top of page

Other Canine Health Concerns



Just like people, dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognize certain everyday substances-or allergens- as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a dog with allergies may have an extreme reaction to them. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.


The general symptoms are itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin, increased scratching, itchy, runny eyes, itchy back or base of tail (most commonly flea allergy), itchy ears and ear infections, sneezing, vomiting, diarrhea, snoring caused by an inflamed throat, paw chewing/swollen paws, constant licking. Allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.


Any dog can develop allergies at any time during his life, but allergic reactions seem to be especially common in terriers, setters, retrievers, and flat-faced breeds such as pugs, bulldogs and Boston terriers.


Pugs can also be sensitive to bee stings so you should keep Benylin and/or an EpiPen on-hand in the event your Pug has a reaction to a bee sting.




Brucellosis is a bacterial infection which affects the reproductive organs of both male and female dogs. The disease is spread by body fluids, with the main route of transmission being by sexual means. In addition to sexual means the disease can be transmitted by ingesting contaminated fluids such as vaginal discharge or urine. Airborne transmission is very rare but has been reported. The disease spreads quickly among dogs that are kept in closely confined areas especially during breeding times and when abortions occur.


The causative agent for brucellosis is the bacteria Brucella canis. It is a gram-negative, rod shaped bacteria that resides inside the host's cells. It is because of this intracellular characteristic that brucellosis is difficult to treat. Brucella canis is also a concern because it is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transmitted to humans.


There is no vaccine to prevent brucellosis, but there are steps you can take to help prevent your dog from contracting the disease. Always keep your dog away from known carriers of the disease. Before breeding a brucellosis test should be performed on both the dog and the bitch; by doing so you will know if your dog is infected and will stop them from being infected by others. Routine disinfecting of areas is also advised.


The classic sign of brucellosis is abortion during the third trimester of pregnancy. Other signs include stillbirths, conception failures and litter reabsorption. Signs that can be seen in the male are inflammation of the epididymis, the prostate gland, and of the sheath covering the testis. In both the male and female inflammation of the lymph nodes may be seen. Many dogs will not show signs of this disease at all.


Brucellosis can be diagnosed by isolating and identifying the Brucella canis organism or by a blood test. The most common way of diagnosing brucellosis is by the Rapid Slide Agglutination Test (RSAT). This test is very sensitive but is not very specific. This means that it detects very small amounts of bacteria but does not differentiate between closely related bacteria types. False positive results for brucellosis are frequently produced when using this test. If your dog tests negative for brucellosis when using the RSAT you can be confident that your dog does not have brucellosis. If your dog tests positive further testing should be done to verify that your dog does actually have brucellosis.


There currently is no reliable treatment for brucellosis. In some cases long term antibiotic therapy has been successful in treating it but in other cases the disease persists regardless. The antibiotic therapy used consists of a combination of multiple antibiotics including doxycycline, minocycline, and streptomycin. In most cases the antibiotics will reduce the bacteria load in the blood stream but will not fully destroy all the bacteria present. Having your dog spayed or neutered is an option to control sexual transmission of the disease but is not a cure and your dog can still spread the disease by other means. In most cases euthanasia is the only permanent way to stop the disease from spreading.


If your dog has been diagnosed with brucellosis the first thing to do is quarantine them. This will help stop the spread of the disease. If you have other dogs in your house or kennel they should also be tested for brucellosis. The area where the infected dog was staying should be thoroughly cleaned with a disinfectant. Because brucellosis can be transferred from dogs to humans it is important to use caution when handling infected animals. Face masks, latex gloves, and eye protection should be worn when dealing directly with body fluids from infected dogs. If treatment is being pursued correct dosages and timing of antibiotics are important and your veterinarian's instructions should be followed precisely. 


See more at:


Caudal occipital malformation syndrome (COMS) is a neurological disorder seen most commonly in the Cavalier King Charles spaniel breed. Other terms for COMS include occipital hypoplasia and Chiari-like malformation.  Other small breeds can also affected.

COMS refers to malformation of the occipital bone causing crowding of the caudal fossa leading to cerebellar herniation, medullary “kinking”, obstruction of the dorsal craniocervical subarachnoid space, and alteration of cerebrospinal fluid flow. This alteration in CSF flow leads to syringomyelia (SM), which are fluid filled cavities within the spinal cord. The most prominent clinical sign of syringomyelia is pain. Pain is most commonly noted in the cervical region, but in some cases may be diffuse through the spine. Affected dogs may be sensitive to touch on one side of the head, neck or shoulder. Additionally, affected dogs tend to scratch frequently on one side of the head, neck or body often without making contact. Pain and scratching are thought to be due to SM affecting the dorsal horn of the spinal cord which is a relay center for sensory information transmission to the brain. Other neurological signs include thoracic or pelvic limb weakness and seizures.


The diagnosis of COMS and SM requires an MRI of the head and neck. Additional studies may be necessary based on localization of the neurological exam. Concurrent vertebral malformations may also exist.


Treatment involves medical and surgical management. Surgical management is indicated when analgesics do not control pain or when significant neurological deficits are present. Medical management may be chosen for patients with mild pain or when finances do not allow surgical management. Medical therapy is aimed at decreasing spinal fluid production and alleviating pain. In mild cases, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) combined with gabapentin may be used. Omeprazole can be used short-term to decrease CSF production. Corticosteroids are also effective in decreasing pain and neurologic deficits by inhibiting pain mediators such as substance P and decreasing CSF production. While corticosteroids may be effective, dogs would require continuous therapy and develop adverse effects such as immunosuppression, weight gain, and skin changes. For these cases, surgical management is indicated. Surgery with a foramen magnum decompression has an 80% success rate. Some clinicians will apple a titanium mesh over the defect to reduce scar tissue formation to prevent recurrence of the clinical signs.


Associated Terms:

Oronasal fistula, Primary Cleft, Harelip, Cleft Lip, Secondary Cleft, Congenital Oronasal Fistula


A cleft palate is an opening between the mouth and the nose that happens when the tissues separating these two cavities do not grow together properly. This birth defect can occur in the lip (primary cleft palate, cleft lip, or harelip) or along the roof of the mouth (secondary cleft palate). Within the mouth, the cleft, or opening, can extend along the bony portion (hard palate), the flexible portion used in swallowing (soft palate), or both.


Cleft lip/palate can have genetic and non-genetic causes in many breeds, but unfortunately, the causative mutation(s) has not been discovered. Cleft palates are found more commonly in bulldogs, Pekingese, French bulldogs, and other brachycephalic breeds. One more common non-genetic cause is too much vitamin A during pregnancy. Certain viruses, medications (ot normal parasite preventatives at normal doses), and toxins can also cause issues with palate formation.




Coccidia are microscopic parasites that reside in the intestines of dogs and cats; however rodents are also carriers of these parasites. Kittens and puppies are more susceptible to being infected with the coccidia parasites. Coccidia parasites can be eliminated; however puppies can be in danger if they have the parasites, having a weaker immune system and dehydration can be fatal.


The symptoms of canine coccidia include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and lack of appetite. The parasite also causes weight loss and dehydration. In severe cases, you will notice blood in the stool and even discharges of mucus. The incubation period of the parasite is 2 weeks, so your dog will show no symptoms for the first 10 to 14 days after being infected.


However, these exact symptoms may be caused by other parasites or diseases; a veterinarian can determine the exact diagnosis.




Degenerative myelopathy is the general medical term that refers to the disease of the dog's spinal cord or bone marrow. The condition does not have specific cause and may remain unidentified. While the disease can affect any breed and any age of dog, older animals are most often afflicted with the disease. Prognosis of this disease is not positive, as it is the degeneration of the animal's spinal cord, leading to loss of numerous bodily functions.




Cigar-shaped demodex mites usually live harmlessly inside a dog's hair follicles, but every once in a while the demodex population runs amok, often in response to stress or illness. The result is canine demodicosis, also known as demodectic mange or red mange. Demodicosis can be localized — limited to the head and front legs, for instance — or generalized, covering the entire body. Demodicosis is most commonly seen in dogs three to twelve months of age (localized demodicosis) or younger than eighteen months of age (generalized demodicosis). Pugs are among the breeds known to have an increased incidence of juvenile-onset demodicosis.


Skin scrapings or a skin biopsy by the veterinarian can confirm the presence of demodex mites. Treatment requires a series of baths with medicated shampoo, topical medication, and antibiotics. Demodicosis is often a prolonged treatment protocol of weeks or months. Two negative skin scrapings, one month apart confirm case resolution.


Many young dogs "outgrow" demodicosis on their own, without treatment. This is because the immune system develops, gets stronger, and keeps the Demodex mite population in control. Some puppies need veterinary help to overcome the demodicosis. If an adult dog breaks out with demodicosis, your vet will want to look for reasons why the immune system may be weakened. Possible reasons include: cancer, hormonal imbalances (thyroid, Cushing's disease), prolonged corticosteriod use, or immune system changes due to old age. Dogs affected with demodecosis should be checked for other parasites (skin, ears, intestinal), be on a healthy diet, and have any other health problems addressed for maximum effectiveness of the demodicosis treatment. Dogs being treated for demodicosis should not be given corticosteroids. Dogs with concurrent bacterial skin infections often need oral or injectable antibiotics.


Canine demodicos is not contagious to humans. The mites are species-specific, meaning they stay on dogs. This mite is passed mother-to-pup and possibly dog-to-dog, but for animals with healthy immune systems, this doesn't cause disease. Demodicosis isn't contagious, but it may be heritable. It's best to spay or neuter a puppy that develops it. Affected dogs should not be bred.




Hanging Tongue Syndrome is a condition where a dog’s tongue hangs out of his mouth all the time and the dog is unable to bring her tongue in at will.This could be due to the dog’s breed, a mouth or jaw injury, or deformities of the mouth or teeth, among other things.


For more information, please visit Fun Times Guide website:




Canine heart disease refers to a group of abnormalities related to cardiac features of the body. Heart disease in dogs can be either congenital (present at birth), genetic or any acquired anatomical/physiological disorder, which develops with age, nutrition and other systemic problems. It is usually characterized by cough, lethargy, intolerance, loss of appetite, irregular respiration and fainting. Different tests and procedures such as blood profiles, electrocardiography, echocardiography and X-Rays can reveal the exact cause of dog heart disease. Treatment involves both medical and surgical approaches along with supportive therapies and critical care. Some types of dog heart problems require no therapy, while others, such as canine heart failure always require treatment. Fortunately, Pugs are in the lower risk percentile, but is something to be aware of.


For more information, visit The Dog Health Handbook website:


By Karen A. Moriello, DVM, DACVD, Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison Content last modified Jun 2018

Hyperpigmentation is a darkening and thickening of the skin seen in dogs. It is not a specific disease but a reaction of a dog’s body to certain conditions.

Hyperpigmentation appears as light-brown-to-black, velvety, rough areas of thickened, often hairless skin. The usual sites are in the legs and groin area. It can be primary or secondary. Primary diseases that cause hyperpigmentation can occur in any breed but especially Dachshunds. Signs are usually evident by 1 year of age. Secondary hyperpigmentation is relatively common and can occur in any breed of dog, most commonly those breeds prone to obesity, hormonal abnormalities, allergies, contact dermatitis, and skin infections. Secondary hyperpigmentation is triggered by inflammation and/or friction. Inflammation leads to additional skin changes, such as thickened skin, hair loss, odor, and pain.

The edges of inflamed areas are often red, a sign of secondary bacterial or yeast infection. With time, it may spread to the lower neck, groin, abdomen, hocks, eyes, ears, and the area between the anus and the external genital organs. Itching is variable. When it occurs, it may be caused by the underlying disease or by a secondary infection. As the condition progresses, secondary hair loss, fluid discharge, and infections develop.

Diagnosis is by appearance of signs on the animal. In a young Dachshund, your veterinarian will want to eliminate other causes of the signs. A careful history and physical examination will be performed to identify an underlying cause. The presence of secondary hyperpigmentation always suggests an underlying disease. Skin scrapings are taken to exclude other causes (parasites, for example), especially in young dogs. Impression smears are used to identify bacterial infections. Depending on other signs, endocrine function tests for thyroid and adrenal disease may be used to check for underlying hormonal abnormalities. Skin testing, a food trial, or both may be necessary to test for allergies. Skin biopsies may be made to check for a condition called seborrhea. In most cases, your veterinarian will want to treat any secondary bacterial infections before proceeding with other diagnostic tests.

Primary hyperpigmentation in Dachshunds is not curable. In some dogs, the condition is only cosmetic and does not require treatment. If inflammation is present, early cases may respond to shampoo treatment and steroid ointments. As signs progress, other treatment, such as medication given by mouth or injection, may be useful.


The concurrent treatment of secondary infections is helpful and is required before steroids are administered. Medicated shampoos are often beneficial for removing excess oil and odor but must be used regularly.

In secondary hyperpigmentation, the affected areas will go away on their own after identification and treatment of the underlying cause. However, this will not occur if secondary bacterial and yeast infections are not treated and controlled. Many affected dogs benefit greatly from appropriate antibiotics and medicated shampoos (2 to 3 times per week). Thus, many veterinarians will prescribe such treatments. Owners need to be patient with these treatment programs. The signs of hyperpigmentation resolve slowly; it may take months for the dog’s skin to return to normal.




Kennel cough is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection that often affects animals that are kept in a confined space such as boarding kennels, dog shows or veterinary hospitals. Any place where animals tend to congregate – even when going for a walk in the park – can pose a risk. It is caused by a combination of the canine parainfluenza virus and the bacteria Bordetella bronchiseptica. Viral and bacterial causes of canine cough are spread through airborne droplets produced by sneezing and coughing. These agents also spread through contact with contaminated surfaces. Most causes of kennel cough are highly contagious, even days or weeks after symptoms disappear. Symptoms include a persistent dry hacking cough or bouts of deep harsh coughing often followed by gagging, which may produce foamy mucus. Symptoms usually begin two to three days after exposure,[2] and can progress to lower respiratory infections such as pneumonia. This disease is not a zoonose, i.e. it can not be transmitted to humans.


Mild cases may improve without treatment. Conventional treatment of kennel cough often involves antibiotics which tend to relieve the animal's symptoms fairly quickly, but also have a general weakening effect on their immune system, which can cause further problems, especially in the long-term. Vaccinations to prevent kennel cough are also often recommended. But research indicates that frequent vaccination or over-vaccination may unnecessarily stress a pet's immune system.


In kennels, the best prevention is to keep all the cages disinfected. In some cases, such as Doggie Daycares or Non-Traditional Playcare type boarding environments, and doggy parks, it is usually not a cleaning or disinfecting issue, but rather an airborne issue, as the dogs are in contact with each other's saliva and breath. Although most kennels vaccinate their dogs, it is not a fail-safe preventative. Just like human influenza, even after receiving the vaccination, a dog can still contract mutated strains or less severe cases.


Respiratory health in pets involves taking a holistic approach in order to address kennel cough, as well as the health of the nose, throat and chest. In fact, For this reason, maintaining peak health in the respiratory and immune systems is very important in the quest to keep your pet healthy. In the wild, animals instinctively seek out plants that will help to support health in various body systems. It therefore makes sense that as owners, we can help our domestic pets by making herbal and other natural supplements available to them. As part of a holistic approach to pet health, natural remedies can help to build and strengthen your pet's immune system, encourage the elimination of toxins and generally improve the overall health of your animal. Natural remedies can also help to relieve specific symptoms such as upper respiratory infections and coughs without the accompanying toxin build-up caused by conventional treatments.




"Portosystemic shunting" (PSS) or liver shunt is a condition in which the blood-flow to and from the dog's liver has been compromised. Specifically, canine liver shunt causes blood to flow around the liver, not through it, resulting in blood bypassing the liver. Canine liver shunts can be congenital which is a birth defect, or acquired which may be the result of severe liver disease such as cirrhosis. Congenital shunts are more common in dogs than acquired shunts. Congenital liver shunt in dogs can be "intrahepatic shunt" ("inside the liver") or "extrahepatic shunt" ("outside the liver"). Both of these conditions are formed while the puppy's body is developing inside the mother. If a puppy has a congenital liver shunt, most commonly he will show some signs by six months of age. However, shunts have been diagnosed in adults as old as 10 years. Female dogs are more susceptible to shunts than males. Breed-wise, small breed dogs tend to have extrahepatic shunts; for example: Yorkshire terriers, schnauzers, maltese, dachshunds, Jack Russell terriers, shih tzus, and poodles. This condition is not as common in the Pug breed but is something Pug owners should be aware of. Should any offspring be afflicted by this, the same sire and dam should not be bred together again. 


See more at:



  • The lungs of the dogs and cats have separate lobes. There are 4 separate lobations of the right lung and 3 of the left lung field.

  • In a case of lung lobe torsion, the lobe typically twists at the level of the base of the heart, but may also twist in the mid section of the lung lobe

  • The right middle lung lobe is the most commonly affected in most breeds. Pugs most commonly develop lung lobe torsion of the left cranial lung lobe. The accessory lung lobe torsion ( right lung) also has been reported in a series of dogs.

  • The pathophysiology of lung lobe torsion starts with a physical twist of the lung lobe along its long axis, which results in collapse of the vein of the lung lobe, but the muscular artery continues to pump blood into the lobe. The lobe becomes distended with blood and weeps bloody fluid into the chest cavity. The fluid accumulation in the chest prevents the remaining lung lobes from expanding, thus causing breathing difficulty. With time, the torsed lung lobe dies off and releases toxins into the body.

  • In some cases, underlying disease in the chest such as cancer or chylothorax may predispose the patient to developing lung lobe torsion, thus the patient will have ongoing issues even though the lung lobe has been removed. If chylothorax is present prior to surgery, the prognosis is thought to be somewhat guarded, however, one study showed that 5 of 6 dogs had resolution of chylothorax after surgery (all had the torsed lung lobe removed and 2 of these had thoracic duct ligation).


  • Breeds reported to have develop this condition include deep-chested dogs such as Afghans and Borzois, however other susceptible breeds include miniature poodles, dachshunds, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire terrier, pekinese and pugs. Cats uncommonly develop lung lobe torsion.

  • Signs typically include progressive worsening breathing problems, coughing, loss of appetite, and in some cases vomiting and diarrhea. Some other signs are loss of energy and loss of appetite.   

  • Signs that a veterinarian may also note when listening to the chest with a stethoscope includes decreased heart and lung sounds

Diagnostic testing

  • Testing may include a complete blood count, chemistry profile and urinalysis

  • A chest radiograph (x-ray) will typically show fluid accumulation in the chest cavity. The torsed lung lobe will typically appear white on the radiograph due to accumulation of fluid within the affected lobe.

  • If the diagnosis is not obvious on the initial radiographs, the chest fluid is removed and the chest radiographs are repeated.

  • A fluid sample taken from the chest fluid frequently will be quite bloody.

  • Other less common tests that can help confirm a diagnosis of lung lobe torsion include bronchoscopy, chest CT scan, chest MRI, and thoracoscopy.


  • Surgery is recommended to treat lung lobe torsion. This involves making an incision on the affected side of the chest to expose the affected lobe.

  • The lobe is not untwisted, as this could result in release of toxins into the body and make the patient very will. The lobe thus is stapled or tied off at the hilus and removed. 

  • A drain is placed in the chest to allow evacuation of fluid and air from the chest cavity.

  • After surgery pain medication is administered for 3 to 4 days.

  • Intravenous fluid are administered for 24 hours after surgery.

  • Antibiotics are administered around the time of surgery

  • The patient is monitored closely for signs of breathing difficulty and low oxygen level in the blood with a pulse oximeter.


  • accumulation of milky fluid in the chest (chylothorax)

  • recurrence of lung lobe torsion (in another lobe)

  • pneumonia

  • infection of the incision



A number of common garden plants, fruits and vegetables, grown in abundance every summer in backyards across the country, can be more poisonous to dogs, causing severe allergic reactions that can turn fatal. Some of the signs of poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of coordination and excessive salivation.


Dog owners that cultivate their own gardens to create a cost-effective way to obtain produce need to be especially careful not to let their pets ingest their home-grown vegetables, several of which are extremely poisonous. Some of the more deadly vegetable plants include potatoes, onions, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms and broccoli. The most common reactions caused by poisonous vegetables include kidney failure, breathing difficulty and severe gastrointestinal problems.


Although many fruits that grow on trees are poisonous to dogs, including pears and apples, the most deadly fruit that commonly appears in home gardens across the globe is grapes. Grapes are especially potent, causing dogs who have ingested them to vomit excessively, cause liver failure and go into renal failure rather rapidly. The best way to detect grape poisoning is to inspect the dog's vomit for pieces of undigested grapes.


According to A Creature Comfort, the seeds of many fruits actually contain cyanide, so caution should be used when planning a home garden. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or ASPCA, several flowering garden plants can cause severe allergic reactions in dogs almost immediately after ingestion takes place. These plants include azaleas, chrysanthemums, daffodils, dahlia, English ivy, gardenia, hydrangeas, iris, oleander, lilies, philodendron, poinsettia plants and tulips, to name just a few. The flowers are usually what the dog ingests, but the leaves and bulbs are poisonous as well.


See more at:



Is a well-known fungus that can infect dogs, cats and humans. Many people have either had or know someone that has had a ringworm infection. There are several different forms of the fungus which can infect either you or your pet. The diagnosis and treatment is fairly straightforward for all species, however, some species affecting dogs can be much more difficult. Every pet owner should be aware of the signs, transmission, and treatment of ringworm.


For more information on ringworm, please visit:




Pyoderma is commonly associated with acute moist dermatitis or "hot spots." Skin fold pyoderma is an inflammatory skin disorder that develops in skin folds, such as facial folds, lip folds, and in the groin or axillae (armpits). It may develop between the mammary glands in females that have had multiple litters of pups. It may also occur secondary to obesity, when adjacent skin folds upon itself. The skin folds allow the surface of the two adjacent areas to lie in close contact, creating a warm, humid environment. In the presence of moisture, the normal skin bacteria then multiply, creating an infection in the fold. Dog breeds that are predisposed to the condition include:

  • Spaniels with lip fold pyoderma

  • Pekingese, Pugs and Bulldogs with facial fold pyoderma affecting the wrinkles on the face and nose,

  • Shar Pei and other breeds with loose skin and skin folds.


Mild cases of skin fold pyoderma respond well to medical treatment. The area has to be cleansed with a medicated skin cleanser and sometimes the hair must be clipped. If the hair is clipped, care has to be taken that 'stubble' does not cause damage to the opposing skin surfaces. Antibiotics, frequently combined with steroids, are administered topically, orally or by injection. The affected areas must be kept clean and dry. It is important to monitor the area for any signs of recurrence.



This is a serious disorder that needs to be addressed by a veterinary professional right away. Syringomyelia (SM) in dogs is a common condition that mostly affects Griffon Bruxellois and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, leading experts to believe it is an inherited disorder. The nature of this disease is that the dog’s skull is too small for his brain, which blocks the opening at the base of the skull and prevents the flow of spinal fluid. Because of this backup of fluid, pockets of fluid called syrinxes are created in the spinal cord which causes extreme pain in the shoulders, neck, head, and chest. They are usually very sensitive to touch in these areas and some dogs show weakness of extremities and possible paralysis.


The signs of syringomyelia depend on the stage of the disease and age of your dog. In fact, some dogs with mild SM may never have symptoms and the only way you will know about the condition is if your dog has to get an MRI for a different reason. However, the most commonly reported symptoms include: Extreme sensitivity to touch in the neck, chest, shoulders, head, and back Holding head high and at a certain angle to prevent pain Sleeping with head held up Whining and yelping for no obvious reasons Phantom scratching (scratching about an inch or two from the head) Weakness of the extremities Inability to play or walk Depression Irritability Paralysis Seizures Types


There are several types of SM, which include: Grade 0 - Normal (with no syrinx or pre-syrinx and is not dilated) Grade 1 - Central canal dilation (CCD) under two millimeters Grade 2 - Syringomyelia (has CCD of more than 2 millimeters and a pre-syrinx or syrinx) In addition, each grade includes a letter corresponding with the dog’s age because SM is a progressive condition. The letters include: A - more than five years old B - three to five years old C - one to three years old


The cause of SM is thought to be hereditary although this disease is not completely understood yet. It seems to affect certain breeds most often, which include: Pomeranians Staffordshire Bull Terriers Shih Tzus Boston Terriers French Bulldogs Yorkshire Terriers Maltese Terriers Chihuahuas Miniature Dachshunds Miniature Poodles Bichon Frisés Pugs Pekingese Miniature Pinschers Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Griffon Bruxellois Havaneses Affenpinschers


The most effective way to diagnose SM is an MRI scan of the spinal column and brain. Your dog will need to be put under general anesthesia during the procedure and will be given oxygen and fluids. The results should indicate pockets filled with spinal fluid throughout the spinal column if your dog has SM. First, your veterinarian will need to do a thorough physical examination including palpation and auscultation, vital signs, and a complete body condition score. Also, you need to provide the veterinarian with your dog’s medical history and the most recent symptoms you have noticed. Afterward, the veterinarian will perform some blood tests such as a serum biochemical analysis and complete blood count (CBC). Urine and stool samples will be collected for microscopic analysis as well. Then, your veterinarian will do the imaging including x-rays, ultrasound, CT scans, and MRIs.


Treating SM depends on the stage of the disease and age of your dog. The most important objective is to relieve the pain that your dog is experiencing. This may include surgery or medication as well as physical therapy in some cases. Surgery Cervical or cranial decompression is done to remove part of the bone that is blocking the spinal column. This procedure is successful about 80% of the time. However, in some cases (25% to 50%), the syrinx causes it to become blocked again and the symptoms will return. This can be due to the scarring or the regrowth of the syrinx.


There are a few drugs that can help with pain, swelling, and reduction of spinal fluid production. Pain medications include narcotics and NSAIDs, steroids to reduce swelling, and diuretics or omeprazole to reduce the production of spinal fluid.


There are several types of therapy that can help your dog, which include aqua therapy and massage therapy. Your veterinarian can teach you how to do these yourself or you can take your dog to special physical therapy classes.


If your dog was treated with surgery, you will need to be very observant for a few weeks while he heals. Provide plenty of fresh water because hydration is essential. You should also keep your dog as calm as possible, placing your dog on cage rest when needed. Call your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions.

Read more at:



Wry mouth, or wry bite, is the worst form of a malocclusion. A malocclusion is an incorrect bite. In the ideal bite, the upper incisors just overlap the lower incisors. In wry mouth, one side of the jaw grows faster than the other causing the mouth to twist and appear in a triangular shape around the incisor area. This can cause severe problems in the dog’s ability to grab things, hold things, and chew. In addition, teeth that are not aligned properly may injure softer parts of the mouth like the gums. Wry mouth is an inherited condition.


Some of the symptoms of wry mouth may be the mouth to have a twisted appearance, a triangular shape to appear around the incisor area, and difficulty grabbing things, holding things, and chewing.


The treatment for wry mouth is different orthodontic procedures. Depending on the severity and if there is overcrowding or dislodgment of permanent teeth, the dog may need to have procedures like spacers or height reduction done. In most cases, however, no treatment will be necessary. Due to the fact that wry mouth is an inherited condition, it is important that the dog is not bred.


bottom of page