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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. [...]
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. [...]
One of the multiple eye disorders that can affect your dog is an inherited condition known as iris coloboma. With this condition, and for unknown reasons, development of eye tissues is incomplete in the womb. This causes the puppy to be born with a hole, split, or cleft in certain structures within the affected eye. In this case it's the iris, which is the colored portion in the front of the eye. Dogs with this condition will have a dark hole and/or an irregularly shaped iris, but their vision is usually not impaired. However, they may squint and be uncomfortable in bright light, since the coloboma prevents the iris from contracting normally upon exposure to light. [...]
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. [...]
Elbow Dysplasia or ED is most often found in medium to large breeds of dogs and is most common in breeds such as the German Shepherd, Bernese Mountain Dog, Rottweiler, Retrievers and Chow Chows. Some of the medium sized breeds such as the Shetland Sheepdog and the Shar Pei also have high incidence of elbow dysplasia. Males are between 25 and 30% more likely to exhibit elbow dysplasia in the breeds that are prone to the condition. Elbow dysplasia can occur in one or both of the elbows and is particularly puzzling because not all dogs that have the condition will become lame and those that do become lame may have periods where the condition comes and goes at least in the early stages. [...]
Dogs that are brachycephalic, also known as pug nosed or short muzzled, are particularly prone to several different respiratory problems due to the shape of their heads. The most commonly affected breeds include the Shih Tzu, Boston Terrier, Pug, Pekingese, Bulldog, and Boxer. These breeds have problems with collapsed tracheas, heatstroke, and a congenital problem known as elongated soft palate.
The soft palate is a flap of tissue that is located at the upper back part of the throat. A normal functioning and positioned soft palate acts like a flap or block to prevent food or liquid that the dog is swallowing from accidentally entering the air passage, also known as the nasopharnyx. The soft palate touches the epiglottis, which in turn is attached to the base of the tongue in dogs with a normal formation. [...]
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. [...]
Seizures are very frightening to dog owners and are also terrifying to the dogs as well, depending on the severity or intensity of the seizure. Epilepsy, a general term for a seizure disorder, can be either idiopathic, which means that the exact cause is not known but is likely an inherited or genetic condition, or secondary, which means the seizures are the result of some other type of medical condition or trauma. Regardless of what type of epileptic seizure the dog is having, it is due to abnormal brain activity that is transmitted through the cerebral cortex to the muscles of the body, resulting in the spasms and behaviors that are seen. Secondary epilepsy may be caused by parasitic infestations, drugs, toxins, diseases, hormonal imbalances, and nutritional deficiencies. [...]
Aggression in dogs is a very concerning problem for both dog owners and the general public. A dog that is aggressive can still be an excellent guard dog, family pet, or protection dog provided that he or she is obedient, well behaved, and controllable and is not dangerous to others. A dog that has problems with excessive aggression will behave in a way that makes the dog a problem to either people, including the owner and family, or towards other pets or animals.
There are four basic types of aggression that most dog breeds will exhibit to some degree. These include prey instinct, or the instinct to chase and hunt, territoriality, protection of owner, and self defense. [...]
One of the many wonders of breeding for specific characteristics is that dogs and other animals have been selected to match a breed standard or set of characteristics that makes that dog unique from other dog breeds. Unfortunately in some of the unique breeds that have developed there are health issues associated with the very characteristics that define the breed. Often these health issues developed before early breeders understood the impact of breeding for certain characteristics, or even the risk of breeding dogs that exhibited certain traits. Exposure keratopathy syndrome is one such example that is very prominent in some breeds due to the specific eye formation that defines the breed. [...]
Eye anomaly, also more commonly known as Collie Eye Anomaly or CEA, is found in all breeds of collies including the Smooth and Rough Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Australian Shepherds. The condition also occurs to a lesser extent in the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and some types of heelers.
CEA is a recessive genetic condition, which means that both parents have to be carrying the recessive gene for the condition to be passed down to their puppies. While this may sound like terrific news to eliminate the condition, the current estimate is that up to 85% of all collies in the United States are affected by this condition and that the numbers are almost as high in other countries and areas around the world. [...]
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. [...]
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. [...]
Genetic hemolytic anemia goes by many different names including immune mediated hemolytic anemia and autoimmune hemolytic anemia or AIHA. It can be caused by something as simple as a bee sting a vaccination or even a complication from a basic skin infection or cut. It is a disease that is most common in both intact and spayed females and typically effects a wide number of dog breeds, both mixed and purebred. Within the purebred group the most common breeds to experience genetic hemolytic anemia are the Basenji, Cocker and Springer Spaniel, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Dachshund, Malamute, Shih Tzu and West Highland White Terrier. Mixed breeds that have lineage from one or more of these breeds are also at risk. [...]