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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.  



PERIANAL FISTULA

My dog has sores around his anus, which he is constantly licking. He also gets aggressive if I touch his tail and he seems uncomfortable and is just not himself. What's wrong?

Perianal fistulas are an extremely painful medical condition of the anal region of dogs. As the name describes, this condition involves infection in the skin and surrounding tissue of the anus. ‘Peri’ means around, the anus, while a fistula is a tunnel in the skin that connects an area of infection to the skin or glands. This condition is characterised by very smelly draining sinus tracts in the skin around the anus and sometimes the deeper structures beneath the skin up to the rectum. 



Chronic diarrhoea in dogs and cats

My pet has recurring episodes of loose stools

What is chronic diarrhoea?

Chronic refers to a disease that has been ongoing, either persistently or intermittently for three weeks or more. Whereas diarrhoea, as many of us can relate, is the passing of soft or loose stool. This stool is usually soft enough that it needs to be scraped up rather than picked up. It can range from the consistency of thick porridge to watery like soup.



Acute Abdomen

My pet won't eat, has a distended belly, is retching, and appears restless and in pain. She seemed fine yesterday, what could be the cause?

Now and again pet owners are faced with emergency situations when their pets are suddenly in severe belly pain. Unexpectedly, both the owner and the pet are in a moment of anxiety and distress. So what could possibly be going on? This sudden severe belly pain is what veterinarians call an acute abdomen.

What is acute abdomen?

Acute means to happen suddenly, while the abdomen is the lower part of the trunk of the body, often referred to as the belly. The term acute abdomen refers to sudden pain in the belly. This sudden, severe pain in an animal’s belly should be treated as an emergency and requires immediate evaluation and response by the vet.



My pet lost a patch of fur and developed a massive sore overnight. It looks like a burn wound.

Hotspots (Acute moist dermatitis or moist eczema)

Acute moist dermatitis is a skin ailment in pets that’s caused by a trigger like an itch or pain, and exacerbated by the pet’s scratching and licking until it becomes a large bare patch of painful skin lesion. Since the lesion is an open painful wound, it’s referred to more commonly as a hotspot.



Acral lick granuloma

My pet does not stop licking his leg and has a huge sore where he licks

When a pet owner brings their animal in to the vet with a firm, raised, angry red bump on the pet’s leg or ankle, complaining that the animal (a dog more often than a cat) won’t stop licking at it, the vet knows that there is a potentially long road of diagnosis and treatment ahead. The symptoms and behaviour described here are common in what’s called acral lick granuloma



My dog is tilting his head to the side, and seems to be off balance

Head tilt - Vestibular disease

The vestibular system

The vestibular system is the body’s ‘balance messenger’ – giving mammals (including humans and pets) key sensory information that allows us to stay upright and properly orientated in the world. The vestibular system is made up of two main components: the inner ear and the brain.



Coronavirus and your pets

Now that the coronavirus has hit South Africa's shores, and several people have been confirmed to have the disease, COVID-19, there are many pet owners who are concerned about how COVID-19 will affect them and their pets.

Now that the coronavirus has hit South Africa's shores, and several people have been confirmed to have the disease, COVID-19, there are many pet owners who are concerned about how COVID-19 will affect them and their pets.

Background

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The source of the coronavirus is believed to be a ‘wet market’ in Wuhan, China, which sold both dead and live animals including fish and birds. Currently, there is no evidence suggesting a specific animal host as a virus reservoir, and further investigations are ongoing.