Educational Articles

Diagnosis

  • Heartworm disease is caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis, better known as heartworm. Dogs become infected when they are bitten by an infected mosquito that is carrying immature heartworms. Heartworm disease is widespread in the United States and is particularly common along the southeastern and gulf coasts, and through the Mississippi River valley. In Canada, heartworm infection is more restricted and is localized to southern Ontario, southern Manitoba, and southern Quebec, with scattered occurrences elsewhere in the country.

  • The causes of inappropriate urination include diseases (infections, tumors) affecting the kidneys, bladder and genital tract, endocrine diseases such as diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, Cushing's disease and estrogen responsive urinary incontinence, as well as neurological disease and behavioral problems.

  • Increased appetite is completely normal in pets that have high energy requirements, such as growing puppies and kittens, pets that exercise strenuously such as hunting dogs, and pregnant or nursing females. Also, pets eating a poor quality food may eat more to meet their energy requirements.

  • These clinical signs are non-specific and can be caused by many different diseases or conditions. Usually increased production of dilute urine results in a compensatory increase in water consumption, but occasionally the condition is one of increased water intake resulting in the production of large volumes of dilute urine.

  • Jaundice (also called icterus) is a condition characterized by the accumulation of the bile pigment 'bilirubin' in the skin, mucous membranes, and sclera (the whites of the eyes), causing these tissues to become yellow in color.

  • The most common cause of lameness is trauma or injury to joints, ligaments, tendons, muscle or bone.

  • Low blood sugar is a very serious situation, and can have a lot of different causes. Testing blood sugar levels is fairly straightforward, but additional tests may be needed to determine the cause.

  • Lyme disease spread by ticks can be diagnosed with a simple blood tests in your veterinarian's clinic. The C6 test is very sensitive and specific at diagnosing cases of Lyme disease and depending on clinical signs and concurrent results, treatment may be started immediately. If treatment has been successful, reductions in the QC6 at six months should be lower than the starting point.

  • Pallor means paleness or loss of color. In pets, pallor is usually detected as a loss of color from the gums and inner eyelids. These are normally a light rosy pink, but when pallor develops they become faint pink to white. Pallor is a sign of illness.

  • Seizures typically occur for three main reasons, but finding the cause can be difficult. Finding the cause of a pet's seizures can be difficult and usually starts with a complete history and physical examination. Your veterinarian will likely recommend screening tests to look for metabolic disease and other illnesses that can cause seizures. Screening tests are a series of simple tests that provide information about the overall health of the pet. There are many additional tests that can be done depending on the results of history, physical examination, and screening tests.