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Hearing loss in dogs, as in humans, can be caused by a wide range of disease, trauma, and/or congenital problems. In congenital cases, the dog is born deaf. Hearing loss can come on suddenly or gradually due to injury, disease, ear infections, exposure to loud noises or explosions, or simply the wear and tear of old age.
Hearing loss is categorized as unilateral (affecting one ear only) or bilateral (affecting both ears). Dogs with white or partially white coats are often subject to a congenital form of deafness connected with the special pigmentation in their skin. In these cases the dog may have unpigmented skin in the inner ear, which causes the nerve endings inside the ear to wither away and die when the affected puppy is only a few weeks old. The end result is deafness.
Unlike some conditions, hearing problems are usually noticeable to the pet owner. [...]
In a normal eye the lens is clear and translucent, the better to perform its job of transmitting and focusing light onto the retina in the back of the eye. When disease, aging, or injury clouds and/or damages this lens, a variety of vision-related problems can occur.
One commonly recognized form of lens opacity is a cataract, which causes a cloudy film to gradually grow over the lens, obscuring vision. Most cataracts in dogs are genetically related. How old the dog is when cataracts appear and how severe they become depends largely on what type of breed is affected. [...]
In dogs, heart failure is usually characterized by problems with the mitral valve. This is especially true of smaller breeds, but is applicable to at least some extent with all dogs. The mitral valve refers to the muscular valve that separates the left atrium and ventricle. Its function, when working properly, is to prevent the back flow of blood once it has passed through one section of the heart to increase the efficiency of the heart's pumping, i.e. - each portion of blood that passes through the heart only needs to be pumped once because the mitral valve prevents it from flowing backwards. Over time, however, this valve begins to shrink and harden as a natural consequence of aging. [...]
Pancreatitis is a disorder of the pancreas wherein it fails to properly perform its roles as the producer of digestive enzymes. More specifically, the enzymes are still produced, but the pancreas loses its unique ability to handle them effectively and so they break down before they're delivered to the parts of the body where they're needed. Instead of digesting food, they break down the tissue in and around the pancreas itself.
Pancreatitis can have a number of causes, and is usually the result of several causes coalescing. Diets that are high in fat may lead to obesity, which is a major contributing factor to the development of the disease. In addition, certain medications used to treat other diseases may increase the risk that a dog will contract pancreatitis, including corticosteroids and azathioprine. [...]
Panosteitis is a canine disease about which very little is known. It seems to occur almost at random (although German Shepherds as a breed tend to produce the most cases) and has a tendency to vanish and return with seemingly little provocation. The disease manifests as a sudden lameness in one leg without any preceding trauma, strain, or any of the problems usually associated with lameness. Typically, it will appear first in one of the front legs and then without warning shift to another leg (leaving the initial area) with no predictable pattern.
Because of the mysterious nature of the disease, it often either goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed. However, recent studies have shown that X-Rays will almost invariably reveal a greater than usual bone density in animals that carry the disease. [...]
Most people are either unfamiliar with the term "shunt" or are used to its application as a treatment to drain excess fluid from the brain following a stroke.
There is another type, however, that can occur in animals, including dogs. Specifically, a portosystemic shunt is an abnormal connection between the hepatic portal vein and the rest of the circulatory system. This vein connects the gastrointestinal tract to the liver. This abnormal connection in turn causes blood from the gastrointestinal tract to bypass the liver, depriving it of oxygen and vital nutrients. When this occurs, the liver is unable to completely perform its own vital functions, including assisting with the body's metabolism and eliminating toxins from the system. The final effect is to expose the affected animal's body to toxic byproducts from its own digestive system. [...]
Among the many hereditary eye disorders that can appear in your canine is an unusual condition known as an ocular coloboma. Colobomas are a congenital anomaly in which some of the structures of the eye are missing. This occurs when tissues fail to fuse and/or form completely while the puppy is still in the mother's womb. In ocular colobomas, for example, there is a visible black hole or cleft in the ocular nerve.
Colobomas also can be found in other structures within the eye, including the iris, choroid, ciliary body, eyelid, lens, and retina, where they again are present as a hole, split or cleft in the affected structure. [...]
Cataracts are one of the most well-known forms of eye disease, appearing as a cloudy or opaque spot that changes the lens of the eye and causes it to lose its translucence. Cataracts may be limited to a small section of the lens, or they may grow to affect the entire eye. Cataracts also can strike one or both eyes, depending upon the cause. If left untreated, cataracts inevitably end up costing the dog its sight.
Many breeds are prone to inherited cataracts, which can be passed along through both dominant and recessive genes. Inherited forms result in what are known as primary cataracts. [...]
Have you ever had an eyelash in your eye that caused that horrible scratching, itchy, and irritated sensation? Well how about having a whole eyelid full of eyelashes turned inward against your eye, it wouldn't be pleasant, would it?
That is exactly what dogs that have entropion are dealing with. This condition can be hereditary as well as caused by injury or disease. Entropion is common in many breeds of dogs, both purebred and mixed breed, and is one of the leading eye problems that puppies and dogs experience. Although it is most commonly noted on the lower eyelid it can also be present on the upper eyelid as well. In puppies the condition is usually noted very shortly after the puppy opens his or her eye and can be corrected at this time with a simple surgical procedure that pulls the eyelid down and stitches it to keep the eyelid in the correct, outward facing position. [...]
Eye injuries and eyeball lacerations or cuts are very serious and time is of the essence to treat these conditions and provide effective first aid that will help preserve the dog's sight if at all possible. Knowing what to do if your dog has a lacerated eyeball is important, as doing the wrong thing can be just as bad as doing nothing at all in many cases.
In emergency first aid treatment for eyeball lacerations the biggest priority is to clean out the eye as much as possible and to prevent further injury by the dog pawing at the eye or rubbing the head along the ground or other surface. In addition it is important to check to see if there is a foreign object embedded in the eye before doing anything, as even a bandage over the eye can further push the object into the eye, creating more damage. [...]
Fanconi syndrome is an absorption problem in the tubules that make up the kidney. In a normally functioning kidney the small tubules reabsorb minerals, blood sugar, amino acids, and water to keep the body in a metabolic balance that leads to normal functioning of all body systems. In dogs that have the hereditary Fanconi syndrome the tubules do not correctly reabsorb these essential compounds which are simply removed from the body in the urine, resulting in metabolic imbalances that will eventually lead to death. As with most syndromes the condition cannot be eliminated but it can be managed and kidney function supported through several different treatment options. The earlier diagnosis is made then the better the outlook for managing the condition. [...]
Fibrosarcoma is a relatively rare kind of cancerous tumor that develops in the connective tissues and bones of the skeleton. It is most commonly seen in the pelvic area, the spine, skull, and the ribs but can occur in any bone and connective tissue throughout the body. Younger dogs can sometimes develop a very rare type of fibrosarcoma in the mouth and this is more common than the skeletal fibrosarcoma.
Fibrosarcoma in the mouth is often first misdiagnosed as a dental health problem since it is associated with swollen and bleeding gums and lumps along the jaws, under the tongue or towards the back of the mouth. Usually vets will treat these with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs first, then if they do not respond they perform x-rays of the area and check for tumors. [...]
Flea bite dermatitis is caused by a hypersensitivity to the saliva of the common flea. Dogs that are allergic to the flea's saliva have incredibly severe reactions to the flea bites and can actually bite at their skin or scratch until they have open lesions and infections of the skin. Hair loss is also common when the dog becomes obsessed with licking and scratching at this incredibly itchy spots on their skin.
Flea bite dermatitis is typically most noted in the spring and fall when flea activity is at its peak. During these months even dogs that are treated with monthly flea applications will still be bitten by adult fleas, leading to the reaction. Unlike some allergens the 15 different possible compounds in the fleas saliva that a dog can react to do not seem to decrease in effect with exposure. Dogs that are sensitive will remain just as sensitive or become worse, not better, as they age. [...]
Skin fold dermatitis is a common problem in many breeds of dogs but one that is usually not too difficult to manage with a few adjustments to bathing, grooming and maintenance routines for the dog. Fold dermatitis is a skin condition that is caused by the contact of skin against skin and the rubbing and friction this can cause. Combining this with moisture and the presence of bacteria can lead to severe lesions and sores in the folds of the skin that can become serious if not treated.
Skin fold dermatitis can develop in different areas of the body depending on the breed of dog. In brachycephalic dogs or dogs with short, pushed in muzzles the dermatitis is often noticed in the folds of skin along the muzzle. [...]
Follicular conjunctivitis is a condition that causes the whites and pink areas of a dog or puppy's eyes to turn red, become itch and irritated, and typically will produce lots of tearing. Some dogs and puppies will also start to squint to avoid opening up their eyes and causing further irritation. There are many difficult conditions that can cause the eyes to become red, itchy and swollen but follicular conjunctivitis is by far the most common and is actually relatively easy to treat if diagnosed and treated in the early stages. [...]