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Medical Conditions

  • Hypoadrenocorticism, also known as Addison’s disease, is a condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough glucocorticoids (steroids) to allow normal body function. This condition is considered rare in cats, but numerous cases have been reported. Affected cats often have a history of waxing and waning periods of lethargy, decreased appetite, and weight loss. Long-term, cats with hypoadrenocorticism require medications to supplement the substances released from the adrenal glands.

  • Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, is found in fresh and brackish water of ponds and lakes. This microscopic bacteria can also grow in backyard fountains, garden pots, bird baths, and anywhere water is stagnant.

  • One of the most common medical conditions affecting cats is allergy. Flea allergy, food allergies, atopy, and contact allergies are examples of allergies in cats, with flea allergy being the most common cause. Flea allergy is a response to proteins or antigens present in the flea's saliva, and just one fleabite may cause such intense itching that the cat may severely scratch or chew itself, leading to the removal of large amounts of hair. Food allergy testing is conducted by feeding an elimination or hypoallergenic diet. If your cat's symptoms improve after the food trial, a presumptive diagnosis of food allergy is made.

  • An allergy is a state of over-reactivity or hypersensitivity of the immune system to a particular substance called an allergen. Most allergens are proteins from plants, insects, animals, or foods. In the dog, the most common symptom associated with allergies is itching of the skin, either localized (in one area) or generalized (all over the body). The symptoms of allergies can be confused with other disorders, or occur concurrently with them. Therefore, do not attempt to diagnose your dog without veterinary professional assistance.

  • Amyloidosis occurs when amyloid proteins are deposited outside of cells in various tissues and organs causing tissue and organ dysfunction. It is uncommon in cats, except for Abyssinians, Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese, Devon Rex, and Oriental Shorthair breeds. Signs depend on the organs involved, but kidney involvement is most common. If kidneys are involved signs include mouth ulcers, weight loss, vomiting, and dehydration. For cats with liver involvement, signs include weakness, pale gum color, distended abdomen, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, abdominal pain, and collapse. There is no specific medication for the treatment of amyloidosis in cats, with treatment focusing on kidney support.

  • Amyloidosis occurs when amyloid proteins are deposited outside of cells in various tissues and organs, causing tissue and organ dysfunction. It is uncommon in dogs, except in Beagles, Chinese Shar Peis, Collies, Treeing Walker Hounds, and English Foxhounds. Signs depend on the organs involved, but kidney involvement is most common. If kidneys are involved signs include mouth ulcers, weight loss, vomiting, and dehydration. For dogs with liver involvement, signs include weakness, pale gum color, distended abdomen, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, abdominal pain, and collapse. There is no specific medication for the treatment of amyloidosis in dogs, with treatment focusing on kidney support. Shar Peis may be treated with colchicine to reduce the effects of amyloid deposition.

  • The anal sacs are two small pouches located on either side of the anus at approximately the four o'clock and eight o'clock positions. The walls of the sac produce a foul smelling fluid which is released whenever the cat passes a bowel movement. The anal sacs or their ducts can become inflamed or infected due to a variety of causes. Most cats will respond well to pain relief medications and antibiotics (for several days until the swelling and inflammation have subsided. If a cat has several episodes of anal sac disease, and diet or supplements do not relieve the problem, the anal sacs can be removed surgically.

  • The anal sacs are two small pouches located on either side of the anus at approximately the four o'clock and eight o'clock positions. The walls of the sac produce a foul smelling fluid which is released whenever the dog passes a bowel movement. Bacteria that are normally present in the feces can readily travel up the ducts and enter the sacs resulting in infection. The first sign is often scooting or dragging the rear along the ground. Treatment for impaction involves expressing or emptying the sacs. Antibiotics are often prescribed. Most dogs will require pain relief medications for several days until the swelling and inflammation have subsided. In recurrent or severe cases, surgical removal of the sacs may be necessary.

  • An anaphylactic reaction or anaphylaxis is an immediate hypersensitivity reaction to a foreign substance, especially a foreign protein. Any foreign substance can produce an anaphylactic reaction. Clinical signs are dependent on the route of exposure (mouth, skin, inhalation, injection, etc.), the amount of antigen and the level of the pet's IgE response. An anaphylactic reaction is a medical emergency and immediate treatment is required.

  • Anemia is a medical term referring to a reduced number of circulating red blood cells, hemoglobin, or both. It is not a specific disease but rather it is the result of some other disease process or condition. The most easily observed and common clinical sign of anemia is a loss of the normal pink color of the gums. Several tests are performed on blood samples to diagnose anemia. If your cat's anemia is so severe that it is life threatening, a blood transfusion will be needed.