• Overview   Weight loss is a physical condition that results from a negative caloric balance. This usually occurs when the body uses and/or excretes essential nutrients faster than it can consume them. Essentially more calories are being burned than are being taken in. Weight loss is considered clinically important when it exceeds 10 percent of the normal body weight and is not associated [...]

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    Vomiting

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Vomiting, also called “emesis”, is the act of expelling contents from the stomach through the mouth. There are multiple causes of vomiting. An occasional, infrequent isolated episode of vomiting is usually normal. Vomiting is a symptom that can be caused by disorders of the gastrointestinal system (stomach and/or intestines) or it can be secondary to a disease from a [...]

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    Overview   A seizure or convulsion is a sudden excessive firing of nerves in the brain. It results in a series of involuntary contractions of the voluntary muscles, abnormal sensations, abnormal behavior, or some combination. A seizure can last from seconds to minutes. The severity of the seizure can vary between a far-away look or twitching in one part of the face to falling on the side, [...]

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    Red Eye

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Red eye is a non-specific sign of inflammation or infection. Some conditions associated with a red eye can be painful, itchy and cause sensitivity to light resulting in squinting or the eye being held closed.  A red eye may be seen with diseases of the external eyelids, third eyelid, conjunctiva, cornea, or sclera. It may also occur with inflammation of the structures inside [...]

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    Lethargy

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Lethargy is a state of drowsiness, inactivity, or indifference in which there are delayed responses to external stimuli such as sound, sight, or touch. Lethargy may also refer to the general malaise and decreased activity exhibited by animals that do not feel well. Lethargy is a nonspecific sign associated with many possible underlying systemic disorders. It may have little to[...]

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    Lameness

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Any decrease in an animal's ability to bear weight on a limb or a decrease in the normal mobility and function of a limb can be considered lameness. Lameness can be extremely subtle or profound, affecting one limb or several limbs. It can be intermittent or constant, worse in the morning, worse at night, worse after rest, worse after or during exercise. There is no breed, age [...]

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    Diarrhea

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Diarrhea is a common problem characterized by abnormal loose, watery or watery-mucoid stools.  Occasionally the fecal material is also bloody.  Diarrhea can be describedas acute,sudden onset and short duration (three weeks or less), or chronic (longer duration). There are multiple causes of diarrhea.  It can be caused by parasites, dietary indiscretion, changing foods, [...]

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    Coughing

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Coughing is a common protective reflex that clears secretions or foreign matter from the throat, voice box (larynx), windpipe (trachea) or airways, and protects the lungs against aspiration. It affects the respiratory system by hindering the ability to breathe properly. Common causes include obstruction in the windpipe, bronchitis, pneumonia, heartworm disease, lung tumors, [...]

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    Overview   Urinary incontinence is the loss of voluntary control of urination, often resulting in leaking. Normal urination requires that the nerves and muscles of the bladder work properly. The most common form of incontinence in dogs is called “primary sphincter mechanism” incontinence and is thought to be caused by weakness of the urethral muscle. It is most common in middle-aged [...]

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    Overview   Trouble urinating is defined as difficult or painful urination. It is characterized by straining to urinate, frequent attempts at urination, and evidence of discomfort when urinating. Discomfort may be demonstrated by crying out during urination, excessive licking at the urogenital region or turning and looking at the area. Trouble urinating can be caused by many different [...]

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    Overview   Respiratory distress is labored, difficult breathing or shortness of breath that can occur at any time during the breathing process, during inspiration (breathing in) or expiration (breathing out). When your pet has trouble breathing, it may be difficult to get enough oxygen to the tissues. Trouble breathing may be associated with accumulation of fluid in the lungs or the [...]

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    Skin Lump

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Skin lumps are growths of tissue that are within the skin or can be felt under the skin. Pets can develop small bumps (papules) or larger bumps (nodules) on their skin. These lumps and bumps are fairly common occurrences, especially in the older pet. Very often the word “lump” brings the word “cancer” to mind. However, there are many other causes of lumps. A skin [...]

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    Scooting

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Scooting refers to the act of rubbing or dragging the anal area or perineum (the area between the anus and genitals) on the ground. Typically, the hind legs are extended in front of the animal as the pet drags forward. Dogs will scoot much more commonly than cats. Anything that causes an irritation or itching to the area under the tail may cause an animal to scoot. The most [...]

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    Overview   Pruritus or itching is an unpleasant sensation that causes a pet to scratch or bite. It is caused by chemical reactions that occur in the skin and stimulate the nerves, causing the brain to feel the itch. In fact, the act of scratching itself may stimulate these inflammatory reactions in the skin and make the condition worse. Any skin condition that causes inflammation can cause [...]

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    Overview   The term polydipsia refers to excessive thirst manifested by excessive water intake, which in turn usually leads to polyuria, which is the formation and excretion of a large volume of urine. Polydipsia and polyuria are early signs of several diseases including kidney failure or infection, diabetes, pyometra (uterine infection), liver disease, high blood calcium and others. [...]

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    Overview   Otitis externa, commonly called an ear infection, is characterized by inflammation of the external ear canal and may be caused by yeast, bacteria or parasites. Ear infections are particularly prevalent in dogs with long, floppy ears. Otitis externa may affect 20 percent of dogs. Dogs predisposed to otitis externa include those with genetic predispositions to abnormal ear [...]

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    Obesity

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Obesity is defined as the excessive accumulation of body fat. Between 25 and 40 percent of pets are considered obese or are likely to become obese. It is the most common nutrition-related health condition in our society. The primary causes of obesity are overeating and lack of exercise. When regular caloric intake exceeds the energy burned, the excess is stored as fat. As [...]

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    Overview   Megaesophagus is a condition of decreased or absent movement of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that carries food and water from the throat to the stomach. With megaesophagus, passing food all the way to the stomach becomes difficult, and the food may be regurgitated back up into the throat. This reduced motility usually results in dilation of the esophagus. In some [...]

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    Hematuria

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells in the urine. It may be visible to the naked eye or microscopic. Possible causes of hematuria include bacterial infections of the urinary tract, bladder or kidney stones, bleeding disorders, trauma, normal heat cycles in female dogs, medication related or even some cancers. Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:   The presence [...]

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    Halitosis

    8 Jun 2012

    Overview   Halitosis, or bad breath, is an unpleasant odor coming from your pet’s mouth. Usually halitosis has oral causes, although sometimes it can be caused by other disease processes. Causes include gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), periodontitis (inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the tooth), mouth ulcers, foreign objects, cancer of the mouth or severe kidney disease. [...]

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