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Canine Articles

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease occurs when the adrenal glands (located near the kidneys) fail to produce enough hormones. The adrenal glands normally produce several hormones that control body function. For example:

Cortisol: a hormone responsible for stress responses

Aldosterone: a hormone responsible for balancing electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium)

It is most common in young female dogs, and you can manage it with hormone supplements.

Humans and cattle can also have this disease.


The main cause of Addison’s Disease is immune-mediated–the immune system attacks the adrenal glands.

Other causes include:




Diseases of the pituitary glands


Signs will be very mild at first, and may even disappear for a short period, but they return more aggressively:


Loss of appetite and weight loss

Vomiting and diarrhea

Excessive thirst and urination

Not reacting to stress appropriately

Muscle weakness (wobbling when walking)

If the signs become extreme (like sudden weakness or severe vomiting and diarrhea), it becomes an Addisonian crisis and is a life-threatening emergency. Your dog may collapse in shock because it is not able to deal with stress. Go to the veterinarian right away. Your pet will have to be hospitalized and treated immediately.


In order to properly diagnose your dog with Addison’s disease, your veterinarian may perform the following:

Review: medical history and signs of the condition

Blood and Urine Test: Checks the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, metabolism and electrolyte balance

ACTH Stimulation Test: Tests the adrenal glands. It is the primary test used in diagnosing Addison’s, and it requires at least one day of hospitalization. Your veterinarian will administer a dose of ACTH, the hormone responsible for releasing corticosteroids when a dog is under stress. A healthy animal will have elevated cortisol levels in response to ACTH, while a dog with Addison’s will have none.


Treatment depends on the stage of the illness:

If signs are severe and developed rapidly (an Addisonian crisis), your dog will require emergency treatment. This will usually include fluids through IV to fix electrolyte imbalances and balance the blood sugar levels.

If signs are mild, your dog can get oral medication or shots to replace missing hormones. These medications will have to be increased during times of stress (such as boarding, traveling or hospitalization).

Addison’s disease treatment needs ongoing veterinary management, including monitoring hormone levels and adjusting medication.


There is no proven way to prevent Addison’s disease. However, abruptly stopping steroid supplements may cause an Addisonian crisis. Therefore, if your dog is being treated for any condition with steroids, do not stop the medication abruptly.


Most dogs with Addison’s disease that receive proper veterinary treatment live normal lives, even after an Addisonian crisis.


Bone marrow produces red blood cells and releases them into the blood. These red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your dog’s body, which allows its entire body to function properly. After around 8 weeks, the body removes the old blood cells from the bloodstream and creates new ones.

Anemia is a reduced number of red blood cells in your pet’s blood. An anemic dog will either remove too many cells or not produce enough new ones.

Anemia is not a disease on its own, but a result of another disease.


Kidney damage that prevents bone marrow from producing more red blood cells

Blood does not clot properly

Excessive parasites in or on the body (whipworms, hookworms, ticks or fleas)

Any injury that causes excessive bleeding

Tumors of the intestinal tract (urinary bladder, kidneys or spleen)


The most obvious symptom is pale pink or white gums. If you notice pale gums, you must have a blood test done as soon as possible. Other signs include:

Lack of energy and depression

Loss of appetite and weight loss

Increased breathing rate (your pet is trying to get more oxygen)


Your veterinarian will begin with:

Reviewing the medical history

Physical exam

Then the veterinarian will perform different blood tests:

PCV (Packed Cell Volume): Checks the ratio of red blood cells to the rest of the blood. In a healthy pet, 25% to 45% percent of the blood will be red blood cells. If less than 25% is red blood cells, the animal is anemic

CBC (Complete blood count): Measures the total amount of red and white blood cells in the body

Blood smear: Your veterinarian will use a microscope to study a sample of your pet’s blood, checking the amount, size, and shape of red blood cells. Veterinarians will also check for parasites that might cause destruction of red blood cells.

Other tests:

Bone marrow biopsy: Checks if the bone marrow is functioning and creating enough red blood cells

Fecal parasite exam: Shows if there are parasites in the intestinal tract that might be causing blood loss


Treatment will consist of either medications or surgery, depending on the cause of anemia.

If the anemia is life-threatening, your dog will need an immediate blood transfusion, which will temporarily stabilize them. This allows your veterinarian to determine the cause of the anemia, and begin the appropriate treatment.


There are a variety of causes for anemia, and most of them are preventable. The best thing to do is to ensure your dog is up to date on all preventives, especially for fleas, ticks, and internal parasites.


The prognosis depends on the medical problem that is causing the anemia. If you catch the anemia early and your dog is in overall good health, there is a good prognosis for recovery. Sometimes, a more severe disease, such as cancer, causes anemia, and it could be life-threatening.


Arthritis is a condition where one or more joints become swollen or inflamed. It can affect the hips, elbows, knees, and neck.

There are two types of arthritis:

Primary – Rheumatoid Arthritis: this is a progressive and uncommon disease where the immune system attacks healthy joints.

Secondary – Osteoarthritis: the cartilage around a joint gets damaged, so new bone forms around the joint. This has no cartilage protecting it, and causes stiffness and pain.


While arthritis normally affects older dogs, and worsens with age, dogs of any age can have it.


Old age


Auto-immune diseases (the immune system attacks its own body)


Old age


Disease: hip dysplasia, ligament rupture, joint infection



Painful joints

Swollen joints

Joint stiffness

Lameness, taking longer to get to its feet, unable to jump or climb

Loss of appetite



In order to properly diagnose your dog with arthritis, your veterinarian will begin with the following:

Review of medical history

Physical exam: flexing the joints and listening for abnormal joint sounds, as well as looking for swelling or heat in your dog’s limbs

Your veterinarian may also perform the following tests:

CBC blood test(complete blood count): measures the total amount of red and white blood cells in the body

X-rays of the affected areas: to determine the type of arthritis

Joint Tap: draining and studying joint fluid


The course of treatment depends mainly on what is causing the disease.

Infection: antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications

Obesity: diet change

If treatments are not helping the pain:

Surgery: fragments of cartilage or bone in the joint can be removed to decrease swelling, and in extremely painful cases, the affected joint may be removed

Dietary supplements: stimulates new cartilage growth in the joints and can alleviate some discomfort

Veterinarian-developed exercise routine: too much exercise for an arthritic dog can cause severe pain; however, too little exercise will make your dog’s joints even stiffer

Medications: long-term steroids and anti-inflammatory use may alleviate the symptoms


There is no known prevention.


There is no cure for arthritis, but your veterinarian can give you treatment options so you dog can live a comfortable life. You should pay attention to your dog’s movements, as catching arthritis early leaves more options for your dog to live comfortably.


Canine Babesiosis is a disease that destroys red blood cells. Young babesia parasites go into red blood cells and destroy them.

Younger dogs in kennels are more prone to infection.

The dog’s immune system will destroy any infected red blood cells in order to destroy the parasite living inside. If many cells are infected, this results in red blood cell deficiency, called anemia. Sometimes, the immune system will also destroy uninfected cells. This is called immune-mediated hemolytic anemia.


The cause of babesiosis can be:

Tick bite: a tick feeds on a dog for 2 to 3 days, and infects it with the babesia parasite

Infected pregnant dog: the disease can spread to her unborn puppies

Dog bite: from an infected dog


The most common signs of babesiosis are:

Pale tongue and gums (because of red blood cell deficiency)

Swollen lymph nodes


Lack of appetite



Dark urine (red or orange)

It is common for infected dogs to get other tick-related diseases (such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme Disease) when bitten by a tick carrying Babesiosis. These diseases will make the babesiosis more severe.


In order to diagnose your dog with babesiosis, your veterinarian will review medical history and discuss possible tick exposure.

Then, the veterinarian will do a few tests to determine if your dog has babesiosis:

Complete Blood Count (CBC): a blood test which measures the amount of red and white blood cells

Blood smear: examines single cells from your dog’s blood

Immunofluorescence: uses a fluorescent dye to illuminate viruses in the body

PCR testing: extremely sensitive test which can test for different types of babesia


Most veterinarians agree that specific treatment depends on the exact type of babesia in your dog. Treatment will usually include:

Medications: injected or through an IV

Blood transfusions: 50% of dogs will need


Babesiosis can be prevented with tick control:

Avoid tick-infested environments: sandy, wooded and grassy areas, thick underbrush, and make sure your dog stays on a path if you are near wooded or grassy areas

Tick repellents: for yourself and your dog, especially if you are going into woods or anywhere where there may be ticks

Tick checks: for yourself and your dog after walking in woods or fields; if you find any ticks on your dog, remove them immediately!

Removing the tick within 24 hours of it landing on your dog will greatly reduce the chance of your dog contracting of babesiosis.

If the tick is moving, it has not yet bitten your dog. Quickly remove it and kill it by putting it in rubbing alcohol or crushing it between two solid surfaces. If you crush the tick, do not get its blood on your skin, as the bacteria can enter your body through a small cut.

If the tick is attached to your dog, use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible, and slowly and steadily pull it straight out. It is important to kill the tick in alcohol after removing it, or it may look for another host to feed on.


The prognosis for babesiosis is guarded. Surviving dogs are usually lifetime carriers of the disease; they may suffer relapses with stress, and they may spread the disease further.

Dogs that have recovered from babesiosis should not donate blood for transfusions because the recipients will get the disease.


Blastomycosis is a serious fungal disease that infects dogs and humans through the respiratory tract.


Your dog can contract this disease by inhaling the fungus found in soil near water.

These fungal spores will:

Settle in the lungs and reproduce

Spread through the body and infect other organs, such as the eyes, skin, bones, lymph nodes, and brain.

Left untreated, blastomycosis can be fatal.

An infected animal can not pass the disease to a healthy animal or to a human.


At the beginning stages, you may notice any of the following:

Harsh coughing

Difficulty breathing

Loss of appetite and weight loss



As the disease progresses, a wide variety of signs can occur, depending on the organs affected, including:

Eyes: inflammation, sudden blindness

Brain: seizures, head tilt

Bones: lameness

Skin: lesions (blemishes) draining blood

Lymph nodes: swollen

If you notice any of the above signs, you must go to the veterinarian immediately, as blastomycosis can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated right away.


Your veterinarian will suspect blastomycosis if you live near water. Some tests may include:

Sample of fluid draining from skin lesions or lymph nodes

Chest x-rays

Blood tests


Fungal titers (checks the blood for antibodies of the fungus)


Affected dogs need a few months of antifungal medication, orally and through IV. This may cause liver and kidney damage, so your veterinarian will have to closely monitor your dog and regularly do blood work.

Severely affected eyes may not respond well to the medication and may need to be removed.


There is currently no vaccine available against blastomycosis. However, there are some preventative measures that you can practice:

Avoid excessive time in the woods, especially near water (since blastomycosis is in soil near water)

Feed your dog foods containing no yeast

Give Vitamin C, E, A, and B as a supplement if your veterinarian recommends

Give garlic supplements if your veterinarian recommends


Blastomycosis is usually fatal if not diagnosed and treated right away. Treatment is long, complicated, and expensive, and many dogs do not respond to it.

If your dog’s brain or eye is affected, prognosis is worse.

Dogs with poor liver or kidney function may not be able to tolerate the medication.

Relapses can occur.


Coccidiosis is an infection of the intestinal tract caused by a one-celled organism called coccidia. Infection is usually mild, but can be damaging or life-threatening to newborn animals or any animal with a weak immune system.


Immature coccidian, called oocysts, are passed in the stool of an infected dog. They survive for a long time and mature on the ground. If an animal swallows the matured oocysts, they mature even further in the animal’s intestine.

Causes of infection include:

Eating contaminated ground

Eating an infected mouse

Babies nursing from an infected mother

Animals less than 6 months have no immunity to coccidia, and can get the disease from other infected puppies

In kennels, animal shelters, and breeding facilities, infected animals should be isolated.


Most pets that are infected with coccidia do not display signs.

However, puppies and weak dogs usually display the following signs:

Severe, watery, bloody diarrhea

Vomiting and dehydration

Weight loss

Abdominal pain

Quick treatment is crucial for newborn animals to prevent life-threatening dehydration. If you see dehydration or diarrhea for more than a few days, call your veterinarian.


Your veterinarian will do the following:

Review medical history

Perform a physical exam

Study a stool sample


Coccidiosis is very easy to treat with antibiotics.

Albon is a common medication and comes in tablets and liquid. These antibiotics disrupt the coccidian life cycle, which allows your pet’s immune system to clear the infection.

Recovery depends on the number of coccidia infecting your pet and strength of your pet’s immune system.

Your pet may need other drugs to treat diarrhea and dehydration. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required for rehydration.


Keep a clean environment, and dispose of feces properly to prevent coccidiosis from spreading.


In most cases, coccidiosis is a mild disease with a good prognosis.


Colitis is inflammation of the colon (large intestine). It can be either acute (lasting only a few days) or chronic (lasting for weeks).


The reason for the inflammation is often idiopathic (unknown). Some possible causes include:


The immune system attacking its own body

Bacterial or fungal infection

Parasites: for example, whipworms

Food allergies


Eating contaminated food

Constant exposure to wetness


The main symptom of colitis is frequent diarrhea with mucus or blood. This is because colitis causes the body not to be able to absorb water properly. The body cannot either store feces in the colon.

Other signs may include:

Straining during and after defecation



Sudden urgency for a bathroom

You may also notice vomiting and weight loss, but only rarely.


Your veterinarian will:

Review your pet’s medical history

Perform a physical exam (with focus on the rectal and abdominal areas)

Take a colon biopsy

Your veterinarian may do other tests to rule out other conditions, including:

Stool sample

Cytology (a study of the structure and function of your dog’s cells)

Blood tests

Urine tests

X-rays, ultrasound


Most cases of colitis cannot be cured. However, you can manage your dog’s colitis with a special diet and medicine that your veterinarian may prescribe.

Diet: You should feed with your pet easily digested foods that are high in fiber. Many dogs will have to remain on this diet for life.

Medication: The exact medication depends on the cause of the colitis:

Antibiotics: to control bacterial causes

Sulfa-containing drugs: to control chronic colitis

Immunosuppressive drugs: for colitis caused by immune deficiencies

Steroids or other anti-inflammatory medications


There is no way to know beforehand which dog might develop colitis. Once a pet is susceptible, you can prevent flare-ups with a bland and easily digested diet that is high in fiber.


In most cases, there is an excellent prognosis with a change in diet and some medication. You can manage your pet’s colitis to the point where it can live a happy, comfortable life for many years.


People have two eyelids. Your pet has a third protective eyelid at the inner corner of each of its eye. This eyelid sweeps across the eyeball to moisten it or to remove dirt, when needed. Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva the tissue that covers the eyeball and lines the eyelids and third eyelid. It can affect one eye or both.


The most common cause is bacterial or viral infections. Puppies can have an infection even before their eyes open.

Other causes include:

Eye diseases (for example, glaucoma)

Environmental and chemical irritants

Dry eyes


Trauma to the eye

Genetic disposition


Red eyes

Swollen eye area

Discharge from the eyes (cloudy tears, yellow or green mucus)

Discharge from the nose


Excessive blinking

Bulging third eyelid

Sneezing, coughing


Your veterinarian will first rule out other conditions like a foreign object in eye, blocked tear duct or glaucoma. Then, the veterinarian will likely do the following:

Eye exam: close examination of the eyes, lids, lashes, tear ducts, third eyelid

Schirmer tear test: paper strips inserted into the eye for a few minutes to measure tear production

Corneal stain: a fluorescent dye is put in the eye and then studied with an ultraviolet light to determine if the cornea (the outer covering of the eye) is damaged

Blood tests: determines the underlying cause of the conjunctivitis


To treat conjunctivitis, it is essential to first determine the cause. Treatment may include:

Topical medications: eye drops, ointments

Systemic medications: antibiotics (oral or injections) or anti-inflammatory drugs

Medication: to stimulate tear-production

Surgery: for dogs with abnormal eyelids or eyelashes

Most pets respond quickly to medication. To avoid a relapse, it is important to give your pet the medications for as long as your veterinarian prescribes.


You can prevent relapses in a number of ways. Try to minimize stress, to keep your dog on a nutritious diet with plenty of fluids. Your veterinarian may suggest that you vaccinate your dog against conditions that can cause conjunctivitis.


There is generally a great prognosis for conjunctivitis.

Occasionally, the underlying cause is not curable, but you can usually keep conjunctivitis in check and your dog can live comfortably.


Coronavirus is a viral infection of the intestines. It is usually not fatal, but your dog will have abdominal distress for a few days.


An infected dog can spread the virus through its saliva and feces.

Puppies and dogs living in crowded, unsanitary places are more prone to this virus.


The most common sign of coronavirus is sudden diarrhea. It will be watery, orange in color and have a bad odor.

Other signs may include extreme lethargy and loss of appetite

It is common for dogs that have coronavirus to have parvovirus as well. This will cause the signs to be more severe, and may include fever and vomiting.


Your veterinarian may perform some of the following tests:

Fecal Antigen Test: Tests a fecal sample to check for parvovirus

Fecal Floatation: Tests a fecal sample by placing it in a solution. Feces will sink and any parasites will float

Radiographs: Checks for blockages in the intestines, which can cause diarrhea

CBC (Complete Blood Count): Measures the amount of red and white blood cells to check the function of different organs


Treatment will be more successful if your dog receives medical attention immediately. If you notice your dog has diarrhea for more than 24 hours, visit your veterinarian immediately.

He will probably recommend withholding food from your dog for 24 hours after the diarrhea stops, and then gradually feed in small amounts over time.

Antibiotics cannot treat viruses, so there are no medications to directly treat coronavirus. However, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to treat symptoms and IV fluids for dehydrated pets.


Follow your veterinarian’s recommended vaccination schedule to prevent coronavirus.


Generally, coronavirus is not fatal, and pets recover with proper treatment.

Cushing’s Syndrome/Disease

Cushing’s Syndrome occurs when the adrenal glands (located near the kidneys) overproduce hormones. The adrenal glands normally produce several hormones to regulate body function, including:

Cortisol: a hormone responsible for stress responses

Aldosterone: a hormone responsible for balancing electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium)

Cushing’s Syndrome (an overproduction of these two hormones) is the opposite of Addison’s Disease, when the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones.

Cushing’s Syndrome occurs when the adrenal glands (located near the kidneys) overproduce hormones. The adrenal glands normally produce several hormones to regulate body function, including:

Cortisol: a hormone responsible for stress responses

Aldosterone: a hormone responsible for balancing electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium)

Cushing’s Syndrome (an overproduction of these two hormones) is the opposite of Addison’s Disease, when the adrenal glands do not produce enough hormones.

Excess adrenal hormones affect many systems and can cause:

Instable endocrine system

Skin infection

Inflammation of the pancreas

Blood clots

High blood pressure


Urinary tract infections

Excess protein in the urine

Other illnesses

Cushing’s syndrome is one of the most common hormonal disorders in middle-aged to older dogs.


There are three possible causes of Cushing’s Syndrome, each with different treatment and prognosis:

Pituitary Tumor (most common): a benign tumor grows on the pituitary gland in the brain, which over-stimulates the adrenal glands to produce excess cortisol

Adrenal Tumor: a benign or cancerous tumor grows on the actual adrenal glands, causing them to produce excess cortisol

Iatrogenic Cushing’s Disease: Prolonged use of any drug containing cortisone


Hair thinning

Increased drinking and urination

Increased hunger


Muscular weakness and exercise intolerance

Pot-bellied abdomen





Your veterinarian may perform 2 types of blood tests, which will usually be enough to make a diagnosis:

ACTH stimulation test: The veterinarian injects ACTH, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol, measuring the amount that is produced

Dexamethasone suppression test: The veterinarian injects Dexamethasone, which normally suppresses cortisol output, measuring the amount of cortisol produced

Other tests may include:

Urine test: examination of cortisol to creatinine ratio

Radiographs: checks the abdomen

Ultrasound: checks the adrenal glands

MRI: checks the pituitary glands

Skin biopsy: for dogs that show hair loss

Nerve and muscle biopsies: for dogs that have an abnormal gait

It is necessary to determine if the Cushing’s syndrome was caused by a growth on the pituitary gland or on the adrenal gland, because the treatments and prognoses differ.


Treatment depends on the cause:

Pituitary Tumor: Can be managed, but not cured with medication. You will have to make follow-up visits to your veterinarian who may recommend dose changes.

Adrenal Tumor: In 50% of cases, this tumor is benign. In the other 50% of cases, this tumor is cancerous. With a benign tumor, surgical removal cures the disease. With a cancerous tumor, surgery may help.

Iatrogenic Cushing’s disease: Stop the use of the drug-containing cortisone. Ask your veterinarian how to do this gradually to avoid other complications.


Pituitary Tumor: With quick diagnosis, life-long medication and regular health checks, most dogs can live out their years unaffected. However, if the tumor continues to grow, the prognosis is not as good.

Adrenal Tumor: With a benign tumor, your veterinarian will give a guarded prognosis. With a malignant tumor, the prognosis is not good.

Iatrogenic Cushing’s disease: Gradually, your pet will show improvement after you stop the medication.

Dental Disease

Dental disease is a common disease found in more than two thirds of dogs over 3 years old.

Left untreated, bacteria builds up on the teeth. This advances to gingivitis–inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis develops into periodontal disease–inflammation of the bone and ligaments that support the teeth.

As the disease progresses, your dog will have tooth loss. The bacteria also can enter the bloodstream, and infect other organs.

Dental disease is treatable and can be prevented. You must provide your dog with good dental care (at home and by your veterinarian) for it to have good dental health.


Dental disease starts with a build-up of brown or tan plaque. It is crucial to provide your dog with good dental care.



Bad breath

Painful mouth

Red, inflamed gums

Not wanting to chew on toys

Dropping food from mouth

Loss of appetite and weight loss

Pawing at face

Rubbing face on ground

Colored nasal discharge


Exam of your dog’s teeth and gums

Dental x-rays

Blood tests


Your dog will need anesthesia for cleaning procedures. Your veterinarian will perform:

Blood tests: to ensure liver and kidneys are functioning well enough for anesthesia

Dental cleaning: ultrasonic scaling and polishing tools will remove plaque and tartar

Dental Surgery: removal of badly affected teeth

Medication: oral antibiotics

You won’t be able to remove the plaque and tartar yourself because:

You can only remove tartar above the gum line. There still may be tartar below the gum line, which will continue causing problems

It’s unsafe to clean the inner parts of the teeth while your dog is conscious.

Using dental instruments may scratch their teeth, which will cause further damage. Your veterinarian will polish the scratches to prevent this


Annual oral exams

Brush your dog’s teeth daily with toothpaste made for pets only! Human toothpaste contains ingredients that are poison for pets. Your veterinarian will instruct you how to brush your dog’s teeth. It is crucial to brush their teeth daily, as plaque and tartar can build up just six hours after a cleaning

Your veterinarian can prescribe a dental diet to remove plaque as your dog chews

You can add certain gels and liquids totheir drinking water

Give your dog special chew toys which are designed to reduce tartar


If you take care to give your dog proper veterinary oral care and continue the care at home, they will have healthy teeth and gums, and avoid dental disease.


Diabetes is a pancreatic disorder. There are two types:

Type 1 diabetes: the body does not produce enough insulin

Type 2 diabetes:(more common) the body is unable to use the insulin correctly

Your dog needs insulin in order to absorb glucose and convert it into energy. Untreated, your dog’s health will gradually decline and end in an early death.


Diabetes is common in dogs that have the following combined factors:




6 to 9 years in age


Initial signs include:

Increased thirst and urination

Vomiting and dehydration

Increased appetite with weight loss

Hind-limb weakness: walking with hocks touching the ground (nervous system damage)


Difficulty breathing


Advanced signs for untreated diabetes include:

Enlarged liver

Susceptibility to infection 

Neurological problems


To diagnose your dog with diabetes, your veterinarian will review medical history and signs. The veterinarian will also perform blood and urine tests to check glucose levels.


Most veterinarians will agree that diabetes is not curable, but can be controlled by:

Change in diet:

High in protein and low in carbohydrates: controls blood sugar and promotes weight loss in obese dogs. Obese dogs have a hard time processing insulin, making their diabetes more difficult to control 

Spread calorie intake out over a few meals rather than all at once

Insulin injections:

Insulin is used to keep the dog’s blood glucose levels under control. You will be able to learn to give injections, as the insulin needles are tiny. Giving an injection is usually easier than giving a pill.

The amount and frequency of insulin injections will be determined by your veterinarian

Follow-up visits: the dosage will be reevaluated with further blood testing

Be aware of behavioral changes that signal:

Not enough insulin: extra drinking, eating and urination

Too much insulin: confusion, stumbling and shivering

Dogs with diabetes must eat regularly to guard against insulin overdose, but be careful to control the amount of food your cat eats to prevent obesity.


While there is no way known to prevent type 1 diabetes, proper weight management can reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.


The prognosis for a diabetic dog depends on your commitment to treat the disease, good communication between you and your veterinarian, and good control of the blood glucose with appropriate diet and dose of insulin.

With a strict diet, insulin and exercise, your dog can be happy and live a healthy life, even with diabetes.


Distemper is a virus that affects multiple systems, including the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems. 

It is very contagious, and often fatal.

It is most common in unvaccinated puppies; however, unvaccinated adult dogs can also get distemper. Distemper is common in rescue dogs or puppies.


The distemper virus spread through the air by:

Nasal discharge



There is a much higher chance of getting the disease in areas where there are a lot of unvaccinated dogs.  This can include shelters, unregulated breeding operations and public parks.


Canine distemper has many signs because the disease affects several systems of the body.   Early stage of infection, affecting the respiratory tract:

Discharge from the eyes and nose





Second stage of infection, affecting the gastrointestinal tract:

Loss of appetite



Advanced stages of infection, affecting the central nervous system:




Seizures: usually begin with an involuntary snapping of the jaws and lead to full-body jerking

If you think your dog has distemper, you should keep it away from other dogs.

Dogs rarely recover from distemper on their own, so go to your veterinarian immediately.


There is no specific test that can be performed to give a distemper diagnosis.

Your veterinarian will consider the following:


Vaccine history


The veterinarian may also do the following tests:

Complete blood cell count (CBC)



Bacterial cultures


There is no cure for distemper itself. Your veterinarian will probably admit your pet to the hospital for isolation, and treat your dog’s signs. For example:

If your dog has pneumonia: antibiotics, airway dilators, physical therapy to help your dog cough and clear its lungs

If your dog has diarrhea: intravenous fluids for dehydration, anti-diarrhea drugs

Once the disease has affected the neurological system, it is even more difficult to treat. Your veterinarian can give medications to help control seizures. It is possible for dogs to recover once they have entered this stage of distemper, but there are usually long-term effects.

Once your veterinarian decides that your dog is stable enough to go home, it is important to watch your dog’s appetite and how much it drinks, and continue to give all medications. Keep your pet in a clean and warm environment to prevent a relapse.


Prevention of distemper is through vaccination. The basic vaccine for dogs is “the distemper shot”, which protects against distemper, parvovirus, and other diseases.

Your dog must receive regular vaccinations to stay immune.

Nursing puppies receive antibodies from their mother that help them fight infection. This begins to dwindle when the puppy is 6 to 12 weeks of age, at which point you must get it vaccinated.

Your veterinarian will probably recommend:

Vaccination every 2 to 4 weeks from 12 to 16 weeks of age

An ongoing schedule of vaccination boosters every 1 to 3 years following

If there is a distemper dog in the house, immediately isolate it from other dogs in the family.


Recovery depends on your dog’s immune response. Dogs with weaker immune systems may not survive early respiratory stage. Stronger dogs may appear to recover after the initial onset, only to develop severe neurological signs.

Distemper is fatal in 50% of cases.

A recovered dog may still spread the virus for 2 to 3 months. It is important to keep this in mind when taking a recovered pet where other dogs are present. If there has been a distemper dog in the house, you should wait 2-3 months before introducing another dog into the house.