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Eosinophilic granuloma complex in dogs and cats

My cat has a strange sore - almost like a fever blister - on her upper lip

What is eosinophilic granuloma complex?

Eosinophilic granuloma complex (EGC) is a disease complex that presents in three main forms, namely an eosinophilic ulcer (also known as a rodent or indolent ulcer), an eosinophilic plaque or an eosinophilic granuloma. These conditions are more commonly found in cats and horses, and only occasionally in dogs.



Urolithiasis

My pet has begun to pee a lot more frequently, but in smaller amounts. Even though she's house-trained, she still pees in the house and sometimes there is blood in her urine.

What is urolithiasis?

Urolithiasis is the long-winded Latin term to describe the development of bladder and kidney stones. The term ‘uro’ describes the urinary system, while ‘lith’ means stone.



Rabies

I've heard on the news that there's a new outbreak of rabies in dogs. What are the symptoms and what should I do?

Towards the end of June 2021, the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) informed the public of an outbreak of Rabies in the Cradle of Humankind area. Near the end of August 2021, the Western Cape government issued a warning of a new rabies outbreak and encouraged pet owners to ensure their pets' rabies shots are up to date. In early August, three women were attacked by a honey badger and tested positive for rabies, while earlier in September, a young boy in the Eastern Cape died from rabies as the result of a dog bite. Traditionally, rabies was considered to be restricted to Kwa-Zulu Natal and KZN was declared an endemic area for rabies. Unfortunately, it is no longer the case and the whole of South Africa is now considered endemic.



Eclampsia in pets

My dog/cat recently had puppies/kittens and is starting to show strange twitches and spasms

What is eclampsia?

Eclampsia is a life-threatening condition in dogs and cats that have recently had a litter of puppies or kittens. It has been seen in pets that are pregnant or giving birth, but more commonly occurs one to four weeks after giving birth. It is a medical emergency caused by a sudden drop in blood calcium levels, usually due to calcium loss during pregnancy and nursing.



Pet heroism

Who is saving whom? How pets improve our lives

Carey was sitting on the kitchen floor; the low downlights hardly penetrating the shadows reflecting her sombre mood. It had been an incredibly tough year and she was at that point of wondering what it was all for. Her neighbours had moved out, friends were few and far between; there was hardly anyone to miss her – not immediately anyway. What was stopping her from doing something stupid with the paring knife in her hand? At that moment, the silence in her flat was punctuated by the unmistakable sound of little dog paws on tiles and then two fuzzy heads peeked out from behind the kitchen cupboard. Both her miniature pinscher and chiweenie flattened their ears against their heads and wagged nervously, but mustered all their courage to approach their teary-eyed human in that dark hole on the kitchen floor. With hands full of furry friends, there’s no room for despair and hopelessness. Carey had saved them once upon a time, and this was just their way of returning the favour. What was stopping her indeed?



Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs and cats

My pet tires quickly when playing or exercising and sometimes has a soft cough like trying to clear their throat

What is dilated cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a disease condition of the heart muscle that inhibits its ability to function properly. In the case of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), the heart muscle is stretched and the muscle is thin and flabby, affecting its pumping ability. Dilated cardiomyopathy can affect both pets and people.

The heart is designed as a pump where each contraction pushes blood from the lungs to the rest of the body and back again. This allows the oxygen we breathe in to be absorbed in the blood and distributed to where it is needed. When the pump itself is affected, the distribution and flow of blood is compromised. In DCM, the bottom chambers of the heart, which are the power house for the pumping action, are dilated and thin, and unable to properly expel the blood presented to them from the lungs and body. This leads to a backup behind the heart. Depending on which side of the heart is more severely affected, this usually ends up with fluid and blood buildup in the lungs. In DCM, it is usually all four chambers of the heart that are stretched and affected, not just one side. This stretching of the muscle also affects the electrical conduction of the heart and its ability to pump at a normal rhythm.



COVID-19 and Your Pets: Update

The SARS-CoV-2 Virus

It has been more than a year since COVID-19, caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, has been declared a worldwide pandemic. Much research has been done regarding many aspects of the virus, the disease process it causes as well as the spread of the virus. In the wake of the anticipation of South Africa’s ‘third wave’ of COVID-19 infections, this article serves as a follow-up discussion regarding information that has come to light in the past year.



Domestic pet poisoning

My pet may have eaten something poisonous. How do I know if she will be alright?

Poisoning is a common occurrence in domestic animals like dogs and cats. The most widely observed route of poisoning is via the mouth (orally), but topical poisoning and other routes of intoxication are also possible. No matter the route of poisoning, it’s critical to treat each individual case of poisoning as a matter of urgency, as some poisons could be life-threatening for the pet. In this article, we give an overview of the most commonly encountered poisons in private practice in this part of the world.



Malicious poisoning of dogs

I think my dog has been poisoned! What must I do?

What poisons are used on dogs?

The most commonly used poisons are organophosphates (malathion, disufloton, acephate, parathion), carbamates (Aldicarb, Temik/‘two-step’) and rat poison. Organophosphates and carbamates are insecticides used for both agricultural and household applications. Temik is often used despite being a restricted substance, and may be combined with other substances. The tiny bluish-black granules, which are white on the inside when crushed, are commonly hidden in something tasty such as a piece of sausage, polony, meat or bread. Clinical signs of poisoning start within minutes to hours after exposure to the poison. Temik can kill dogs very quickly or even suddenly due to a build-up of secretions in and/or paralysis of the breathing system.



Coughing

My pet seems to have a persistent cough. What caused it and what can I do about it?

Coughing is one of the most common syndromes veterinarians all around the world encounter during consultations. Coughing in itself is not a disease, but a symptom of something else in your pet. The onset, type of cough, duration and production will help the vet to get to the bottom of what’s going on inside your pet.

What is coughing?

Coughing is an audible, forceful expelling of air from the lungs usually in an attempt to clear the airways. Forceful expulsion of air should follow forceful inhalation for the whole action to qualify as a cough. A cough is actually a protective reflex of the body, which signals the presence of an underlying condition. Coughing is generally classified into two main categories namely a wet/productive cough or a dry/non-productive cough. A wet cough is one in which there is an accompanying fluid or mucous discharge seen with each episode; while a dry cough has no discharge or fluid.  



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