Cherry Eye is a common condition inherited in certain breeds of dogs, unlike humans dogs have 3 eyelids rather than 2, and the problem is caused when the tear gland in the 3rd eyelid becomes swollen and red, covering part of the eye. There is no real evidence to suggest that this is uncomfortable , but the glands are crucial to maintaining eye health, so its important that problems are treated promptly.


When the gland in the third eyelid swells, it causes a pink bulge which covers part of the eye. It protrudes from the corner of the eye closest to the nose.


Although unsightly it doesn't usually cause much discomfort unless complications appear.


Dogs who suffer from cherry eye normally have a genetic predisposition to the condition, and symptoms will normally arise in pets under the age of two. Breeds in which cherry eye is commonly found are English bulldogs, lhasa apsos, cavalier king charles spaniels, shih tzus, West Highland white terriers, pugs, bloodhounds  and Boston terriers. 

There have been instances where owners have reported cherry eye occurring when a dog has become overexcited, scared or shocked.


It's sometimes said that cherry eye can be resolved by carefully massaging the affected eye to reposition the prolapsed gland. Occasionally the gland will correct itself on its own or will do so after a course of medication and steroids.

But surgery is normally required. Historically the vets removed the prolapsed gland but this has since been found to result in dry eye or even blindness.The only way to resolve the condition is to surgically replace the affected gland back in its proper location.

There are different techniques but, unfortunately this is not always a long term solution and recurrence is often.

Dog's that have the condition should not be bred.


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Heart Muscle Disease in Dogs


Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease of the heart muscle that is characterized by an enlarged heart that does not function properly. With DCM, both the upper and lower chambers of the heart become enlarged, with one side being more severely affected than the other. When the ventricle, or lower chamber, becomes enlarged, its ability to pump blood out into the lungs and body deteriorates. When the heart’s ventricle does not pump enough blood into the lungs, fluid begins to accumulate in the lungs. An enlarged heart soon becomes overloaded, and this often leads to congestive heart failure (CHF).


The incidence of DCM in dogs increases with age, usually affecting dogs between four and ten years old. DCM is also more common in certain breeds, such as the Doberman PinscherBoxer, Scottish Deerhound, Irish Wolfhound, Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Afghan Hound, and Cocker Spaniel.


Symptoms and Types


The major symptoms of DCM include lethargyanorexia, rapid and excessive breathing, shortness of breath, coughing, abdominal distension, and transient loss of consciousness. In some cases, dogs with preclinical (prior to the appearance of symptoms) DCM may be given a questionable diagnosis because it appears to be in fine health. On the other hand, a thorough physical exam can make apparent some of the subtle symptoms of DCM, such as pulse deficits, ventricular or supraventricular premature contractions (within the ventricles and above the ventricles, respectively), and slow capillary refill time. The dog’s breathing sounds may also have a muffled or crackling sound due to the presence of fluid in the lungs.




The cause of DCM in dogs is largely unknown. Nutritional deficiencies of taurine or carnitine have been found to contribute to the incidence of DCM in certain breeds such as Dobermans and Cocker Spaniels. Evidence also suggests that some breeds have a genetic susceptibility to the disease. In most breeds, male dogs are more susceptible to the disease than female dogs.




In addition to a thorough physical examination of the heart, certain medical tests are needed to confirm a diagnosis of DCM, and exclude other diseases. Radiographic imaging may reveal left ventricular and atrial enlargement, and the presence of fluid in the lungs. An electrocardiogram (EKG) may reveal atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia (rapid beating of the heart). An ultrasound of the heart using echocardiograph imaging is required for a definitive diagnosis of DCM. This test examines the size of the heart, and the ability of the ventricular to contract. In the case of DCM, an echocardiograph will reveal an enlarged left ventricular and left atrial, and low contraction ability.



Treatment for DCM is heavily focused on improving the heart’s function, and on treating the symptoms of congestive heart failure. Drugs may be administered to enhance heart contraction and to slow down rapid beating, and diuretics may be used to control the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Vasodilators, drugs that induce dilation of the blood vessels, and help the heart pump blood more effectively, are also usually part of the therapy for DCM. Except in cases where a dog is severely affected by the disease, long-term hospitalization should not be necessary.


Living and Management


Follow-up treatment for DCM will generally involve regular progress checks. Clinical examinations such as thoracic radiographs, blood pressuremeasurements, EKG’s and biochemical tests are all standard diagnostic tools for measuring progress.


You will also need to monitor your dog’s overall attitude, and stay alert to any outward signs of relapse, such as labored breathing, coughing, fainting, and lethargy. Despite therapy and conscientious care, most dogs with DCM have a poor prognosis. Your veterinarian will counsel you on your pet's likelihood for survival, based on the progression of the disease at the time of diagnosis, but in general, dogs with this condition are given 6 to 24 months to live. Dobermans are more severely affected by this disease, and will generally not survive longer than six months after the diagnosis is made. In this case, your veterinarian can advise you on ways in which you can make your dog's life as comfortable as possible.





Diabetes in dogs is a complex disease caused by either a lack of the hormone insulin, or an inadequate response to Insulin.

After a dog eats, his digestive system breaks food into various components including glucose, which is carried into his cells by Insulin,a hormone secreted by the pancreas. When a dog does not produce insulin or cannot utilise it properly,his blood sugar levels elevate. The result is hyperglycemia, which,when left untreated can cause many complicated health problems for a dog.

It is important to understand, however, that diabetes is considered a manageable disorder , and many dogs can lead a happy, healthy life.

what type of diabetes can a dog get ?

Diabetes  can be classified as either TYPE 1 ( lack of insulin production) or TYPE 2  (impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the hormone).

The most common form of the disease in dogs is type 1, insulin-dependent  diabetes, which occurs when the pancreas is incapable of produce or secreting adequate levels of insulin.

What are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs ?

The following symptoms should be investigated as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes 

* change in appetite

*excessive thirst/ increase in water consumption

*weight loss

*increased urination

*unusually sweet or fruity smelling breath



*urinary tract infections


*cataract formation, blindness

*chronic skin infections.

What causes diabetes in dogs?

The exact cause is unknown. However autoimmune disease, genetics, chronic pancreatitis, certain medications and abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas can play a major role in the development of the disease. 

Which dogs are prone to the disease ?

It is thought that obese dogs and female dogs may run the risk of developing the disease later in life (6-9 years). Some breeds may also beat risk including Australian Terriers, standard and miniature Schnauzer's, Dachshund's, poodles, and Samoyed's. Juvenile diabetes can also be seen and be especially prevalent in Golden retriever's. 

How is diabetes diagnosed ?

In order to diagnose diabetes your vet will collect information about your dog's clinical signs, perform a physical examination and check blood work and urinalysis.

How is Diabetes treated ?

Diabetes treatment is based on how severe the symptoms and lab work are, and whether there are any other health issues that could complicate therapy. Each dog will respond a little bit differently to treatment , and therapy must be tailored to each individual dog throughout their life.

* some dogs may be seriously ill when first diagnosed and will require several days intensive hospital care to regulate the blood sugar level.

* dogs who are more stable when first diagnosed may respond to oral medication or a high-fibre diet that helps to normalise glucose levels in the blood.

* for most dog's, insulin injections are necessary for adequate regulation of blood glucose. Once your pet's individual insulin treatment is established , typically based on weight, you'll be shown how to give injections once at home. 

* spaying your dog is recommended, as female sex hormones can have an effect on blood sugar levels. 

Your vet may also show you how to perform glucose tests at home.

What should I know about treating my diabetic dog at home ?

As your vet will explain, it's important to always give your dog insulin at the same time every day and feed him/her regular meals in conjunction with it's medication. This allows increased nutrients in the blood to coincide with peak insulin levels, and will lessen the chance that his /her sugar levels will swing either too high or too low. You can work with your vet to create a feeding schedule around your pet's medication time. It is also important to NOT feed your dog treats high in glucose. Regular blood glucose checks are a critical part of monitoring and treating any diabetic patient, and your vet will help set a schedule for checking blood sugar levels. 

Please also consult your vet about a consistent daily exercise plan and proper nutrition for your dog to keep your dogs weight in check.

How can diabetes be prevented ?

Although a certain form of diabetes - the type found in dogs less than a year in age, is in inherited, proper diet and regular exercise can be very effective in helping to prevent onset of diabetes in older dogs. Aside from other negative health effects, obesity is known to contribute to to an ability to respond normally to insulin.

What should you do if you think your dog has diabetes ?

If your dog is showing signs of any of the listed above please consult your vet right away.

What can happen if diabetes goes untreated ?

If diabetes progresses with out treatment dogs can develop secondary health problems such as cataracts and severe urinary tract problems. Ultimately untreated diabetes can cause a coma and death. 

Notes are with thanks from





Just like people dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognise everyday substances or allergens as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, dogs with allergies with have extreme reactions to them. Allergens can be most problematic when inhaled, ingested or come in contact with a dog's skin. As his body tries to rid itself of the substances , a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.


* Itchy, red, moist or scabbed skin.

* Increased scratching.

* Itchy, runny eyes.

* Itchy back or base of tail ( most commonly flea allergy reaction)

* Itchy ears and ear infections.

* Sneezing

* Vomiting

* Diarrhea

* Snoring caused by an inflamed throat.

* Paw chewing/swollen feet.

* Constant licking.

Allergic dogs may also suffer from a secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections,which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.


Any dogs can develop allergies, at any time in during his life, but allergic reactions seem to be especially common in Terriers, Setters, Retrievers, and flat-faced dogs such as pugs, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers.


A few common Allergens include:

* Tree, grass and weed pollens

* Mold spores

* Dust and house dust mites

* Dander

* Feathers

* Cigarette smoke

* Food ingredients (such as beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat or soy)

* Prescription drugs

* Flea and flea control treatments 

* perfumes

* cleaning products

* fabrics

* Insecticidal shampoos

* Rubber and plastic products.


Yes, but it takes a lot of detective work to find out what substance is causing the allergic reaction. Dogs with a food allergy, will commonly have itchy skin, , chronic ear infection, or sometimes gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting and an elimination diet will most probably be used to determine what foods he is allergic to. If your dog is allergic to chicken, for example, you should avoid feeding him any products containing chicken protein or fat. 

Please note an allergic reaction to food can occur at any age. 


Visit your veterinarian. After taking a complete history and conducting a physical examination, he or she may be able to determine the source of your dog’s allergic reaction. If not, your vet will most probably recommend skin or blood tests, or a special elimination diet, to find out what's causing the allergic reaction.



If your dog’s itchy, red or irritated skin persists beyond initial treatment by a veterinarian, allergy testing, most often performed by a veterinary dermatologist, is likely warranted. The diagnostic test of choice is an intradermal skin test similar to the one performed on humans.

The only way to diagnose a food allergy is to feed your dog a prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet exclusively for 12 weeks. The importance of not feeding your dog anything but the diet cannot be emphasized enough-that means no treats, table food or flavored medication. This diet will be free of potential allergy-causing ingredients and will ideally have ingredients your dog has never been exposed to. He’ll remain on the diet until his symptoms go away, at which time you’ll begin to reintroduce old foods to see which ones might be causing the allergic reaction.

Please note, many dogs diagnosed with a food allergy will require home-cooked meals-but this must be done in conjunction with your veterinarian, as it requires careful food balancing.


The best way to treat allergies is to remove the offending allergens from the environment.

  • Prevention is the best treatment for allergies caused by fleas. Start a flea control program for all of your pets before the season starts. Remember, outdoor pets can carry fleas inside to indoor pets. See your veterinarian for advice about the best flea control products for your dog and the environment.
  • If dust is the problem, clean your pet's bedding once a week and vacuum at least twice weekly-this includes rugs, curtains and any other materials that gather dust.
  • Weekly bathing may help relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and pollens from your dog’s skin. Discuss with your vet what prescription shampoos are best, as frequent bathing with the wrong product can dry out skin.
  • If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, she’ll need to be put on an exclusive prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet. Once the allergy is determined, your vet will recommend specific foods or a home-cooked diet.


Since certain substances cannot be removed from the environment, your vet may recommend medications to control the allergic reaction:

  • In the case of airborne allergens, your dog may benefit from allergy injections. These will help your pet develop resistance to the offending agent, instead of just masking the itch.
  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl can be used, but may only benefit a small percentage of dogs with allergies. Ask your vet first.
  • Fatty acid supplementsmight help relieve your dog’s itchy skin. There are also shampoos that may help prevent skin infection, which occurs commonly in dogs with allergies. Sprays containing oatmeal, aloe and other natural products are also available.
  • An immune modulating drug may also be helpful.
  • There are several flea-prevention products that can be applied monthly to your dog’s skin.
  • If the problem is severe, you may have to resort to cortisone to control the allergy. However these drugs are strong and should be used with caution and only under the guidance of your veterinarian.


Chronic exposure to inhaled irritants (including cigarette smoke) may be a cause of bronchitis in the dog. Bronchitis is characterized by a persistent cough due to inflammation of the airway and excessive mucus production. Treatment may include medication to open breathing passages, antibioticsand anti-inflammatory agents. Please remember, your pets should not be exposed to cigarette smoke.

Notes with thanks to




When a dog feels threatened by something their first and safest option is to run away from the threat , this is known as "flight response". If the dog is unable to put enough space between himself and the threat, the only other options left are to submit and hope the threat goes away or to fight , known as the " fight response ".

WHY DO DOGS BECOME FEAR AGGRESSIVE ?  The root of most aggressive behaviour is fear, combine fear with a situation where a dog has not been raised or trained humanely and the result is often a disastrous cocktail of fear aggression. This is often made worse by owners and trainers who employ punishment-based techniques on the fear aggressive dog. Another common root cause of fear aggression is a lack of appropriate socialisation during the dog's development.  If a dog has not received adequate socialisation he/she will find it hard to cope with new things they encounter in their environment, such as other dogs, animals or humans.


1) Dogs that are fear aggressive will often adopt body postures that signal fear while retreating, such as cowering, lip licking and baring teeth

2) If your dog is cornered or has nowhere to run, he/she may lunge, snap or bite in an attempt to get the threat to move away.

3) Dog's with fear aggression might retreat if if someone approaches them but can then turn and nip at the person as they walk away.

4) Fearful dog's often inflict shallow, rapid bites designed to remove the threat rather than doing serious physical harm.

CAN YOU CURE A FEAR AGGRESSIVE DOG ? It is important to note that the prognosis is good for many fear aggressive dogs there is no "cure " for aggression. Behaviour can never be guaranteed in humans or in animals because there are too many outside factors influencing behaviour, mood and emotions. Just like people, dogs can simply just have a bad day !! While there is no "cure" for fear aggression , there are many positive things you can do to help manage the problem and get your dog to a place he/she can exist in harmony within an environment which he/she previously found scary.

1) contact a qualified humane positive trainer  to work with you and your dog using humane desensitization techniques. These will give your dog more confidence to cope with their fear.

2) Find what triggers a reaction from your dog.

3) When you have found the trigger, put your dog in the position where he/she does not have to experience the trigger, less rehearsal of aggressive behaviour means there is more of the chance of the behaviour begins to decline.

4) Try and make your environment as predictable as possible. Fear aggressive dogs do not like surprises so keep your dog's surroundings as calm as possible until he/she is more confident and able to deal with novelty.

MANAGE FEAR AGGRESSION WITH " RITUALS OF BEHAVIOUR". Set up "rituals of behaviour". These are a series of actions and behaviours your dog can practice anytime he/she is in a situation that might make them uncomfortable. For example, if your dog fears guests coming into your home, have a ritual you can follow anytime someone new comes over. When the doorbell rings and a guest is at the door, do the following: 

1) Get  your dog's leash and take him/her outside so he/she can see the guest standing there.

2) Have your guest stand with a plastic bag that you have previously placed by the front door. The bag should contain your dog's favourite chew, toy or bone.

3) Go for a short walk down the street with your dog and your guest but at no time should your guest attempt to engage with your dog.

4) Come back inside with your dog, and take your dog through some action cues such as sit or down as your guest comes in.

5) Have your guest take the chew , toy treat out and place it on the floor at a safe distance away from your dog who must still be on a leash if there is any likelihood he/she will aggress.

6) Let your dog chew on the treat or toy.

7) Chat with your guest as your dog is chewing, and when it is appropriate take your dog to a safe zone for some quiet time. The safe zone should be in another room, behind a baby gate or crate with the door open.

8) Practice this ritual with friends and neighbours that are willing to help and your dog will soon associate the ringing of the doorbell with good things.

9) Once your dog is no longer fearful you can start having guests coming into the home without having to take your dog outside. A guest can still enter with the bag but it will be less time consuming.

10) Tell your guests to give your dog space and limited attention.

You can make up any ritual as long as its something your dog enjoys. The secret to success with this one is to keep your dog thinking and working, which will keep him/her below his/her stress threshold, and give him/her space, whilst also keeping your guests safe.

BOTTOM LINE.  Though fear aggression is a serious issue, which can take considerable time and effort to address, it is possible to manage the behaviour. Be sure to avoid punishment-based training techniques, instead help your dog become more confident and secure using the power of positive training and techniques such as effective " rituals of behaviour".

notes accredited to



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