Found  Articles :: Page 5 of 30
One of the more miraculous parts of the mammalian body is the retina, a structure that fits snugly and smoothly against the inside back wall of the eyeball. The retina is responsible for sending visual images to the brain via the optic nerve. Or, in other words, it acts as the "film" in the camera that is vision. When the retina becomes separated from the support tissue underneath (the choroid, which supplies the retina with blood and oxygen) it can no longer function and is termed "detached." If not treated promptly and properly, the affected animal will become blind, sometimes within a matter of days. [...]
One of the more heartbreaking disorders that can strike your dog is an inherited brain disorder known as cerebellar abiotrophy. In this condition there is premature aging and deterioration of the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. In most animals with this condition, the cerebellum matures normally before the puppy is born, but then specific cells in the cerebellum, known as Purkinje cells, deteriorate steadily after birth. Occasionally cells in other areas of the brain are affected as well. [...]
In normal male canines, the testicles develop in the abdomen and then descend into the scrotum before or shortly after birth. In pups with a condition known as cryptorchidism, however, either one or both testicles fail to descend within two months after birth and are left underdeveloped and non-functional. The undescended testicle(s) may remain inside the abdominal cavity or else drop into the groin tissues outside of the scrotum. [...]
What does a species of rat have to do with the color of your dog's coat? Not much, although they may share a common name. "Agouti" is a term used to identify a specific class of rodents (and guinea pigs), but it's also short for agouti signalling peptide. This peptide is created through a specific gene, known as the agouti gene, which is a key player in determining the fur patterns and shadings in many animals, including dogs. [...]
Watching any animal attempt to run and play while battling arthritis can be hard. Yet it's especially heartbreaking for owners whose animals have a form of rheumatoid arthritis known as Juvenile Onset Polyarthritis Syndrome. One of a wide variety of types of polyarthritis, this incurable disease strikes early and cripples the dog's limbs, causing chronic severe pain and lameness.
This type of arthritis begins with an abnormal immune cell response that causes too many white blood cells (the body's disease-fighters) to invade the joints. Once there they release chemicals that create swelling, joint pain and fever. Animals with polyarthritis often feel ill and are reluctant to move around. Rheumatoid arthritis is especially aggressive in eroding cartilage that cushions the joints. Plus, over time, it deforms the bones surrounding the joints as well, leaving the limbs deformed and unable to bear the dog's weight. The disease usually affects more than one joint; often all of the dog's joints are involved. [...]
Mention torn ligaments and most people are more likely to think of athletes than animals. However, this problem also occurs in many pets and livestock. In fact, one of the most common knee injuries in dogs is known as a ruptured cruciate ligament. [...]
Dermatomyositis (and its related disorder, ulcerative dermatosis) occurs when a dog's skin and underlying muscles become inflamed. The first sign of the disease is a series of lesions that appear on the skin by the time the dog is six months of age. In many cases, muscle problems also develop later on. In dogs the condition is similar to that of humans, producing blisters and crusting that occur mainly in the groin and underarm regions. [...]
As medical research teaches us more about the immune system, and as more and more autoimmune conditions are diagnosed in canines, especially purebreds, the issue of a dog's immunity is becoming a concern for would-be pet owners.
In all mammals, the immune system serves as the body's defense against disease. It's comprised of white blood cells, antibodies and various other chemicals the body uses in its war against infections and any substance it perceives as foreign to the host animal. It's designed to combat any of these cells that it identifies as "non-self," and it does this through chemical markers that are found on the surface of every cell in the animal's body. It's this natural combative design that causes a person's or animal's body to reject blood transfusions, organ transplants and skin grafts. [...]
We all know how painful it can be to have a single eyelash stuck in our eye. Imagine, then, the unending torment of an entire eyelid full of eyelashes turned inside out, with all of those lashes continually pressed against sensitive eye tissue.
This problem occurs in many breeds of dogs, and is known as eyelid entropion, or a rolling in of the eyelid. The condition is not only painful, but it also can cause ulcers or erosion on the cornea of the eye, resulting in scarring and reduced vision. [...]
One of the rarer conditions that can strike your dog is known as Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada Syndrome (VKH) or uveodermatological syndrome (UDS). In humans the disease is caused by an autoimmune response in which the person's own T-cells mistakenly attack the body's melanin-forming cells. These are the cells responsible for the color of a person's skin, hair and eyes. Specifically, the disease attacks the front portion of the eye, known as the uvea, which is the dark portion of the eye containing blood vessels. In many cases the iris also is involved, and occasionally the back portion of the eye is affected as well.
It's not yet known how UDS occurs in dogs, but it's believed to also be connected to the autoimmune response. Other potential, but not yet proven, causes include infections, metabolic disease, tumors and trauma or injury to the eye. [...]
If you've ever been kept awake by a dog that can't stop scratching, biting and licking itself, then both of you have suffered from skin allergies. Skin allergies, or dermatitis, are one of the trickiest problems to diagnose in an animal, since they can have many different causes. In its misery, the affected animal also usually worsens the problem by continually scratching and licking at the affected places, undoing any healing that's occurred. [...]
Cuts and scrapes are a fact of life, for humans and animals. Yet they're a significant danger if your dog has Von Willebrand's disease, a condition similar to human hemophilia, in which blood cannot clot properly. Because of this, any injury, even a minor one, will cause the dog to bleed profusely. Without treatment, dogs can easily bleed to death following surgery or from what would normally be considered minor wounds.
Von Willebrand's Disease is an inherited disorder. Affected dogs are missing a specific element in their blood that helps the platelets to form clots. It's a substance that helps stabilize one of the blood's clotting elements, known as Factor VIII, which is vital to the clotting process. The missing substance is known as Von Willebrand's factor, after the Finnish physician who discovered and researched the condition in the 1920s. [...]
One of the more heartbreaking genetic diseases found in the canine world is a condition known alternatively as chondrodysplasia, achondroplasia or chondrodystrophy. Characterized by crippling deformities and abnormally shaped limbs, the disease causes the cartilage cushioning the joints to become deformed and the bones attached to that cartilage to grow abnormally.
The condition is transmitted through a recessive gene. When two carriers of this recessive gene are bred, the resulting animals frequently are born with the disease. Chondrodysplasia also typically occurs in connection with other serious medical problems, including deafness, dwarfism and abnormally shortened life spans. It has a wide range of severity. For example, in dogs whose front legs are affected, the dog may appear nearly normal, or else have front legs that are only slightly bowed. In extreme cases, however, the animal will be crippled due to severely deformed limbs. [...]
Groups of related diseases are often combined into one category, for medical classification purposes. That's the case with polyneuropathy - an umbrella term that describes a group of disorders which affect multiple nerves. These diseases can strike any combination of nerves, and may be either inherited or developed later in the dog's life (acquired).
Polyneuropathy affects the peripheral nerves. These nerves are found outside of the brain and spinal cord, which together comprise the central nervous system. The term "neuropathy" simply means that some part of the peripheral nervous system isn't functioning properly. [...]
Aging takes it toll on everyone, animals as well as humans. Among the hardest hit are the joints, especially the articular cartilage inside those joints, which normally provides a smooth, low-friction buffer between the bones. A variety of causes, including age, can cause this cartilage to break down or develop fissures, resulting in severe pain, inflammation, and lameness.
Although degenerative joint disease (and the resulting arthritis) is generally considered a problem of older canines, it's appearing in more and more younger large-breed dogs as well. Selective breeding has resulted in the altering of bone structure in several breeds, especially larger dogs such as German Shepherds, Great Danes and Mastiffs. In these animals, many are now born with a defect that prevents the development of normal cartilage, leading to permanent early lameness in the shoulders, knees, and ankles. [...]