Educational Articles

Dogs + Medical Conditions

  • Discospondylitis is a bacterial or fungal infection of the intervertebral disks and the adjacent vertebral bone. This infection may reach the intervertebral disk via one of three routes: hematogenous (blood borne), direct contamination, or migrating foreign body. Discospondylitis can often be diagnosed based on X-rays, but advanced imaging and other diagnostic tests may be required. Treatment and prognosis depend on the causative organism.

  • Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic dogs and other animals such as ferrets, skunks, and raccoons. It is an incurable, often fatal, multisystemic (affecting multiple organs) disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. The disease is spread mainly by direct contact between a susceptible dog and a dog showing symptoms. The main clinical signs are diarrhea, vomiting, thick yellow discharge from the eyes and nose, cough and, in severe cases, seizures and neurological signs. As with most viral infections, there is no specific treatment. Fortunately we have highly effective vaccines to prevent this deadly disease.

  • A distichia (plural distichiae) is an eyelash that arises from an abnormal location on the eyelid or grows in an abnormal direction. Distichiae usually emerge along the margin of the eyelid through the duct or opening of the meibomian gland, although they may arise at other locations along the eyelid margins. The condition in which these abnormal eyelashes are found is called distichiasis.

  • Infection of the external ear canal (outer ear infection) is called otitis externa and is one of the most common types of infections seen in dogs. Some breeds, particularly those with large, floppy or hairy ears like Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles, or Old English Sheepdogs, appear to be more prone to ear infections, but ear infections may occur in any breed. Ear infections are painful.

  • The ear mite is a surface mite that lives on cats, dogs, rabbits, and ferrets. It is usually found in the ear canal but it can also live on the skin surface. Ear mites are a common cause of ear disease and infection. Infestations are a very common problem in puppies and kittens, although pets of any age can be affected.

  • Ehrlichiosis is a tick-borne disease primarily from the brown dog tick. Clinical signs can sometimes be missed and can vary from very subtle to severe, even possibly leading to death. Effective treatments are available and depending on the severity of the disease blood transfusions may be required. Many tick preventives are available to prevent this disease from occurring in your dog.

  • 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.