Educational Articles

Dogs + Medical Conditions

  • An electrocardiogram (ECG, or EKG, using the German spelling) is a recording of the electrical impulses that are generated when the heart is beating. When any irregular heart rhythm is detected on clinical examination, an electrocardiogram should be performed.

  • Endocarditis refers to infection and inflammation of the heart endothelium (tissue lining the inner surface of the heart), particularly the heart valves. It is also referred to as endocardiosis.

  • Epilepsy is a brain disorder characterized by recurrent seizures without a known cause or abnormal brain lesion (brain injury or disease). A seizure is a sudden surge in the electrical activity of the brain causing signs such as twitching, shaking, tremors, convulsions, and/or spasms. The exact cause of epilepsy is unknown, but a genetic basis is suspected in many breeds. Seizures can vary in appearance and can be focalized or generalized.

  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is the inability to produce sufficient pancreatic enzymes to digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Because there is poor digestion and resulting malabsorption of nutrients, weight loss commonly occurs despite a normal or increased appetite.

  • 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.