immagine Le anemie nel cane e nel gatto: come riconoscerle e cosa fare

Anemia in dogs and cats: how to recognize it

In this page we deal with a very important symptom, not easy to see but which we must be aware of and for which we must periodically check our dog and our cat: in fact, we are talking about anemia, situations in which the blood cannot perform its normal functions.

The blood

Blood is a bit like the road system of the body of our animals. If there were no roads and vehicles that run through them every day, it would be very difficult to live: we would not have to eat, drink, we would not be able to go to work.

The blood has somewhat the same function: it is used to transport nutrients, the oxygen that enters the lungs, the hormones, the white blood cells that defend the body.

In the blood, we have a liquid part, composed of water, nutrients, proteins that perform the most varied functions, and a solid part, made up of small beings (cells) that can have a defense function for our body or transport oxygen.

The lastly mentioned are the red blood cells, which transport oxygen. They give the typical red colour to all bloods.

The oxygen is inhaled by the animal through the mouth and nose, absorbed in the lungs and "stick" to the red blood cells, which carry it to every part of the body. Without oxygen, the organs do not perform their functions, and in its absence we can die in a few minutes.


Returning to the main topic, anemia is the lack of red blood cells. Few red blood cells means little oxygen around the body.

The causes can be the most varied: in general, if there are few red blood cells it means either less are produced or that too many are destroyed.

In the first case, the lower production, generally, is a problem in the bone marrow (produces red blood cells), and thorough investigations and very targeted therapies will have to be carried out to solve the problem. Even little iron in the diet, which is essential to produce them, can lead to a shortage of red blood cells.

Excessive loss can be caused by some diseases that have destroyed red blood cells, or by wounds or bleeding that have made blood come out of the body. 

Firstly, the animal is breathing heavily. It is a logical thing: the body does not receive oxygen because there are no red blood cells, by not knowing the cause, the body tries to put more oxygen inside the body with breathing.

If the organs, and in particular the defensive system, do not receive "fuel", the animal will appear tired, will have little desire to move and eat, will unwillingly follow us and will sleep a lot. In severe cases, we can also encounter fever, because the body's defensive system is weakened by this situation.

A very important index that everyone should know to evaluate anemia, is the color of the mucous membranes.

Do this test now, which may be useful for the future. Go to your dog or cat and lift their lip. You will see the internal mucosa pink in colour, if the animal is well. Here, now press with your fingertip (without hurting him) on the inside of the lip, on the pink part, for a few seconds. Remove your finger and you will realize that the point where you pressed has turned white, because you have cut off the blood supply for a few seconds; within two seconds, the colour will return to normal. You may have noticed, however, that there is a fairly clear difference between the white of the point where you pressed and the pink of the normal mucosa.

In case you notice that your pet has the symptoms we talked about before, repeat this test (maybe bookmark this page, so you can look back at it)

If the difference in colour is not as noticable as the one you have just seen, or if there was not difference at all, it means that there is some problem, and it is necessary to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible, because there is anemia. The mucous membranes are clear because there are fewer red blood cells than normal in the blood; in fact, they give the typical red colour to the blood. As we said before, consequently the mucous membranes, which would be white, becomes pink).


How are anemias treated?

Anemia therapy is obviously carried out by the veterinarian. Verifying its presence is simple: all you need is a very common blood test, which measure the number of red blood cells.

Depending on the severity of the problem, a blood transfusion from another dog or cat may be required. When the problems are less serious, somehow, an attempt is made to stimulate the body to produce more red blood cells than normal.

In any case, anemia is a situation that we need to know to be able to bring our pet to the vet as soon as possible.

Acting early is the best way to avoid the worst consequences of this situation.


immagine Il megaesofago nel cane e nel gatto, che cos'è e qual è la terapia

Mega esophagus in dogs and cats, what is it and what is the therapy

In this article, we will be talking about  the mega esophagus disease, which generally affects dogs of different ages. It can appear immediately at birth but also after many years. In some cases, it is only seen after some time, when its consequences may have become serious.

It is therefore very important to know how to recognize the symptoms as soon as possible, so that you can consult a veterinarian and start the therapy. 

What is it?

The esophagus, which dogs have exactly like us, is the tube that starts from the pharynx (the "throat") and reaches the stomach. Its function is to make the ingested food flow from the mouth to the stomach, where it will be digested before passing through the intestine.

The esophagus is a very narrow tube, when empty (i.e. when food does not pass) it has a diameter of about 1 cm in a dog. It is mainly made up of muscles, which carry food "down the tube", preventing it from staying inside. If this mechanism doesn't work we come across the mega esophagus.

The causes can be varied.

The presence of the right aortic arch is a situation in which a blood vessel is straddling the esophagus, (the blood vessel is useful in foetal life (the foetus does not eat)) and does not atrophy, it becomes a ligament and then breaks, as it would happen to normal things. There remains a blood vessel with a lot of blood inside, and it "chokes" the esophagus preventing the passage of food: thus the part that is located above the "choking" expands abnormally and the food stagnates in this cavity and putrefies, which is very dangerous.

This case occurs in about 10% of cases and affects foetal blood vessel which affects puppies. We realize this when they stop drinking milk (which is able to pass as it is liquid) and start eating solid foods.

Acquired idiopathic mega esophagus, is a very similar situation that generally affects adult dogs, (large dogs are mostly affected). It constitutes 75% of the cases of mega esophagus.

"Idiopathic" means "the cause of which is unknown": Practically, without any explanation, at a certain age, there are defects in the innervation of the esophagus, which no longer responds to brain control. As a result, the muscles of the esophagus that push food towards the stomach do not work, and the food does not stimulate the opening of the cardia (the "mouth of the stomach") and remains in the esophagus. Here it accumulates and begins to rot as it did in the other case.

The third case is where there is a nervous pathology (such as distemper) or other types of diseases that damage the muscles, which lead to defects in the functioning of the esophagus, resulting in a mega esophagus. The resolution is to treat the causing disease, obviously, if it is possible to cure it.

The mega esophagus is dangerous not only because the animal remains undernourished since the food does not pass, but also because in some cases the food that "stagnates" could return to the mouth and end up in the lungs, where it can lead to death in very few days because of the big infection it creates.

Symptoms of the mega esophagus

The most common symptom is regurgitation, which can occur immediately after a meal or after a few hours.

It is important to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation: vomiting, is the expulsion of digested material from the mouth, it is preceded by retching and is generally a "loose" or liquid substance. The regurgitation is instead undigested material, which is practically "spit" and, saliva aside, is very similar to the food that was put in the dog's bowl. If they were small meat pieces, we will still see them and recognize them.

Episodes of this kind (that repeat themselves over the days) lead the dog to lose weight (because, in fact, he has not eaten for several days). If this happens, it is highly recommended to be aware of the alarm bell and immediately take your pet to the vet.

Then the diagnosis is simple, the dog ingests an "opaque meal", which can be seen on the X-rays after a few minutes: if the opaque food is still in the esophagus and the diagnosis does not proceed, it is probably the mega esophagus.

Treatment and prognosis

Treatment is primarily surgical, although it may not be needed when the cause of the mega esophagus is another separate disease, which leads to this problem (mega esophagus). The vet will do extensive analysis and understand the best way to solve the problem, either with medications or with surgery.

If the problem is the presence of the aortic arch, surgery is necessary because it must be removed. The puppy might die if the heart problems deriving from the additional vessel are too serious or he can recover completely if there are no consequences, since the esophagus will be back to normal.

In the adult dog, the mouth of the stomach is usually anchored to the main respiratory muscle, the diaphragm: in this way, with each breath the stomach will open and the food will end up in it.

Some precautions will be necessary, such as providing food which is not on the ground (with the esophagus vertically the force of gravity helps the food to go down). With a little patience, although the disease cannot completely heal, our friend he can have a long life for many years to come.


immagine La tosse nel cane e nel gatto: le cause e cosa fare

Cough in pets: causes and what to do

Cough is a symptom that can also affect our animals. In this article, we will understand the reasons and causes of cough.

What is cough

Coughing is a reflex action that our body has to try to eliminate all unwanted substances present in the respiratory system, from the lungs to the bronchi and trachea. When mucus, bacteria, viruses, or dust build up in these structures, it can irritate them, stimulating the cough reflex. This is how the typical coughing noise occurs, due to the air being expelled violently and forcibly.

gatto fa la tosse

Cough can present itself with different characteristics based on the triggering cause or other aspects. In particular, the main types of cough include:

  • Dry cough: it is the classic "irritating" cough of humans, emitted with dull sounds, without anything being expelled during coughing;
  • Productive cough: this is defined as the cough that occurs with the escape of mucus, pus, blood or foamy material from the mouth or nose of the animal;
  • Flare-up or paroxysmal cough: coughing occurs suddenly and persists continuously for many seconds or minutes. Indicates a very important irritation of the respiratory system;
  • Painful cough: the dog or cat gives the impression that they refuse to cough, despite the presence of the stimulus. When the vet tries to provoke the cough reflex during the visit, they struggle;
  • Rare cough: the dog or cat only coughs a few times from time to time.

The causes

Coughing does not occur only in the presence of irritating or infectious stimuli. In other cases, in fact, it represents the symptom of some conditions and diseases, including:

  • Infections by bacteria, viruses and fungi;
  • Inflammation of the respiratory systems tract;
  • Allergies;
  • Bronchial asthma: in the presence of irritating or allergic stimuli or in the case of physical exertion, the animal's bronchi close, making breathing difficult. A typical hissing sound may be heard during inspiration and during the most severe asthma attacks the animal breathes quickly and with difficulty;
  • Lung tumours;
  • Cardiovascular disease: especially in dogs, coughing can indicate the presence of a heart or circulatory system problem. It occurs mainly after physical exertion, for example when climbing stairs or returning from a walk. Cardiovascular diseases are more frequent in older dogs, unless they are malformations or problems present from birth;
  • Presence of parasites in the lungs, such as cardiopulmonary filariasis;
  • Presence of foreign bodies in the respiratory system;
  • Pulmonary edema, that is, the presence of fluid inside the lungs.

At the same time, cough can manifest itself in animals exposed to certain situations, such as:

  • Prolonged exposure to air conditioning or heating;
  • Inhalation of dust;
  • Environments full of deodorants and perfumes;
  • Owners use of aggressive and irritating detergents;
  • Collars which are too tight;
  • The dog "pulls" the leash when it is taken out by the owner.

To be able to understand the causes of the cough, we must also look at accompanying symptoms, such as:

  • Sneezing;
  • Excessive tearing;
  • Temperature;
  • Altered voice;
  • Wheezing during inspiration;
  • Labored breathing;
  • Difficult breathing;
  • Expulsion of mucus, blood or foam from the nose or mouth.

cane auscultazione cuore

 What to do

If your dog or cat coughs, take them to the vet as soon as possible, who will be able to examine them thoroughly. Therapy must be established based on the outcome of the visit and any tests, such as blood tests and a chest X-ray, which can be useful for assessing the situation of the lungs and heart.

Your vet will tell you what to do.

In most cases, the initial therapy involves the administration of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, especially in the case of bacterial or viral infections. The vet will also be able to determine if it is appropriate to start an inhalation therapy, the classic aerosol that we also use when we have a cold. For dogs and cats it may be useful to lock them in their carrier or in a very small room, allowing them to breathe the vapors emitted by the aerosol device.

If the cause of the cough is identifiable in a heart problem, specific medications or surgery may be prescribed.

Even in the case of parasites and other types of infection, therapy is specific to the responsible agent.

In any case, it may be useful to observe the situations in which the animal senses the cough reflex. If they cough immediately after coming into contact with deodorants, detergents, powders and other substances, you should stop using them or clean the house with non-toxic products.

If the dog coughs when you take him outside, he is probably allergic to something in the air, so it will be necessary to treat the allergy and perhaps try to change the area of the daily walk.

In any case, do not underestimate an important symptom such as coughing, as your pet may need appropriate therapy as soon as possible. Take him to the vet, who will know what to do to help him get better.

immagine La salmonellosi nel cane e nel gatto: come prevenirla

Salmonella infection in dogs and cats: how to prevent it

Salmonella infection is well known both in humans and in our animal (either dogs or cats). Different scientific advances enabled the discovery of a cure to this infection. However, symptoms are still very harsh and it is best for us to avoid this infection in our animal through safety procedures.

immagine Le malattie della tiroide: che cosa sono e come si prevengono

Thyroid diseases: what are they and how do we prevent them

The thyroid is a very important gland both in humans and in our animal situated in the neck. 

The function of the thyroid is to produce thyroid hormones. Its function is not very known despite its very important role in the regulation of our dogs and cats metabolism. Any dysfunctionality might be due to both poor functionality or excessive functionality of the gland and respectively give origin to two different disease, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

It is very important for us to know about these disease because as time passes they might produce a lot of damage to our dog and cat. We must always evaluate our pets behavior and in any anomalous case, contact a vet.

immagine Le verminosi nel cane e nel gatto: che cosa sono e perché gli animali si "sverminano"?

worming in dogs and cats : what are they and why animals should remove worms

When we adopt a dog or a cat, generally when they are small, we often hear doctors talking about worm removal. The dog must ingest a tablet 3 to 4 times, depending on the instructions given by your vet. 

But what exactly is intestinal worming? Generally, we are talking about a large amount of worms that will include many different species. They enter in our pets organism and live as parasites, removing nutrients from the organism and causing different types of problems in our animal. 

Lets try to understand what worming is and why it is important to remove the worms in our dogs and cats. 

intestine worms

There are many type of worms that can become parasites in our animals body. There are so many that is it impossible for us to describe them and mention them in this page. Due to this, we will only be talking about strongyles and roundworms. We will be talking about tapeworms and non intestinal localized worm such as heart worms in another separate article.

There are many worms that live their whole life inside an animals organism whereas others tend to live outside the animals body. Roundworms are part of the first groups of worms, strongyles of the second one. 


For Roundworms, the most common type are the Toxocara canis which is specific for dogs and the Toxocara cati and Toxocara leoninca which is more specific for cats. 

These worms might also affect humans and in certain circumstances lead to diseases in our organism. 

Roundworms are very persistent and are not satisfied with parasitizing the intestine only. They often take a good walk around the dogs and cats body, producing damage where they can. 

They have tiny eggs that are undigested by the dog and the cat and are therefore released in its feces. They remain in the environment for a lot of time as they are very strong and resistant. If another animal eats the infected feces, the eggs will hatch inside the other animals intestine. They then start to migrate around the newly infected victim. They start from the intestine, then to the liver, then pass to the caudal vena cava (inferior vena cava in humans) and finally end up in the lungs.

Do they actually stop there? no they don't. They go through our bronchi and trachea to eventually end up in the throat. At this point the animal will notice them in the mouth and will swallow them again. They then go back inside the organism to the stomach and eventually in the intestine where they finally stop and start reproducing, producing eggs.

In all of this process the animals organism will react. If the animal had previous contact with these worms in the past they will try to fight them so that they can stop in the liver without proceeding further. 

But (there is always a but) if the dog is pregnant, the worms will proceed towards the placenta and infect the new baby inside the mother before birth. If we are talking about a cat, the worms will move towards the breasts, infecting the newly born baby through the milk assumption. 

Ill let you imagine what a migrant worm would do in all of this process through the organism: hepatitis, abdominal pain, pulmonary problems, diarrhea...

If the adult worms which are found in the dogs intestine eat food and produce eggs, these will also be visible in the feces with a microscope inspection at the vet. If the worms are in great quantities, some of them will die and it is possible to observe them in the feces with naked eye as long and white.


Amongst the strongyles that infest our animals body we find Ancylostoma caninum present in the dog and Ucinaria Stenocephala which will affect both dogs and cats. 

These worms live outside the animals body for a period of time and feed themselves until they are ingested by the animal. They then copy the exact same round about the roundworms we mentioned above did. They are however shorter and much more dangerous. In facts, these worms do not feed on the food that the dog ingests but instead they have a sharp mouth opening full of teeth that will pierce the intestine, sucking on the blood. 

Besides all of the rest we have other tragic consequences such peritonitis or hemorrhagic diarrhea which will lead to anemia. 


How to prevent them

There are some special tablets or vaccines you can give your dog to prevent and kill worms in their organism. These must be prescribed from your vet. In order to prevent these in children (very important) it is very important to clean your pets feces and cats litter box as they are domestic and will stay in the house with us throughout the day. We cant really prevent other external factors that might have worm eggs but we can avoid places which are crowded with dogs. (or simply avoid places where owners don't pick up their pets feces) 

Dogs are more affected by these worms because they tend to lick on the floor more often than cats, which are more wary. 

The removal or prevention of these worms is most likely to be done by your vet, generally 2 and 4 weeks after birth. The treatment then goes on every 45 to 60 days up to 5 to 6 months. It is also very important to remove the worms  from the mother before and after birth (to avoid the passage of the worms through the milk) 

The medicine used to remove these worms can be easily purchased in your local pharmacy, with a very accessible price. This medicine will be able to kill all the worms we mentioned earlier. It is so easy, that this process must be done without hesitation to assure our pets health.