A disorder of carbohydrate metabolism whereby glucose (blood sugar) cannot enter an animal’s cells. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, helps drive glucose absorption. Diabetics either have a lack of insulin, or the cell receptors that respond to insulin have grown resistant. Common clinical signs include excessive thirst and urination, a voracious appetite and weight loss. Diabetic dogs and cats are both treated with injections of insulin and diet changes. After a period of treatment, some cats are able to discontinue exogenous insulin administration.
An endocrine disorder normally found in older cats. Hyperthyroidism is almost always caused by a benign growth of the thyroid gland leading to an overproduction of thyroid hormone. Clinical signs include weight loss, skin problems, voracious appetite, vomiting and loud frequent vocalization. Untreated hyperthyroidism can produce heart and kidney problems. Hyperthyroid cats can be treated with daily medication, surgery, a treatment of radiated iodine or a specialty diet.
Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD occurs when the filtration units of the kidneys are damaged to the extent that they can no longer appropriately concentrate and dilute urine and rid the body of waste products. When this happens animals often experience electrolyte abnormalities and clinical signs can include inappetance, vomiting, increased thirst and urination, weight loss and depression. Depending on its severity, CKD can be managed with specialized diets and dietary supplements and sometimes with frequent fluid administration. More severe, progressed CKD requires intensive rehydration and carries a more negative prognosis.
Heartworm Disease/Heartworm Prevention
Heartworm disease is caused by the organism Dirofilaria immitis. Juvenile heartworms begin their maturation in mosquitoes and are transmitted to host dogs or cats when the insects take a blood meal. The heartworms continue their maturation in the host blood stream, and can eventually cause severe cardiopulmonary disease. Dogs seem much more susceptible to heartworm disease than cats. Heartworms are prevented with a once monthly medication that can be administered via oral tablet or topical solution. It is recommended that all dogs be kept on year-round heartworm prevention. For more information on this subject, visit: www.heartwormsociety.org
Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury
The cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is analogous to the human anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and serves to stabilize motion between the tibia and femur within the knee. The ligament can be strained or partially torn leading to a waxing/waning lameness that may improve with medication and rest. A full rupture of the ligament creates an acute non-weight bearing lameness. The injury is common to large-breed dogs, but can be experienced by dogs and cats of any size. Recommended therapy of a CCL tear is surgical repair of the knee, with different techniques suited to a patient’s size and lifestyle.
(Degenerative Joint Disease)
DJD is the breakdown of cartilage within a joint. Causes can include trauma, conformation abnormalities, infectious and autoimmune diseases and overall ‘wear and tear.’ Clinical signs of DJD include stiffness, lameness and muscle wasting, and a diagnosis can often be made via x-ray. Treatment of DJD includes medication and joint supplements, directed exercise and weight loss. Shady Grove Animal Clinic also offers laser therapy for DJD sufferers.
Ticks can transmit a variety of disease to dogs and cats including Lyme, Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Anaplasmosis among others. These diseases, some of which ticks can also transmit to humans, can cause a variety of clinical signs including lethargy, fever, lameness and bleeding abnormalities. Our annual heartworm test screens dogs for exposure to three tick-borne diseases. A positive result may lead to further testing or monitoring based on any current clinical signs. The high incidence of exposure seen via these tests highlights the importance of year-round flea and tick prevention.
Congestive Heart Failure
CHF is the syndrome experienced by an animal when a diseased heart can no longer adequately supply blood to the body’s organs. Heart failure may be caused by anatomical or electrical cardiac abnormalities or by infectious disease (heartworms). The result of the heart’s inefficiency is a pooling of blood or fluid in organs such as the lungs. Signs of heart failure include exercise intolerance, trouble breathing, cough and collapse. Depending on the cause of heart failure, it may be managed, but not cured, via a combination of medication, diet and lifestyle change.
Resting Respiratory Rates
Resting respiratory rates are an easy at-home way to monitor pets that are at risk for cardiac failure, or for pets who are being treated for cardiac failure. Learn more about this technique here.
Canine Reverse Sneeze
A very common irritation of the pharyngeal region of a dog’s throat. Stimulus as varied as allergies, perfumes, excitement or dust cause a loud gasping, gagging sound that may last 1-2 minutes. Reverse sneezes are normally benign and require no treatment, although antihistamines are occasionally prescribed. The ‘sneeze’ can often be soothed by gently massaging a dog’s throat. Reverse sneezes that are accompanied by nasal discharge, coughing or other respiratory problems may be a sign of a larger problem. Watch an example of a canine reverse sneeze here.
The canine flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by an influenza A virus. As of 2016 two strains of canine influenza are prevalent in the United States. For more information on clinical signs, treatment, and prevention, visit the AVMA’s web page on the subject.