Medical Articles

KCS/Dry Eye Syndrome Signs, Symptoms & Treatment Options for Pets

What is KCS? KCS is the abbreviation for “Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca”, the medical term for dry eye. When there is either inadequate tear production or abnormal distribution of tears, the eye surface becomes desiccated or “dried out”. Signs of KCS may include a red eye, squinting, crusty and/or mucoid discharge, or dull appearance to the cornea (clear outer dome of the eye). What is so important about having normal tears? The surface of the eye is covered by a thin layer…

Feline Herpes Signs, Symptoms & Treatment Options

One of the more common ophthalmic diseases seen in cats is herpes virus infection. Herpes virus is suspected any time a cat has an infection on the eye surface that does not respond to antibiotics. The virus causes conjunctivitis (inflammation of the pink tissue surrounding the eye) and/or corneal ulcerations. What is Herpes Virus? Feline herpes virus is specific to cats. In fact, most mammals have their own type of herpes virus. These viruses will not infect other species, so…

Cherry Eye (Prolapsed Third Eyelid Gland) Signs, Symptoms & Treatment Options

What is a “Cherry Eye”? Within the folds of the lower eyelid, there is an extra membrane called a “third eyelid” or “nictitans”. Located at the base of the third eyelid is a gland that produces tears.  This is one of two tear producing glands around the eye. This third eyelid gland produces approximately 30-40% of the tears for the eye. The gland is normally hidden below the third eyelid, kept in position by a small ligament. The gland prolapses…

Corneal Sequestrum Signs, Symptoms & Treatment Options

A corneal sequestrum is a dense, black spot on the cornea (the clear front part of the eye). The development of a sequestrum follows this sequence: A cat suffers trauma, exposure or infection of the cornea, usually resulting in a corneal ulcer (a defect in the surface layers of the cornea). Sometimes, for reasons that are not understood, these corneal ulcers fail to heal and the exposed layers become sequestered from the healthy adjacent cornea and undergo cell death. Pigments…

Signs, Symptoms & Treatment of Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) & Vision Loss in Dogs and Cats

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an untreatable but painless disease of the retina that leads to blindness. Light reaches the retina forms an image much as it does on the film in a camera. Cells in the retina called rods and cones change this light into electrical impulses that travel along the optic nerve to the brain where the electrical impulses are translated into the sensation we know as vision. In PRA, the rods and cones degenerate and die, therefore…

Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Myxomatous Valvular Degeneration (MVD) in Dogs

Summary: Myxomatous valvular degeneration (MVD) is a slowly progressive condition that affects heart valve anatomy and function in middle-aged to older dogs. It is rarely noted in cats. Its exact cause is unknown, but it is more common in small breed dogs suggesting some genetic predisposition. Animals frequently develop a heart murmur but may remain asymptomatic for several years. Complications of late stages of the disease include congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, and eventual death of severely affected patients. Medications are…

Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) in Cats

  Summary: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common heart disease of the cat. It is believed to be an inherited disorder in most cases. Symptoms of HCM vary considerably from cat to cat but a heart murmur is a common finding. Early detection and treatment generally lead to an improved prognosis for survival. Genetic testing is currently available for Maine Coon cats and Rag Doll cats. A negative genetic test for the currently known mutation does not guarantee that…

Signs, Symptoms and Treatment for Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in Dogs

Summary: Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease of predominantly large and giant breed dogs that results in progressive heart muscle dysfunction, chamber dilation, and eventual congestive heart failure or death of affected patients. The exact cause of the condition is unknown but genetic factors are presumed to play a role. There is no known effective preventative strategy for the condition. Treatment for affected individuals may improve their quality of life, delay the onset of heart failure symptoms, and potentially improve life…