Educational Articles

Medical Conditions

  • Certain species of a common fungus called Aspergillus can infect the nasal cavity and sinuses of dogs, and can even become disseminated to different areas of the body. Dogs affected by exposure to this fungus are usually immunosuppressed. Diagnosis of either form, the nasal form or disseminated form can be difficult, usually requiring X-rays or more advanced imaging such as MRI or CT, as well as tissue biopsies and culture. Treatment of the nasal form involves topical administration of an antifungal agent while the dog is under general anesthesia, although oral antifungals such as itraconazole or fluconazole may also be used. Prognosis is fair to good in cases of localized nasal aspergillosis. Treatment of the disseminated form is more difficult requiring additional antifungals, such as amphotericin b; however these can be harmful to the kidneys.

  • Asthma or chronic bronchitis is a condition where the lower airways of cats become narrow and produce excess mucus in response to a noxious stimulus such as cigarette smoke, dust, or fragrances. The most common clinical sign is coughing. A diagnosis is made through a combination of chest radiographs, heartworm testing, bloodwork, urine and fecal testing, and may also require bronchoscopy or airway lavage. As asthma cannot be cured, treatment is aimed at management of the disease using a combination of steroids and bronchodilators, usually given by inhalation to avoid or reduce negative systemic side effects. Adjunct treatments include modifying the environment to reduce exposure to the noxious stimulus, hypoallergenic diet trials, and acupuncture.

  • Your cat has been diagnosed with feline asthma, and will require long-term medication for this condition, possibly for life. It is important that you follow the appropriate instructions for this treatment. The instructions specific to your cat have been checked off by your veterinary team.

  • Ataxia is a lack of order, or incoordination, within the nervous system, resulting in an abnormal gait in which the cat may be very unsteady on her feet.

  • The word "ataxia" comes from two roots: "a" meaning "lack" and "taxia" meaning "order." So literally, ataxia is a "lack of order," or incoordination, within the nervous system.

  • Atlantoaxial (AA) luxation is a condition in which instability, or excessive movement, is present between the first two vertebrae within the neck. This spinal disorder is most commonly seen in young, small breed dogs, such as Toy Poodles, Miniature Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, and Chihuahuas. Less commonly, however, large breed dogs and even cats can be affected.

  • Atrial fibrillation describes very rapid contractions, or 'twitching', of the heart muscle, confined to the atria, or the top chambers. Most of the time, atrial fibrillation in cats occur secondary to heart disease.

  • Atrial fibrillation describes very rapid contractions or twitching of the heart muscle, specifically in the atria. Most of the time, atrial fibrillation in the dog occurs secondary to heart disease. Sometimes, in large breed dogs, atrial fibrillation will occur as a primary heart problem.

  • There are four chambers in the cat's heart - two top chambers (the atria) and two bottom chambers (the ventricles). There are valves that separate the top chambers from the bottom chambers. When the AV valves are healthy, they act to prevent the backflow of blood from the ventricles to the atria during contraction of the heart.

  • AV valve dysplasia describes a developmental malformation of the mitral or tricuspid valve, and may be referred to by the specific valve that is affected.