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Fungal Infection (Aspergillosis) in Dogs

Aspergillosis in Dogs

Aspergillosis is an opportunistic fungal infection caused by the Aspergillus, a species of common mold found throughout the environment, including dust, straw, grass clippings, and hay. An “opportunistic infection” occurs when an organism, which does not generally cause disease infects a dog. However, in the case of aspergillosis, it does because the pet’s immune system and/or body is weakened from some other disease.

There are two types of Aspergillus infection, nasal and disseminated. Both types can occur in cats and dogs, but they occur more frequently in dogs. Young adult dogs with a long head and nose (known as dolichocephalic breeds) and dogs with a medium length head and nose (known as mesatcephalic breeds) are also more susceptible to the nasal form of aspergillosis. The disseminated version of the disease seems to be more common in German Shepherds.

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

There are two types of Aspergillus infections. The first is the nasal form, where the infection is localized in the nose, nasal passages, and front sinuses. It is believed that this develops from direct contact with the fungus through the nose and sinuses. For example, if an animal is outside and around dust and grass clippings, the fungus may enter via the moist lining of the nose. The second type of Aspergillus infection is disseminated, meaning it is more widespread, and is not only located in the nasal area. It’s not certain how this form enters the body.

Symptoms of nasal aspergillosis include sneezing, nasal pain, bleeding from the nose, reduced appetite, visibly swollen nose, and long-term nasal discharge from the nostril(s), which may contain mucus, pus and/or blood. In some cases, loss of pigment or tissue on the surface of the skin may also occur.

Symptoms of disseminated aspergillosis in dogs may develop suddenly or slowly over a period of several months, and include spinal pain or lameness due to infection, and cause inflammation of the animal’s bone marrow and bones. Other signs which aren’t specific to the disease include fever, weight loss, vomiting, and anorexia.


Aspergillosis is an infection caused by the Aspergillus fungus, which is commonly found in the environment in substances such as dust, hay, and grass. The nasal form of the disease is usually seen in outdoor and farm dogs because there more frequently exposed to the substances in which the fungus Aspergillus is found.

As an opportunistic infection, an animal is only likely to contract Aspergillosis if the immune system is already in a weakened state. Dogs exhibiting immunodeficiency — an inability to produce a normal immune response — are at higher risk.


Diagnostic procedures vary depending on whether the case is nasal or disseminated. For suspected nasal aspergillosis, analysis of nasal swabs, fungal cultures of nasal discharge, and a rhinoscopy — inserting a small fiber-optic scope into the nose in order to examine the inside of the nose and its mucus linings — can be expected. The symptoms for disseminated aspergillosis are mostly nonspecific and therefore more difficult to diagnose. Tests may include a urine analysis and X-rays to examine the spine.


Treatment varies depending on whether the disease is nasal or disseminated. The primary choice of treatment for dogs with nasal aspergillosis is the administration of an antifungal drug directly into the patient’s nose and nasal passages, while the patient is under anesthesia. Disseminated cases in dogs are difficult to treat and rarely cured. Antifungal drugs are generally given to treat symptoms, and may cure the condition.

Living and Management

Continued treatment depends on the type and severity of aspergillosis. Dogs with the nasal version should be monitored for reduced nasal discharge, while those with disseminated disease need to be monitored with urine analysis and via X-ray every one to two months.


General good health will help ensure a strong healthy immune system to ward off this opportunistic disease. Keeping dogs indoors may be helpful, as it will limit access to grass clippings, hay, straw, and other substances where the Aspergillus fungus can be found.

See Also

Meningitis, Meningoencephalitis, Meningomyelitis in Dogs

Bacterial Meningitis and other Nervous System Infections in Dogs

Much like in humans, the system of membranes which envelops the dog’s central nervous system is called the meninges. If this system becomes inflamed, it is referred to as meningitis. Meningoencephalitis, meanwhile, is the inflammation of the meninges and brain, and meningomyelitis is the inflammation of the meninges and spinal cord.

Inflammation of meninges commonly leads to secondary inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord, resulting in various neurological complications. Long-term inflammation can also obstruct the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) — the protective and nourishing fluid that circulates around the brain and spinal cord — which leads to accumulation of CSF in the brain and thus severe complications such as seizures and paresis.

Symptoms and Types

Neurological symptoms often associated with meningitis, meningoencephalitis, and meningomyelitis such as impaired movement, altered mental state, and seizures, may be profound and progressive. Other symptoms generally seen in dogs suffering from one of these conditions include:

DepressionShockLow blood pressureFeverVomitingAbnormal increase in sensitivity to various stimuli (hyperesthesia)


The most common cause of meningitis is a bacterial infection in the brain and/or spinal cord originating from elsewhere in the body. Meningoencephalitis, meanwhile, is usually due to infections of the ears, eyes, or nasal cavity. And meningomyelitis generally proceeds following diskospondylitis and osteomyelitis. In puppies and dogs with compromised immune system, such infections commonly reach the brain and spinal cord via the blood.


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. The veterinarian will then conduct a complete physical examination and several laboratory tests — such as complete blood count (CBC), blood culture biochemistry profile, and urinalysis — to help identify and isolate the type of infection.

Biochemistry profile, for example, may indicate liver and kidney involvement, while blood testing may reveal an increased number of white blood cells, which is evidence of an ongoing infection. Urinalysis may also reveal pus and bacteria in the dog’s urine, an indication of urinary tract infections.

Other tools often used to identify the infectious agent involved include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), abdominal ultrasounds, thoracic and abdominal X-rays, and samples from the skin, eyes, nasal discharge, and sputum.

One of the most important diagnostic tests, however, is CSF (or cerebrospinal fluid) analysis. A sample of your dog’s CSF will be collected and sent to a laboratory for culturing and further evaluation.


In severe cases of meningitis, meningoencephalitis, or meningomyelitis, the dog will be hospitalized to prevent more severe complications. Once the causative organism is identified, your veterinarian will employ antibiotics intravenously to maximize their effectiveness. Antiepileptic drugs and corticosteroids may also be prescribed to control seizures and reduce inflammation, respectively. Dogs that are severely dehydrated, meanwhile, will undergo immediate fluid therapy.

Living and Management

Rapid and aggressive treatment is vital for a successful outcome, although its effectiveness is highly variable and overall prognosis is not favorable. Unfortunately, many dogs die from these type of infections once it reaches the central nervous system, despite treatment.

However, if treatment is successful it may take more than four weeks for all the symptoms to subside. The dog’s activity should be restricted during this time and until it is stabilized.


Treat your dog’s ear, eyes, and nose infections promptly to avoid spreading these infections to the nervous system.

Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois are one of the most proud, intelligent, and hardworking dog breeds in existence. These traits can make them phenomenal pets—if they’re in the right household with an active, experienced pet parent.

Belgian Malinois were first bred near the city of Malines in Belgium, where they got their name. They were originally bred to be herders, but their trainability and drive led them into several other careers, including protection, search and rescue, and bomb and drug detection. This means that Belgian Malinois do best in a house where they have a job to perform, such as agility, tracking, and/or obedience.  

When fully grown, male Belgian Malinois are typically 24-26 inches tall and 60-80 pounds, while females stand about 22-24 inches tall and weigh 40-60 pounds.

Caring for a Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois are incredibly loyal and smart, but they’re also high-energy dogs that need a lot of exercise and stimulation. Walks are simply not enough for this breed.

Typically, Belgian Malinois need more than 40 minutes of exercise per day. This makes them great running, hiking, and biking companions. They’re also excellent at agility, tracking, herding, and obedience competitions. However, when Belgian Malinois don’t get enough exercise or mental stimulation, they often start to exhibit destructive behaviors to keep themselves entertained.

Belgian Malinois Health Issues

The Belgian Malinois lifespan is 10-14 years. Compared to many breeds, these dogs don’t have a lot of health concerns, especially if they were bred by a responsible breeder. That said, Belgian Malinois are predisposed to a few medical issues.

Elbow and Hip Dysplasia

Belgian Malinois are predisposed to elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia, both of which are hereditary structural joint conditions. These can cause joint pain and arthritis. Signs to monitor for at home include:

Limping with no history of trauma

Popping sounds from the joints

“Bunny hopping” when running

Difficulty standing

Abnormal sitting positions

Difficulty getting on/off furniture, going upstairs, and getting into cars

Before bringing home a Belgian Malinois puppy, make sure your breeder had the pup’s parents tested for these conditions. If your pet does end up with dysplasia, treatment can range from pain medication and joint supplements to surgery.


Belgian Malinois are also predisposed to cataracts, which is a progressive hardening of the eye lens. This causes the eye to become cloudy, eventually leading to blindness. If this does occur, surgery can be performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist to replace the lens.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

The retina is a layer of cells at the back of the eye that allows you to see light. “Atrophy” means wasting away over time. Simply put, progressive retinal atrophy causes retina deterioration, leading to blindness.

Fortunately, this disease is not painful, so the primary signs are what you may expect in an animal going blind: bumping into things, difficulty catching treats or finding food scraps on the floor, tripping over curbs or stairs, etc. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for PRA, but a good Belgian Malinois breeder will screen the parents before breeding so the condition doesn’t get passed on to their offspring.  

What To Feed a Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois don’t have very specific dietary requirements. In general, they do well on any high-quality dog food with a veterinarian’s supervision. Just make sure your pet is on a diet that is appropriate for their age—puppy food should be given until your pet is at least 1 year old before switching to adult dog food.

How To Feed a Belgian Malinois

Feeding schedules in dogs are determined on a dog-by-dog basis. But, in general, Belgian Malinois should be fed twice daily—once in the morning and once in the evening. Always talk to your veterinarian to determine what is best for your pet.

How Much Should You Feed a Belgian Malinois?

How much to feed your dog depends on many factors, including your pup’s age, activity level, and size. Talk to your veterinarian to determine the right amount of food for your pet.

Nutritional Tips for a Belgian Malinois

In an otherwise healthy pet, if they are on a high-quality complete and balanced diet, they shouldn’t need any additional nutritional supplements unless directed by your veterinarian.

Behavior and Training Tips for Belgian Malinois

Belgian Malinois require an extensive amount of training to help minimize any behavioral issues and keep their mind engaged. Training and socialization should start as early as possible and continue throughout their life to provide them with adequate mental stimulation.

Belgian Malinois Personality and Temperament

Belgian Malinois are incredibly loyal dogs and tend to form an unbreakable bond with their human. They are not the type of dog that can just be left in the backyard to entertain themselves. Ultimately, they want nothing more than to spend as much time with you as possible.

They are also a very high-energy breed that needs lots of exercise and stimulation. Ideally, Belgian Malinois should get more than 40 minutes of exercise per day—with you by their side. Some things they love include herding, agility, search and rescue, and tracking.

Belgian Malinois Behavior

When Belgian Malinois don’t get enough exercise or stimulation, they often start to exhibit destructive behaviors, such as:

Destroying furniture, rugs, carpet, curtains, plants, etc.

Chewing personal items (shoes, clothes, etc.)

Gnawing through doors and window frames, or breaking windows

Digging holes in the yard

A well-trained and socialized Belgian Malinois can be a great dog, but one of their inherent traits is being protective of their family. While this can certainly have its benefits, it can also make it difficult to have guests or strangers come into the house. Again, training and socialization should begin when your Belgian Malinois puppy is young and continue throughout their life.

Belgian Malinois also have a high prey drive, making them extremely interested in moving objects. This can lead to them chasing after cars, other animals, and even children. They may also try to use their herding skills to round up toddlers and small children. Always supervise interactions between kids and dogs of all breeds.

Belgian Malinois Training

Belgian Malinois are incredibly smart dogs, which makes them eager (and fast!) learners. It’s recommended that Belgian Malinois puppies are trained by a professional who specializes in the breed. A breed-specific trainer will be able to help train your dog for jobs that can stimulate their mind—a critical aspect for this breed. These jobs are often seen as fun activities for them, and it’s important for you to be involved in the training process, as it will increase your pet’s bond with you.

Fun Activities for a Belgian Malinois






Therapy assistance

Belgian Malinois Grooming Guide

Belgian Malinois have a short, waterproof coat, making them easy to care for. They do shed seasonally twice a year, so don’t be surprised if you see more hair on the floor in the fall and spring. This “blowout” of their undercoat typically lasts 2-3 weeks and helps better prepare their body for the coming season (winter or summer). As with all dogs, their nails should be trimmed regularly.

Coat Care

Simply brushing their coat occasionally with the right dog brushes (a medium-bristle brush, a rubber grooming mitt, or a hound glove will work) is adequate for keeping your Belgian Malinois healthy. This promotes new hair growth and distributes oils throughout the coat.

Ear Care

The Belgian Malinois’ ears should be checked monthly for signs of infection, such as excessive ear wax, redness, and inflammation. For an otherwise healthy Belgian Malinois, clean their ears once a month with an ear cleaner or ear flush.

Considerations for Pet Parents

There are several things that need to be considered before bringing a Belgian Malinois into your home. It’s important to assess the following to determine whether this breed is right for you:

Are you able to provide this high-energy breed with the physical and mental outlets they need?

Are you able to invest in early, consistent training by a professional?

Will your dog have a job to do to keep them busy and engaged?

Belgian Malinois FAQs

Is a Belgian Malinois a good family dog?

Belgian Malinois are incredible, high-energy animals that can make excellent family dogs in the right household. These dogs can be the wrong choice for the average household because of their greater-than-average need for mental and physical exercise.

Are Belgian Malinois smart dogs?

Belgian Malinois are incredibly intelligent animals, making them easy to train and highly successful working dogs. They’re fast and engaged learners, making training not only fun, but critical for their mental well-being.

How much does a Belgian Malinois cost?

The cost for a Belgian Malinois can vary greatly depending on the bloodlines of the dog, the dog’s age, and whether the dog has received specialized training. For dogs that have been trained, the level of training further dictates the cost.

On average, a purebred Belgian Malinois puppy with American Kennel Club-registered parents will cost around $2,000-$3,500. However, this can vary widely depending on location and the lineage of the puppy. A Belgian Malinois that has been fully trained for protection can cost as much as $45,000-$65,000. Belgian Malinois that have been trained to be police dogs (with specialized skills such as bomb, drug, and gas detection) will cost upwards of $100,000.

What’s the difference between Belgian Malinois vs. German Shepherds?

Given the similar coat patterns and inherent personality traits that come with herding breeds, it’s easy to see how Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds could be confused with one another. However, there are a few key differences between them.

Belgian Malinois were bred in Belgium, while German Shepherds were bred in Germany.

Both breeds are similar in height, but Belgian Malinois typically weigh less than German Shepherds. Belgian Malinois typically weigh 40-80 pounds, while German Shepherds can weigh 50-90 pounds.

Belgian Malinois have a shorter coat that’s fawn in color with a black mask and ears. German Shepherds have slightly longer fur with a black and tan or black and silver coat and a black saddle of fur over their back.

Both breeds are high energy and need a job to do to help stimulate their mind and keep them happy. But, in general, Belgian Malinois tend to have a slightly higher energy level than German Shepherds.

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Brittany Grenus, DVM


Dr. Brittany Grenus graduated from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2018 with her doctorate in veterinary medicine and a…

Bichon Frise

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The Bichon Frise is a small dog that’s a playful and affectionate member of the non-sporting group. Good with children and friendly with other dogs, Bichons are curious and enjoy meeting new friends.

Despite their big personality, the Bichon Frise stands just under 1 foot tall and weighs an average of 12-18 pounds. Bichons enjoy a long life (typically 14-15 years) and, because they are considered “hypoallergenic” dogs, make popular pets for people with dog allergies.

Caring for a Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise likes to play, be social with their family, and play some more. They love to play with their favorite toys and, in their downtime, they’re content to lounge with their family on the couch.

Due to their small stature, Bichons make good apartment dogs. They tend to bark when alerted to foreign sounds, but they are easily trainable because they’re so eager to please their humans. They even can be trained to do specialty tricks, like dancing.

Bichon Frise Health Issues

Bichons are known for their long lifespan of 14-plus years, but they can have a few common health conditions. The Bichon Frise is an overrepresented breed for diabetes mellitus and eye problems, such as corneal dystrophy and cataracts.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is a disease of the pancreas that results in a failure to regulate blood sugar. This causes high blood sugar that requires insulin injections to be administered daily. Common symptoms of diabetes are:

Increased thirst

Increased urination

Weight loss

Increased appetite

If you notice any of these symptoms in your Bichon Frise, take your dog to the vet for a physical examination, a comprehensive blood panel, and urinalysis. 

Corneal Dystrophy

Corneal dystrophy is suspected to be inherited and can occur when your dog is just 2 years old. This disease is characterized by an opaque area that develops in the center of the cornea (the outermost clear surface of the eye). If the lesion becomes extensive, it can affect the Bichon’s vision.

Corneal dystrophy doesn’t usually cause pain or require treatment unless it becomes advanced and results in an ulceration of the cornea. In these cases, Bichons may be referred to an eye specialist.


Cataracts, which is likely hereditary in Bichons, is when the eye lenses harden. The rate of advancement varies, but cataracts can start developing when Bichon Frise puppies are just 6 months old. Cataracts affect vision but can be treated with surgery.

Bladder Stones

Urolithiasis, commonly known as bladder stones, occurs when stones made of calcium oxalate, cystine, struvite, or calcium phosphate are made in the bladder. This can be hereditary, secondary to urinary infections, or diet-related.

Symptoms of bladder stones may include bloody urine, malodorous urine, or straining to urinate. Bladder stones may be surgically removed or dissolved by a special diet prescribed by a veterinarian.

Dental Disease

As with all small dogs, the Bichon Frise may develop dental disease. Prevention is the best weapon against dental disease—it’s recommended that Bichons get their teeth examined and cleaned by a vet once a year to prevent infection and tooth loss. Brushing your dog’s teeth at home will help, too.

What To Feed a Bichon Frise

Bichons do well with a high-quality commercial diet approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). If they develop bladder stones, your veterinarian will likely recommend a prescription diet to treat the stones or prevent them from returning.

How Much Should You Feed a Bichon Frise?

Closely follow the dog food manufacturer’s feeding recommendations so you give your Bichon Frise the proper portions. Discuss your Bichon’s nutritional needs with your veterinarian if your Bichon’s weight becomes abnormal or concerning.

How To Feed a Bichon Frise

The Bichon Frise is active and not predisposed to obesity, so these pups may be free fed or fed several small meals throughout the day. Feeding habits should always be discussed with your veterinarian.

Nutritional Tips for the Bichon Frise

Because the Bichon Frise can be predisposed to dental disease, feeding them a food designed to clean their teeth is beneficial. A diet or treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) will help keep your Bichon’s teeth healthy between dental checkups and cleanings.

Bichon Frise Training and Behavior Tips

Bichon Frise Personality and Temperament

The Bichon Frise is a high-energy dog, but she’s also very adaptable to her surroundings. These traits are what make Bichons good with small children. And because they are very social with humans and other pets, Bichons fit right in to most families and make ideal lap dogs.

Bichon Frise Behavior

Even though they’re small, Bichons can try to “protect” their space and family, so they will bark at anything when on alert. But, because the Bichon is so social and smart, they warm up to new people and animals quickly. At home, Bichons are gentle, playful, and loving dogs.

Bichon Frise Training

The Bichon Frise is highly trainable. They are eager to please their humans and can learn a variety of tricks. Potty training and simple cues such as “sit” and “stay” are typically mastered quickly due to their intelligence.

Fun Activities for the Bichon Frise

Tug of war


Lounging in their human’s lap

Bichon Frise Grooming Guide

The Bichon Frise has a long double coat of curly white hair. They are minimal shedders and can be great pets for some people who experience dog allergies. But because there’s no such thing as a 100% hypoallergenic dog, spend time with the breed before bringing home a Bichon Frise puppy so you can see how your allergies react.

Skin Care

Bichons should be bathed at least monthly. A good-quality dog shampoo and conditioner will help your Bichon’s coat stay soft and white. That said, excessive bathing should be avoided to prevent drying out the skin and coat.

Coat Care

Ideally, a Bichon Frise should be brushed every day to prevent matting. Monthly trips to the groomer will likely be required to keep them neat and trimmed, too. As with all dogs, it’s recommended to keep their nails trimmed; this helps them keep their balance and grip on the floor as they zoom around.

Eye Care

Because Bichons are predisposed to ocular diseases such as corneal dystrophy and cataracts, a thorough physical exam should be done annually by your vet. Any excessive tearing, squinting, or vision impairment should be discussed with your veterinarian immediately.

Ear Care

A Bichon Frise should have her ears cleaned once a month. This can be done by your groomer or at home using an over-the-counter ear cleanser.

Occasionally, Bichons can have excessive amounts of ear hair that can predispose them to ear infections. If your pup is scratching excessively at their ears, or if their ears are smelly or painful, take your Bichon to your veterinarian for an examination.

Considerations for Pet Parents

The Bichon is a great family pet and highly suitable for families with younger children. They will do well in apartments due to their small stature and can work out most of their energy with some living room playtime.

Although they may bark at strange noises, they are not considered to be excessive barkers. They are very social dogs, and strangers quickly become friends of the Bichon Frise. But they are high-maintenance when it comes to grooming—Bichons do require daily brushing and monthly baths to keep their hair from matting.

Bichon Frise FAQs

Is a Bichon Frise a good family dog?

The Bichon Frise makes an excellent family dog. They are good with kids and other animals. They have a lot of energy, making them great company for children.

Are Bichons smart dogs?

The Bichon Frise is a smart dog and easy to train. They quickly pick up basic cues and can learn fancier tricks, too.

How much does a Bichon Frise cost?

Because Bichons are affectionate, well-behaved, and allergy-friendly dogs, they can be quite expensive. Bichon Frise puppies typically cost over $1,000, though prices vary depending on region and the breeder.  

How do you pronounce Bichon Frise?

Bichon Frise is pronounced “BEE-shon Free-ZAY.”

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Tiffany Paul, DVM


Dr. Paul graduated from Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. She has practiced small animal medicine happily…

Brain Disorder Due to Liver Disease in Dogs

Hepatic Encephalopathy in Dogs

Hepatic encephalopathy is a metabolic disorder that affects the central nervous system. It develops secondary to liver disease (known as hepatopathy). Encephalopathy is the medical term for any disorder of the brain, and hepatic refers to the liver. Hepatic encephalopathy is caused by an accumulation of ammonia in the system due to the liver’s inability to rid the body of the substance.

The liver is the largest gland in the body, performing a number of essential functions, including the production of bile (a fluid substance involved in the digestion of fats), production of albumin (a protein in the plasma of the blood), and detoxification of drugs and other chemicals (such as ammonia) in the body.

A portosystemic shunt or portosystemic vascular anomaly is a condition in which blood vessels allow blood to flow abnormally between the portal vein (the vein that normally carries blood from the digestive organs to the liver) and into the body’s blood circulation without first being filtered through the liver. This condition can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (a condition that develops sometime later in life).

Congenital portosystemic shunt or portosystemic vascular anomaly is genetically inherited in some breeds and will generally present at a young age. With acquired forms of this disease, symptoms can occur at any age.

Symptoms and Types

Circling, running into walls and acting confused after mealsLearning disabilities (difficult to train)Sluggishness (lethargy) and/or drowsiness or sleepinessDisorientationAimless wanderingCompulsive pacingHead pressingBlindness related to brain abnormalitySeizuresComaSudden aggressionVocalizingLack of appetiteIncreased urination or lack of urination (inability to urinate often seen in male dogs)Frequent voiding of small volumesOrange-brown urine (often seen in male dogs)Increased thirstExcessive salivationVomitingDiarrheaStunted growthProlonged recovery from sedation or anesthesiaDramatic temporary resolution of signs may occur with antibiotic or lactulose (a synthetic sugar) therapy


Congenital (genetically acquired)Acquired portosystemic shunt occurs with diseases that can lead to high blood pressure in the vein carrying blood from the digestive organs to the liver – such as occurs with progressive damage and scarring of the liver (cirrhosis)Sudden (acute) liver failure can be induced by drugs, toxins, or infectionAlkalosis (high blood alkaline levels)Low blood potassiumCertain anesthetics and sedativesMethionine, tetracycline and antihistaminesBleeding into the intestineTransfusion predisposesInfectionsConstipationMuscle wasting


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, onset of symptoms, and any background information you have on your dog’s parentage. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam on your dog, with standard tests including a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis so as to rule out other causes of disease. Your veterinarian will use the bloodwork to confirm or rule out impaired kidney function.

X-ray and ultrasound imaging will allow your veterinarian to visually examine the liver. Its appearance will change in certain diseased states. If this appears to be the case your veterinarian may take a sample from the liver by aspiration or biopsy in order to reach a conclusive diagnosis.


Most patients showing signs of hepatic encephalopathy should be hospitalized. Medications may be prescribed by your veterinarian to help improve dietary protein tolerance, and your dog’s diet should be switched to a diet that is designed for liver or kidney disease. Your dog will need to be placed in a protective environment so that activity is restricted. You may want to consider cage rest during the recovery and therapy process. Oxygen therapy and fluid therapy with electrolyte and vitamin supplementation will need to be given to stabilize your dog’s health, and you will also need to take care to keep your dog warm while it is recovering.

To assure your dog is receiving enough calories, a feeding tube may need to be inserted. Should this be necessary, your veterinarian will go over this process with you for home care.

If the source of the liver disease is a congenital shunt, surgical correction may resolve the condition. If the portosystemic shunt was acquired, abnormal blood vessels should not be tied off.

Zinc supplementation can be given as needed. Other treatments that may be prescribed are antibiotics, enemas, diuretics and seizure-control medications.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will schedule follow-up appointments for your dog according to the underlying diseased state. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog’s symptoms return or worsen, if your dog loses weight, or if your dog begins to appear unwell.

Tetanus in Dogs

What is Tetanus in Dogs?

Tetanus in dogs is caused by a toxin produced by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani. This toxin targets the central nervous system (such as the nerves, spinal cord, and brain) and causes muscle spasms and hyperactive behavior. 

Dogs exposed to the bacteria through an open wound produce the toxin, usually through a deep puncture wound. Tetanus spores are widespread in the environment and can survive for months or even years in soil. These spores do not cause a problem if they are eaten or land on the skin. Instead, they cause infection when they bury themselves deep in the body where there is not enough oxygen. This is when they are able to “wake up” and start producing the toxin. 

This poison, called tetanospasmin, will find the central nervous system, usually, a nerve near the site of the injury. From there, it travels up the nerve, reaching the spinal cord and eventually the brain. Symptoms are possible anywhere the toxin is present as it travels through the dog’s body. Typically, signs of the disease start within 5-10 days of the wound occurring, but signs can show up as early as 3 days after exposure or as late as 3 weeks after the poison enters the system. 

Symptoms of Tetanus in Dogs

There are two forms of tetanus in dogs: the localized form (which is the most common) and the generalized form.  

In the localized form of the disease, signs develop primarily in the area closest to the wound. The muscles may become tight, stiff, and tremors may develop. Sometimes an entire leg may be affected. The localized form of the disease may sometimes become a generalized form of the disease. 

The generalized form of the disease is more severe and affects widespread areas of the body.  These animals may walk in a very stiff fashion, with their tail held straight up or straight out behind them, or if the muscles are so stiff they cannot bend their legs, they will stand with all four legs rigidly extended. This is called the “sawhorse” stance. 

Sometimes the area around the face and head is most severely affected, with the animal holding their lips back in a “sinister smile” and the jaws held tightly closed. Because of this, tetanus is often called lockjaw. Affected animals may be unable to swallow, leading to trouble eating or drinking, along with excessive drooling. If the muscle spasms affect the throat or the muscles that control breathing, respiratory distress can result. Because so many muscles are contracting and generating heat, these dogs may develop a fever. 

How Veterinarians Diagnose Tetanus in Dogs

In most cases, veterinarians can diagnose tetanus based on physical exam findings. This is a much simpler process if there is a wound present to support the suspected diagnosis. Although there are tests that are available to test for the toxin or C. tetani bacteria, these tests can be unreliable and are generally not recommended. 

Your veterinarian may also perform some basic screening tests to look for additional potential issues, including bloodwork, a urinalysis, and x-rays. Depending on the situation, other tests may be recommended. 

Treatment of Tetanus in Dogs

If the disease is caught early an antitoxin treatment may reduce its severity. However, once the poison has attached to the nerve cells, the antitoxin is no longer effective and may cause more side effects than benefits.   

For most animals, antibiotics are appropriate. Antibiotics do not directly affect the toxin, but if the underlying bacteria can be killed, it will stop the release of additional toxin into the dog’s system. This reduces the severity of the disease and allows the body to fight the remaining toxins. 

If your vet finds a wound, they will likely want to surgically debride the wound, or clean it out. This includes removing all tissue in and around the wound to remove as much C. tetani bacteria as possible, which reduces the amount of toxin being produced. 

Dogs with tetanus require very intensive medical care. Often, they are placed on intravenous fluids (IV) and medications for extended periods of time. Post-surgery, if they are unable to eat on their own, they may require a feeding tube. Most dogs require a significant amount of nursing care in a quiet, dark environment that reduces stimulations which may trigger muscle spasms. Medications can be used to try and reduce these spasms, but these have potential side effects and will need to be used with caution. 

Recovery and Management of Tetanus in Dogs

Dogs with the localized form of tetanus typically recover with time and early treatment, but it could take a month or more for all signs to resolve. For dogs that are more severely affected, or that have the generalized form of the disease, the prognosis is much worse, with survival rates as low as 50%. The quicker the diagnosis and the more aggressive the supportive care, the better the prognosis. 

The best way to prevent tetanus in dogs is to monitor your dog for any fresh wounds and seek appropriate care immediately. Proper cleaning of the wound (often under sedation if the wound is deep) is important to remove any bacteria. Following up with antibiotics for these deep wounds is also critical. If your dog develops any signs consistent with tetanus, reporting these immediately to your veterinarian is key. Rapid, appropriate treatment is lifesaving in cases of tetanus. 

Tetanus in Dogs FAQs

Can tetanus kill dogs?

Tetanus is very rare in dogs, but if not quickly diagnosed and aggressively treated, tetanus can kill dogs.

Is tetanus contagious from dogs to other pets?

No, tetanus is caused by the toxin from a bacteria that has entered the dog’s body through a wound. This particular bacteria is not transmissible from the affected dog to other pets.

Is tetanus contagious from dogs to humans?

No, the toxin that causes tetanus in dogs comes from a bacteria which has entered the dog through a wound. This bacteria will not transmit to humans from an infected dog—although humans can also get tetanus through deep puncture wounds and infection by the same bacteria.

Do dogs need tetanus shots?

Tetanus is so rare in dogs that vaccinations against tetanus are not generally recommended and there is no commercial vaccine for tetanus.


Adamantos, S., and A. Boag. “Thirteen Cases of Tetanus in Dogs.” Veterinary Record, vol. 161, no. 9, Sept. 2007, pp. 298–302, 10.1136/vr.161.9.298.  

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Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra Mitchell is a 1995 graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in many fields…

Optic Nerve Swelling in Dogs

Optic Neuritis in Dogs

Optic neuritis refers to a condition in which one or both of the optic nerves are swollen, resulting in impaired visual function. The optic nerve, sometimes called the cranial nerve, is a nerve in the eye that takes visual information and transmits it to the brain. Optic neuritis affects the ophthalmic and nervous systems of the body.

The primary form of optic neuritis is uncommon and usually affects only dogs younger than three years of age. The secondary form of optic neuritis, however, in which the disease is secondary to another disease, such as central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, is more common.

Optic neuritis can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

Optic neuritis may be a primary disease or a secondary disease, meaning it occurs due to the presence of another disease in the body, such as a central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction. Optic neuritis is secondary to systematic CNS disease because the optic nerve communicates with the outermost layers of the brain (subarachnoid space).

Symptoms of optic neuritis include acute (sudden) onset of blindness and partial deficiencies in vision. A physical examination can reveal blindness or reduced vision in one or both eyes, fixed and dilated pupils, and a diminished light reflex of pupils. An examination of the anterior surface of the eye cavity may reveal a swollen optic disk, or a focal hemorrhage.


As previously mentioned, primary optic neuritis is very rare, while secondary optic neuritis is more common. Causes of secondary optic neuritis vary greatly. Possible causes include neoplasm, which is an abnormal cell growth, such as a tumor; systemic mycoses (a fungal infection); a parasitic disease known as toxoplasmosis; or lead poisoning.

In some cases, the disease is considered idiopathic, meaning that it seems to arise spontaneously from an obscure cause and no specific origin can be identified.


The diagnostic procedure in cases of suspected optic neuritis generally includes an analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (the clear protective fluid in the cranium, in which the brain floats), and an electroretinogram in order to investigate the functioning capacity of the eye’s retina.

Additional diagnostic procedures may include a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, urine analysis, and full chemical blood profile for the presence of fungi, viruses, or protozoa that may be causing an infection. will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have preceded this condition in order to further aid your veterinarian in making a diagnosis.


Treatment for optic neuritis is directly dependent upon the underlying disease that led to the condition. Certain procedures and medications may be given if the primary disease is identifiable. If no specific cause can be identified, certain medications may still be prescribed by your veterinarian to help alleviate symptoms.

The final prognosis for dogs with optic neuritis is ultimately dependent upon the underlying cause of the disease.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will schedule a follow-up visit to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment. If no primary cause can be identified and your pet is suffering from idiopathic optic neuritis, blindness or loss of vision may become permanent. Medication should be given as prescribed in order to prevent subsequent flare-ups.

Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen

By Paula Fitzsimmons

A new addition to the AKC hound group, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is a dog breed that’s steeped in history. Once pack hunters in 16th century France, these medium-size, sturdy scent hounds (also called Grands) now excel at search and rescue. Grands are energetic with an independent streak but are also friendly, outgoing and willing to please, making them a good fit for families, couples or people living alone.

Physical Characteristics

The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is a rugged and muscular dog breed that weighs between 40 and 55 pounds. Don’t let their sturdiness deceive you, however. They’re also quick and light-footed, says Gina DiNardo, executive secretary of the American Kennel Club, based in New York City.

At 18 by 15.5 inches, they’re slightly longer than they are taller, says Corey Benedict, president of the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen Club of America. A look at their history provides insight into why they’re built this way. “They were bred to endure in the rough terrain in Vendée, France. They have to have the correct balance because form follows function,” he says.

The Grand’s trademark features are straight legs, a deep chest, a moderately-long muzzle and neck, long ears and a long tail, says DiNardo. “This breed also has a noble head with a mustache and beard and protective, long eyebrows,” she adds. Their ears should lie like a corkscrew, says Benedict. “You should see the corkscrew fold in their ear when relaxed.”

These pups have shaggy but wire-textured coats. A rough coat may have helped protect them while running through brambly fields. They present in a variety of color combinations, including black and tan, white and tan, white and orange, and tri-colored.

Personality and Temperament

Grands are a good fit for households of any size. Those who know this breed best mention their willingness to please their humans and their ability to get along well with other dogs. “They’re also outgoing, fun-loving, warm and friendly,” says DiNardo.

Expect an energetic, fast-moving pup with lots of stamina. The Grand is a scent hound that likes to chase smaller animals—they used to successfully hunt rabbits and hares in ancient France.

Experts says this dog breed can be stubborn and independent, so you need to be prepared to lead. “If you’re not a strong leader, this probably isn’t a breed for you. It’s also not a dog breed suitable for a first-time pet owner,” Benedict says.


The Grand Bassett Griffon Vendéen isn’t the type of dog that will be content to curl up on the sofa all day. In fact, “They require vigorous daily exercise and enjoy the company of other dogs and people during playtime,” says DiNardo. Having an enclosed backyard where your pup can play and release energy is a definite plus.

While they can be trained for obedience and agility work, they don’t generally excel in this area, says Benedict.

With their rough coats, Grands may not require the same level of maintenance as dogs with longer and bushier coats, but DiNardo says they still need to be brushed weekly to remain mat-free. He adds that “an occasional bath will keep him looking clean.”

They also need to be stripped at least three times a year, says Benedict. Hand stripping is the process of pulling out old hairs on wire-coated dog breeds to make room for new ones.  


Overall, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen is a healthy dog breed with few health problems, but Benedict says that hip dysplasia and eye disorders can occur. Pet parents, of course, play an essential role in a pup’s health by providing optimal nutrition and care, but they also need to choose a Grand breeder wisely.

“Responsible breeders work hard to better their breed by doing the recommended health testing, including hip, eye, heart, thyroid and patella evaluations,” says DiNardo.

With optimal upbringing and lifetime care, the Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen can live between 12 and 15 years old, experts say.

History and Background

The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen’s lineage can be traced back to 16th century Vendée, a western region of France noted for its beaches, winding rivers and rough, brambly terrain. In their native country of France, Grands were efficient pack hunters, chasing mostly after rabbits and hare.

King Louis XII kept Grands, as well as Petit Basset Griffon Vendéens, Grand Griffon Vendéens and Briquet Griffon Vendéens as one litter. They were considered one breed and referred to as the King’s White Hounds, says Benedict.

The first pups entered the US through Holland in 1990, but the AKC didn’t officially recognize them as a new dog breed in their hound group until January of 2018, says DiNardo.

Foreign Objects Stuck in the Throat in Dogs

What Is Esophageal Obstruction or Esophagus Blockage in Dogs?

The esophagus is a long, narrow, muscular tube that connects the mouth and the stomach, and is the passage through which food travels. Problems can occur when pets eat things they shouldn’t. Anything a dog swallows can become stuck in the esophagus, but typically items that get stuck are rough, irregularly shaped objects or things too large to pass through.

If you suspect your dog has something stuck in the throat, he should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately, especially if he appears short of breath, weak, has blue-gray gums, or is struggling to breath or breathing rapidly.

If an object lodges in the esophagus, at first a dog may appear to be in distress and uncomfortable but still breathe normally. This is because the esophagus is not involved in breathing. However, an object lodged in the back of the mouth or upper part of the esophagus can put pressure on the windpipe (trachea) and soon cause problems in breathing.

In addition, esophageal obstructions can lead to many complications if not treated promptly. Left untreated, objects may create holes in the esophagus, which in some instances can allow air or fluid to build up around the lungs and lead to breathing issues.

Full or Partial Esophageal Obstruction

When an obstruction occurs, it can be full or partial.

A full obstruction occurs when food or water cannot pass around the object to reach the stomach. Signs and symptoms are more obvious when the esophagus is completely blocked, as compared to a partial obstruction.

A partial obstruction occurs when a smaller object gets lodged in the esophagus, and some food and water is still able to pass the object and get to the stomach.  Partial obstructions are still an emergency, and can sometimes be more difficult to recognize. That’s because symptoms may not be as obvious as they are in dogs with a full or complete esophageal obstruction.  

Dogs with a full obstruction will spit up food or water, but this may not occur until several hours after they have ingested the object. Bones are the most common objects that become stuck in the esophagus. Other objects include nylabones, rawhide, dental chews, sharp objects such as fishing hooks or sewing needles, or even large pieces of food.

Symptoms of Esophageal Obstruction

Symptoms of obstruction include:

Gulping or repeated attempts to swallow

Gagging, retching, coughing

Repeated attempts to vomit without being able to bring anything up 

Decreased interest in eating and/or drinking 

Smacking/licking the lips 

Drooling (there may or may not be blood in the drool) 

Pawing at the mouth or face 

Vomiting or regurgitation (may be delayed several hours after eating) 



Pain with movement, especially when moving the head and neck  

How Veterinarians Diagnose Esophageal Obstruction

Diagnosing this condition usually involves taking x-rays of the entire chest/neck to look for the object in the throat. Some objects show up well on x-rays, while others can be more difficult to see. If your veterinarian suspects an object is stuck in the esophagus but cannot see it on x-ray, they may:

Recommend using contrast dye and retake x-rays

Snaking an endoscope down the esophagus

Perform a CT scan of the neck/chest to evaluate the esophagus  

These tests will be used to determine the object’s location and whether there is damage to the esophageal tissue near the object.  It also allows them to determine if there are any defects in the esophagus that may allow air, fluid, and/or infection to build up in local tissues or to leak into the space around the lungs.  Your veterinarian may also recommend additional diagnostics like bloodwork to evaluate the health of your dog.

Treatment of Esophageal Obstruction

Treating esophageal obstructions in dogs depends on the type of object, its location, and how long the object has been stuck. Regardless of the method, general anesthesia is required.

For most esophageal obstructions, veterinarians prefer endoscopy. This uses a long, narrow tube equipped with a camera at the tip, as well as tools to maneuver a foreign object. It is especially useful for things like fish hooks or other sharp objects that often catch in soft tissues. The camera can help the vet assess damage to plan further treatment.

A vet may try a procedure called blind retrieval, in which long forceps grab the object to remove it through the mouth. If this is not possible, the vet may try to gently push the object through the esophagus to the stomach. Once in the stomach, the object may pass on its own and eventually end up in the pet’s stool.

If there are concerns the object may not pass through the digestive tract on its own, or should not be allowed to pass on its own, surgery may be performed to remove the object from the stomach (gastrotomy). This type of surgery tends to be easier than surgery on the esophagus. Esophagostomy may be recommended if the object cannot be pushed to the stomach or if there are concerns about significant damage to the esophagus. Esophagostomy is a surgery that involves approaching the object through the neck and cutting into the esophagus to remove the object. 

Even with the object’s removal, the esophagus may need time and treatment to heal. Damage can lead to inflammation (esophagitis). The longer an object is left stuck in the esophagus, the higher the chances of esophagitis developing. In mild cases, a dog may be treated with antacids, gastrointestinal protectants, and pain medication for a few weeks, along with a softened diet.

In more severe cases, scar tissue can form, resulting in a stricture, or narrowing of the esophagus. If a stricture forms, a dog may experience future issues with difficulty swallowing and it may lead to a condition called megaesophagus.

In cases where there are concerns about more severe damage, to prevent complications, a dog may be started on additional medications to reduce the production of stomach acid and enhance gastrointestinal protection. Pain medications and antibiotics may be prescribed. In some cases, a feeding tube may be used for two to three weeks.  

How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Foreign Object From a Dog’s Esophagus?

The cost to treat an esophageal foreign body varies greatly based on your location in the country, the object that is stuck, how long the object has been stuck, and the method used to retrieve it. 

For objects that have been stuck for a short period and can be retrieved using forceps/blind retrieval, cost can range between $500-$1,000.  

For objects that have been stuck for a short period of time and are retrieved using endoscopy, cost can range between $750-$1,500.

For objects that have been stuck for a longer period of time, complicated cases, or cases that require surgery, cost can range between $1,500-$3,000.  

Recovery and Management of Esophageal Obstruction

After the object’s removal, many dogs develop esophagitis, which is inflammation of the esophagus. This is managed by medications such omeprazole to reduce stomach acid production. Gastrointestinal protectants such as sucralfate may be prescribed to protect damaged esophageal tissue. Metoclopramide is also often prescribed to reduce the likelihood of stomach acid refluxing into the esophagus.  

Other medications include pain medications, anti-nausea medications, appetite stimulants, and antibiotics. In addition, your veterinarian may recommend a canned, soft, or moistened diet for two to three weeks while the tissues heal, fed in smaller, more frequent meals.  

If there is a lot of damage to the esophagus, a feeding tube may be placed for two to three weeks to give the esophagus time to heal. Your veterinarian will likely recommend a special liquid diet and will demonstrate proper feeding tube care if one is placed.  

Most dogs make a full recovery. In some instances, a dog may develop a stricture (narrowing) within the esophagus that makes it difficult for food to pass through the esophagus. In these cases, long-term feeding and dietary modifications may be recommended to help manage complications like megaesophagus, in which the esophagus becomes enlarged and cannot move food easily.

Foreign Objects Stuck in the Throat in Dogs FAQs

How do you know if something is stuck in a dog’s esophagus?

It can be difficult to tell if there is something stuck in your dog’s esophagus, but if you notice the following, take your dog to the vet immediately:

Suddenly acting agitated, anxious, or restless

Repeatedly swallowing, gagging, or coughing

Pawing at their mouth

Excessive drooling (which may contain blood)

Seeming uncomfortable when moving their head or neck around

How long can a foreign object stay in a dog?

The sooner an esophageal foreign body is treated, the better the chances for a quick and complete recovery. Dogs tend to do best if esophageal foreign bodies are removed within 24 hours.  

How can I prevent my dog from getting something stuck in its throat?

Do not let your dog chew on bones, as they are the most common object to get stuck in the esophagus. It is also important to monitor how your dog does with treats designed to encourage chewing, such as dental treats or chews. If you notice your dog tends to break off large pieces of these treats and swallow them whole, it is best to avoid them. Also, monitor how they do with these types of treats when they get close to having them completely chewed. If they tend to try to swallow the last remaining piece, it is best to take it away.  

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Jamie Case, DVM


Dr. Jamie Case graduated from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017, after receiving a Bachelor of Science…

Chemical Imbalance of Urine in Dogs

Hyposthenuria in Dogs

The normal concentration and regulation of urine normally depends on an elaborate interaction between antidiuretic hormone (ADH), the protein receptor for ADH on the renal tubule (the tube that plays a role in the filtering, reabsorption, and secretion of solutes in the bloodstream), and excessive tension of the tissue within the kidney. Hyposthenuria is a clinical condition in which the urine is chemically imbalanced. This may be due to trauma, abnormal hormone release, or excessive tension in the kidney.

Abnormalities may also occur due to interference with the synthesis, release, or actions of ADH, damage to the renal tubule, and altered tension (tonicity) of the tissue within the kidney (medullary interstitium). There is no breed of dog that appears to be more or less affected by this condition.


 Symptoms will depend on the underlying cause of the disorder. Some of the more common ones include:

Excessive urination (polyuria)Excessive thirst (polydipsia)Occasional urinary incontinence


Any disorder or drug that interferes with the release or action of ADH, damages the renal tubule, causes medullary washout, or causes a primary thirst disorder.


Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, taking into account the background history of symptoms and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. A complete blood profile will be conducted, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis, with emphasis on determining the urine specific gravity.

The latter test reveals the functional capability of the kidney in its capacity to eliminate waste molecules without eliminating excess nutrients or water. These tests may confirm a urinary condition, with a low urine specific gravity of 1.000 to 1.006 g/ml, and excessive amounts of alkaline phosphates (ALP) in the blood serum, which would suggest hypoadrenocorticism or primary liver disease. High cholesterol is another common finding in dogs with hyperadrenocorticism.

In dogs suffering from pyometra (a disease of the uterus) or pyelonephritis (urinary tract infection), leukocytosis, a type of white blood cell, will be raised and will be present in the urine sample, along with abnormal amounts of protein in the urine, a condition called proteinuria. Proteinuria is common in patients with pyelonephritis, pyometra, and hyperadrenocorticism. If an underlying condition of pyelonephritis is present, the urinalysis will also show inflammatory sediment or bacteria in the urine (bacteriuria). 

Other laboratory tests your doctor may want to conduct are adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) level checks in order to determine the cause of the hyperadrenocorticism, if found. That is, your veterinarian will want to distinguish a pituitary dependent versus an adrenal tumor. Visual imaging, using X-ray, may also be included to determine if the kidneys or surrounding urinary tract organs are damaged in any way. An intravenous pyelogram is the most accurate diagnostic technique for a visual examination of the kidneys, ureter, and urinary bladder. This is a minimally invasive procedure which uses an injection of contrasting material into the bloodstream, where it then collects in the kidneys and urinary tract and illuminates them on the X-ray.

An ultrasonography can be used to assess adrenal size, kidney and liver size and architecture, and uterine size (abnormal findings in the size of one or more of these organs may confirm an infection or reaction to infection). In addition, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan can be used to assess a pituitary or hypothalamic (which links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland) mass, which can be an associated cause of central diabetes insipidus or hyperadrenocorticism.


Treatment for the hyposthenuria will depend on the underlying disorder. Even if your dog is urinating excessively, or is having trouble making it outside in time, do not restrict your dog’s water intake unless it is appropriate to the definitive diagnosis and has been recommended by your veterinarian.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will schedule follow-up visits to monitor your dog’s urine specific gravity, hydration status, kidney function, and electrolyte balance. Dehydration is a possible complication with hyposthenuria, and can quickly become a life threatening condition, so care must be taken to ensure that your dog is properly hydrated at all times.