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Post 9- Common heart diseases in cats -  28 Sep 2022
1 November 2023
Common heart diseases in cats
A cat is not a small dog. Common heart diseases in cats are different in dogs. We already knew common acquired heart disease in dogs in the previous topic. They are degenerative and progressive diseases. Although the common acquired heart disease in cats are progressive, the nature of the development of the disease is slightly different than in dogs. The most common acquired heart disease in cats is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is a genetic disease and causes the muscular wall of a heart to thicken, decreasing the heart’s efficacy and sometimes creating symptoms, like spiritless, decreased appetite, and open mouth breathing. The condition are more prevalent in certain breeds (including British Shorthair, Maine Coon, Exotic Shorthair, and Ragdoll).   The rate of increasing thickness of heart muscle may vary considerably and the onset time of muscle getting thickened is also different in each cat. For example, some cats may have normal left ventricle for a period of time and then suddenly become very thickened in 1 day. Others may have mild thickened left ventricle and never getting more thickened for many years. HCM can affect cats of all ages. Proper diagnosis and treatment can decrease the chance that a cat with HCM experiencing certain symptoms and can improve his or her quality of life.   The left ventricle is thickened in a cat with HCM, leading to a decrease in the volume of the heart chamber and to abnormal relaxation of the heart muscle. These changes cause increased oxygen usage and possibly to oxygen starvation of the heart muscle. This oxygen starvation may cause heart cells to die, worsening heart function and even the development of arrhythmia. In addition to these changes, less efficient blood pumping may result in congestive heart failure or/and the formation of blood clots in the heart.   Clinical signs of congestive heart failure are labored or rapid breathing, open mouth breathing, and lethargy. A serious and potentially life threatening consequence of HCM is the formation of blood clots in the heart. These blood clots may travel through the bloodstream and obstructs flow in other parts of the body. The effect of the clot depends on its location. In cats with HCM, clots most commonly result in blockage of blood flow to the hind limbs, causing acute hind limb pain and even hind limb paralysis. Although relatively rare, cats with HCM are at risk for sudden death. Diagnosing and treating the HCM properly can help decrease severity of the signs and may decrease the likelihood of blood clots.   The most commonly diagnosed congenital heart disease in cats are ventricular septal defect (VSD), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), and mitral valve dysplasia (MVD). The pathophysiology of MVD is similar as MMVD in dogs but it’s the problem since birth. PDA in cats is as same as in dogs. VSD is a hole in the ventricular septum. The septum is a muscular tissue that separates the left and right ventricle and prevents blood being diverted from one chamber to the other. The severity of VSD depends on the size of the hole. A small VSD is commonly of no significance, and an affected kitten can be expected to live a normal life. A moderate or larger hole, may cause enough shunting of blood to produce clinical signs, such as rapid breathing and exercise intolerance.   If your pets are in an emergency or if you have general inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Veterinary Emergency Centre (VEC). General Hotline: 2334-2334 24-Hour Emergency Hotline: 6282-8179

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Post 8 - Acquired heart diseases in dogs - 14 Sep 2022
25 October 2023
Acquired heart diseases in dogs
Let’s talk about common heart diseases in dogs. First of all, we should know heart diseases could be congenital or acquired. There are 2 common acquired heart diseases in dogs.   One is failure of the heart muscles caused by genetic factor and usually occurs in large breeds of dogs (over 20 kgs) called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and the other one is the abnormality of the mitral valves caused by degeneration and common be found in small breeds of dogs called myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) or degenerative mitral valve disease (DMVD).   DCM is a degeneration of the heart muscle and this degeneration result in the muscle becomes thinner and more weakness. Failure of the heart muscles unable to pump enough blood to the organ and the pressure of the blood inside the heart causes these thin walls to stretch leading to a much larger heart. It is common in certain large breeds of dogs, include Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Boxer, and Saint Bernards. Occasionally, some medium-sized breeds, such as Cocker Spaniels and English Springer Spaniels are also affected.   DCM may have a sudden onset of clinical signs, however, the disease have actually been developing slowly and subtly. When it develops into congestive heart failure, rapid heavy breathing, a blue tongue, or collapse maybe the first signs. Annual checkups with your veterinarian may lead to a diagnosis of heart problem before clinical signs are present. There are several drugs used to treat the symptoms of DCM. Initial stabilization depends upon the use of oxygen, diuretics and drugs which improve the heart muscle strength. Many dogs with DCM have arrhythmias, therefore, some antiarrhythmic drugs may be added in cautiously.   DCM is a serious disease that must be accurately diagnosed and aggressively treated. Doberman Pinschers have been shown to live as little as 3 months once diagnosed. Other dogs have been known to live between 6 to 24 months if they respond well to treatments. Dogs that have developed clinical signs of heart failure have a worse prognosis than those that are put onto cardiac medication in the early stages of the disease.   MMVD should be the most common heart disease in dogs in Hong Kong. Because Hong Kong people usually have small breeds of dogs, and MMVD is the most common heart disease in small breeds of dogs. The most susceptible breeds are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Poodles, Schnauzers, and Chihuahua. The mitral valve is located on the left side of the heart between the left atrium and the left ventricle. It closes completely and prevents blood flowing back to the left atrium when the left ventricle contracts. MMVD occurs when the mitral valve becomes thickened. The thickened valve results in incomplete closure of the valve allowing blood to leak backward into the left atrium. This backward blood flow is called mitral regurgitation. The leak worsens over time causing increased pressure within the heart and also causing heart to enlarge. Eventually, the heart will go into the congestive heart failure.   Most dogs with mild to moderate MMVD may not show any signs of disease. Regular checkups with the vet can pick up the disease in the early stage. Coughing is a more common sign seen the dogs with MMVD. Patients can cough for two reasons. Enlargement of the heart compressing on the airway or fluid accumulation in the lungs from congestive heart failure. It has been shown that early starting the medication in moderate to severe MMVD can delay the time to development of congestive heart failure by a median time frame of 15 months.   If your pets are in an emergency or if you have general inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Veterinary Emergency Centre (VEC). General Hotline: 2334-2334 24-Hour Emergency Hotline: 6282-8179

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Post 7- Congenital heart diseases in dogs -  5 Oct 2022
18 October 2023
Congenital heart diseases in dogs
In addition to acquired common heart diseases, there are also common congenital heart diseases. At first glance, congenital heart disease sounds very scared and difficult to manage. In contrast to acquired heart diseases (most are degenerative disease and could not be cured), some congenital heart diseases can be cured if it is early diagnosed. After successful treatment, the expectancy and quality of pets’ life will be as same as normal animals.   Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is one of the more common congenital heart defects in dogs. Every normal fetus has a ductus arteriosus. This enables the umbilical circulation to supply oxygen, allowing blood bypass the fetus’ non-functional lungs. The ductus arteriosus is a small channel that connects the aorta and the pulmonary artery. At birth, this system is no longer needed as dogs can breath and lungs work, allowing blood easier to flow to the lungs rather than through the ductus. The ductus closes within the first 3-10 days of life. If the ductus does not close it or “patent”, the blood from aorta will flow to the pulmonary artery not the body as it is supposed to. The increased circulation will cause more workload of the heart and finally will result in congestive heart failure.   A PDA has a characteristic murmur can be heard by a veterinarian during your pet’s first check-up. And an echocardiogram can evaluate the heart function and the chamber size, also can visualize the ductus. PDA is a treatable congenital heart disease and can be cured once early diagnosed (before congestive heart failure, usually before 1 year old). There are many ways to occlude the patent ductus, including traditional ligation of the ductus by opening chest, or interventional occlusion of the ductus by a coil or a special device. Finally, I would like to introduce pulmonary hypertension (PHT) in the rest of this topic. PHT means the blood pressure of lungs is over normal range. Unlike systemic hypertension, it is only indicated elevated blood pressure of lungs. The reason of PHT can be increased pulmonary artery pressure (like heartworms infestation), or parenchymal lung disease caused by chronic respiratory disease (like collapsing trachea, asthma, lung consolidation...etc). PHT could be developed due to MMVD.   Moderate to severe PHT with diffused parenchymal lung disease will also result in pulmonary edema and then breathing difficulty. As mention previously, heart disease will cause pulmonary edema, too. In addition, dogs with MMVD are usually the breeds which are predisposed to the airway disease also. X-ray and echocardiogram can help it to differentiate pulmonary edema is from heart disease or airway disease. Oxygen and Viagra are the useful tools to treat PHT.   If your pets are in an emergency or if you have general inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Veterinary Emergency Centre (VEC). General Hotline: 2334-2334 24-Hour Emergency Hotline: 6282-8179

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Leva
11 October 2023
Cruciate Rupture
Leva, a golden retriever, with cruciate rupture. Tibial tuberosity advancement performed (TTA).   The cranial cruciate ligament is a major stabilising ligament inside the knee joint. It is equivalent to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in humans. Cruciate rupture is one of the major causes of hindlimb lameness in dogs. Degenerative changes occur in the ligament as the dog gets older resulting in the ligament rupturing without much force. This is the opposite to humans where trauma usually causes an ACL rupture. 40-60% of dogs that have had cruciate rupture in one knee, will rupture the ligament in the other knee at some point in the future. Cruciate rupture can occur in all sizes, breeds and ages of dogs. It is more common in middle aged, overweight and certain breeds of dogs (eg. Rottweiler, Labrador).   First x ray shows immediately post op, second x ray is 7 weeks later showing the osteotomy is healing well and the gap between the bones is very narrow now.    Following a cruciate rupture, the knee is unstable. A TTA involves cutting the front of the tibia and moving it to a new position, fixing it with a cage and plate. This stabilises the joint. As there is now an osteotomy (gap in the bone), we do a follow up x ray at 7 weeks to see the progression of the bone healing. Once it is healed, the dog can return to full exercise.

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Odin
5 October 2023
Carpal Arthrodesis
Odin, a 4 year old German Shepherd, ruptured all of his ligaments at the back of his carpus (wrist). These didn't heal and as he walked the carpus would bend towards the ground. A decision was made to perform an Arthrodesis to fuse the joint in the correct position. This involves using a bone graft and plates/screws. 

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Post - Heart Worm - 23 Aug
20 September 2023
天氣炎熱注意:心絲蟲
香港天氣炎熱潮濕、蚊子多的環境,令心絲蟲更容易傳播。心絲蟲是寄生於貓狗心肺中的線狀寄生蟲。   狗狗常在戶外活動,因此更有機會被帶有心絲蟲幼蟲的蚊隻叮咬。一旦幼蟲在狗狗身體內發育,並寄生在心臟和肺動脈,就會讓狗狗的心臟和血管受到嚴重的傷害。   感染初期症狀並不明顯,需要以血液快速測試及顯微鏡抹片,才可以在這個時期發現心絲蟲的存在。而當心絲蟲的成蟲開始入侵肺動脈與心臟後,狗狗會開始出現活動量下降,咳嗽、容易氣喘,精神與食慾變差、肺部發出雜音等症狀。到了感染後期,狗狗可能會出現血尿、貧血、胸腔腹腔積水,最後可能因為心肺衰竭而死亡。   市面上有不同預防心絲蟲的藥物,而藥物主要都是殺死心絲蟲的幼蟲,建議定期連續服用或每年針藥,才可達到預防的效果。如果狗狗長時間沒有服用預防心絲蟲藥,或在七個月大以上仍未開始預防,獸醫會建議需要以血液檢測來確定沒有心絲蟲成蟲的感染,再開始進行預防。   如果寵物遇到緊急情況,或需要預約一般檢查及查詢,請致電香港獸醫急症中心(VEC)。   一般查詢及預約: 2334-2334 二十四小時緊急熱線: 6828-6620

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Post -Kennel Cough - 16 Aug
13 September 2023
Kennel Cough
We have recently seen an increase in kennel cough infections, in dogs of all ages. Ask the VEC team today about vaccination.   Kennel cough is a very contagious respiratory disease that can spread quickly between dogs in close contact with each other such as pet shops, inside kennels, day care and dog shows, but we have recently seen an increase in dogs catching it on the street and from the dog park.   The common signs of kennel cough in dogs are spasms of harsh, dry coughing, running nose, eye discharge and sneezing. The symptoms usually presists for 5-10 days, but a bronchitis cough can linger even for a couple of weeks.   Kennel cough can be prevented with vaccination, so it is important to make sure your puppy gets the necessary jabs.   If your pets are in an emergency or if you have general inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Veterinary Emergency Centre (VEC).   General Hotline: 2334-2334 24-Hour Emergency Hotline: 6828-6620

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Post - Patella Laxation - 9 Aug
6 September 2023
Luxating Patella
Maisie is a 1 year old Cocker Spaniel Dog with a luxating patella.   The patella (knee cap) sits in a groove at the end of the femur. A luxating patella means the kneecap slips in and out of place (dislocates). Owners may notice the dog is lame in that leg or they may notice a skip in the dogs gait when the dog holds up the leg for a few seconds then goes back to normal. Sometimes there is a popping sound when the patella dislocates.   Patella luxation is mainly found is small breed dogs such as Maltese, Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terriers but it can sometimes be seen in larger breeds.   It is most commonly seen in young dogs and is primarily of genetic cause. The patella sits in the patellar ligament and if this ligament is not connected to the centre of the tibia (shinbone), the patella gets pulled out of place. This is most common in dogs that are bow legged.   Patella laxations are graded from 1- 4. Grade 1 patella luxations don’t usually need surgically repaired but grades 2-4 should be.   Surgical repair involves 3 stages: 1) The groove in the femur is deepened to help the patella stay in place 2) The point of attachment of the patella ligament in the tibia is moved into the correct position. This is stabilised using pins and a wire as can be seen in the x ray. 3) The capsule around the joint is tightened   If your pets are in an emergency or if you have general inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Veterinary Emergency Centre (VEC).   General Hotline: 2334-2334 24-Hour Emergency Hotline: 6282-8179 & 6828-6620

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Post - Fracture - 1 Aug (2)
31 August 2023
Has my pet fractured their leg?
A fracture most commonly happens with trauma (for example: hit by car, fallen from height) although certain conditions can cause a fracture without associated trauma.   Symptoms include: Sudden lameness Holding up the leg Extreme pain Swelling at the site of the fracture Leg is lying at an awkward angle A dangling leg   ⚠️A dog or cat with a suspected broken leg should be seen by the vet as soon as possible.   ⚠️Transporting a pet with a suspected broken leg: If your dog is small enough, carry them carefully. It may be easier to wrap them in a blanket. If you have a larger dog, they may still be able to walk on the other 3 legs, it may help to give them some support by placing a towel under their tummy. If they are unable to walk, move them into a large towel or blanket and get 2 people to carry them in it like a sling. Don’t touch or try to manipulate the fractured leg as this will be painful. Please keep in mind when transporting your pet that they will be in some pain and are scared. They may not act like their normal selves and yelp or even try to bite you. Be careful and try to reassure them.   ⚠️What will happen next: After a history is taken and clinical examination is performed, the vet can often give an indication of the problem. They will also administer pain relief. X -rays +/- CT scans will be used to assess the fracture properly. Depending on the type and location of the fracture, they can be treated conservatively (with rest, splints or cast material) or surgically (with pins, plates or external fixators)   If the fracture happened during a big trauma, the pet may be in shock or have other serious injuries. The pet will need to be stabilised and any life threatening injuries dealt with prior to the fracture management.   ☎️If your pets are in an emergency or if you have general inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Veterinary Emergency Centre (VEC).   General Hotline: 2334-2334 24-Hour Emergency Hotline: 6282-8179 & 6828-6620

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General Hotline: 2334-2334

24Hr Emergency Hotline: 6828-6620

 

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