5 Oddly Named Canine Health Conditions

Pink dog's nose
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In the years of study it takes to become a doctor of veterinary medicine, vets-to-be study constantly. Millions of pieces of information need to be not only memorized but also kept at hand, available for quick recall when dealing with sick animals.

I was thinking about all that we veterinarians need to learn when it hit me, suddenly: Some things really are easier to remember than others. Sometimes it’s because a particular malady is especially interesting from a medical perspective, but other times it’s just because things stick in your head for funny reasons.

Which got me thinking about some of the oddest names for medical conditions in veterinary medicine. Now certainly, the problems themselves aren’t funny, but the names … I can’t forget them. Here’s my list of the five strangest names for animal health problems.

The Names You'll Never Forget

Dudley Nose: Most dogs have black noses, but when they start out black and end up partially or completely brown or pink, that can be a Dudley nose. Although other diseases can cause a loss of pigment in the nose, Dudley nose turns up in some purebreds, primarily, and isn't really a problem from a health standpoint. (Although light-colored noses are a no-no in the show ring for many of those dogs, which may lead to a some cosmetic hanky-panky from time to time, I suppose!) From a veterinary standpoint, you’ll do right by a Dudley-nosed dog by putting some sunscreen on the pink; without protective pigmentation, these noses can get sunburned.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease: This one’s a lot more serious than a pink nose. In dogs with LCP, the head of the femur (the long bone in the thigh) begins to disintegrate, typically when the dogs are still in adolescence. In some breeds, the condition appears to have a genetic link. Once a dog is diagnosed, surgery and physical therapy may be needed to insure his quality of life; in every case, the animal will need to be kept from becoming overweight. The disease may have an odd name, but I’d be just fine without ever writing it on a chart again.

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