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Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome

A French bulldog at the vet
The term brachycephalic comes from the Greek words brachy, meaning “short” and cephalic, meaning “head.” Brachycephalic dog breeds have flat faces with shortened muzzles. Unfortunately, the shortened muzzles and snouts often mean that the throat and breathing passages are also undersized or flattened. The term Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, or BOAS, refers to multiple anatomic abnormalities that can lead to breathing difficulties and other health problems for these dogs. As many as six anatomic abnormalities make up BOAS. Not all dogs have all six abnormalities, but the more a dog has, the greater their clinical signs. The table below lists the medical names for the abnormalities followed by their definition. Anatomic Abnormality Definition Stenotic nares Nose holes are too narrow or collapse inward during inhalation Extended nasopharyngeal turbinates Air filtering bones inside the nose extend into the back of the throat Elongated soft palate Roof of the mouth is too long Laryngeal collapse Voice box collapses, making air passage difficult Hypoplastic trachea Windpipe is too narrow for the dog’s size Everted laryngeal saccules Pouches inside the voice box turn inside out and block airflow All of these anatomic abnormalities lead to a decrease in air flow in and out of the lungs. The abnormalities associated with BOAS cause affected dogs to easily overheat because they cannot effectively cool themselves through panting. Stress, anesthesia, and exercise are also difficult for these dogs. Finally, dogs with BOAS often have lower blood oxygen levels as compared to non-brachycephalic breeds.

Kidney Disease

cat drinking water
Kidney disease refers to the inability of the kidneys to work properly. Kidneys perform several key functions in the body, the most important of which is filtering waste products from the blood. Kidneys also maintain the balance of electrolyte levels in the body (such as sodium, potassium, and chloride), maintain blood pressure, and produce urine. Damage to the kidneys can result in the buildup of waste products to dangerous levels in the blood, also known as azotemia. There are two main types of kidney disease – acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD develops slowly over time and can damage the kidneys to the point where they are unable to function properly. CKD was previously termed chronic renal failure (CRF). Unlike acute kidney injury, CKD does not disappear with treatment. CKD affects up to 10% of elderly dogs, while all cats are at risk of developing the disease. Unfortunately, it can take months or even years before a pet with CKD show signs of the disease. In addition, pets that have been diagnosed with AKI are at risk of developing permanent damage to their kidneys which can lead to CKD.

Pyometra

Pyometra is a serious bacterial infection of the uterus that occurs most often in older, intact (unspayed) female dogs and cats. The most common bacterium identified in pyometra is E. coli, which typically originates in the feces and ascends through the vagina into the uterus. The infection tends to occur about a month after the dog or cat has been in heat. If unrecognized and untreated, pyometra can lead to a systemic infection or blood poisoning. Pyometra is often described as being “open” or “closed.” With “open” pyometra, the cervix (the part of the uterus that connects with the vagina) is open, allowing the fluid that forms in the uterus due to the infection to drain out of the body through the vagina. With “closed” pyometra, where the cervix is closed, the fluid in the uterus cannot drain through the vagina. Instead, it builds up, stretching the uterine walls and potentially causing the the uterus to rupture. If this occurs, the infection may spread throughout the abdomen leading to shock and, potentially, death. X-ray showing pyometra in a dog X-ray showing pyometra in a cat

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in Dogs and Cats

cat drinking water
Kidney disease refers to the inability of the kidneys to work properly. Kidneys perform several key functions in the body, the most important of which is filtering waste products from the blood. Kidneys also maintain the balance of electrolyte levels in the body (such as sodium, potassium, and chloride), maintain blood pressure, and produce urine. Damage to the kidneys can result in the buildup of waste products to dangerous levels in the blood, also known as azotemia. There are two main types of kidney disease – acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD develops slowly over time and can damage the kidneys to the point where they are unable to function properly. CKD was previously termed chronic renal failure (CRF). Unlike acute kidney injury, CKD does not disappear with treatment. CKD affects up to 10% of elderly dogs, while all cats are at risk of developing the disease. Unfortunately, it can take months or even years before a pet with CKD show signs of the disease. In addition, pets that have been diagnosed with AKI are at risk of developing permanent damage to their kidneys which can lead to CKD.  

Acute Kidney Injury (AKI)

Kidney disease refers to the inability of the kidneys to work properly. Kidneys perform several key functions in the body, the most important of which is filtering waste products from the blood. Kidneys also maintain the balance of electrolyte levels in the body (such as sodium, potassium, and chloride), maintain blood pressure, and produce urine. Damage to the kidneys can result in the buildup of waste products to dangerous levels in the blood, also known as azotemia. There are two main types of kidney disease – acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD). Acute kidney injury was formerly called acute renal failure (ARF) and refers to sudden damage to the kidneys causing a dysfunction. AKI often lasts only for a short period of time and can even disappear completely once the underlying cause is treated. However, pets that have been diagnosed with AKI are at risk of developing permanent damage to their kidneys which can lead to CKD.