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Medical Conditions

  • The word ataxia means incoordination within the nervous system. There are several different forms of ataxia, depending upon where in the nervous system the abnormality occurs. The most common sign of ataxia, regardless of the cause, is an abnormal gait in which the dog is very unsteady on his feet. Treatment of ataxia will be influenced by the root cause. Pain management, supportive care, and creating a safe environment (e.g., preventing access to stairs) are cornerstones of ataxia treatment.

  • This handout summarizes atlantoaxial (AA) luxation, a condition in which instability or excessive movement is present between the first two vertebrae within the neck. Atlantoaxial luxation can be caused by trauma, hereditary factors, or a combination of these two factors. The most common sign of AA luxation is neck pain, though severely affected dogs may lose their ability to breathe due to paralysis of the diaphragm.

  • This handout discusses atopic dermatitis (atopy), a form of allergic skin disease brought on by an abnormal response to allergens in the environment. The clinical signs, diagnosis, and treatment are outlined.

  • This handout explains atopic dermatitis (atopy) in dogs, a form of allergic skin disease brought on by an abnormal response to allergens in the environment. The clinical signs, diagnosis, and treatment are outlined.

  • Atrial fibrillation describes very rapid contractions or twitching of the heart muscle, specifically in the atria. Most of the time, atrial fibrillation in cats occurs secondary to heart disease. Sometimes, in large breed cats, atrial fibrillation will occur as a primary heart problem. Most cats who develop atrial fibrillation have underlying heart disease, so the signs that are observed are often related to that underlying condition, and may include exercise intolerance, cough, or difficulty breathing. Treatment varies depending on whether the pet has primary or secondary atrial fibrillation. Your cat will need to be monitored on a regular basis.

  • Atrial fibrillation describes very rapid contractions or twitching of the heart muscle, specifically in the atria. Most of the time, atrial fibrillation in dogs occurs secondary to heart disease. In some large breed dogs, atrial fibrillation occurs as a primary heart problem. Most dogs who develop atrial fibrillation have underlying heart disease, so the signs that are observed are related to that disease and may include exercise intolerance, cough, or difficulty breathing. Treatment varies depending on whether the dog has primary or secondary atrial fibrillation. Your dog will need to be monitored on a regular basis.

  • Atrioventricular (AV) valve dysplasia describes a developmental malformation of the mitral or tricuspid valve. AV valve dysplasia is one of the most common cardiac abnormalities diagnosed in cats. Dysplasia may occur in both the mitral and tricuspid valves in the same cat; however, this is not a common condition. There may be a breed predisposition to mitral valve dysplasia in Sphinx cats. Tricuspid valve dysplasia occurs more frequently in Chartreaux and Siamese cats. Exercise intolerance, accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, weight loss, and stunted growth may be seen. Difficulty breathing or collapse may occur if congestive heart failure develops. Treatment of AV valve dysplasia is focused on managing signs of congestive heart failure, generally using medications. Activity may need to be restricted based on your cat’s exercise tolerance and nutritional modification may be recommended.

  • Atrioventricular (AV) valve dysplasia describes a developmental malformation of the mitral or tricuspid valve. Bull Terriers, Newfoundlands, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, Mastiffs, Rottweilers and Dalmatians are recognized to be susceptible to develop mitral valve dysplasia. Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Weimaraners, Irish Setters, Dogue de Bordeaux, Great Pyrenees, and Old English Sheepdogs are recognized as susceptible to tricuspid valve dysplasia. Exercise intolerance, accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, weight loss, and stunted growth may be seen. Difficulty breathing or collapse may occur if congestive heart failure develops. Treatment of AV valve dysplasia is focused on managing signs of congestive heart failure, generally using medications. Activity may need to be restricted based on your dog’s exercise tolerance and nutritional modification may be recommended.

  • AIHA or IMHA is a life-threatening condition which may occur as a primary condition or secondary to another disease. Most cats with AIHA have severe anemia, their gums will be very pale, they will be listless and tire more easily, be anorexic and will have increased heart and respiration rates. Diagnosis involves CBC, biochemical profiles, urinalysis, and X-rays or ultrasound of the abdomen and chest. Treatment may involve blood transfusions and other medications over a prolonged course of time. The prognosis may be better if an underlying cause can be identified.

  • AIHA or IMHA is a life-threatening condition which may occur as a primary condition or secondary to another disease. Most dogs with AIHA have severe anemia, their gums will be very pale, they will be listless and tire more easily, be anorexic and will have increased heart and respiration rates. Diagnosis involves CBC, biochemical profiles, urinalysis, and X-rays or ultrasound of the abdomen and chest. Treatment may involve blood transfusions and other medications over a prolonged course of time. The prognosis may be better if an underlying cause can be identified.