Category: Health

How long does it take for a dog to give birth?

When we are caring for a pregnant bitch, everything is building up, and everything goes step by step, right up to the time of whelping. We want both the mother bitch and the future puppies to be as safe and healthy as possible. Since a prolonged and/or difficult labour will jeopardise the health of both, we need to know as much as we can before whelping. This includes regular veterinary check-ups during pregnancy to secure the bitch. It also requires us to know the basics of dog labour so that we can be better prepared for any eventuality.

At Hospital Veterinari Glòries we help you to learn more about dog whelping by answering the question: how long does whelping take in dogs? We look not only at the duration of a canine birth, but also at what you can expect in general from this special moment.

How do you know if a dog is in labour?

Before we explain how long a bitch’s labour lasts, we need to know how to identify the signs of whelping. These signs will indicate that whelping has begun and puppies are on the way. They include the following:

  • Drop in rectal temperature to 37.5°C or below, 12-18 hours before labour begins, although this does not occur in all bitches.
  • Loss of appetite about 12-24 hours before parturition.
  • In the 12-24 hours prior to whelping, the bitch will be restless and may be looking for a place to build a nest. If we have not already done so, we should prepare a comfortable and suitable place with blankets in a clean, warm and safe place. If she does not choose this place and opts for another, do not force her. We can move the new litter after the birth.
  • The bitch’s restlessness may indicate that she is beginning to feel contractions, i.e. the movements of the uterus that will help expel the puppies.
  • When the first stage of labour begins, the bitch may start panting heavily, licking her private parts and even vomiting.
  • If we see yellowish fluid, it is probably amniotic fluid from a ruptured birth sac. The first puppy should be born within minutes after this occurs.

Timing of a bitch’s birth

If we want to know how long a bitch’s whelping actually takes, we need to understand what happens at each of the stages. These are as follows:

  • First stage: This first stage of whelping lasts from 6 to 12 hours. It produces contractions that dilate the cervix so that the puppies can be born. This stage may be undetectable, although some bitches will be restless or uncomfortable and may continue to lick their private parts.
  • Second stage: Contractions become more intense and the first puppy will press against the cervix, stimulating the bitch to push. When the cervix is fully dilated, the puppy can come out. The puppy may be in an intact amniotic sac, but it is possible that it has ruptured inside the bitch. The bitch will give birth only a few minutes after the sac ruptures. The bitch will lick the puppy and cut the umbilical cord through chewing. Birth time between puppies varies, but usually ranges from 15 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Third stage: This stage of whelping corresponds to the expulsion of the placenta within minutes of the puppy’s birth. It is common for the bitch to ingest it. It is a good idea to count individual placentas as there should be as many as there are puppies. An unexpelled placenta could lead to infection.

Length of whelping in bitches

The gestation period of a pregnant bitch usually lasts between 63 and 67 days. After this time, the bitch can go into labour at any time. The length of whelping itself is variable, so we cannot say that there is a specific length of whelping for each bitch. However, there are some general times we can give when it comes to whelping a bitch.

While it is possible for a pregnant bitch to have only one puppy, this is rare. In most cases, the litter will be 4 to 6 puppies. This depends on certain factors, including breed. The birth of each puppy is preceded by an active whelping period which normally lasts between 5 and 30 minutes. The interval between births averages 15 minutes to 2 hours, but this does not mean that it will be the same for each puppy in a litter.

Using our calculations, we can say that the average length of a dog’s birth will be 6 to 8 hours. A healthy whelping may take less or more time, depending on a number of factors. We have already detailed the different stages of canine whelping, but the first stage can last up to 36 hours.

Because the times between puppies can differ, it can be difficult to know when labour is complete. For this reason, it is good to have a veterinarian confirm the number of puppies with an x-ray or ultrasound during pregnancy. If we see the mother pushing for more than 30-60 minutes without a puppy being born, we should call the vet immediately.

In some cases, a miscarriage can occur with a stillborn puppy. In these cases, it is common for the mother to eat the puppy. Have you been present at the birth of a dog and do our estimates match your experience? We’d love to hear more about the canine birth you witnessed.

Vaccinations: the importance of having our animals immunised

When it comes to indoor animals, such as cats and dogs, many will believe that their level of risk in terms of infectious diseases is quite low, and that they probably do not need to be vaccinated. Hospital Veterinari Glòries disagrees. In fact, there are some pretty compelling reasons why pet vaccinations are important, even for pets that are less likely to go outdoors. Read on to find out just how vital they are!

Why is it so important to vaccinate our pets?

Even in the bubble of your home, your pets need protection. We have some very good reasons for this:

  • It’s the law: Spain makes no exceptions when it comes to rabies vaccinations for pets: pets must be vaccinated. The laws of our country require that all dogs and cats are properly vaccinated against rabies, preferably before adulthood, and that the vaccine is maintained throughout the animal’s life. Unvaccinated pets are subject to fines, quarantine or even euthanasia in specific situations.
  • Nothing is safe: even pets that should be indoors sometimes end up outdoors. An animal that runs away when frightened, a window that is accidentally left ajar, or a tragic house fire can lead to our furry companions finding themselves outdoors. Owners also often tend to underestimate their pets’ risk of infectious diseases. Most dogs go out every day, while many cats are exposed to other cats and animals if they are often going in and out of the house.
  • Other animals that sneak into the house: High-risk situations, such as a bat or rat sneaking into your home, can put your furry friend at unnecessary risk. Sometimes humans also unknowingly expose our pets by bringing in a kitten in need or a stray in need of help.
  • The risk is too high: most of the diseases we vaccinate animals against are quite serious. The benefits of vaccinating your pet far outweigh the risks. Some pet vaccines also protect your family, as diseases such as rabies and leptospirosis are zoonotic (transmissible to people).

Do you have an animal at home? Vaccinate it!

Not all pets are at the same risk and not all pets need the same things. Some indoor pet vaccines, such as the rabies vaccine, are generally recommended for all animals. Others are only necessary for those at higher risk.

Our veterinary experts will assess each pet’s general health status, risk factors and environment to determine which vaccines are most appropriate.

Core vaccines, such as rabies and combination vaccines for dogs against distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza and parvovirus, or feline distemper combination vaccines, are often recommended for most pets.

Other vaccines, such as those against feline leukaemia virus or canine infectious diseases such as canine influenza, tend to be more risk-based for each population.

As part of caring for your pet’s wellbeing, we will discuss these recommendations. You can also contact us at any time if you have questions. We want your furry friend to be as healthy and happy as possible. Vaccinations for indoor pets may not seem that important, but we promise there are some very good reasons why we recommend them.

How often should animals be vaccinated against rabies?

Vaccinations still need to be administered in accordance with state laws and veterinary guidelines. Preventive medicine is the best thing you can do to ensure your furry friend stays happy and healthy, and proper vaccinations are a crucial part of that.

Because rabies is such a serious and lethal disease, and vaccination is the only way to keep you and your pet safe, most countries have laws and regulations regarding rabies vaccinations for dogs, cats and other small mammals. Without a current rabies vaccine, your pet may have to be quarantined or even euthanised for biting someone or being bitten by a potentially rabid animal.

While there are tests to determine whether an animal is carrying the rabies virus, they cannot be performed on a live animal, as brain matter samples are taken for this purpose.

With such serious health risks and lack of testing, it makes sense that you would want to protect your pet and your family from this deadly disease through a simple vaccination.

How do vaccines work?

First, let’s look at how the immune system works in pets. When a foreign disease agent, such as a virus or bacteria, enters your pet’s body, its immune system develops antibodies to fight the disease. Once the body has created those antibodies, your pet is unlikely to be infected with the exact same strain of disease again, because the body will recognise it and destroy it immediately.

Some diseases are so devastating, especially in young animals, that vaccines are a crucial part of protection. A vaccine consists of small particles of a virus or bacteria that have been altered so that they do not cause active disease, but the antigen remains intact to stimulate the immune system. Once administered, the body will generate an immune response against the bacteria or virus by creating antibodies. If your pet is exposed to a disease against which it is vaccinated, its antibodies will go into action to protect it.

How often does my pet need to be vaccinated?

While some rabies vaccines are valid for one year, others are administered and labelled to last for three years, but some countries require annual vaccination regardless of the label. Your vet will know your country’s laws and will keep your pet on the current vaccination schedule. In Spain, the rabies vaccination schedule is annual, following WHO recommendations.

Whether where you live you must vaccinate every 3 years or every year, it is important to schedule annual check-up visits for your furry friend. Regular health exams are the most important preventive measure you can provide for your pet, and vaccinations are just one component of a wellness visit. Since pets don’t always show signs of early disease, annual or semi-annual exams are vital to keeping your pet in optimal health, regardless of how often vaccinations are administered.

Can the rabies vaccine cause side effects in my pet?

All vaccines can create side effects in your pet, so monitor your pet after each vaccination appointment for the following signs of a reaction to the vaccine:

  • Mild discomfort or swelling at the vaccination site.
  • A slight fever.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Decreased activity.

These signs are mild and relatively common, appearing a few hours after vaccination and resolving within a day or two.
However, if you notice the following signs, a more serious reaction is occurring and you should return to your veterinarian:

  • Vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • Hives.
  • Swelling of the muzzle or around the face, neck or eyes.
  • Severe coughing.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Collapse.

Severe reactions can occur within minutes of vaccination, but can also take several hours to appear. These more severe reactions often require emergency treatment. While reactions to vaccines can be alarming, seeing your pet succumb to rabies is a much worse scenario.

What does the rabies vaccine protect my pet from?

Keeping your pet up to date with rabies vaccination ensures that it should be protected against the disease if it is bitten by a rabies-carrying animal. Depending on the laws of your country, your pet may have to be quarantined for a period after a bite for safety reasons, even without developing the disease, due to the strong antibodies through vaccination.

Vaccination requirements for each type of pet and geographic location are different. Talk to your vet about the best rabies vaccination protocol for your specific pet, location and lifestyle. If you are in Barcelona, make an appointment with us, at Hospital Veterinari Glòries we will be happy to keep your pet’s health up to date.


Third eyelid in cats: What is it?

Did you know that cats have more than two eyelids on each eye? In addition to the upper and lower eyelids, there is a third eyelid that is not normally visible. But, in those cases where that third eyelid protrudes, it is actually a sign of disease or injury.

What is the third eyelid in a cat?

Cats and many other mammals have a third eyelid called the “nictitating membrane”. This membrane is located at the corner of each eye towards the centre of the face. The third eyelid is usually retracted and not visible. Certain situations can cause the third eyelid to protrude and partially cover the eyeball.

Reasons for a cat’s third eyelid to become visible

It is rare to see your cat’s third eyelids. In many cases, the appearance of a third eyelid indicates that something is wrong. There are several reasons for a protruding third eyelid in cats. Some are considered normal, while others are problematic. In general, if you notice your cat’s third eyelid protruding for more than a few hours, you should contact your veterinarian.

Drowsiness or relaxed state

It is normal for part of the third eyelid to show when a cat is very relaxed or tired. You may notice that the third eyelid is raised while your cat is sleeping or just after waking up. The third eyelid should retract as soon as the cat is awake again. If that third eyelid remains raised for a long time after waking up, you should go to the vet with your kitten.

Sedation or anaesthesia

If your cat has been given anaesthesia or sedation for a medical procedure, the third eyelid will be visible and partially cover the eye due to the extreme physical relaxation. The effect may last for several hours after waking up, but should gradually disappear. This is considered normal and is not a problem unless the third eyelid remains raised after the day of the procedure.


The conjunctiva is a thin, clear mucous membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the front of the eye. Sometimes called “pink eye”, conjunctivitis simply means inflammation of the conjunctiva. It can be caused by infection, allergies, injury or an eye irritant. It is not uncommon for conjunctivitis to cause inflammation and protrusion of the third eyelid. Cats with conjunctivitis are usually treated with medicated eye drops or ointments containing antibiotics and/or steroids.

Corneal ulcers

The cornea is transparent and covers the front of the eye, including the iris and pupil. A corneal ulcer is a sore on the cornea that causes pain and swelling in the eye and may cause the third eyelid to appear. Corneal ulcers are usually caused by an injury to the eye, such as a scratch, scrape or puncture wound. Irritating or abrasive substances can also cause corneal ulcers. A corneal ulcer can quickly become very serious and requires veterinary treatment. Cats with corneal ulcers often need one or more types of eye medications and possibly oral medications as well.


The uvea is the middle part of the eyeball and contains many blood vessels. Inflammation of the uvea is called uveitis. It often makes the eye very red and is sometimes painful. The third eyelid may or may not be affected.


Glaucoma is a painful eye condition that causes pressure to build up in the eye. This occurs because the fluid inside the front of the eye cannot drain properly. The excess pressure causes damage to the optic nerve and can result in blindness. Swelling of the third eyelid can sometimes accompany glaucoma.

What to do if you see your cat’s third eyelid

If you notice that your cat’s eyelid is protruding and it doesn’t appear to be caused by sleep, relaxation, sedation or anaesthesia, then it probably means there is a problem. Contact your vet as soon as possible to seek advice. If your cat shows other signs of illness, it is best to take it to the vet for examination. Do not try to put anything in the eye without a vet’s recommendation, as this can make things worse. Eye problems can go from bad to worse, so don’t delay a visit to the vet!

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How to treat canine rhinitis?

Dogs often suffer from rhinitis, an upper respiratory tract disease involving inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes or other damage to the nasal mucous membranes. Viral infection is the most common cause of sudden rhinitis or sinusitis in dogs.

In this article we will explain what rhinitis is, what the most common symptoms are and what the most effective treatment is.

What is rhinitis in dogs?

Rhinitis is a disease that affects both humans and dogs, causing nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing and itching. Most types of rhinitis are caused by inflammation and are associated with symptoms in the eyes, ears or throat. Dogs with longer noses and skulls (such as the Border Collie or Greyhound) are most prone to rhinitis. In addition, brachiocephalic breeds (such as the bulldog or pug) are susceptible to pollution-induced tumours that can cause rhinitis.

There are several types of rhinitis, these include:

  • Acute rhinitis: this is typically caused by a foreign body lodged inside the dog’s nasal cavity.
  • Allergic or seasonal rhinitis: this type of rhinitis is caused by a build-up of histamine in the body as a result of allergens in the air. Pollen, house dust, plant fibres and mould are the most common allergenic substances in dogs.
  • Chronic rhinitis: develops when the allergen triggers cannot be eliminated from the dog’s environment or when the dog is regularly exposed to them. In some cases, dogs may also develop abnormal tissue in the nasal area that produces inflammation and causes chronic rhinitis. Chronic rhinitis can also occur if your dog has an acute viral infection or if a bad tooth is aggravating the condition.

Having a runny nose in a dog can be due to something as simple as the excitement of seeing you. However, it can also be a serious health problem. Keep reading this article to learn more about the possible causes of a runny nose in dogs and its treatment.

Symptoms of rhinitis in dogs

Rhinitis, as mentioned above, is an inflammation of the nasal cavity characterised by symptoms such as:

  • Excessive sneezing.
  • The nasal discharge is thick and foul-smelling unless it is being caused by allergic rhinitis, in which case it is clear.
  • Nausea or vomiting due to substances entering the throat through the nose.
  • Rubbing or scratching the face.
  • Lack of ability to smell.
  • Lack of appetite and therefore weight loss.
  • Restlessness.
  • Open-mouth breathing or difficulty breathing.
  • Bad breath.
  • Rubbing or touching the face.
  • Nosebleeds.

You should contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms, especially if they persist for more than a day. Because dogs sense the world through their sense of smell, their nose is one of the most exposed parts of their body. If you notice your dog constantly rubbing his nose, it could be cause for concern. Read on to learn more about canine rhinitis.

Treatment of rhinitis in dogs

Rhinitis is treated in different ways depending on its cause. If bacteria are present, antibacterial agents should be prescribed, at least for a few weeks.

If fungi are present, antifungals are the most appropriate treatment, also for a few weeks. If the infection is severe and fever is present, many dogs require intravenous fluids.

In older dogs, there is often growth and presence of abnormal tissue (neoplasia) or dental disease, which may also cause inflammation. In the case of neoplasia, surgery is required to permanently remove the abnormal tissue in the nasal cavity. In the case of dental disease, on the other hand, the affected tooth may need to be extracted.

In the case of allergic rhinitis, the dog should be kept away from the substances that trigger the reaction in the first place. However, it is sometimes difficult to avoid contact with allergy-causing substances, which are also becoming increasingly common. Treatment therefore consists of symptom control, identification of the allergen by skin testing and, in some cases, immunotherapy, i.e. administration of specific vaccines.

We should be concerned if we observe respiratory problems in our dogs. Although certain breeds are more susceptible to respiratory problems than others, respiratory infections can affect any dog.

Cuterabra in cats: what it is, symptoms and how to cure it

Cuterebra is a type of fly that needs small warm-blooded animals such as rodents and rabbits to complete its life cycle. They are known as horseflies, a group of parasitic flies that develop in the flesh of their host.

Cats are also often susceptible to cuterebra parasitism due to their predation on smaller mammals. The eggs of this blowfly are deposited when they interact with prey or seek the body heat of the host cat and are laid on its skin. These eggs can hatch and develop in various parts of the cat’s body, including the respiratory system, eyes and vital organs such as the brain. For this reason, cuterebra infection can be fatal for our cat.

Let’s learn more about the symptoms and possible cures for this disease in the following lines.

Symptoms of cuterebra in cats

The symptoms that a cat with a cuterebra infection will have will depend on the area of its body that is affected. For example, if the larvae infest the skin, the symptoms will be hard lumps that can be seen on the outside of the skin. This may be more difficult in long-haired cat breeds. The cat’s behaviour will also change, becoming irritable and lethargic.

If cuterebra larvae have reached the cat’s respiratory tract, the cat will show signs such as difficulty breathing, runny nose, coughing and sneezing. If the larvae enter the eyes, cats will show symptoms such as uveitis, chemosis, blepharospasm, eye discharge and even blindness.

When the cat’s central nervous system is affected, it will develop a head tilt, convulsions, circling, epilepsy or cognitive impairment that can lead to death. The appearance of neurological signs indicates the severity of the infection due to the development of feline ischaemic encephalopathy. These usually appear a few weeks after the onset of signs of respiratory distress.

How does cuterebra larvae parasitise cats?

A cat can be accidentally parasitised by Cuterebra larvae, as the parasite has a predilection for rodents and lagomorphs. Cats can only be parasitised if they go out into outdoor areas where these parasites live. The main cause of parasitism in cats is exploring and trying to catch a rabbit from its burrow or a rodent in the same situation. The larvae or hatching eggs enter the small feline’s natural openings, such as the nostrils or mouth, and can reach the eyes and brain in the worst and most advanced cases.

Another possibility for the parasite to come into contact with the cat is after hunting a rabbit or rodent recently infested with the larvae. The live larvae enter directly through the mouth or nostrils and develop their life cycle inside the cat.

Treatment of cuterebra in cats

Treatment of this parasitism will depend on the time of infection and whether or not the larvae have entered the cat’s internal organs, such as the brain. If the larvae are still visible in bumps on your cat’s skin, your vet may need to remove them manually (never attempt to do this yourself at home). Anaesthesia or sedation may be required to allow removal without acute pain or stress to the cat.

Removal of Cuterebra larvae should be done with sterile forceps. It is preferable to do this after administering a dewormer to the animal so that it is dead and not moving. This provides less risk of the larvae rupturing, which can cause allergic reactions and serious infections. After removal, the open cyst remains on the skin, which the practitioner must clean with an antiseptic such as chlorhexidine and saline.

As you can see, this is a serious parasitic infection that requires the intervention of a professional. If you find lumps or see larvae on your cat, visit our veterinary hospital as soon as possible.

Can cuterebra infect people?

As with many types of parasites, cuterebra is host-specific. This means that only certain types of this subfamily will be able to infect cats and none of them will be able to infect humans. There are species of cuterebra flies that parasitise humans, but they are not the type that will infest a cat.

What is insulinoma in dogs? Causes, symptoms and treatments

A canine insulinoma is a tumour affecting the endocrine pancreas. They are part of the pancreatic neuroendocrine group of tumours and are functional, which in this case means that they produce an excessive and sustained release of insulin. This in turn results in a decrease in blood glucose levels. Insulinomas can be benign or malignant. Although a minority of human patients have metastatic insulinomas, they are significantly more common in dogs.

In this article we will discuss insulinomas in dogs. Specifically, we look at the causes, symptoms and treatment of canine insulinomas.

What is a canine insulinoma?

To understand what canine insulinomas are, we need to explain the structure and function of the pancreas, the organ affected by this type of canine tumour. The pancreas is known as a mixed heterocrine gland, as it has both endocrine and exocrine functions:

  • Exocrine pancreas: it is related to the digestive system. It secretes pancreatic juice, which is necessary for the digestion of food.
  • Endocrine pancreas: contains pancreatic islets (also known as islets of Langerhans) which consist of alpha cells (secreting glucagon), beta cells (secreting insulin) and delta cells (secreting somatostatin). These cells produce some of the most important hormones in the canine body, in particular those that regulate blood glucose levels.

Now that we know more about the structure and function of the pancreas, here’s how tumours affect it. As an insulinoma affects the beta cells of the pancreas, it will affect insulin production. Insulin is a hormone that is released in response to glucose in the blood, allowing glucose to enter cells and be used for energy. When a dog has an insulinoma, these cells begin to secrete an excessive amount of insulin on a permanent basis, resulting in hypoglycaemia, i.e. low blood glucose levels in dogs.

Within insulinoma we can find benign (adenoma) and malignant (carcinoma) cell proliferations. Pancreatic carcinomas have a high mortality rate and often metastasise to the mesentery, liver, spleen and regional lymph nodes. Fortunately, the development of insulinoma tumours is rare in dogs.

Canine insulinoma usually occurs in dogs between the ages of 3 and 14 years, being more frequent from 9+ years of age. There is no sexual predisposition, but there is a breed-specific predisposition. There appears to be a higher incidence in German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Poodle, Irish Setter, Fox terrier and Boxer breeds.

Symptoms of insulinoma in dogs

Clinical signs associated with canine insulinoma occur as a result of sustained hypoglycaemia and stimulation of the sympathoadrenal system. Specifically, insulinoma in dogs usually presents with:

  • Weakness and lethargy (due to central nervous system glucose deficit).
  • Abnormal behaviours (e.g. nervousness, irritability, etc.).
  • Hindlimb weakness, muscle cramps and twitching (contractions)
  • Collapse
  • Ataxia (lack of coordination)
  • Seizures

Other less common clinical signs that can be detected in canine patients with insulinoma include:

  • Polyuria (increased urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive drinking)
  • Polyphagia (increased hunger)
  • Anorexia
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Syncope (fainting)
  • Tilt of the head
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Blindness

Causes of insulinoma in dogs

The exact aetiology of insulinoma in dogs is unknown. Like all neoplasms, insulinoma is caused by a genetic alteration that results in disorganised cell proliferation. However, the specific cause that triggers this genetic alteration is not yet known to veterinary science.

Diagnosis of insulinoma in dogs

Diagnosis of canine insulinoma should be based on the following factors:

  • Clinical history and physical examination: as mentioned above, dogs with this pathology present with clinical signs mainly associated with sustained hypoglycaemia.
  • Blood tests (complete blood count and biochemistry): the most indicative parameter of canine insulinoma is the detection of fasting blood glucose (values below 60 mg/dl), which is due to excessive insulin production by tumour cells. However, a single measurement is not sufficient to confirm hypoglycaemia. It is necessary to plot the measurements every hour, during an 8-hour fasting period.
  • Histopathological analysis: this is carried out once the tumour has been removed and allows the diagnosis to be confirmed. Microscopically, pancreatic cell neoplasms are made up of well-differentiated cells with few mitoses, but very easy to metastasise.

Treatment of insulinoma in dogs

If your dog is diagnosed with an insulinoma, it is normal to want to know if it is curable. In some cases, surgery can completely remove it and leave the dog with a functioning pancreas. In other cases, metastasis and organ failure make the prognosis poor. There are two types of treatment for insulinoma in dogs.

Surgical treatment of canine insulinoma

The goal of surgery is to remove the pancreatic tumour, either partially or completely. The latter is always preferred. If the tumour has metastasised to tissues such as the mesentery, liver or lymph nodes, these cancerous tissues should also be removed.

Although surgery is the treatment of choice in all stable dogs, a number of postoperative complications may occur:

  • Pancreatitis: due to manipulation of the pancreas during surgery. Careful management of the pancreas during surgery, adequate fluid therapy before, during and after surgery and adequate postoperative nutrition should be provided to prevent the occurrence of pancreatitis.
    Diabetes mellitus: when the tumour is removed, the pancreas may not be able to synthesise enough insulin, as the remaining beta cells are atrophied. In these cases, exogenous insulin must be administered until the pancreas regains its functional capacity to produce insulin.
  • Sustained hypoglycaemia: occurs when there are metastases that continue to produce insulin. In these cases, additional medical treatment is required.

Veterinary treatment

Veterinary treatment will be necessary both in dogs in which surgery is not possible and in dogs in which part or all of the tumour is surgically removed. Medical treatment of insulinoma in dogs is usually one of two options:

  • Treatment of acute hypoglycaemic shock: this is an emergency situation in which animals go into convulsive shock or seizure. In these cases, guardians should be prepared and act quickly by rubbing a sugar solution (such as jam or honey) into the oral cavity. The buccal mucosa has the capacity to rapidly absorb the glucose contained in these foods, thus resolving the convulsive shock in about 30-120 seconds.
  • Treatment of chronic or sustained hypoglycaemia: the aim of this part of the treatment is to alleviate the symptoms of hypoglycaemia and prevent the occurrence of acute crises. Chemotherapy protocols for dogs should not be used as they all cause severe side effects. Medical treatment should only be aimed at increasing glucose absorption in the gut and decreasing insulin secretion.

Prognosis of insulinoma in dogs

Unfortunately, the prognosis of canine insulinoma varies greatly from case to case, as most of these tumours, when detected in dogs, are malignant.

The life expectancy of dogs with insulinoma depends on the treatment that is established:

  • In dogs receiving medical treatment only: life expectancy is 12 months.
  • In dogs undergoing surgical treatment: one third die from intra- or post-operative complications, another third live less than 6 months and the remaining third may have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 months.

Whether or not surgery is an option for your dog will depend on the severity and size of the tumour. If you suspect insulinoma in your dog, please contact us so that we can make a timely diagnosis for your four-legged companion.

Do cats have tooth decay? Symptoms and treatments

If you notice symptoms in your cat such as bad breath, mouth discomfort, aversion to certain foods or less hunger it could be related to periodontitis. Periodontal disease is a condition characterised by the loosening and breakdown of tooth structure at or below the gumline, resulting in painful, bleeding lesions and destruction of the entire tooth structure. Untreated periodontitis can cause the disease to worsen with age.

What are cavities?

A caries problem involves the breakdown of enamel and demineralisation of teeth. In cats, decay is not as common as in dogs because of their natural diet, but some kittens are more susceptible to decay because of their diet or lack of oral hygiene.

The breakdown and demineralisation of enamel is caused by bacteria present in the mouth that break down carbohydrates and sugars left in the mouth after each meal, releasing acids that dissolve calcium salts in the teeth. Infections caused by damage to the enamel can progress and damage deeper structures such as the pulp and dentine, which can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Causes of dental caries in cats

Sugars and carbohydrates are the main causes of tooth decay, which is not common in cats because they are animals that get their energy and nutrients from meat, which is high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. However, there are some cat foods, such as wet food, that contain a higher percentage of carbohydrates than they need. This puts them at risk of developing caries.

Other causes of tooth decay in cats include the following:

  • Viral diseases such as leukaemia, immunodeficiency, rhinotracheitis and calicivirosis.
  • Expulsion of hairballs from the stomach (due to acid pH).
  • Diet low in calcium or diet with excess vitamin D.
  • Periodontal disease or chronic gingivostomatitis in cats due to bacterial fermentation.
  • Dental fractures.

Symptoms of caries in cats

Caries can be detected with the naked eye by opening the cat’s mouth to see the structures inside. However, there are some clinical signs that indicate that our cat has caries or is suffering from some other dental or oral problem, such as periodontal disease, calculus or chronic feline gingivostomatitis. The most common symptoms are as follows:

  • Anorexia or difficulty chewing.
  • Weight loss
  • Toothache
  • Tartar
  • Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Hypersalivation (salivation)
  • Lethargy or apathy
  • Receding gums Yellow teeth
  • Inactivity
  • Bleeding of the teeth
  • Fever

If your cat is showing these symptoms, it may also be related to an eating disorder. See your vet for any symptoms to prevent serious health problems.

How to treat tooth decay in cats?

Depending on the severity of tooth decay in cats, treatment varies. If the tooth has one or more small cavities that do not extend deep into the tooth, a filling may be recommended to remineralise and rebuild the tooth, along with a dental cleaning to preserve the rest of the tooth. However, if the dental x-ray shows that the dental pulp has been damaged, the tooth should be extracted or root canal treatment should be performed.

How to prevent tooth decay in cats?

It is very important to maintain good oral health in cats by brushing their teeth with a cat-safe toothbrush and cat-safe toothpaste. You should never use human toothpaste to brush your cat’s teeth.

The best way to keep your cat’s teeth healthy is to give him hard food that he can chew to break down and then swallow. This is thought to happen because the friction created when the cat breaks down the hard food on the teeth acts like a brush or squeegee for the dirt on the teeth, preventing tartar and food from building up between the teeth.

It is also important not to feed cats too many treats and not to spoil them with carbohydrate-rich treats to reduce the sugar content, which can serve as a substrate for acid-forming bacteria in the mouth. However, it is a good idea to give them snacks or foods specifically designed for oral hygiene.

Wet food is not only good for your cat’s kidneys, but also provides more moisture in the diet, which is especially important as some cats drink very little water each day. Mixing wet food with low-quality dry food can make them susceptible to tooth decay, as it tends to contain more carbohydrates than dry food. Therefore, it is best to feed wet food once a day, preferably in the morning, and dry food the rest of the day.


Using homemade food is also beneficial to your cat’s health. However, your vet should closely monitor this diet to make sure it contains all the ingredients and minerals it needs to stay healthy.

Why do Maltese dogs have dark patches in their eyes?

There are several small white dog breeds that have become very popular as pets. Such as Maltese dogs, which not only make wonderful companions for all kinds of families, but their beautiful white coat makes them aesthetically very nice.

Unfortunately, such a brilliant whiteness requires special attention, as it stains easily. Many white dog breeds, apart from the Maltese, have the same problem when it comes to their eyes. The natural leakage of tears from their tear duct creates dark spots around the eye in their white coat. Let’s find out a little more about it!

Why does my Maltese have tear stains around his eyes?

While white dog breeds have the most visible tear stains around the eyes, they are not the only ones prone to this condition. Yorkshire Terriers (or Yorkies) are also known to suffer from this problem. In fact, many dogs of many breeds have some form of spotting around the eyes, but they are simply not as visible as a white-coated dog such as a Maltese.

The dark spots that occur around the eyes of the Maltese are usually not serious and the major result is the effect on their physical appearance. The fluid in the tear ducts will leak out, leaving traces of iron, magnesium and other minerals that make up part of the tears. When the tear fluid comes into contact with air it oxidises, leaving brown stains that can give the dog a rather sad appearance.

Problems occur when the tearing is excessive or the hair around the eyes is always wet. It can cause fungus and bacteria to grow. Both make the patches darker and pose a potential health threat if the eye becomes infected.

Increased tear duct leakage leading to staining can be due to a number of reasons, including:

  • Allergies: As with people, dogs can be allergic to almost anything. Allergies affect dogs in a number of ways, but increased tearing is one possible symptom. You can also look for other symptoms such as excessive scratching. If you think your dog has allergies, you should take him to the vet to determine the cause and get him away from whatever is causing his allergy.
  • Blockage of the nasolacrimal duct: Something may be blocking his tear duct, a relatively common problem in the Maltese breed. Regular cleaning of the eye area will help prevent this problem, whether you do it at home or ask the groomer to take care of it.
  • Loss of baby teeth: In Maltese puppies it is very common for the loss of baby teeth to squeeze the nasolacrimal duct and cause more tears. If this is the reason, it is likely to stop when all the permanent teeth have developed.
  • Nutritional deficiencies: What your dog eats and drinks is vitally important to their health. If they are not getting the right amount of vitamins, protein and other nutrients they need to stay healthy, this can affect their eyes.

These problems can happen to almost any dog, but we may not notice the spots around their eyes as easily. To prevent these spots from getting worse and causing an infection in your dog’s eyes, don’t hesitate to see your vet for a check-up and prescribe the best products to heal your dog’s eyes.

My dog complains when I touch his belly, what’s wrong?

Abdominal pain is a frequent reason for veterinary consultation among small animals. Since dogs are experts at hiding their pain, we need to be sensitive to certain cues. A common symptom is trembling in the area, usually when your dog tries to avoid being touched. In more acute cases, howling, whimpering, depression, or even reduced mobility can indicate a problem causing pain in the dog’s belly area.

If you notice that your dog’s belly hurts when you touch him, it is important that you take him to a veterinary consultation. Next, we will talk about the possible causes of this abdominal pain in dogs.

Gastric torsion

Gastric torsion in dogs, also known as stomach torsion, is a pathology that affects the stomach. It is the result of the excessive accumulation of gas and liquid in the stomach that causes subsequent distention or dilation. Once this dilation increases to a certain point, the organ will rotate and cause a torsion. When this happens, the dog will present the following signs:

  • A very distended abdomen.
  • Strong colic pain.
  • Great nervousness.

It is a disease that most often affects large and giant dogs. Although the precise cause that triggers this disease is not known, there are certain predisposing factors that have been related to the development of gastric torsion in dogs:

  • Aerophagia: the dog swallows and swallows a lot of air, usually presenting with dyspnea (difficulty breathing). It is one of the most determining factors of this disease.
  • Eating: Rapid intake of a large amount of food will often occur before the dog develops gastric torsion.
  • Loss of appetite: Once gastric torsion occurs, they will not be able to eat or keep food down.
  • Eating from an elevated bowl: Dogs with megaesophagus are more predisposed to developing gastric dilatation/torsion. For this reason, if a dog is susceptible to this condition, it is recommended that they eat from the ground.
  • Stress: especially when several dogs live together and there is competition for food.
  • Exercise: although the practice of exercise before or after meals has traditionally been associated with the onset of this disease, recent studies call this into question.

Regardless of its cause, gastric torsion is a life-threatening disease with rapid progression. It requires immediate veterinary attention. When the rotation of the organ occurs, necrosis of the stomach and the rest of the organs that rotate together with it begins to occur. Consequently, there are:

  • Hypovolemic shock: due to vascular compromise.
  • Endotoxic shock: due to tissue necrosis.
  • Septic shock: if the stomach is perforated, it can have fatal consequences for the animal if it is not treated in time.

Antral gastritis

In general, any gastroenteritis can cause abdominal pain in dogs. However, there is a pathology that is especially associated with a very intense pain that appears when touching a dog’s stomach. Antral gastritis is an inflammation of the “pyloric antrum” of the stomach or the distal part of the duodenum. It is usually secondary to duodenitis (inflammation of the duodenum).

Antral gastritis presents with bilious vomiting on an empty stomach (usually in the morning). In some cases, chronic diarrhea with weight loss may occur. In patients affected by this disease, it is characteristic to observe an unnatural posture called “prayer pose”. The animals adopt this strange position to relieve abdominal pain. In addition, when the pain is very intense, attacks of abdominal pain may appear that can be confused with epileptic seizures due to their severity.

Gastric ulcers

Gastric ulcers are injuries that occur in the mucosa of the stomach as a result of multiple factors. These include foreign bodies, anti-inflammatory drugs, kidney failure, etc. These injuries can be superficial (erosions) or can affect the entire gastric wall, causing perforation of the stomach.

These patients, in addition to abdominal pain, usually present:

  • Lethargy.
  • Anorexy.
  • Vomiting with or without digested blood.
  • Presence of digested blood in the stool (dark stool).

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic inflammatory process that can affect both the small intestine and the large intestine. In both types, the predominant clinical sign is diarrhoea. It is an idiopathic pathology (that is, of unknown origin), although it seems to have immunological, allergic, dietary or even parasitic influences.

In the specific case of inflammatory bowel disease of the small intestine, attacks of acute abdominal pain are relatively frequent. When severe, these episodes can be confused with epileptic seizures (as occurs in antral gastritis).

Intestinal obstruction

Most intestinal obstructions occur in the small intestine due to its smaller diameter compared to the colon. The causes that can produce a clinical picture of intestinal obstruction are:

  • Foreign bodies: specifically, those that are capable of passing through the stomach, but are trapped when they reach the small intestine.
  • Neoplasms or granulomas in the intestinal wall: depending on their size, they can cause total or partial obstruction due to abnormal cell proliferation.
  • Invagination or intussusception: consists of the entry of a segment of intestine into the lumen of the immediately posterior segment (as if it were a sock that folds on itself).
  • Incarcerated hernia and strangulation: When loops of intestine protrude through a hernia, they can become blocked and imprisoned in such a way as to cause intestinal obstruction and cut off the blood supply to the intestine. You can see that the dog’s abdomen is in severe pain when touched due to inguinal hernias in dogs.
  • Mesenteric volvulus: the mesentery is a fibrous network that is responsible for keeping the intestine in its proper position, adhering to the abdominal wall. In volvulus, the mesentery turns on itself. In turn, this causes acute intestinal obstruction with infarction and intestinal necrosis.

Regardless of the cause, dogs with intestinal obstruction present with severe abdominal pain. Their abdomen is often impossible to touch, since the pain makes them hunch over and they can even be aggressive if we try to touch the area.


Pancreatitis consists of an inflammation of the exocrine pancreas, that is, the tissue responsible for producing and releasing the pancreatic juices necessary for digestion to the intestine. Although its specific etiology is unknown, there are a number of risk factors that predispose to its appearance. These include obesity, high-fat diets, and side effects of some medications.

Regardless of the cause, most dogs with pancreatitis experience vomiting and abdominal pain. If any dog ​​feels pain when you touch its stomach, pancreatitis should be included as a possible differential diagnosis.


The peritoneum is the serous membrane that internally lines the abdominal cavity and surrounds the viscera. When this serous membrane becomes inflamed, peritonitis occurs. Since many different causes can lead to inflammation of the peritoneum, it can be classified into different types of peritonitis:

  • Infectious.
  • Chemical.
  • Neoplastic.
  • Traumatic.
  • Post surgical.

However, all types of peritonitis usually present with moderate to severe abdominal pain. This may be accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, depression, etc.

Diseases of the genitourinary system

As you have seen, there are various digestive diseases that can make your dog feel pain when you touch his belly. However, there are other diseases outside the gastrointestinal system that can also cause abdominal pain.

The following pathologies affect the organs of the reproductive and urinary systems of dogs:

  • Urinary obstruction: especially due to the presence of stones in the urinary tract, something that we usually see with crystals in your urine.
  • Pyometra: a uterine infection that results in the accumulation of pus in the uterus.
  • Prostatitis: inflammation of the prostate.
  • Tumors: ovarian, uterine, urinary bladder, etc. To find out more about tumors in dogs that can affect this area, check out our article on why a dog has a lump near the anus.

Throughout this article we have pointed out the processes that can most frequently cause clinical pictures of abdominal pain in dogs. However, other possible processes should not be ruled out. There are many other pathologies that can cause discomfort or abdominal pain in our pets.

In any case, whenever you detect any symptoms of abdominal pain in your dog, do not hesitate to go to a trusted veterinarian as soon as possible. As you have seen, some of the processes described in this article require urgent veterinary attention, so it is important that you act quickly to ensure a good prognosis.

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