GDV but gastropexy can reduce the risk. Attention to diet, feeding and exercise may also prevent gastric dilation.

  • This handout summarizes the possible reactions a dog may experience when receiving a blood transfusion. Many transfusion reactions occur acutely, within seconds of starting the transfusion up to 48 hours post-transfusion. The clinical signs and treatment protocols both vary based on the type of reaction. Prior to a blood transfusion, your veterinarian may perform tests to help ensure that the donor blood is a good match for your dog.

  • When traveling, you may need to board your pet at a kennel or veterinary clinic if friends, neighbors, or pet sitters are not an option. Ask for references to find a boarding facility and be sure to visit it before agreeing to have your pet stay there. A short stay before a longer trip can help your pet to settle in more easily. Be sure to leave emergency contact info for you and your veterinarian with the boarding facility.

  • Body condition scoring is an effective objective method of determining if a pet is at a healthy weight. There are 2 scoring systems: one out of 5 and the other out of 9. This handout outlines how to body condition score pets and recommends tracking body condition score to keep pets at a healthy weight, an important factor in pets living longer with less health complications.