Chronic Disease Veterinarian in Falmouth, MA
If your pet has a long-term illness, you may feel lost and confused about how to handle the situation. Chronic disease in pets is undoubtedly serious, but many conditions are easily managed, so your pet can still live a long and satisfying life. Keep reading to learn more about chronic diseases in pets and how we treat them at Vista Veterinary Hospital in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
What is Chronic Disease in Pets?
Chronic disease in pets refers to an ongoing or permanent condition that requires long-term care and prescription medication. Chronic illnesses often require a special diet, too. You must have a clear plan of action to take care of your pet. The doctors at Vista Veterinary Hospital will help prepare that plan of action for you, working closely with you to decide your pet’s diet, medications, vet visits, and whatever else you need to do to make your pet more comfortable.
Caring for a pet with a chronic disease can be stressful and draining, but we give you the professional support you need to feel good about your plan.
Every Pet Deserves A Long, Happy Life
Comprehensive veterinary care to help make it happen.
Common Chronic Conditions in Pets
Hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland regulates the metabolic rate. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive and causes the metabolism to slow down, affecting almost every other organ in the body. Dogs with this disease may show symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, excessive shedding, increased occurrence of skin and ear infections, slow heart rate, and failure to regrow hair after it has been clipped. It is diagnosed using a blood sample test, and it is treated with an oral administration of thyroid replacement hormone, which must be given to the dog for the rest of its life.
Hyperthyroidism. This chronic disease occurs when the thyroid gland is overactive, and the metabolism rate speeds up. Your pet may become hyperactive, be unable to sleep, experience weight loss, and drink more water. When you visit a vet for hyperthyroidism, they may prescribe medication and a diet deficient in iodine to treat it. Other treatments include surgery or radiation therapy using radioactive iodine.
Diabetes. Diabetes in pets can be managed, especially when it is detected early. Signs of diabetes include excessive water drinking, weight loss, decreased appetite, cloudy eyes, and chronic infections. It is diagnosed through a blood test and treated with insulin. Insulin must be given through an injection, which we will teach you how to give. To ensure the proper insulin dosage is being administered, your pet must keep regular vet appointments for diabetes, take blood and urine tests, and have its weight and appetite monitored closely. A special diet and feeding schedule will also be necessary.
Heart Disease. Some symptoms of heart disease in pets include a dry cough following physical activity, shortness of breath, restlessness while sleeping, rapid weight loss, fainting, and rapid fatigue. Heart disease can be diagnosed using x-rays, blood and urine tests, electrocardiograms, or echocardiograms. Treatments for heart disease in pets may vary, depending on what type of heart condition your dog or cat has. They could include prescription medicines, special diets, and even surgery.
Adrenal Disease. Sometimes called Cushing’s Disease, this condition is usually caused by a tumor in your pet’s pituitary gland. Symptoms may include extreme thirst and frequent urination, lesions on the skin, loss of muscle, lack of energy, and obesity. Diagnosis is not always easy, but if we suspect your pet has this disease, we will take blood and urine tests to confirm it. In most cases, treatment is a medication that helps keep your pet’s cortisol levels regular.
Kidney Disease. Chronic kidney disease means your pet’s kidneys cannot filter waste products from the blood. It is often associated with aging. Symptoms may include increased water consumption and urination, loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and very bad breath. A urine and blood test are taken to diagnose kidney disease. Treatments include flushing the kidneys and removing toxins from the blood, a special diet, medications, and fluid therapy that you give to your pet under the skin.
Addison’s Disease. In pets, Addison’s Disease affects the production of cortisol and aldosterone. The reduction of these hormones can affect multiple areas of the body, such as the kidneys, heart, metabolism, and blood pressure. A few symptoms of Addison’s Disease include depression, lethargy, vomiting, and fur loss. Diagnosis for Addison’s Disease is usually found through a combination of blood tests, urine analysis, and ECGs of your dog’s heart. Luckily, with proper treatment, your dog can live still have a normal lifespan.
Chronic Arthritis. Like humans, pets are prone to developing arthritis in their senior years. Symptoms that may indicate your pet has arthritis include difficulty moving around, reluctance to participate in everyday activities such as going on a walk or playing, or a decrease in muscle mass around the legs or hips. Taking care of your pet in this state requires regular visits to your vet for arthritis monitoring, possibly a change in diet, or prescription medication.
Home Care for Your Pet with Chronic Disease
In most cases of chronic disease in pets, one of the treatments will include a special diet. Managing your pet’s nutrition is vital to managing the disease. Let us help you develop a nutritional plan that will work for your pet. We’ll help you monitor the illness and suggest changes to the diet as time goes on.
You can also help your pet by making its life easier at home. If your pet has mobility issues, try setting up baby gates or installing ramps. Add rugs to slippery floors. Install more litter boxes or potty pads to help animals with urinary incontinence.
Also, think about ways to keep your pet entertained. Keep them exercised as much as they can. Do activities they enjoy, so they aren’t bored. Spend time with your sick pet, grooming them and snuggling with them, showing them you care.
How Often Should My Pet See a Vet for Chronic Disease?
A healthy pet should see a vet once a year. A pet with chronic disease will need to take more frequent trips to the vet to monitor the progress of the disease. We will help you set up a timetable for vet appointments depending on the severity of the disease.
Cost of Caring for Pets With Chronic Disease
At Vista Veterinary Hospital, we strive to provide your pet with the care they need without putting stress on you financially. That’s why we offer payment plans for our patients with chronic disease so you can pay monthly for their treatment instead of having to pay for everything upfront.
Why Choose Vista Veterinary Hospital for Chronic Disease Diagnosis and Treatment?
Our professional veterinary hospital in Falmouth, Massachusetts, has advanced technology, an in-house lab, and very committed and compassionate staff ready to serve you and your pet. We set very high standards in everything we do, so if you come in with a pet with chronic disease, you can be sure that we will do whatever we can to help you manage the disease.
Schedule an appointment for your pet today. We’ll give you peace of mind.