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Types of Pets Seen

Because a large number of veterinarians practice at Ludwig's Animal Hospital, we can care for many types of pets. Call us for more information or click on an image below to see a few common health problems.







Dogs Common Health Problems

Ear Infections

Ear infections are a common canine health problem, and they can be caused by allergies, yeast, ear mites, bacteria, hair growth deep in the ear canal, and more. Symptoms your dog may have with an ear infection include:

  • Head shaking or head tilting
  • Ear odor
  • Vigorous scratching
  • Lack of balance
  • Unusual back-and-forth eye movements
  • Redness of the ear canal
  • Swelling of the outer portion of the ear
  • Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge


Tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms are common internal parasites in dogs. And although any worm infestation can make your pooch uncomfortable, some, like hookworms, can be fatal in puppies. Signs your dog may have worms include:

  • Diarrhea (may be bloody)
  • Weight loss
  • A change in appetite
  • A rough, dry coat
  • Scooting on his bottom
  • An overall poor appearance


It takes just three weeks for one flea to turn into an infestation of 1,000 biting bugs. A very common canine health problem, fleas are easy for your dog to pick up, but they're also easy to treat. Signs your dog may have fleas include:

  • Excessive scratching, licking, or biting at the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Hot spots
  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Tapeworms (which are carried by fleas)
  • Flea dirt (looks like small black dots) against your dog's skin

Cats Common Health Problems


Vomiting is a very common problem with cats with a multitude of causes. They range from eating something poisonous or inedible (like string), to infection, urinary tract disease, or diabetes to hairballs.

Symptoms are usually obvious, and include drooling and abdominal heaving. Vomiting can quickly leave your cat dehydrated, so if kitty continues vomiting or acts ill, call your vet right away. It may help to collect a sample of your cat's vomit and take it with you to the vet.

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases

Some estimates say as many as 3% of cats seen by vets have feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD), which is actually a group of feline diseases with multiple causes.

Female and male cats can get FLUTD, and it often occurs in cats that are overweight or unfit or who eat dry food. Stress, a multi-cat household, and sudden changes can all raise a cat's risk of FLUTD, and treatment depends on the type of FLUTD your cat has. FLUTD symptoms include:

  • Straining to urinate
  • Bloody urine
  • Urinating in unusual places
  • Crying when urinating
  • Licking around the urinary area (often because of pain)
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting

It's always an emergency if your cat can't urinate. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your cat has a urinary tract problem.


Fleas are a very common external feline health problem. But it's one you can easily treat. Signs your cat has fleas include:

  • Flea dirt on its skin (they look like tiny black dots)
  • Constant scratching
  • Frequent licking
  • Red or irritated skin
  • Hair loss
  • Skin infections or hot spots


One of the most common feline health problems inside your cat, tapeworms live in kitty's small intestine and sometimes grow as long as 2 feet.

Symptoms of a tapeworm infection can be subtle but may include vomiting and weight loss. The easiest way to tell if your cat has tapeworms is to look at its feces and around its anus. If you see small white worms or what look like grains of rice or sesame seeds, your cat likely has tapeworms.

Treatment options include injection, oral, or topical medication. But because cats almost always get tapeworms as a result of swallowing a flea, be sure to handle any flea problems your cat has before tackling tapeworms.

Pocket PetsCommon Health Problems

Respiratory Symptoms

You’ll be able to easily spot respiratory symptoms. Your pet will seem to have problems catching their breath and sneeze quite a bit. You might also see some nasal discharge along with a reddish-colored liquid trickling from the eyes.

Lack of Interest in Food

If your pet suddenly loses their hearty appetite, or seems to drop some weight, they might have poorly aligned teeth that make it too painful to eat. Your vet can trim their teeth so they fall right into their natural positions. After that, your furry friend should resume chowing down on food pretty quickly.

Suddenly Liquid Feces

You’ve been spoiled by your pet's tidy elimination habits. If his nicely formed feces suddenly morphs into diarrhea, get your friend to the vet immediately. You don’t want your pet to become dehydrated from excessive fluid loss.

External Parasites

Even though your pet grooms themselves daily, they’ll likely become infested with some external parasites during their lifetime. If you see that your pet has dropped some hair, and has scratching a lot, suspect an external parasite. You might even see some lice scurrying back and forth through their hair coat. Don’t let the parasite infestation get any worse – get to your vet for a quick diagnosis and a targeted medication that will banish the nasty pests.

Lumps on the Body

Pocket pets frequently develop tumors on varied parts of their bodies. Rats and mice, especially older pets, face the highest risk of tumors. If you notice a strange lump or mass on your pet's body, get to your vet immediately. When you notice troubling symptoms, getting your Cedar Rapids vet involved quickly can often mean a less complicated treatment program and a better outcome for your little buddy.

Rabbits Common Health Problems

Pasteurella (Snuffles)

More commonly known as snuffles, pasteurella is generally characterized by the presence of nasal discharge, watery eyes, matted paws and sneezing. Caused by Pasturella multocida bacteria, this illness tends to manifest itself during or after stressful situations, so in addition to feeding rabbits a healthy diet and maintaining a clean rabbitry, prevention can include minimizing stress for your rabbits.

Sore Hocks

Although most commonly seen in large or giant rabbit breeds, sore hocks can be problematic for any rabbit breed housed in less-than-sanitary conditions or kept in a hutch with a wire floor. Sore hocks is an infected ulceration of the foot pad, often caused by prolonged pressure of the rabbit’s feet against the cage floor. The problem can be prevented by providing floor mats, resting boards or nest boxes so that your rabbits have a comfortable place to rest. Additionally, toenails should be clipped short and hutches should be kept clean. Treatment for sore hocks can include antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications, but you can consult a veterinarian about the possible use of foot wraps, calamine lotion or ointments, such as Neosporin or Preparation H.

Ear Mites

If you find a crusty, scabby substance on the inside of your rabbit’s ears, this is ear canker and is caused by ear mites. Other symptoms can include head shaking and intense scratching; hair loss is also occasionally seen. Ivermectin is a common treatment option, so ask your veterinarian for advice regarding dosage and frequency of treatment. Mineral oil—a drop or two in each ear, once a month—is an option for preventing an infestation of ear mites. An underlying infection may often accompany ear-mite symptoms, so always consult your rabbit-savvy veterinarian about treatment.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a dangerous problem for rabbits, particularly those housed outdoors. Rabbits are extremely sensitive to elevated temperatures, and your outdoor rabbits will need ample protection in order to stay sufficiently cool during periods of hot weather. Protection from the sun, of course, is paramount, but so is continual access to fresh air and water . You can provide frozen water bottles for rabbits to lay next to and absorb the cold on hot days and a fan blowing near (but not directly on) your rabbits to help circulate cool, fresh air. By keeping your rabbits cool and comfortable, you’ll help prevent heat-induced illnesses. For a rabbit suffering from heat stroke, an immediate reduction in body temperature is necessary. Spray the rabbit with tepid water and immediately transport it to a veterinarian, who may need to treat the rabbit with IV fluids.

G.I. Stasis

Essentially a slowdown or stoppage of the digestive tract, gastrointestinal stasis is a dangerous and often fatal illness. Signs can include the failure to produce fecal droppings, a lack of appetite, failure to drink, a bloated abdomen and general listlessness. If your rabbit exhibits these symptoms, it should be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian. A range of treatment options for G.I. stasis includes surgery, oral fluids, free-choice hay, abdominal massage, and simethicone drops or tablets. The course of treatment will depend on whether an intestinal blockage is involved.

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