Archive : March

Extreme Fear and Anxiety in Dogs


While fear is a normal, adaptive response, sometimes a dog’s fear response can reach more extreme levels that require intervention. Profound fear and anxiety can lead to unhealthy and potentially dangerous behaviors within dogs.

To help you better understand how to help, it’s necessary to understand the nuances and signs of anxiety, phobias and fear in dogs.

Does Your Dog Have Anxiety, Fear or a Phobia?

When navigating fear-based behavioral issues in dogs, your veterinarian will work with you to determine the severity and root cause of the behaviors.

Fear in Dogs

Fear is the instinctual feeling of apprehension caused by a situation, person or object that presents an external threat—whether it’s real or perceived.

The response of the autonomic nervous system prepares the body for the freeze, fight or flight syndrome. It is considered to be a normal behavior that is essential for adaptation and survival.

The context of the situation determines whether the fear response is normal or abnormal and inappropriate. Most abnormal reactions are learned and can be unlearned with gradual exposure (counter-conditioning).

Profound fear (also called idiopathic fear) has been noted in certain dog breeds, including the Siberian Husky, German Shorthaired Pointer, Greyhound, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees, Border Collie and Standard Poodle, among others.

Phobias in Dogs 

The persistent and excessive fear of a specific stimulus is called a phobia.

It has been suggested that once a phobic event has been experienced, any event associated with it—or even the memory of it—is sufficient enough to generate a response.

The most common phobias in dogs are associated with noises (such as thunderstorms or fireworks).

Anxiety in Dogs

Anxiety, meanwhile, is the anticipation of unknown or imagined future dangers. This results in bodily reactions (known as physiologic reactions) that are normally associated with fear.

The most common behaviors are elimination (i.e., urination and/or bowel movements), destruction and excessive vocalization (i.e., barking, crying). Pet owners may also observe excessive panting and/or pacing.

Separation anxiety is the most common specific anxiety in companion dogs. With separation anxiety, a dog that’s left alone for a period of time exhibits anxiety or excessive distress behaviors.

Clinical Signs of Dog Anxiety and Fear

The clinical signs will vary depending on the severity of the fear or anxiety that the dog is suffering from. Here are some of the most common clinical signs:

Mild fears: signs may include trembling, tail-tucking, hiding, reduced activity and passive escape behaviors

Panic: signs may include panting, pacing, active escape behavior and increased out-of-context, potentially injurious motor activity

Sympathetic autonomic nervous system activity, including diarrhea

Lesions secondary to licking and biting their own body

Tail-chasing and circling

Causes of Fear and Anxiety in Dogs

The onset of fear or anxiety issues in dogs can be prompted by a variety of things, from puppy socialization issues and age-related health conditions like dementia to traumatic experiences or genetics.

There is no catchall for the roots of these issues, but here are some of the most common causes of anxiety or fear in dogs:

Being forced into an unfamiliar and frightening experience

Being deprived of social and environmental exposure until 14 weeks of age

Phobias and panic: history of not being able to escape or get away from the stimulus causing the phobia and panic, such as being locked in crate

Separation anxiety: history of abandonment, having multiple owners over time, being rehomed or experiencing prior neglect are all common sources; the condition may be perpetuated if the dog has been repeatedly abandoned or rehomed because they have separation anxiety.


Any illness or painful physical condition increases anxiety and contributes to the development of fears, phobias and anxieties.


Aging changes associated with nervous system changes, as well as infectious disease (primarily viral infections in the central nervous system) and toxic conditions may lead to behavioral problems, including fears, phobias and anxieties.

Diagnosing Fear and Anxiety in Dogs

Your veterinarian will first want to rule out other conditions that might be causing the behavior, such as brain, thyroid or adrenal disease. Blood tests will rule out or confirm possible underlying medical conditions.

Treating Extreme Fear and Anxiety in Dogs

If your veterinarian diagnoses a simple fear, anxiety or phobia, they might prescribe anti-anxiety medication in addition to recommending management techniques and behavior modification exercises.

Your doctor will make recommendations based on your individual dog’s fear trigger, or they will refer you to a veterinary behaviorist who can help your pet.

Most forms of treatment will be done over the long-term, and could possibly span several years. It generally depends on the duration and intensity of the clinical signs of anxiety. Minimum treatment averages four to six months. 

Keep in mind that prescription medications are not right for every pet and are typically implemented only as a last resort in severe instances.

If your dog has extreme panic and separation anxiety and needs to be protected until medications can become effective, which can take days to weeks, hospitalization may be the best choice.

Otherwise, you will care for your dog at home and will need to provide protection from self-inflicted physical injury until your dog calms down. You may need to arrange for day care or dog-sitting.


Desensitization and Counter-Conditioning

Desensitization and counter-conditioning are most effective if the fear, phobia or anxiety is treated early. The goal is to decrease the reaction to a specific stimulus (such as being left alone).

Desensitization is the repeated, controlled exposure to the stimulus that usually causes a fearful or anxious response. It is done at such a low intensity that the dog does not respond with fear or anxiety.

Counter-conditioning is training the dog to perform a positive behavior in place of fear or anxiety.

For example, you can teach your dog to sit and stay, and when your dog performs these tasks, you reward him. Then, when your dog is in a situation where he is usually fearful or anxious, you can redirect his attention by asking him to sit and stay.

The signs of an oncoming anxiety attack are subtle in dogs. You should learn to recognize your dog’s physical signs of fear, phobias and anxiety so that you can intervene before your dog panics.

Living and Management of Fear and Anxiety in Dogs

If your dog is on medications, your veterinarian will want to conduct occasional blood testing to make sure your dog’s body can process and eliminate the medications appropriately.

If behavior modification does not work over the long-term, your veterinarian may want to modify the approach. If left untreated, these disorders are likely to progress.

You will need to help your dog with behavior modification exercises and teach your dog to relax in a variety of environmental settings. Encourage calmness when your dog appears distressed. Distract him and redirect his attention, following the plan your vet has set for you.

Fearful or anxious dogs may need to live in a protected environment with as few social stressors as possible. They do not do well in dog shows, dog parks or large crowds.

And remember that not all dogs are calmer when crated; some dogs panic when caged and will injure themselves if forced to be confined. Absolutely avoid punishment for behavior related to fear, phobia or anxiety.

Contact your veterinarian for a referral to get professional help with your dog’s behavior modification.

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Wailani Sung, MS, PhD, DVM, DACVB


Dr. Wailani Sung has a passion for helping owners prevent or effectively manage behavior problems in companion animals, enabling them to…

Ear Mites in Dogs

What Are Ear Mites in Dogs?

Ear mites are highly contagious parasites that live inside and around ear canals. The dog ear mite belongs to the Psoroptidae family, which is a group of parasitic mites that live on the surface of the skin rather than burrowing into it, as some types of mites do.

Their scientific name is Otodectes cynotis. They tend to be less than half of a millimeter long and can be seen best under a microscope. These mites affect various species, including dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, and occasionally livestock.

Symptoms of Ear Mites in Dogs

Ear mites cause an intense itch. The most common symptoms of a dog ear mite infection include:

Scratching and rubbing at the ears

Shaking the head

Dark discharge from the ears

Hair loss, skin lesions, and secondary skin infections, which can develop around the ears, head, and neck from all the scratching and rubbing

Bacterial and yeast ear infections can look like ear mite infestations. If you suspect something is up with your dog’s ears, contact your veterinarian for an exam.

Causes of Ear Mites in Dogs

Dogs get ear mites by being around other animals that are infested with these parasites.

To understand how dogs get ear mites, it’s important to understand the mite life cycle. Adult mites lay eggs that mature into larvae, grow through two stages of nymphs, and then become adults. It takes about three weeks for an egg to become a full-grown ear mite. Adult mites can live for approximately two months.

The mites feed on your dog’s ear and skin surface debris, which causes inflammation and irritation. The mite is transmitted from one animal to another through physical contact.

Because ear mites are so contagious, you must treat all susceptible animals in your home simultaneously to eliminate them, even if just one pet is diagnosed.

How Vets Diagnose Ear Mites

A dog with an ear infection can have the same symptoms (scratching and ear discharge) as a dog with ear mites. That’s why it’s important to see your veterinarian for help with diagnosis and treatment.

Making a diagnosis allows for appropriate medication for treatment. Using the wrong medication can be dangerous and/or cause discomfort to your pet—plus, it’s a waste of time and money. And if your dog’s eardrum is ruptured, only certain medications can be used, which is why seeing the vet is oh-so-important.

For an official diagnosis, your veterinarian will typically look in your dog’s ears with an otoscope and take an ear swab to look for both mite eggs and adult mites under a microscope. Your vet may also run an ear cytology to rule out secondary or concurrent bacterial or yeast infections. Sometimes a skin scrape will also reveal the mite.

Ear Mite Treatment for Dogs

Treatment for ear mites in dogs involves both cleaning the ears and giving the dog medication.

Cleaning your dog’s ear canal removes debris and buildup, allows medication to be more effective, and helps return the ear canal to normal, healthy tissue. Your vet will clean your dog’s ear and show you how to clean them yourself at home, if needed.

Medication for ear mites can include:

A topical product for inside the ear

A topical product applied to your dog’s skin and absorbed throughout their body

An oral pill


While some of the topical medications for your dog’s ear canal can be single-use, others must be applied daily for 7-30 days. Your veterinarian will make a medication decision based on your pet’s individual situation.

Treatment also requires that all household pets receive medicine so they don’t continue to reinfect each other. Ask your veterinarian about appropriate treatments specific to each of your pets.

Recovery and Management of Dog Ear Mites

Most dogs make a relatively quick, uneventful recovery from ear mites, although some dogs might have an ongoing battle with the pesky mites. Veterinarians may recommend a follow-up examination to make sure that a dog’s ears are back to normal. If they’re not, the vet will provide additional treatments.

Sometimes there’s residual debris in your dog’s ear canal that needs to be flushed. And if there’s also a bacterial or yeast infection, your vet may need to prescribe additional medication or a different medication to address the infection.

Future ear mite infestations can also be prevented with many of the same products that are used to prevent fleas, ticks, and other types of parasites. These include: 






After treatment, continue to check your dog’s ears regularly for signs of ear mites or other problems. Look for discharge or redness within the ear canal, and headshaking or scratching around the ears.

Ear Mites in Dogs FAQs

Can humans get ear mites from dogs?

Yes, humans can get ear mites from an infected dog. It’s not common, but it’s possible. More frequently, other pets in the home get infected with the ear mites from a contagious dog.

What home remedy kills ear mites in dogs?

Little research has been done to examine the safety and effectiveness of home remedies for dog ear mites. Since there are so many safe and effective medications readily available, you should always see your veterinarian to prescribe a medication for treatment.

Will tea tree oil kill ear mites in dogs?

Do not use tea tree oil on your dog or put it in their ear. Undiluted tea tree oil should never be given to dogs, as it can be very toxic. Although diluted tea tree oil is thought to have some antibacterial and antifungal properties, it can cause burning, stinging, and damage to an inflamed ear.

Because there are safe, proven products available to treat ear mites in dogs, you should have your veterinarian prescribe one of those instead.

Does hydrogen peroxide kill ear mites in dogs?

Hydrogen peroxide can be very painful when used in inflamed ears. It can also slow healing and damage sensitive tissues. Do not use hydrogen peroxide to treat dog ear mites.

What medication kills ear mites in dogs?

There are many products known to kill ear mites in dogs, including:







Advantage Multi





Your veterinarian can recommend the right product based on your dog’s particular needs.



Rothrock, K., DVM, & Morgan, R., DVM, DAVIM, DACVO. (2018, April 3). Ear Mites (Zoonotic). VINcyclopedia of DiseasesBrooks, W., DVM, DABVP (2020, July 7). Ear Mites in Dogs and Cats. Veterinary Partner. Tea Tree Oil for Otitis. (2021, April 12). Veterinary Information Network, Vet Boards: Vet to Vet: Alternative Medicine.Hydrogen Peroxide Use in the Ear. (2021, April 12). Veterinary Information Network, Vet Boards: Vet to Vet: Dermatology.

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Amanda Simonson, DVM


I am a veterinarian passionate about helping animals. I practiced for 15 years in the hospital setting doing medicine, surgery, preventive…

Entropion in Dogs (Eyelid Growing Inward)

What Is Entropion in Dogs?

Entropion is when a dog’s eyelid grows inward so their eyelashes rub against their cornea (clear part of the eye covering the iris). It is the most common eyelid abnormality in dogs. Entropion may affect any part of the lower eyelid, upper eyelid, or both.

Entropion in dogs can develop as a primary disease that’s genetically inherited at birth or as a secondary disease affecting dogs at any point of their lives.

Symptoms of Entropion in Dogs

The main symptom of entropion is an inverted eyelid (turned inward) that causes eye irritation.

Additional symptoms include:

Excessive tear production and staining    

Eye discharge (pus/mucus)

Eye redness (conjunctival hyperemia)

Keeping the eye closed

Causes of Entropion in Dogs

Entropion is caused by an eyelid that has an abnormal shape in relation to the eyeball.

The factors that lead to entropion in dogs include:    

Length of eyelid

Shape of skull

Shape of the bone cavity that contains the eyeball


Extensive skin folds and wrinkles around the eyes

Entropion in dogs can be primary, or present at birth, or secondary, meaning it was caused by something else.

Primary Entropion in Purebred Dogs

Primary entropion is the most common lid disease in purebred dogs. It is thought to be due to a hereditary defect, but the genetic basis is not well understood.

The most common breeds predisposed to entropion are:



Bull Mastiff

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chow Chow

Cocker Spaniel

Doberman Pinscher

English Bulldog

Golden Retriever

Great Dane

Irish Setter

Labrador Retriever



Shar Pei

Springer Spaniel


Saint Bernard

Causes of Secondary Entropion in Dogs

Secondary causes of entropion in dogs include:

Trauma or inflammation from eye injuries

Eyelid scarring or nerve damage

Infectious disease

Systemic dermatological conditions, such as generalized pyoderma, demodectic mange, or dermatophytosis (ringworm)

How Vets Diagnose Entropion in Dogs

Veterinarians perform an ophthalmologic examination of your dog’s eyes and eyelids in order to diagnose entropion. Your dog will be awake and not sedated for evaluation, as this allows your vet to observe your dog’s normal eye shape.

Treatment for Entropion in Dogs

Entropion requires surgery to be treated. The surgery involves removing the extra skin surrounding the eyelids to tighten them back to a normal anatomical position.

In growing puppies under 12 weeks of age, eyelid-tacking procedures are typically performed instead of the normal surgery to treat entropion.

With eyelid tacking, the skin surrounding the eye is not removed the way it is with a normal entropion surgical procedure. Instead, the excess skin surrounding the eye is temporarily turned outward with tension sutures. This is so a puppy’s facial features can fully develop without the risk of malformations due to surgical removal of the developing eyelid muscle or tissue.

Surgical complications from entropion surgery include:

Under correction, which occurs if not enough eyelid skin has been removed to correct the eyelid from rubbing the cornea

Overcorrection, which occurs if too much eyelid skin is removed, preventing the eyelids from closing normally

Take heart that these complications are rare, and surgical correction is the best treatment choice for entropion. The prognosis for animals after entropion surgery is excellent because it restores their comfort and vision.

Recovery and Management of Entropion in Dogs

Recovery from entropion surgery is rapid. Your dog’s eyes will be swollen from surgery and will be the most swollen around 24 hours after surgery. The swelling can take 2-4 weeks to completely go away. Your dog will need to wear an Elizabethan collar after surgery to protect the sutures around their eyes.

Your vet might prescribe topical eye medications depending on whether your dog has underlying corneal disease. They might also prescribe oral antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and analgesics.    

You will need to go back to the vet so they can remove the sutures 14 days after surgery, and the Elizabethan collar can be removed a few days after that.

One thing you need to watch out for is keeping your dog from injuring the incision site, which usually happens if your dog is able to remove the Elizabethan collar or if you’ve taken it off your dog too soon after the surgical procedure.

Entropion in Dogs (Eyelid Growing Inward) FAQs

Can a dog outgrow entropion?

No, dogs cannot outgrow entropion. If the condition is left without corrective surgery, it can cause further eye diseases, such as corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis, and chronic eye discharge. The entropion itself can even worsen over time in breeds that develop more skin folds around their face as they age.

Is entropion in dogs painful?

Yes, entropion is painful to dogs. It causes discomfort due to the constant irritation of the cornea resulting in eye damage and vision loss. 

How much does entropion surgery cost for dogs?

Typical surgery for entropion costs $500-$1000 per eye. A general veterinary practitioner that is familiar with entropion surgery will be able to perform the procedure for less money than a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

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Lindsey Naimoli, DVM


I am originally from Tampa, Florida. I grew up in Tampa watching my father (Vincent J. Naimoli) start the Major League Baseball expansion…

7 Places Ticks May Hide on Your Pet

Where Do Ticks Hide?

Ticks can pose a serious threat to our pets and their health. Ticks can spread diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. To help prevent your pet from getting infected with a tick-borne disease, it is always smart to check your dog for ticks after spending time outdoors or to check your cat for ticks if they are indoor/outdoor cats.

There are a few favorite hiding spots that you should know about when checking your pet for stowaway pests. These areas include under the collar, under the tail, inside the groin area, between the toes, under the front legs and at the elbows.

Ticks have also been known to try to hide on a pet’s eyelids. So be very thorough with your tick checks to make sure you catch and remove them all before they can harm your pet.

Aside from knowing where ticks hide, it’s important to take proactive measures to prevent tick bites in the first place. The best way to do this is to talk with your veterinarian about prescription flea and tick prevention.

Cirrhosis and Fibrosis of the Liver in Dogs


Cirrhosis of the liver is the generalized (diffuse) formation of scar tissue, associated with regenerative nodules, or masses, and deranged liver architecture. Fibrosis of the liver, on the other hand, involves the formation of scar tissue that replaces normal liver tissue. This condition can be inherited or acquired. Doberman pinschers, cocker spaniels, and Labrador retrievers are especially susceptible to long-term (chronic) inflammation of the liver; a condition known as chronic hepatitis.

Symptoms and Types

SeizuresBlindnessFluid build-up in the abdomenLack of energyLoss of appetite (anorexia)Poor body conditionVomitingDiarrheaConstipationBlack, tarry stools due to the presence of digested bloodIncreased thirstIncreased urinationYellowish discoloration of the gums and other tissues of the bodyPossible bleeding tendencies (uncommon)Skin lesions with superficial, ulcerative inflammation (superficial necrolytic dermatitis)


Long-term (chronic) liver injuryLong-term (chronic) inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)Drug- or toxin-induced liver injury – copper-storage liver disease (copper-storage hepatopathy); medications to control seizures (known as anticonvulsants); azole medications to treat fungal infections; medication to treat intestinal parasites (oxibendazole); antibiotic (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole); nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); long-term (chronic) food-borne toxin (aflatoxins)Infectious diseaseLong-term (chronic) blockage of the extrahepatic or common bile duct (extrahepatic bile duct obstruction) – lasting more than six weeks


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 precipitated this condition. A blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis to rule out other causes of disease are also standard examination procedures.

A fine needle aspirate should be taken from the liver for a sample to be sent for cytologic analysis. A liver biopsy taken via laparoscope may also be necessary to form a definitive diagnosis.


Patients with minimal signs can be treated on an outpatient basis as long as they are still eating normally. Patients with more severe signs should be hospitalized, given fluid therapy if necessary and have a feeding tube inserted if they are showing symptoms of anorexia. Electrolytes may be supplemented while administering fluids, and some patients respond well to B-complex vitamins.

If there is abdominal fluid build-up, the fluid will need to be tapped and removed, and sodium restricted in the diet until the cause of the build-up has been resolved.

Dogs displaying signs of hepatic encephalopathy (ammonia buildup in the blood causing neurologic signs) should have food withheld, as should dogs that are vomiting and/or suffering from inflammation of the pancreas. For hepatic encephalopathy, dogs may be given soy or dairy protein in combination with medical treatment to increase nitrogen tolerance. Such patients should have individualized protein portions suited to their level of hepatic dysfunction. Albumin levels should be maintained.

If surgery is being considered in such patients, a clotting profile will be performed, sine patients with longer clotting times will have an increased chance of bleeding, even during minor surgeries.

Living and Management

Your veterinarian will schedule regular check-ups with you for your dog. At these visits, blood work will be done, including monitoring of total serum bile acids. Your veterinarian will also observe your dog’s ongoing body condition and observe to see if fluid is building up in the abdomen. Contact your veterinarian if your dog’s abdomen appears to be larger than normal, is behaving strangely, or seems to be losing weight.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Like people, dogs can experience occasional stomach and/or intestinal upset that can include vomiting and soft stool. These conditions may pass naturally; however, if they occur every day or more than once a week, your dog may have a condition called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs is a common cause of chronic vomiting and diarrhea and continues to be one of the most challenging conditions for veterinarians to treat.

Here’s what you need to know about the causes and symptoms of IBD in dogs, which dogs are most at risk, and how dog IBD is treated.

What Causes IBD in Dogs?

Many people confuse IBD with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but these are very different diseases that require very different treatment.

Dog IBD is a condition caused by a dysfunction of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, aka the gut.

IBD in dogs is usually caused by one of the following issues:

A bacterial imbalance

Food intolerance to a certain ingredient

An abnormal immune response sparked by the dog’s own body

These immune system “triggers” cause inflammation of the stomach lining, colon, large intestine, small intestine, or a combination of these areas. As the affected area becomes increasingly inflamed, your dog’s IBD symptoms will worsen.

High-Risk Dog Breeds

While dogs of any age or breed can develop IBD, certain breeds have a higher risk of developing this inflammatory disease.

Breeds that have a greater risk of developing dog IBD include:

Norwegian Lundehunds (this breed is especially vulnerable)

Yorkshire Terriers

Wheaten Terriers



English Bulldogs

German Shepherds



Note: Even if your pup is on the “high-risk list,” this does not mean your dog will develop IBD.

Symptoms of IBD in Dogs

Identifying IBD in dogs is more about the culmination of symptoms as opposed to one. For example, while eating less or “picky” eating may not be an immediate cause for concern, a culmination of GI symptoms may indicate a more serious condition like IBD.

Clinical signs of IBD can vary from weight loss and lethargy to vomiting and diarrhea—or a combination of those symptoms and more.

The severity of signs and symptoms also depends on the types of inflammatory cells present and whether the disease is in the colon, small intestine, or large intestine.

Since symptoms of dog IBD are also symptoms that can be present in other canine medical conditions, such as parasitic infections or liver disease, spotting and diagnosing IBD in dogs can be particularly tricky.

Be sure to note the severity and frequency of symptoms, and share this information with your veterinarian when you bring your dog in to be evaluated.

Symptoms of dog IBD involving the small intestine:

Chronic or recurring vomiting

Weight loss

Diarrhea or loose stools

Loss of appetite

Symptoms of dog IBD involving the large intestine (chronic colitis):

Diarrhea with or without blood and mucus

Weight loss

Straining to defecate

Increased urgency to defecate

Occasional vomiting

How Do Vets Diagnose IBD in Dogs?

In recent years, veterinarians have found better ways to diagnose and treat dog IBD.

While IBD cannot be diagnosed through a physical exam, a historical overview, fecal checks, or laboratory work, they help rule out other possible causes of the symptoms, like parasites, intestinal foreign bodies, kidney disease, metabolic diseases, and cancers.

Diagnostic Testing

Detecting IBD in dogs may involve conducting a series of diagnostic tests, such as:

Blood testing, including a complete blood cell count and serum chemistry screening

Feces testing (for the potential presence of parasites or a harmful bacterial agent)

Ultrasound and x-rays of the abdomen

Biopsy of the intestinal tract and/or stomach

Blood work is helpful in assessing how severely your dog may be affected and screening for other diseases. Since dogs with advanced IBD lose proteins through their intestines (protein-losing enteropathy), their blood work will show low protein levels. This screening will give you and your veterinarian a better idea of prognosis.

Other possible causes of symptoms, such as pancreatitis, hormonal disease, and vitamin B deficiencies, can also be investigated through specialized blood testing.

Persistence of Symptoms

One steadfast part of diagnosing IBD is the persistence of the symptoms.

Have the symptoms lasted more than a few weeks?

Has your dog failed to respond to diet or medication trials?

If your pet does not respond to diet or medication trials, your veterinarian may recommend an intestinal tract and/or stomach biopsy.

Stomach Biopsy

During a biopsy, your veterinarian will look for inflammation and obtain small tissue samples.

These procedures do require anesthesia, but recovery from the procedure is typically quick and requires little downtime. A pathologist will then analyze the tissue samples to confirm the presence of IBD and determine the severity of the disease.

Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs

Dog IBD can be painful and debilitating for your dog (and frustrating for you). The goal in treating IBD is to improve your dog’s quality of life through:

Reducing the inflammation of their intestinal tract

Minimizing the clinical symptoms

Returning their intestinal bacteria back to normal

Adjusting Your Dog’s Diet

Altering your dog’s diet is usually the first approach to treating IBD in dogs.

For example, if your pet is eating a chicken-based diet, your veterinarian may work with you to introduce a new protein source that your dog has never consumed, such as bison or rabbit. During this transition, monitor your pet’s clinical signs to assess for the possibility of a food intolerance.

Do not to give your dog foods that are not prescribed at this point, including treats and flavored medications.

Using Antibiotics and Supplements

Antibiotics are also often used in treating dogs with IBD.

In addition to antibiotics, your veterinarian may prescribe probiotics and prebiotics to reduce the overall bacterial count and balance the gut’s bacterial population.

It is important to realize that dogs have very different guts than humans, and therefore have very different needs. Be sure to obtain probiotics and prebiotics from your veterinarian.

Giving Prescribed Immunosuppressive Drugs

If your dog continues to show symptoms, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and their immune response. In some cases, a combination of these immunosuppressive drugs is necessary.

It is not uncommon for it to take weeks to months to find the right combination of treatments for dogs with IBD.

Dog IBD Recovery and Prognosis

The goal is to reduce medications to the minimum effective dose or discontinue them altogether. This typically can be done over a course of a few weeks or months and should be done under the guidance of a veterinarian.

IBD is a condition of the immune system, so it is rarely cured, but it can be well-managed with dietary and medical intervention. In most dogs with IBD, there is no effect on their expected life span, and they can enjoy a great quality of life.

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Cathy Meeks, MS, DVM, DACVIM


Dr. Cathy Meeks started her veterinary career as a veterinary technician while getting her Master’s degree in Veterinary Medicine, Forensic…

The Best Heartworm Medications for Dogs

Heartworm prevention is an important part of keeping your dog healthy. Heartworms are parasites that infest your dog’s heart and the vessels connected to the heart. They are typically spread from dog to dog by mosquitoes. In advanced stages, heartworms can become so large and numerous that they interfere with the heart’s ability to pump blood. This can cause heart failure.  

Fortunately, there are many safe and effective options to prevent heartworm disease. Many of these medications are combined with other preventatives to address a range of parasites, including different types of intestinal worms and fleas and ticks. When choosing a heartworm medication, it’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s needs. 

Heartgard© Plus Chew for Dogs 

Heartgard© Plus combines the active ingredients ivermectin and pyrantel. Together, these medications control larval (juvenile) heartworms, as well as roundworms and hookworms. Heartgard© Plus is available in a monthly chew in the following strengths: 

HeartGard Plus Chew for Dogs (up to 25 lbs.)

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HeartGard Plus Chew for Dogs (26-50 lbs.)

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HeartGard Plus Chew for Dogs (51-100 lbs.)

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According to the manufacturer, Heartgard© Plus is well tolerated. Side effects may include vomiting and diarrhea within 24 hours of dosing. Less common side effects include depression, lethargy, anorexia, ataxia, staggering, mydriasis, convulsions, and hypersalivation. Complete safety information is available on the product’s safety label. All dogs should be tested for heartworm infection before starting Heartgard© Plus. If you suspect your dog is experiencing side effects after taking Heartgard© Plus, contact your vet right away. The product should be given according to your vet’s instructions, following the included product label.

Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs 

Simparica© Trio combines the active ingredients sarolaner (in the isoxazoline class of medications), moxidectin, and pyrantel. Together, these medications target a wide range of parasites, including larval (juvenile) heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms, as well as providing flea and tick control against a variety of tick species. The product is available as a monthly chew in the following strengths: 

Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (2.8-5.5 lbs.)

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Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (5.6-11  lbs.)  

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Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (11.1-22 lbs.)

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Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (22.1-44  lbs.)  

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Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (44.1-88 lbs.)

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Simparica© Trio Chewable Tablet for Dogs (88.1-132 lbs.)

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According to the manufacturer, Simparica© Trio is well-tolerated. In clinical studies, side effects may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, polyuria, hyperactivity, and polydipsia. Complete safety information is available on the product’s safety label. If you suspect your dog is experiencing side effects after taking Simparica©, contact your vet.  

Interceptor© Plus Chew for Dogs 

Interceptor© Plus combines the active ingredients milbemycin oxime and praziquantel. Together, these medications target larval (juvenile) heartworms, adult roundworms, adult hookworms, adult whipworms, and adult tapeworms. Interceptor© Plus chews are available in the following strengths:

Interceptor© Plus Chew for Dogs (2-8 lbs.)

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Interceptor© Plus Chew for Dogs (8.1-25 lbs.)

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Interceptor© Plus Chew for Dogs (25.1-50.1 lbs.)

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Interceptor© Plus Chew for Dogs (50.1-100 lbs.)

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Side effects that may be associated with Interceptor© Plus include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, ataxia, anorexia, convulsions, weakness, and salivation. For complete safety information, see the product’s label. If you suspect your dog is experiencing side effects after taking Interceptor© Plus, contact your vet right away.  

Tri-Heart© Plus Chewable Tablets 

Tri-Heart© Plus chewable tablets contains a combination of ivermectin and pyrantel. Together, these medications provide control of larval (juvenile) heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms. Tri-Heart© is administered once a month as a chew. It is available in the following strengths:

Tri-Heart© Plus for dogs (up to 25 lbs.) 

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Tri-Heart© Plus for dogs (26-50 lbs.) 

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Tri-Heart© Plus for dogs (51-100 lbs.)   

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Tri-Heart© Plus is generally well-tolerated in dogs. Side effects may include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, diarrhea, mydriasis, ataxia, staggering, convulsions, and hypersalivation. If you suspect your dog is experiencing side effects after taking Tri-Heart© Plus, contact your vet right away. For full safety information on Tri-Heart© Plus, see the product’s label.  

Sentinel© Spectrum Tablets for Dogs 

Sentinel© Spectrum Chews for dogs contain a combination of milbemycin oxime, lufenuron, and praziquantel. Together, these medications effectively control larval (juvenile) heartworms, adult roundworms, adult hookworms, adult whipworms, adult tapeworms, and fleas. Sentinel© Spectrum tablets are administered monthly in a chew. It is available in the following strengths:  

Sentinel© Spectrum for dogs (2-8 lbs.) 

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Sentinel© Spectrum for dogs (8.1-25 lbs.)

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Sentinel© Spectrum for dogs (25.1-50 lbs.)

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Sentinel© Spectrum for dogs (50.1-100 lbs.)

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Side effects with Sentinel© Spectrum are relatively uncommon. Side effects may include vomiting, depression/lethargy, pruritus, urticaria, diarrhea, anorexia, skin congestion, ataxia, convulsions, salivation, and weakness. If you suspect your dog is experiencing side effects after taking Sentinel© Spectrum, contact your vet for a consultation. For complete safety information, see the product’s label.   

Anatolian Shepherd

Ancestors of today’s Anatolian Shepherds are some of the oldest domestic canine bloodlines known, dating back thousands of years, according to the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America (ASDCA). Originally bred in Turkey as livestock guardians, Anatolian Shepherd dogs made their way to the U.S. in the 1950s. Their ability to protect livestock has made them a highly sought-after working breed, and Anatolian Shepherds have even been employed to protect endangered cheetahs in Namibia, Africa.

With males weighing 110-150 pounds and standing an average of 29 inches, and females 80-120 pounds and 27 inches, the Anatolian Shepherd’s size can easily intimidate threats to their flock. Bred for their ability to independently guard livestock, this hardworking breed is loyal to both their families and flock.

Caring for an Anatolian Shepherd

The Anatolian Shepherd’s ability to independently guard livestock makes them highly valuable as working dogs; however, in urban life this translates to a breed that can be difficult to keep happy.

While they don’t require excessive activity and outdoor playtime in a securely fenced-in yard is typically sufficient, Anatolian Shepherds are naturally wary of strangers, and their independent nature can make training a challenge. Because of this, the dogs need an experienced pet parent to guide and socialize them. They require a family that understands the traits of the breed and can manage the responsibility that comes with them.

Anatolian Shepherd Health Issues

Anatolian Shepherds are generally healthy and hardy, but reputable breeders should screen for certain growth and eye disorders.

Growth Disorders

Elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia occur when the bones of the elbow or hip joints do not align appropriately. This causes rubbing and grinding of the bones that, over time, results in joint deterioration and loss of function.

Elbow and hip dysplasia can be hereditary conditions in Anatolian Shepherds, but the conditions can also be exacerbated by contributing factors such as exercise habits, weight, and nutrition. Treatment varies depending on severity.


Anatolian Shepherds can be predisposed to an eye disorder called entropion, which is when the eyelid grows inward and causes the eyelashes to rub against the eye’s surface. In most cases, veterinarians can easily diagnose and treat the dog with surgical intervention.

Sensitivity to Anesthesia

While Anatolian Shepherds can undergo anesthetic procedures such as spay/neuter surgery or dental cleanings, they can be more sensitive to anesthesia than other breeds. This means it can sometimes take longer for them to recover from anesthesia, and your veterinarian will be mindful of this and closely monitor your dog when anesthesia is used.

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus

Gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV) is a severe form of bloat in dogs that can affect any deep-chested breed, including Anatolian Shepherds.

Gastric dilatation or bloat typically happen when a large amount of food and gas in the stomach, such as after a big meal, prevents the stomach’s normal outflow. The increase in pressure from the gas builds up, causing the stomach to expand and putting pressure on the diaphragm. This impedes normal breathing and prevents major veins from returning blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow causes a loss of blood to the stomach and, when combined with the high pressure from within, can lead to rupture.

It’s important to know when your Anatolian Shepherd may be showing signs of GDV, as this can be a life-threatening condition. Seek immediate veterinary care if any of these signs are noted:

Distended abdomen

Retching without producing vomit

General signs of abdominal pain, such as standing and stretching or drooling

What To Feed an Anatolian Shepherd

Selecting the best diet for an Anatolian Shepherd comes down to the needs of the individual dog. While it’s always important to select a diet with high-quality ingredients, it’s best to discuss this with your dog’s veterinarian, as they can make recommendations based on your pup’s specific medical history. In general, Anatolian Shepherds do well on a large-breed diet formulated for their current life stage; Anatolian Shepherd puppies should be fed a large-breed puppy food before transitioning to an adult formula.

How To Feed an Anatolian Shepherd

Anatolian Shepherds are deep-chested dogs, meaning they can be susceptible to GDV or bloat. To help prevent this life-threatening condition, feed your Anatolian Shepherd at least two or three small meals throughout the day and avoid exercise around mealtimes.

How Much Should You Feed an Anatolian Shepherd?

Adult Anatolian Shepherds can weigh between 80-150 pounds, which means the amount of food they require daily can vary. It’s helpful to follow the instructions on your dog food bag, which has recommended portion sizes for your pup based on their weight.

Nutritional Tips for Anatolian Shepherds

For Anatolian Shepherds that have growth disorders affecting their joints such as hip or elbow dysplasia, it’s beneficial to give them nutritional supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin to help keep their joints healthy. Omega-3 supplements also aid in protecting joint health, and keep their skin and coat healthy. 

Behavior and Training Tips for Anatolian Shepherds

Anatolian Shepherd Personality and Temperament

Anatolian Shepherd dogs are generally quite calm and subdued, but they won’t hesitate to leap into action if they perceive a threat to their family or flock. Their instinctive nature to protect their loved ones makes them good dogs in families with older children who understand how to interact with dogs. However, Anatolian Shepherds might be best in homes without smaller children, who can easily be knocked down by an accidental bump from a 150-pound dog. When Anatolian Shepherd puppies are introduced at a young age, they typically get along well with other pets.

Anatolian Shepherd Behavior

Anatolian Shepherds were bred for thousands of years to be guardians. This means they tend to bark— especially if they perceive a threat toward their home or territory. Close-by neighbors might not appreciate this behavior, so Anatolian Shepherds won’t make the best options for families with shared walls.

Anatolian Shepherd Training

Anatolian Shepherds were originally bred to independently guard a flock, and that independent personality has persisted over time. Their need for independence often comes off as stubbornness, and it can make training challenging. But as with all breeds, consistency and positive reinforcement provide the best outcomes. Anatolian Shepherd puppies need early socialization with many different people, places, and animals when they’re young, so they don’t grow up thinking every new experience is a threat.  

Fun Activities for Anatolian Shepherds 

Working on farms


Water sports and swimming

Anatolian Shepherd Grooming Guide

Anatolian Shepherds have a short—but thick—double coat designed to protect them as they work outdoors. Though they shed moderately all year, their coats are relatively low-maintenance.

Coat Care 

Anatolian Shepherds have an undercoat that sheds twice a year, and pet parents need to keep up with thorough brushing every few days to remove dead hair. Outside of this biannual coat blowing, their short outer coat is smooth and only requires weekly brushing for maintenance. 

Eye Care

Though Anatolian Shepherd puppies can be born with entropion, a genetic eye condition, they are not typically prone to tear stains or other eye issues. If you notice excessive tearing, eye discharge, or redness, take your pup to the veterinarian, as these can all be signs of entropion.

Ear Care

Routine cleaning with a veterinarian-approved ear cleanser is important for maintaining your Anatolian Shepherd’s healthy ear canals. This should also be done any time your dog has been in water, such as after swimming or bathing.

Considerations for Pet Parents

The breed’s long lineage as livestock guardians can make living with an Anatolian Shepherd challenging for pet parents who don’t know what they are getting into. These dogs do best in experienced homes with families that are prepared for the responsibility of owning this large, independent, and protective breed.

Early socialization is key to help prevent an Anatolian Shepherd puppy from thinking everything new is a threat. And while Anatolian Shepherds are not often found excelling in obedience championships because of their desire for independent thinking, with patience and routine they can be very well-mannered companions.

Anatolian Shepherd FAQs

Do Anatolian Shepherds bark a lot?

Because of their long history as livestock guardians, Anatolian Shepherds do tend to bark, especially when they perceive a threat to their flock or home.

Are Kangal dogs and Anatolian Shepherds the same?

At first glance, it’s easy to confuse a Kangal dog and an Anatolian Shepherd, as they have many similar characteristics. However, the Kangal dog is slightly larger and has a longer coat. And while both were bred as independent livestock guardians, Kangal dogs are known to be more affectionate toward their families, while Anatolian Shepherds tend to prefer their independence.

How big do Anatolian Shepherds get?

Adult males can weigh 110-150 pounds and stand an average of 29 inches. Female Anatolian Shepherds average 80-120 pounds and grow to be 27 inches tall.

Featured Image: iStock/irinaorel

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Teresa Kho-Pelfrey, DVM


Dr. Teresa Kho-Pelfrey graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2015 and completed her clinical year at Purdue…

Torn Knee Ligament in Dogs

What is a Torn Knee Ligament in a Dog?

A dog’s knee, also referred to as a stifle, is a complex structure consisting of:

Multiple bonesFemur (thigh bone)Patella (kneecap)Tibia (shinbone)LigamentsMeniscus

While there are multiple ligaments within the knee, typically a torn knee ligament refers to the tearing of the cranial cruciate ligament. The cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) is the equivalent of the human anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This ligament helps stabilize the knee in dogs by keeping the tibia from sliding too far in front of the femur. A CrCL rupture is a snapping of this ligament which decreases the stability of the knee.

The degree of lameness noted can vary with the type of damage to the ligament (partial or full tear) and can compound or worsen over time as the disease of the ligament and other internal knee structures progresses. Around 50% of animals that develop a torn ligament and rupture in one knee will develop it in the other knee at some time in the future.

Symptoms of Torn Knee Ligaments in Dogs

Hind-leg lameness is the most obvious symptom of a torn knee ligament. Severity may vary from intermittent lameness after activity to an inability to bear weight on the affected leg. When sudden incidents of full or partial tears occur, you may also notice swelling or pain when touching or manipulating your dog’s knee.

Causes of Torn Knee Ligament in Dogs

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There are two potential causes of a torn knee ligament in dogs.

Over time, the CrCL develops damage due to wear and tear from physical activity and stress on the knee. This wear and tear is referred to as cranial cruciate ligament disease. Typically, cranial cruciate ligament disease (CrCLD) occurs over a period of months to years.

Cranial Cruciate Ligament Disease occurs due to many pre-existing conditions or compounding medical issues throughout the animal’s life, including:

BreedAging/degeneration of the ligamentObesityGeneticsPoor structural conformation of the knee

As this damage/wear and tear accumulates, eventually the cranial cruciate ligament will rupture during use. Typically, this accumulation of damage to the cranial cruciate ligament is what leads to the tearing of the ligament. The second potential cause is a sudden traumatic rupture of the CrCL. This occurs due to a trauma (being struck by a vehicle) or an athletic situation (playing rough at a dog park) in young, healthy dogs whose ligaments have not incurred any prior damage. Sudden traumatic rupture is not typically common.

How Veterinarians Diagnose Torn Knee Ligament in Dogs

Veterinarians diagnose a fully torn CrCL by noting cranial drawer. Cranial drawer is instability in the knee that occurs when the knee is manipulated by the veterinarian and is present only when the CrCL is completely torn.

To detect cranial drawer the veterinarian will grasp the thigh bone and shin bone and try to pull the shin bone in front of the thigh bone. An intact CrCL will prevent the shin bone from going past the thigh bone. The cranial drawer test helps to determine if there are any “clicks” between the muscle and joint. Proper radiographs and evaluation for cranial drawer may require sedation due to the strength of the muscles around the knee and compliance of the pet to restraint.

Absence of cranial drawer indicates that there is not a full tear to the CrCL. The veterinarian will also do the following:

Observe the dog’s gait while walkingFeel the knee for joint effusion (accumulation of extra fluid in the joint capsule)Look for signs of pain on manipulation of the knee

Typically, radiographs (X-rays) are required to evaluate the internal structures of the knee to assess for the presence and severity of joint effusion or arthritis, and for surgical planning, if needed.

There are currently three options for surgical correction of a torn knee ligament in dogs:

Extra-capsular suture stabilization: This procedure is the least invasive of the surgical options because it does not alter the bones surrounding the knee. It is designed to fill the function of the torn CrCL (which is inside the knee joint capsule) with a nylon monofilament suture material similar to fishing line. The suture material is placed outside the joint capsule and secured around the tibia and femur. This procedure is typically used for smaller dogs (under 40 pounds) and dogs that are more inactive.Tibial plato leveling osteotomy (TPLO) and Tibial Tuberosity Advancement (TTA): Both procedures involve cutting into the tibia in different ways and placing screws and bone plates to alter the alignment and mechanics of the knee. This allows for the knee to be stabilized without a functional CrCL. One of these procedures is typically recommended for active, young or large breeds of dogs over 40 pounds in weight.Medications: Your vet may recommend medications to help with pain and inflammation as your dog recovers post-surgery. These may include:Anti-inflammatories (Galliprant, Rimadyl, Carprofen or Meloxicam)Sedatives (Trazadone or Gabapentin)Adequan injections (promotes healthy joints)Joint supplements (Glucosamine and Chondroitin)

Physical therapy and Necessary Follow-up Treatment

Discussion with your veterinarian/surgeon will help determine which procedure is best for your pet. Multiple variables, such as size, activity level, knee stability, age, and finances are used to decide which procedure is the most beneficial.

Recovery and Management of Torn Knee Ligaments in Dogs

Lameness is usually present for up to a month after surgery but improves over time. A three-  to four-month period of strict cage rest is typically required for proper healing after the surgery. Strict cage rest refers to the pet being always confined to a small room/kennel – except for short leash walks for the bathroom, laying with family members or eating.  All unconfined activity should only be allowed under strict observation by a family member to prevent the pet from overusing the affected knee. Increased or excessive activity prior to healing can result in surgical complications and failure of the procedure performed.

It also is important to avoid slippery surfaces and sudden large changes in elevation (such as stairs and getting on and off furniture). After the initial rest period, a slow progressive workload of the limb is recommended, with expected full recovery and limb use after six months.

Torn Knee Ligament in Dogs FAQs

How much does cruciate ligament rupture surgery in dogs’ cost?

Typical costs of surgical correction for a CrCL rupture varies greatly depending on the size of the animal, location in the country and type of procedure performed. The average cost for one of these surgical procedures can range from $2,000 to $5,000.

Can a dog recover from a torn ligament without surgery?

A dog can live with a torn ligament, but arthritis and lameness in the knee and hind leg will progress without surgical correction.

Can a dog’s partially torn ligament heal on its own?

A partially torn CrCL will not heal on its own due to a poor blood supply to the ligament.

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Sean Jones, DVM

Sean Jones was born and raised in Louisiana and attended Louisiana State University for veterinary school. He spent most of his career…

Cryptorchidism in Dogs

What is Cryptorchidism in Dogs?

Cryptorchidism is a condition found in male dogs in which one or both testicles have not descended into the testicular sac (scrotum). Testicles usually descend around 6–16 weeks of age. 

When a dog is born, the testicles are generally located near the inguinal ring, an area around the groin, and are guided by the gubernaculum, a structure that connects the testicle to the scrotum. During development, this structure is located near the kidney. 

Cryptorchidism occurs when the gubernaculum fails to develop properly, causing the testicle or testicles to fail to descend into the scrotum. If only one testicle descends, it is usually the left testicle, with the right testicle failing to do so. When neither testicle descends, the dog is typically sterile, since the body temperature usually prevents sperm production.  

Causes of Cryptorchidism in Dogs

Cryptorchidism is genetic and linked to the X chromosome. If the parental history of the dog is known and the father had cryptorchidism, there is an increased chance that the offspring may have it. Breeds likely to have the cryptorchidism gene include: 

Yorkshire Terriers 


French Poodles 

Siberian huskies 

Miniature Schnauzers 

Shetland Sheepdogs 


German Shepherds 


Brachycephalic (smoosh-faced) breeds 

How Do Vets Diagnose Cryptorchidism in Dogs?

Cryptorchidism may be diagnosed based on family history. When family history is unknown, your vet will do the following in a physical exam: 

Check the scrotal sac and its contents to make sure there are no swellings and that both testicles are present in the sac. 

If the testicles are not palpable in the sac, the vet will palpate the rest of the abdomen and the area near the groin to check for any structure that may feel like a testicle. 

Examine the penis to check for penile spines, which disappear after neutering (6 weeks). 

Additional testing may be recommended, such as an hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) or GnRH (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone) response tests, that is done to evaluate castration status. Typically, a GnRH test is used, when possible, because there is decreased risk of an allergic reaction. 

Treatment of Cryptorchidism in Dogs

The only treatment for cryptorchidism is surgery. The dog should be neutered to avoid breeding, and to prevent testicular torsion and testicular cancer, which typically affect the undescended testicle. 

Surgery can be complicated because the undescended testicle must be located first. This can be done using the following procedures: 

Palpation: A procedure that includes using pressure points from fingers to identify a specific area. This may be helpful to determine if the testicle is located near the groin. 

Ultrasound: A medical device for imaging used to determine location of a testicle if it cannot be located through palpation. 

Exploratory surgery: A procedure where the abdominal cavity is opened, and the surgeon inspects various areas of the abdomen for the retained testicle. This typically takes place after palpation and ultrasound since the surgery helps to pinpoint where the testicle may be to minimize surgical time and complications. 

The undescended testicle(s) can be anywhere in the area between the scrotum and the kidney. They may be smaller than normal testicles, increasing the difficulty in locating them. The testicle(s) may be hidden in other tissue. Dogs with this issue will typically have multiple surgical sites to remove and locate both testicles.  

Cost of Surgery for Cryptorchidism in Dogs

Expect to pay more overall for this issue, as additional testing may be needed to locate the testicles and confirm their presence. There are additional considerations that factor into cost, including but not limited to: 

Increased surgical time caused by attempting to locate the undescended testicle 

Additional surgical sites and materials used during the procedure 

Additional surgeries that may be needed to correct the issue 

Referral to a specialist 

It is important to speak to the veterinarian about the surgical treatment plan to get an accurate range of cost.  

Recovery and Management of Cryptorchidism in Dogs

Delaying neutering until 1 year of age is typically recommended for puppies diagnosed with cryptorchidism, to give the testicle(s) time to descend into the scrotum. 

Even if both testicles do descend, it is still recommended to neuter a dog with cryptorchidism, since it is a hereditary defect of the gubernaculum. After the neuter procedure, recovery is typically two weeks total. 

It is beneficial to limit activity to reduce swelling as much as possible. Dogs may wear an Elizabethan collar or another comparable cone to prevent licking and irritation of the surgical site. The site should be checked daily for swelling and redness. 

Discuss surgical aftercare with your vet prior to surgery as well when picking up your dog after surgery to establish a follow-up timeline and make sure that surgical recovery is outlined. 

Cryptorchidism in Dogs FAQs

What are the surgical risks for cryptorchidism in dogs?

The most common complications from surgery can include hemorrhage, pain, swelling, surgical site splitting, discharging fluid, hypoglycemia, hypothermia.

Is cryptorchidism in dogs fatal?

No, the condition of cryptorchidism is not fatal. However, it can lead to cancer, which can be fatal.

Is cryptorchidism in dogs genetic?

Yes, cryptorchidism is genetic. It is associated with the X chromosome.


1. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Canine Reproductive Function Tests. March 13, 2019. 

2. Davidson AP. Canine cryptorchidism. Clinician’s Brief. January 2014. 

3. Lundgren B. Cryptorchidism (retained testicles) in dogs and cats. 

Veterinary Partner. August 8, 2017. 

4. Davidson AP. Reproductive disorders of male dogs. Merck Veterinary Manual. June 2018. Accessed February 9, 2022. 

Featured Image:

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Autumn Madden, DVM


I am from Washington, DC, and I wanted to be a veterinarian since watching my uncle on his farm at 8. I graduated from Tuskegee University…