Educational Articles

Dogs + Medical Conditions

  • Epiphora means an overflow of tears from the eyes. It is a symptom rather than a specific disease and is associated with a variety of conditions. Normally, a thin film of tears is produced to lubricate the eyes and the excess fluid drains into the lacrimal or tear ducts, which are located in the medial canthus or corner of the eye next to the nose.

  • False pregnancy, phantom pregnancy, pseudo-pregnancy or pseudocyesis are all terms that refer to a display of maternal (mothering) behavior combined with the physical signs of pregnancy following estrus ("heat") in a female dog that is not actually pregnant. A false pregnancy may occur in a dog, regardless of whether or not she was mated.

  • Fanconi syndrome describes abnormal function of the part of the kidneys called the tubules. The tubules should reabsorb water, electrolytes and nutrients as urine is formed, that would otherwise be excreted in the urine, but that are critical to normal metabolic function. With this syndrome, the tubules do not properly reabsorb the electrolytes and nutrients, and instead 'spill' them back into the urine to be expelled.

  • An FHO, or femoral head ostectomy, is a surgical procedure that aims to restore pain-free mobility to a diseased or damaged hip, by removing the head and neck of the femur. An FHO restores mobility to the hip by removing the head of the femur. Active dogs often experience better results with FHO than less-active dogs.

  • An FCE is the acute death of part of the spinal cord, caused by the embolus of fibrocartilaginous material. The material blocks arteries and/or veins in the spinal cord and may originate in an intervertebral disk or the marrow found within a vertebral body.

  • Hot spots are inflamed and often painful lesions that your dog may develop for a variety of reasons. Treatment is relatively simple and may include the use of topical or oral steroids, antihistamines, bandaging the area, and using an E-collar to prevent further licking or chewing. If hot spots recur, it is important to determine the underlying cause. Seasonal grooming, regular brushing, and bathing can help prevent hot spots from developing.

  • The excessive formation of gas in the stomach or intestine is referred to as flatulence. Flatus is the medical term used to describe air or gas expelled through the anus. The term originates from the Latin flatulentus which means "a blowing."

  • Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is a leading cause of allergic reactions in dogs. It is the antigens or proteins in the flea saliva that cause an intensely itchy response to sensitive dogs. Itching and hair loss in the region from the middle of the back to the tail base and down the rear legs (the flea triangle) is often associated with FAD. Strict flea control is essential in the prevention and treatment of FAD. Occasionally corticosteroids are used to reduce the itching in patients with severe signs of FAD.

  • A focal seizure refers to an abnormal surge of electrical activity that is confined to a specific area of the brain. Unlike a generalized seizure, in which the animal's entire brain is affected and therefore the entire body shows signs of a seizure, a focal seizure only affects a localized region of the brain and therefore only has limited effects on the body.

  • Food allergy is one of the five most common allergies or hypersensitivities known to affect dogs. In a pet with an allergy, the immune system overreacts and produces antibodies to substances that it would normally tolerate. In the dog, the signs of food allergy are usually itchy skin or digestive disturbances such as vomiting or diarrhea. The best and most accurate method of diagnosing food allergy is to feed a hypoallergenic diet for eight to twelve weeks as a food trial called an elimination trial.