Kishu Ken
Image © Akiyama No Roushya

Entropion

Entropion is an eye condition where the eyelids roll in towards the eye, causing the fur and lashes to rub onto the surface of the eyeball. It is mostly noticed in dogs under 6 months of age, and causes a lot of pain and irritation to the eyeball. It can affect one or both eyes. This is a genetic condition, and normally affects dogs that have wrinkly skin on their face such as chow chows, pugs and shar-peis, but is not limited to these breeds.

Symptoms:

  • Red eyes
  • Rubbing eyes or pawing at eyes
  • Runny eyes
  • Eye ulcers
  • Discharge from eyes
  • Squinting eyes
  • Closing eyes repeatedly

Treatment:

Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Some dogs have very mild entropion, and can go on to live happy and healthy lives, where the condition may cause an eye infection once or twice a year. Other dogs have very severe entropion and cannot be managed medically. Options including waiting or the puppy to grow up and grow out the condition, if the dog is still affected by 1 years old, the only cure is eyelid surgery. A vet will remove a small wedge of excess tissue from the affected eyelid, to make the eyelid turn outwards again, and stop rubbing on the surface of the eyeball. Surgery is incredibly successful, and will rectify the problem. If dogs are affected in both eyes, surgery can be done on both eyes at the same time.


Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a condition that affects the thyroid gland. This condition results in an underactive thyroid gland. The thyroid controls your dogs’ metabolic rate; when it is underactive, it slows down the metabolism. The gland cannot secrete enough thyroid hormone, so this decreases your dogs metabolism. Most dogs will show symptoms between the ages of 4-10 years old.

Symptoms:

  • Frequent napping
  • Lethargy
  • Uninterested in play
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain, with no increase in appetite
  • Seizures
  • Slow heart rate

Treatment:

Your vet will conduct a through examination of your dog, and will recommend blood tests. This condition is effectively controlled by life long medication. This medication will most likely contain a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone (levothyroxine). Regular blood tests will be needed until your dogs medication and thyroid levels are controlled. Most dogs with regular medication live long, and happy lives with this disease.


Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal issues (GI issues) are a generic term for a variety of conditions involving the gastrointestinal system (stomach, small, and large intestines). There are a number of GI issues, however there is limited information regarding what specific conditions the Kishu Ken suffers from. One condition a number of Kishu owners have noted is pancreatitis. This is an incredibly painful condition that results in inflammation of the pancreas. Some common symptoms of GI issues are listed below, but are not limited to these.

Symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • High temperature
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Pain

Treatment:

Treatment for GI issues depends on the condition diagnosed by your vet. Often, these symptoms are very generic and further tests are required such as blood tests, ultrasounds, gut biopsies, and x-rays. Pancreatitis is noted to be one of the most painful conditions in dogs, and hospitalisation and aggressive fluid therapy is advised, along with pain relief. Your vet will treat the condition they diagnose with specific medications. If there is no final diagnosis for the GI issues (as the symptoms are very broad), your vet may treat the symptoms and signs that they see. Most dogs will make a full recovery however GI issues in puppies are especially dangerous and should be treated right away and require immediate veterinary attention.


Persistent Pupillary Membranes (PPM)

Persistent pupillary membranes are strands of excess tissue within the eye. They are normally remnants of blood vessels, which, before birth, supplied nutrients to the developing eye. Normally, these strands disappear by 4 or 5 weeks of age. Depending upon the location and extent of these strands, they may interfere with vision, and some dogs may develop cataracts. However, it is important to note that this cataract will not worsen. In most dogs, however, they cause little to no problems. It is diagnosed by a veterinary surgeon during a routine health check, which includes an eye exam.

Symptoms:

  • Small white spots within the dogs eye
  • Impaired vision
  • Bumping into things
  • Cloudiness of the eye

Treatment:

No treatment is needed for this condition if it is not affecting the dog. If the dog is affected, eye drops may be prescribed, or if the cataract is severe, surgery may be required. Dogs that suffer from this condition (even if showing no signs of cataracts or blindness) should not be bred from.


Addisons Disease

Addisons Disease (also known as Canine Hypoadrenocorticism) is a disease of the adrenal gland that prevents adequate production of cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol is a steroid that helps your dog combat and manage stress, while aldosterone helps regulate the water and electrolytes in their body.

Symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Diarrhea
  • Collapse

Some dogs suffer from Addisons Disease in a much more serious form, known as Addisonian Crisis. This is normally characterised by sudden severe vomiting, diarrhoea, and collapse. This is a life threatening medical emergency and veterinary attention must be sought immediately.

Treatment:

Addisons disease is diagnosed through various blood tests and a clinical exam of your pet. An ACTH stimulation test will be done to confirm Addisons disease in your dog. This is a series of blood test where they will need to be admitted to hospital for the day. It can be managed well with daily medications, and their normal diet and lifestyle tend to remain unchanged. Follow up blood tests will be needed throughout your pets life to make sure the dose of medication is still appropriate for your dog. Many dogs go on to lead healthy lives once developing Addisons disease, or going through an Addisonian Crisis.

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