Friday, March 27, 2015

Dermatophytosis / Ringworm

Ringworm (dermatophytosis) is a skin disease that is caused by a fungus, not a worm. It can affect cats, dogs, other animals, and people. Long ago, it was thought that a parasite (worm) was responsible, but it is now known that ringworm is caused by a type of fungus called dermatophytes, which infect tissues containing keratin. Keratin is a protein produced by skin cells. The outer most layer of skin cells contains keratin. Hair and claws/nails are also made of keratin. Therefore, dermatophytosis is a contagious fungal infection that can affect the skin, hair, and claws.
Ringworm skin infections tend to enlarge in a circular pattern as the organisms continuously infect more skin and hair on the edges of the area—hence the “ring” in the name ringworm. Microsporum canis, is usually transmitted from one pet to another. The other two, Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes, are normally found in soil and on rodents, respectively, but can infect pets as well. People can become infected with any of the three types of ringworm from contact with infected pets.

Three types of ringworm/dermatophyte infections are common in dogs and cats. One,


Skin and hair ringworm infections cause hair loss in a circular pattern. The ringworm infection weakens the hairs,causing them to break off easily, leaving the skin bare in affected areas. Small red bumps, scales (dandruff), and hyper pigmentation (darkening) of the skin may occur.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Systemic Hypertension

Systemic hypertension is defined as persistently high blood pressure. As in humans, high blood pressure is initially a silent disease, meaning that it exists without producing any obvious symptoms. When symptoms do occur in pets, the most common one is sudden blindness due to hypertension-induced retinal damage inside the eyes. Since blood pressure monitoring has become more available in veterinary hospitals, more pets are diagnosed before severe damage occurs. Pets with any of several disorders known to predispose to high blood pressure should have blood pressure measurements taken. These disorders include chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease), and pheochromocytoma (a rare tumor of the adrenal glands). In addition, certain medications can contribute to high blood pressure, including corticosteroids, cyclosporine A, erythropoietin, and phenylpropanolamine (a drug sometimes used for controlling urinary incontinence). 

In healthy dogs and cats, as in humans, regulation of systemic blood pressure is dependent upon complex interactions between the nervous system, endocrine system, kidneys, and cardiovascular system. Blood pressure is determined by cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped by the heart per unit of time) and resistance of the small blood vessels (vascular resistance). This is similar to pumping water through a system of pipes—if the size of the pipes is made smaller, resistance to the flow of water is higher, and pressure within the system increases. If the pump is made to pump a larger volume of water, the pressure will also increase.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Eclampsia is a sudden onset of potentially life-threatening symptoms resulting from low blood calcium (hypocalcemia) in the female dog (bitch) or female cat (queen) that has given birth in the preceding 3 weeks. In the bitch, eclampsia can occur at any time during lactation (nursing), but it is most likely to occur during the first 3 weeks of lactation, which begins within minutes after birth. Eclampsia occurs most commonly in small dogs with large litters, but it can occur in any bitch after whelping (giving birth). Symptoms of eclampsia include panting, pacing, restlessness, muscle stiffness and trembling, inability to rise, seizures, and coma. If eclampsia progresses to produce severe symptoms such as seizures and coma and is not treated immediately, death is possible. Eclampsia does not occur during pregnancy (before giving birth). Eclampsia is a well-known disorder in dogs, but it occurs very rarely in cats. Timing (postpartum) and symptoms are the telltale features that lead a veterinarian to suspect eclampsia.

There is no relation between eclampsia in dogs and cats and preeclampsia in humans, which is a disorder involving blood pressure and proteinuria in women during –not after- pregnancy.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (also called atopy) is an allergy to substances from the environment. Substances that can elicit such allergic reactions are called allergens or antigens.
Atopic dermatitis is a common problem in dogs and cats, although dogs are more likely to have it than cats. A genetic basis is suspected since it occurs more commonly in certain breeds and lines. Allergen that are well-recognized triggers for atopic dermatitis include pollens, molds, dander (shed skin cells), house dust, tobacco smoke, and a variety of other substances.
The primary symptom of atopic dermatitis is itching, and the problem typically first becomes apparent when a pet is between 6months and 3 years old.

Early symptoms in dogs may be mild and can include foot-licking, face-rubbing, ear problems, and scratching behind the elbows, all without any visible reason (no visible fleas, no plant material caught in the hair coat, etc.). The problem is often seasonal. As time goes on, the allergy worsens and more areas of the body become involved. Itching that at first occurred only seasonally may become present all year round.