Digestive Disorders
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Digestive Disorders

Gastric Torsions: Deadly for Your Dog

We all know how uncomfortable it is to have any type of intestinal woe. Imagine the agony, then, of a gastric torsion, in which the stomach and spleen can literally twist and kink. The condition is excruciatingly painful, and, if ignored, is invariably fatal.Gastric torsion cases occur most often in large-breed, deep-chested dogs, such as the Bloodhound, Labrador Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Akita or Great Dane. This is a condition that is not connected to a dog's age or gender. In fact, cases can spontaneously occur in healthy dogs of all breeds, usually shortly after a meal. [...]

Parvovirus Most Common Contagious Disease in Canines

"Parvovirus" is a word guaranteed to remove the smile from the face of any dog owner. There are several strains of "parvo," all of which are lumped together and produce the same symptoms. The virus is the single most contagious of all diseases that strike dogs, and it is spread in multiple ways. The virus can survive for five months and longer on hands and on inanimate objects like food pans, cage floors and clothing. It is also readily transferred by insects, rodents and through infected feces. All strains of parvovirus are hardy, able to survive exposure to heat and other harsh environmental conditions. [...]

Mast Cell Tumors

Mast cell tumors are a cancerous disease that is common in dogs. Usually found on the skin, this disease can also develop in other areas of the body. While most dogs that develop the disease have reached middle age, Mast cell tumors can develop in dogs of any age, breed or sex. In this article, we'll take a closer look at Mast cell tumors, their symptoms, and what treatments are available.What are Mast cell tumors?Mast cells are cells that work in conjunction with the immune system. They are distributed throughout the body to help fight infections and inflammation. Once dispatched to an affected area, they can release several different chemicals including histamine, heparin and serotonin. While these cells are vitally important in the body's natural defense against infection, they can severely damage the body when produced in excessive amounts. [...]

Bloating: Minor-Sounding Condition Causes Major Health Crises

In human beings, bloating may sound like a fairly mild problem, brought on by a too-large meal or perhaps water retention.In dogs, however, bloat is only one name for a life-threatening condition that's also known as gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV), stomach torsion or twisted stomach. Affected dogs will die within several hours if left untreated, and even with treatment more than a quarter of dogs with GDV die.Bloat is a two-fold illness with several causes. First, for a variety of reasons, the stomach can fill up with air, putting pressure on nearby internal organs, on the large veins in the abdomen and the diaphragm. This in turn makes it difficult for the dog to breathe and prevents blood from returning to the heart. [...]

Help, My Dog's Been Diagnosed With Cushing's Disease

Cushing's disease, more correctly known as hyperadrenocorticism is caused when the adrenal glands produce too much glucocorticoid, a natural steroid hormone. This overproduction can occur when the adrenal glands themselves are not functioning properly or when the pituitary gland overproduces the compound ACTH or adrenocorticotropic hormone, which in turn overstimulates the adrenal glands to produce the glucocorticiod. The adrenal gland malfunctioning type of Cushing's disease only occurs in about 20% of diagnosed cases with the pituitary overproduction of ACTH making up the rest of the 80%. Regardless of which of the two causes occurs, the general symptoms will be the same although the treatment options will be different. [...]


Feline diarrhea is a problem of loose or messy stools and originates in the small or large intestine. Diarrhea is also one of the most common reasons for a cat owner to visit a veterinarian. More often then not diarrhea is a symptom of another underlying problem.Types of Diarrhea and LocationSudden diarrhea originating in the small intestine gives the cat an urgency to defecate. It usually lasts for about 48 hours and then clears up on its own. Often when the cat has bouts of diarrhea it will lose its appetite as well.Chronic diarrhea in the small intestine is a large amount of watery stool that is a brownish color. Sometimes it takes on a blackish color if there is blood in the stool. It usually last for about a week at a time. [...]

Protein Losing Enteropathy, A Difficult Condition To Diagnose And Treat

Protein Losing Enteropathy, also known more simply as PLE, is one of the most challenging of the metabolic disease to diagnose and understand. PLE occurs in many different breeds but is more common in the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier and the Basenji breeds. The condition is more common in small to medium breeds of dogs and is becoming more common in toy breeds. Both males and females are typically equally diagnosed and the condition can occur at any age. Often the symptoms are rather subtle and may simply be noted by the owner as a constant or chronic problem with diarrhea for the dog. In severe cases excessive weight loss and even swelling in the abdominal cavity can occur since the protein content of the body is so depleted that typical metabolic activity can occur. Once swelling or edema occurs in the chest, breathing will become labored and problematic and the dog may refuse to eat or want to exercise or move about. Lack of energy, fatigue and constant inactivity is considered to be the most common symptom noted in both advanced and early stages of the disease. [...]

Protein Losing Nephropathy - A Disease Of The Kidneys

Like Protein Losing Enteropathy, which is a protein and plasma losing disease of the gastrointestinal system, protein losing nephropathy allows protein and plasma to be lost from the kidneys. The medical term for protein losing nephropathy is glomerulopathies, which covers the entire range of protein losing conditions of the kidneys. Over time this condition results in a lack of protein to fuel the body, resulting in a shutdown of the metabolic processes, build of up fluid in the abdomen and chest cavities, and eventual death from complications with edema if not treated. With the kidneys affected the eventual result of the disease is renal failure, which is fatal in dogs. Typically PLN is seen in the same breeds that are affected by PLE, however PLN is more common in females than males and can often occur in dogs that are between the ages of two to six years. Breeds that are more predisposed to the condition include Samoyeds, Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Rottweilers, Beagles, Dobermans and Greyhounds. [...]

Alimentary Canal Function In Horse Health

The alimentary canal in horses is basically the complete digestive tract from the mouth all way through to the anus. There are several different components or sections of the horse's alimentary canal, all which must function together to allow the food to be properly digested, nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream, as well as waste material to be eliminated from the body. Any one of the sections or components of the alimentary canal or digestive tract that is not working correctly can have minor or major affects on the horse's overall health and nutrition levels, regardless of the type of feed provided.The top section of the alimentary canal includes the mouth, teeth, and esophagus, all which work to pre-break the food, usually grass, hay or grains, into smaller sections so that the digestive processes can be completed in the stomach and intestines. Older horses and horses with tooth and dental problems often have trouble in chewing and breaking up food items, leading to greater problems with digestion further along the alimentary canal. [...]

Choke: A Preventable Eating Problem

Horses may develop a bad habit of gulping their food too fast and not chewing it as much as it needs to be before swallowing. In both of these cases the food can actually lodge in the horse's esophagus, resulting in a condition known as choke. Choke is most often not life threatening, but it can be very alarming to both the horse and the owner, and can potentially be problematic if the blockage does not clear on its own.One of the biggest causes of choke is found in horses that are feed dry feed pellets or hay cubes, or feed that is high in beet pulp. All of these types of feeds are very dry and expand when the moisture in the horse's mouth and digestive tract come into contact with the food. If the horse is in a hurry to eat or is just lazy and doesn't break up the food and mix the saliva in with the feed in the mouth, the food absorbs the moisture further down the throat. [...]

Colic Is More Than An Upset Stomach

The term colic is generally understood by horse owners and vets alike to mean any type of pain or discomfort in the stomach of the horse, although it can be caused by several different factors. Some horse are more prone to problems with colic while other horses, on the same pasture and getting the same types of feed will have no problems whatsoever. It is likely that there are some breed differences as well as hereditary components to horses with constant colic and research is ongoing. Colic can range in severity from a slight pain and annoyance to the horse right up to a fatal blockage of the gastro-intestinal tract. Since there are many different types of colic the first step is to understand what is the cause, then choose the correct treatment and prevention method. [...]

Concerns With Diarrhea Or Colored Urine In Horses

Horses, like any other animal, can suffer from different diseases, pathogens and infections of the digestive and urinary tract. Often these conditions are signs and symptoms of much more serious conditions, many which can be fatal. Some causes of diarrhea or colored urine in horses can also be infections that are relatively localized and easily treated as long as they do not become progressively worse through lack of treatment.Diarrhea can be ongoing or chronic, or it can be episodic, lasting only a few days. Often diarrhea in horses is due to a highly infectious disease known as Salmonellosis. This condition is caused by the bacteria Salmonella, which is commonly found in small numbers as a helpful digestive bacteria in most horses. For some reason, often illness, colitis or even other health issues or exposure to other infected horse's fecal material, the bacteria multiplies and becomes problematic. [...]

Strongylus Vulgaris: The Deadly Worm

Although all types of worms in any species of animal are problematic, few are as potentially deadly as the strongylus vulgaris or large strongyles. Not only do the worms and larva themselves cause damage but they can also trigger blood clots and serious internal bleeding that can lead to death over a very short period of time.To understand the dangers of strongylus vulgaris it is important to take a closer look at their life cycle. Eggs of the adult worms are shed from the adult worms living in the horse's cecum or large intestine. These eggs are passed out of the horse's body with the fecal material, where they come in contact with the air and soil and grass of the pasture. In approximately three days in the warmer, spring, fall and summer weather the eggs hatch into tiny larvae. The larvae move to grass and vegetation and remain there until they are eaten by the unsuspecting horse. Once inside the horse's body the sheath or protective coating of the larvae comes off, allowing the very tiny larvae to move through the walls of the digestive system and into the blood stream. [...]

Ulcers In Horses Can Be Caused By Stress

We all know that people can develop ulcers from stress, but did you know that horses can as well? Diet, exercise and training as well as competition and lifestyle changes can all cause ulcers in horses. New research shows that as many as 40% of all competition horses, including race horses, dressage horses and jumpers are likely to have some form of ulcers due to a combination of factors.Ulcers in horses, medically known as equine gastric ulcer syndrome, have been the center of many research programs in competitive horses. Many times the very changes that the owner makes to prepare the horse for show actually contribute to the development of the ulcer, which is a lesion or sore in the lining of the stomach caused by an over-production of digestive acid. In horses, stomach acid is continually produced, since a horse that is on pasture will normally graze about 18 hours a day. When owners bring competition horses in off of the pasture and feed them high quality feeds in regular rations, the horse may only be eating one or two hours a day, leaving much more time for the stomach acid to be in direct contact with the stomach lining when food is not present. [...]

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