Educational Articles

Medical Conditions

  • 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.

  • AIHA or IMHA is a life-threatening condition which may occur as a primary condition or secondary to another disease. Most cats with AIHA have severe anemia, their gums will be very pale, they will be listless and tire more easily, be anorexic and will have increased heart and respiration rates. Diagnosis involves CBC, biochemical profiles, urinalysis, and X-rays or ultrasound of the abdomen and chest. Treatment may involve blood transfusions and other medications over a prolonged course of time. The prognosis may be better if an underlying cause can be identified.

  • AIHA or IMHA is a life-threatening condition which may occur as a primary condition or secondary to another disease. Most dogs with AIHA have severe anemia, their gums will be very pale, they will be listless and tire more easily, be anorexic and will have increased heart and respiration rates. Diagnosis involves CBC, biochemical profiles, urinalysis, and X-rays or ultrasound of the abdomen and chest. Treatment may involve blood transfusions and other medications over a prolonged course of time. The prognosis may be better if an underlying cause can be identified.

  • Our bodies have an immune system that protects us from foreign invaders that can cause disease and infection; however, if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks itself by mistake, causing serious illness.

  • The term autoimmune is a confusing one. Our bodies have an immune system that protects us from foreign invaders that can cause disease and infection; however, if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks itself by mistake, causing illness.

  • Bacterial pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung usually caused by bacterial or viral infection but can be caused by inhalation of an irritant. Typical signs of bacterial pneumonia include fever, difficulty breathing, lethargy and coughing. As these can also be caused by other disease, diagnostics include a full physical exam, blood work, radiographs, and may also require bronchoscopy with sample collection for cytology and bacterial culture and sensitivity. Treatment includes the use of one or more antibiotics that ideally would be selected using the results of a culture. Affected dogs may also require hospitalization and supportive care including intravenous fluids. Prognosis is good to guarded depending on the presence of predisposing factors.