Educational Articles

Medical Conditions

  • Abnormal droppings are a non-specific sign of illness in birds. Causes may range from a dietary intake of excess fruits to bacterial or viral intestinal infections and heavy metal toxicity. Any changes in the color or consistency of your bird's droppings should be addressed by your avian veterinarian.

  • An abscess is a “pocket of pus” located somewhere in the body. Abscesses can be located superficially or deep within the body tissues. Typically, an abscess appears suddenly as a painful swelling (if it is not located inside a body cavity or deep within tissue). A cat with an abscess will often have a fever, even if the abscess has ruptured and drained to the outside of the body. One of the most common causes is a bite from another animal. Abscess treatment depends on the location and the severity of the infection. Most abscesses are treated on an outpatient basis, rather than in the hospital. Appropriate antibiotic therapy is a critical component of the successful treatment of abscesses, no matter the location. It is also important to ensure adequate pain relief during treatment of an abscess. Delayed or inadequate treatment may lead to chronically draining tracts in the tissue or even to organ system compromise, so it is important to follow all treatment instructions from your veterinarian.

  • Abscesses are firm or compressible, often painful swellings that contain pus. They can develop in many areas of the body including around tooth roots, anal glands, under the skin, or in the liver. Abscesses are caused by the introduction of bacteria through wounds, injuries, or bloodborne in the case of an internal organ abscess. Any area of the body that becomes infected can eventually cause an abscess to form such as anal gland abscess, bite wound abscess, prostatic abscess, or brain abscess from inner ear or sinus infection. Treatment depends on severity and location and usually involves removal of the pus either through drainage or surgical removal, the use of antibiotics based on the type of bacteria and location of the abscess, and pain control medications. Monitoring after initiating treatment includes watching the site for additional drainage if the abscess was superficial or monitoring the pet for improvement of clinical signs. Delayed treatment of abscesses can lead to chronic draining tracts or worse.

  • Canine acne is an inflammatory disorder of the lips and the skin of the muzzle. Dogs with mild cases of acne often have red bumps or pustules on their skin. This can, in more severe cases, lead to generalized swelling of the lips and muzzle, bleeding wounds, or scabs on the face. Commonly affected breeds include Boxers, English Bulldogs, Great Danes, German Shorthaired Pointers, and others. A variety of treatments are available and depend on the underlying cause of the acne.

  • Acupuncture is one aspect of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that focuses on restoring the energy balance in the body to promote healing. The technique requires the insertion of fine needles into the dog’s body at specified points, called acupuncture points, where nerves and blood vessels converge. It is often used to treat dogs with arthritis and joint inflammation and may reduce the amount of medication a dog needs for these conditions. This handout explains how the treatment works and what to expect when your pet sees a veterinary acupuncturist.

  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome, also known as shock lung, is a life-threatening complication of critical illness in cats, such as systemic infection or disease, severe trauma, or near-drowning. Treatment involves targeting the underlying cause while also supporting the cat's compromised lung function with the use of an oxygen cage, an oxygen line direct to the cat's nasal passages, or in severe cases, a mechanical ventilator. Unfortunately, the prognosis for this condition is poor.

  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome, also known as shock lung, is a life-threatening complication of critical illness in dogs, such as systemic infection or disease, severe trauma, or near-drowning. Treatment involves targeting the underlying cause while also supporting the dog's compromised lung function with the use of an oxygen cage, an oxygen line direct to the dog's nasal passages, or in severe cases, a mechanical ventilator. Unfortunately, the prognosis for this condition is poor.

  • 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.

  • 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.