Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: The Great Pretender, Summer Dangers, and more ...

Addison’s Disease in Dogs
Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

Addison's disease, hypoadrenocorticism, is an insufficient production of adrenal hormones cortisol and aldosterone. These hormones are crucial for the body to be able to function. Cortisol, also called the stress hormone, is essential for the function of pretty much every organ in the body. Aldosterone regulates sodium and potassium levels.

Everything in the blood is normally strictly regulated. The reason for that is that too much or too little of any one component can be dangerous and even life threatening. When the regulation fails, your dog's body is in trouble.

The tricky part about this disease is that the symptoms are vague, waxing and waning. Sometimes it's important to keep that in mind and when your dog is unwell and you suspect something more is going on, perhaps you should ask your vet, "do you think we should test for Addison'?"

Read Dr. Kay's article about Addison's disease and its symptoms.

All Dogs Are at Risk in the Hot Months – Don’t Let Yours Be a Summer Casualty
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang/petMD

While the spring has a slow start, where we are it seems to have jumped straight into the summer. It is hotter than hell. One upside, hopefully, is that it might reduce the amount of biting insects. But such heat is no better for humans or dogs than it is for the bugs.

It is always important to take the weather conditions into consideration when planning out your day with your dogs. In hot weather, it means going out early and late in the day, trying to find the sweet spot between too much heat and too many bugs. Walks need to be shorter and include plenty of hydration.

If you're really hot walking your dog, your dog is way hotter! Keep that in mind and let's keep our dogs safe during the summer heat.

Check out Dr. V's thoughts on the subject.

Most Commonly Asked Vet Heartworm Questions
Dr. Patrick Mahaney, The Honest Kitchen Blog

I hope that by now everybody who reads any dog-related blog knows what heartworm disease is. I also hope that everybody understands the importance of prevention. If there was just one preventive measure I was going to take for my dogs, this would be it.

Questions arise when it comes to what preventives should be used and when and how often they should be used. Are there any effective natural products? None I know of. Does the preventive need to be administered year-round? Most veterinarians will answer yes and I do give it throughout the whole year. It's just not worth of taking the slightest chance.

Do you have questions about heartworm disease? Check out Dr. Mahaney's article.