Cherry Eye in Pets

A dog with cherry eye
Dogs and cats have a third eyelid, called the nictitating membrane or nictitans. This shiny, pink membrane is tucked behind the lower eyelid and pops up when a pet is sedated or sick, has a mass behind or under the eye, or has a neurological condition. The nictitans contains a gland that is responsible for tear production. Cherry eye is a condition where the gland within the third eyelid protrudes from its normal position, resulting in a red, swollen mass near the inner eyelid that kind of looks like a little red cherry. It is believed to be caused by weak tissue fibers failing to hold the gland in place. One or both eyes can be affected, and improper treatment of this condition can result in dry eye.

Osteosarcoma in Pets

An x-ray of osteosarcoma in a dog
Cancer is not one disease, but hundreds. Cancer can be grouped into three main categories: Carcinomas – carcinomas are formed by epithelial cells, which are the cells that cover the inside and outside surfaces of the body. Tumors of the anal gland and mammary gland are common carcinomas in dogs and cats. Hematopoetic tumors – blood cancer, or hematopoetic tumors, include leukemia and lymphoma. Sarcomas – sarcomas are tumors formed by cells from bone and soft tissues, including muscle, fat, blood vessels, lymph vessels, and fibrous tissue (such as tendons and ligaments). Examples of sarcomas in dogs include soft tissue sarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor in dogs, accounting for 85% of all canine skeletal tumors. While osteosarcoma is also the most common bone tumor in cats, primary bone tumors are relatively uncommon in cats to begin with. Osteosarcoma is also far less aggressive in cats than it is in dogs. Osteosarcoma typically develops on the limbs (the forelimbs more often than the hindlimbs), but can also occur on the skull, rib cage, and spine. A rare form of osteosarcoma occurs outside the skeleton in the muscles, liver, or spleen. Osteosarcoma is a particularly aggressive tumor in dogs, with 75-90% of patients eventually having the tumor cells metastasize (spread) to other areas, particularly the lungs and other bones. In cats with osteosarcoma, around 40% will metastasize.

Kidney Disease in Pets

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.

Back-to-School Pet Safety

Dog being carried by child in their backpack
After spending an entire summer with the whole family together, your dog or cat may be affected by the abrupt change in routine once your kids go back to school. Not only will they have to deal with a new schedule, but there are safety concerns to take into consideration for pets at home alone. Here are some tips for a smooth, back-to-school transition for your pet.

Coccidia Infection in Pets

Dog resting in a cage
Coccidia are singled-celled organisms (protozoa) that can infect animals, leading to diarrhea and occasionally blood in the stool. Infection is common in both dogs and cats but typically does not cause illness. As a matter of fact, almost all cats will be infected with coccidia at least once in their life. While it is uncommon for signs of illness to occur, puppies, kittens, and immunocompromised pets are most at risk for coccidiosis, the disease caused by coccidia that can make the animal very sick. Infection occurs when an animal accidentally ingests coccidia shed through the feces of an infected animal. Oftentimes, coccidia is transmitted through contact with a contaminated object or environment, such as water or soil that have been tainted with feces. Different species of coccidia infect different animals. From what we know, species that infect dogs do not infect cats and vice versa. One particular coccidia species that is common in cats, Toxoplasma gondii, is dangerous for humans, particularly pregnant individuals, as it can cause Toxoplasmosis.