Glomerular Disease in Dogs

Glomerular disease occurs quite commonly in dogs. It affects purebreds and mixed-breeds alike, and can be an inherited disorder in Shar Peis, Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers, Bull Terriers, Dalmatians, Samoyeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Newfoundlands, and English Cocker Spaniels. Terminology Veterinarians use a number of different terms interchangeably when describing “glomerular disease”. Here is a sampling of those most commonly used: Glomerulopathy Glomerulonephropathy Glomerulonephritis Protein losing nephropathy Glomerular function Each kidney contains millions of glomeruli, microscopic filtration units that… Read More

Pollakiuria: Why is My Pet Urinating More Often Than Normal?

Pollakiuria is a fun word to pronounce, but it’s certainly not a fun symptom to deal with. Pollakiuria means increased frequency of urination. Dogs with this symptom ask to go outside more frequently than normal, often round the clock. The well house trained dog may begin leaving puddles in the house and cats with pollakiuria are in and out of the litter box with increased frequency. Some kitties abandon the box altogether choosing other places to urinate. Pollakiuria caused by… Read More

Transitional Cell Carcinoma in Dogs

Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) is the most common cancerous condition affecting the urinary tract of dogs. Scottish Terriers top the list in terms of breed predisposition. What is TCC? TCC is a malignant tumor that most commonly grows within the urinary bladder. It also frequents the urethra, the tube-like structure that drains urine from the bladder to the outside world. TCC can also arise within the prostate gland (males), kidneys, and ureters (the long, narrow tubes that transport urine from… Read More

Cancer Therapy: Is it the Right Choice for Your Pet?

Last week, in honor of Pet Cancer Awareness Month, I provided some pointers for constructively dealing with the diagnosis of cancer. This week I will deliver information about the treatment of cancer and tips for determining if a pet is a good candidate for such therapy. Treatment Options The three most common treatment methods used to treat animals with cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Often only one type of therapy is needed to effectively treat the cancer. For… Read More

When the Diagnosis is Cancer

The month of May has been declared Pet Cancer Awareness Month. While I’m not altogether sure who determines such things, in honor of this declaration I present to you a good deal of information that I’m certain will be useful should your four-legged family member develop cancer. Cancer, neoplasia, growth, tumor, malignancy, the big “C”: no matter which word is used, it is the diagnosis we all dread. It’s not that cancer is always associated with a terrible outcome. What… Read More

Not All Patients Read the Textbook

My dear friend Juli is a seasoned veterinary technician. So when her own 16-year-old Cattle Dog named Easy developed bleeding into his belly because of a cancerous growth, Juli had a clear sense about the prognosis. Surgical removal of the tumor would likely buy some good quality time, three to six months on average before the cancer recurred. Post-surgical chemotherapy might expand that time frame just a little bit. After some serious soul searching and “conversation” with her beloved dog,… Read More

Heart Murmurs in Dogs: What Do They Mean?

I recently received the following question from Ardis, a reader who oversees a rescue organization in California: One of our adopters has an older Beagle with a growth on his gum that is apparently not cancer and is not attached to the bone, but it is really impeding his ability to eat.  The adopter is worried about the anesthesia to have it removed because the Beagle has a significant heart murmur. Do you have any opinions on ways to go for… Read More

Cataracts in Dogs and Cats

While cataracts are less common in dogs and cats than in people, they do occur with relative frequency and are one of the most common causes of blindness. Normally, the pupil of the eye appears black because the lens (located just behind the iris) is crystal clear. A cataract is an opacification within the lens, and when a cataract is “mature” it imparts a grayish, whitish color to the pupil. The opacification prevents normal light transmission to the retina within… Read More

Is It Vomiting or Is It Regurgitation?

Boomer, an adorable and effervescent young Cairn Terrier, was recently referred to me for vomiting of three days duration. This mischievous little boy raided the kitchen garbage the day before the vomiting began. Neither blood work nor abdominal X-rays performed by the referring veterinarian provided a diagnosis. When I questioned Boomer’s family, I learned that their dog was bringing up clear fluid after drinking and undigested food after eating. Additionally, none of the retching that dogs typically do right before… Read More

A Primer on Diabetes Insipidus

Mention the word diabetes, and one thinks of insulin injections and blood sugar levels. This is because diabetes mellitus (aka, sugar diabetes) is so darned prevalent in people, dogs, and cats. But did you know that there is another version of diabetes, one that has absolutely no impact on blood sugar levels? It is called diabetes insipidus (DI). This form of diabetes is far less common, but as it happens, I diagnosed two patients (one dog and one cat) with… Read More