Medical corner


Links and information on a few of the more common canine diseases & illnesses.

Heartworm Disease

“Canine heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease of dogs. Long white worms are the cause. Adult worms, which reach a length of 6 to 14 inches, live in the right side of the heart in the adjacent large blood vessels. A dog may have several hundred of them in its system, although the number is usually much less….”

Visit the link, above, for more information.

Transmission: “Adult  heartworms, about six inches long, live in the heart and large blood vessels.  These adult male and female worms  produce thousands of microscopic baby worms.”  Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes…..

Visit the link, above, for more information.

“Canine heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) develops in the mosquito. Many different species of mosquitoes can carry heartworm larvae, so controlling the mosquito is not a feasible method of prevention. The life cycle of heartworm is developed in the following stages”…

Visit the link, above, for more information.


Video & information on Bloat
Listen as Dr. Karen Becker discusses the frightening and deadly condition known as bloat, or twisted stomach. Learn whether your dog is a high risk breed, what signs to look for, what to do if you suspect GDV, and steps you can take to help prevent the condition

Canine “bloat”  also known as “Gastric Dilitation-Volvulus” (GDV) is extremely serious and life threatening. Once the bloat occurs, it is the speed at which treatment is administered that determines whether or not your dog will live or die.   Weimaraners, with their large deep chest cavity’s are very susceptible to bloat.

Bloat occurs when something goes wrong during digestion of food.  Something causes gases to build up in the stomach  and the stomach can twist, cutting off circulation and causing irreversible damage to the cells.  The dog goes into shock and then cardiac arrest.  This can happen within several hours after the start of bloat.  If you suspect your dog is experiencing this problem, you must RUSH THE DOG IMMEDIATELY, to the vet or animal hospital.

The signs your dog may have GDV are not subtle and include:

If you see any of these symptoms in your dog, you should get him to your vet or an emergency animal clinic immediately.

What Causes Bloat?   It is not really known what exactly triggers bloat to occur.  Common belief includes the following:

  1.  Large meals eaten at one time.  They recommend serving your dog two smaller meals a day, rather than just one big one.
  2. Rigorous exercise done either right before a meal or right after one.  You should wait one hour before feeding after exercise and one hour after eating before you let your dog run around.
  3. Dry food given that is high in grain, which causes fermentation during digestion which causes gas.  Dry food should have meat, meat meal and bone meal listed within the first few ingredients, not grain.
  4. Gulping large amounts of water at one time during meals.
  5. Eating food too fast. Place a large ball or Kong in the dogs food bowl so the dog must eat slower while trying to eat around it. There are special bowls designed for this purpose, too.

Other Factors which Increase Risk of Bloat

More information on Bloat:

Bowls – specially designed to slow eating or add a kong:

Or create your own:

Hip Displasia

Hip Displasia, CHD or poor hips: Progressive developmental deformity of hip joints; mild to crippling. Inheritance: polygenic; threshold. For more information visit theOrthopedic Foundation for Animals:

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a degenerative eye disease that may first cause night blindness or trouble seeing in dim light. This condition may worsen until blindness occurs in one or both eyes. In addition, this is a disease of the retina, because the photoreceptor cells at the back of the eye deteriorate. As the disease progresses, the pupils of the eye dilate in an attempt to let in additional light, which may produce a characteristic shine to the eye. Then, the lens of the eye may become cloudy or opaque. A veterinarian who specializes in canine ophthalmology can detect the condition. Careful breeding may help prevent this condition.

Von Willebrand’s disease

Basically – vWD is a type of hemophilia (bleeding disorder) in dogs caused by a lack of a specific blood clotting factor

Von Willebrand’s disease is a hereditary bleeding disorder. Von Willebrand’s disease (vWD) is a congenital, extrinsic platelet defect resulting in platelet dysfunction.1-3 It is characterized by a deficiency of von Willebrand factor (vWF), a glycoprotein that is involved in platelet adhesion to the vessel wall during formation of the primary hemostatic plug.

For more information:



Another problem that may appear with this breed is known as Entropion, a condition of the eye in which the eyelid folds inward causing irritation and perhaps, additional sight problems. 

Lyme Disease

Without treatment, Lyme disease causes problems in many parts of the dog’s body, including the heart, kidneys, and joints.  On rare occasions, it can lead to neurological disorders.  Lyme disease most commonly is associated with symptoms such as a high fever, swollen lymph nodes, lameness, and a loss of appetite.

Dogs get Lyme disease from a tick that passes the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria into the animal’s bloodstream when it bites.  The tick must remain attached to the animal’s skin for at least one day before the bacteria can be transmitted.

The ticks, or deer ticks, generally are found in specific regions of the United States: the northeastern states, the upper Mississippi region, California, and certain areas in the South.

Like dogs, people can suffer from Lyme disease—they, too, catch it from ticks carrying the infection.  Infected dogs do not transmit the disease to humans.  For both canines and humans, the illness is treated by antibiotic medication.  For more information:

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