Common Chronic Conditions in Pets
There are several chronic conditions that we can diagnose and treat at Vista Veterinary Hospital. Care doesn’t stop when you leave our office. We provide owners with the information and resources they need to continue care at home.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 details of the disease.