Health Tips
Canine and Feline share in common their susceptibility to diseases of the mouth, teeth and gums. Increasingly, veterinarians are diagnosing Periodontal Disease 
Periodontal diseases are a group of diseases that affect the tissues that support and anchor the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease results in the destruction of the gums, alveolar bone (the part of the jaws where , which if left untreated, can result in life-threatening diseases affecting major organs, including the kidney, liver and heart. While it often begins with a simple case of "bad breath" that is ignored, advanced periodontal disease can destroy tissue, resulting in serious infections and eventually can cause irreversible organ damage or even death.
 A dog or cat may swallow a flea while self-grooming. By swallowing a flea infected with a tapeworm larvae the flea is digested inside the dog or cat, the larval tapeworm is free to develop into an adult tapeworm.
Signs of heat stroke are intense, rapid panting, wide eyes, salivating, staggering and weakness.  Advanced heat stroke victims will collapse and become unconscious.  The gums will appear pale and dry. If heat stroke is suspected and you can take the animal's temperature rectally, any temperature above 106 degrees is dangerous.  The longer the temperature remains at or above 106 degrees the more serious the situation.  If you return to your car or the area in which the animal was confined and find your pet seems to be highly agitated, wide-eyed and panting uncontrollably... start for the nearest animal hospital right away with the air conditioning at full blast.  Otherwise get the dog to a cool area and begin the treatment for heat stroke.

Take the pet's temperature rectally if possible.  A body temperature of about 105 degrees or higher is probable evidence forheat stroke. Place your pet in a tub of cool running water or spray with a hose being sure the cool water contacts the skin and doesn't simply run off the coat. Thoroughly wet the belly and inside the legs. Run the cool water over the tongue and mouth.  Take a rectal temperature if possible to know when to stop cooling.  A safe temperature is about 103 degrees.  A small dog will cool down much faster than a large dog.  Once the temperature gets to 103 or 104 degrees do not cool the pet any further because the cooling effects will continue to bring the temperature down even further.  Seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. 


The most common SIGN of hypothyroidism is a loss of hair, often on the tail, hindquarters or flank that is NOT the result of scratching. It may range from a very thin hair coat to complete baldness. Other signs include dry scaly skin, dry brittle hair, bleaching of the hair coat, possibly oily skin, increased pigmentation of the skin, thickening of the skin, increased susceptibility to skin and ear infections, and high blood cholesterol. It also may predispose the pet to a condition called “dry eye” due to thickened tears.

Advanced cases of hypothyroidism may cause lethargy and obesity, even on a limited diet. The pet may not want to exercise, may seek out warm places, and may have cold clammy skin. Breeding dogs may have a lack of libido and/or irregular estrus cycles.

DIAGNOSIS of hypothyroidism is confirmed by blood tests.

TREATMENT of hypothyroidism is supplementation with thyroid medications. You should see an improvement in the overall condition of the pet in 2-4 weeks, but changes in hair coat take 1-6 months, depending on the rate of new hair growth for the particular pet.

HYPOTHYROIDISM IS TREATABLE BUT NOT CURABLE! The drug will need to be given for the rest of the dog’s life.

FOLLOW-UP IS IMPORTANT. Blood tests to monitor the blood thyroid levels must be done on a regular basis to re-adjust the medication dosage as needed to maintain proper blood concentrations of the medication.


Hyperthyroidism is already a relatively common disease of older cats (over 8 years of age). In almost all cases, it is caused by a non-malignant growth of the thyroid gland that causes an increased production of thyroid hormone.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include weight loss, enormous appetite,
poor hair coat, hyperactivity, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The diagnosis of hyperthyroidism can be confirmed by running blood tests to determine the cat's thyroid hormone level. Additional blood test should be performed to screen for other health problems that might be present in older cats and might influence treatment choice and prognosis.

Hyperthyroidism is a progressive disease.
Symptoms, if untreated, will continue to worsen until the cat dies.

The treatment options discussed below offer advantages and disadvantages, which must be considered for each cat and its owner.


1. MEDICATION--the anti-thyroid drugs can be used to control the signs of
hyperthyroidism. These drugs block the production of thyroid hormone. They do not
destroy the tumor, and therefore will not cure the disease. However, it can effectively
control the signs of hyperthyroidism when given daily. Since therapy requires giving the cat tablets every day (initially 2-3 times a day), we do not recommend this treatment if you can't give your cat oral medication. It must be given diligently. If drug treatment is interrupted, even for a day or two, hormone levels will increase and signs will return.

2. SURGERY--Surgery can be performed to remove overly active thyroid glands, thereby curing the hyperthyroid state. Since your cat is older, you may be worried about increased surgical risk. However, in the majority of cats without concurrent medical disease, the risk is minimal. The newest surgical protocol calls for removal of one gland and then re-testing the cat after 30 days to determine if the other side must also be removed. In many cases, only one side will require removal.

3. RADIATION THERAPY. Radiation therapy can also be used to destroy the thyroid tissue.