Illustrated Articles

Dogs + Pet Services

  • Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) is an acute life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with large amounts of air and then twists around effectively cutting off the outputs to the esophagus and intestine. It then continues to expand putting pressure on the mucosa, major vessels and diaphragm. Because of the constriction of major vessels returning to the heart, a dog will collapse from lack of oxygen and nutrients to vital organs. Underlying causes are still a mystery but most dogs affected are large breed, deep chested male dogs although any dog can experience GDV. There is a definite risk in dogs that have eaten large meals and then exercise. Bloat may be diagnosed by physical exam but radiographs and other testing is needed to show volvulus. Treatment involves decompressing the stomach with a stomach tube or a percutaneous catheter, shock treatment with IV fluids and emergency medications, surgery to correct the volvulus and identify and remove any necrotic areas of stomach or spleen. Mortality rate ranges from 15-40% in treated cases. There is no guaranteed prevention for GDV but gastropexy can reduce the risk. Attention to diet, feeding and exercise may also prevent gastric dilation.

  • A transfusion reaction is a medical reaction that occurs in response to a blood transfusion. Many transfusion reactions occur acutely, within seconds of starting the transfusion up to 48 hours post-transfusion. In other cases, however, transfusion reactions may be delayed. In many cases, a transfusion reaction can be diagnosed based on clinical signs alone. Your veterinarian will then administer medications specific to the type of reaction that your dog is experiencing.

  • Many owners say that they will never leave their dog in boarding kennels. However, situations may occur in which you are unable to take your dog with you, and boarding kennels may be your best alternative.

  • Weight-conscious people are familiar with BMI (Body Mass Index) as a yardstick to identify ideal weight. There is a way to measure the body condition of our furry friends, too. The pet version of BMI is called BCS (Body Condition Score) which is a quantitative yet subjective method for evaluating body fat.

  • There are many causes of limping and lameness in young dogs. Most of these are relatively minor and resolve without medical or surgical intervention. However, there are other causes that are more serious and, if not treated promptly, may result in permanent lameness or lead to debilitating arthritis.

  • Bone marrow is vitally important for the production of blood cells, specifically red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Bone marrow is commonly collected and examined when abnormalities are found in the circulating blood. Bone marrow examination is complicated and should be done by a specialist. The pathologist’s report typically provides information about the health of the marrow, what types of cells are present, whether abnormal cells are found, and other details that may help to explain the patient’s illness. However, in some cases, bone marrow examination may do nothing more than confirm that there is a problem.

  • Botulism is a rare condition that can cause paralysis in dogs. It is caused by ingesting the botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum that can grow on raw meat and dead animals. The toxin can cause muscle paralysis and lead to death. It is difficult to diagnose and there is no vaccine available, although an antitoxin is available if the condition is identified before signs develop.

  • Bowel incontinence refers to the loss of the ability to control bowel movements. There are two broad causes of fecal incontinence: reservoir incontinence and sphincter incontinence. In reservoir incontinence, intestinal disease interferes with the rectum’s ability to store normal volumes of feces. In sphincter incontinence, a structural or neurologic lesion prevents the anal sphincter from closing normally. Clinical signs, diagnostic testing, and treatment vary based upon the underlying cause.

  • Brachycephalic airway syndrome occurs in dogs that have anatomic abnormalities causing a more flat-faced appearance. These changes in anatomy cause restrictions in the dog's upper airways (including stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, nasopharyngeal turbinates, and hypoplastic trachea), and can eventually lead to everted laryngeal saccules and laryngeal collapse. Common signs of this condition are open mouth breathing and snoring, but can worsen, leading to exercise intolerance, coughing, gagging, or retching. Diagnosis of elongated soft palate, everted saccules and hypoplastic trachea requires deep sedation or general anesthesia. Dogs with this condition may require only corticosteroids, oxygen, and environmental management, but surgery to correct the palate, nares, and everted saccules may need to be performed. Prognosis is good to guarded depending on the severity of the disease but is greatly improved if the problem is noted and treated surgically in younger dogs.

  • Brain injuries are devastating and, unfortunately, often fatal. The typical signs of brain injury in a dog include altered consciousness that may signal bleeding in the skull, decreased blood flow to the brain, or fluid causing swelling within the brain itself. There are many potential causes of brain injury and treatment will always be determined by the underlying problem that led to the injury.

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