Do you have pets? 57% of consumers globally have pets. I grew up with cats, dogs, and a bird. Our pets can’t speak to us to let us know if something is wrong. How do we know if our fur babies are sick? The obvious signs to look for are vomiting or a change in eating habits. Some diseases are silent, and you don’t know until it is too late.
Here I wanted to explore pets and disease so we can get a better idea of certain illnesses and when and if we need to call the vet. I can remember my dog Molly who was about 10 years old when I started to notice something wasn’t right. Her eyes looked cloudy and she wasn’t eating as much. She was getting up there in age, but if I had acted sooner maybe she could have lived longer.
Pets And Diabetes
Did you know not only us humans can have diabetes, but our animal friends can end up with this as well? Diabetes is defined as a disease that occurs when your blood sugar is too high. There are 2 types of diabetes. Type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system destroying the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, and is considered an autoimmune disease, which basically means our body is attacking itself.
Type 2 has a multitude of reasons for occurring such as obesity, family history and our diets. Did you ever look at food label of your pets food? The ingredients in the dry or canned foods are terrible for our pets. There is barely anything in most of those of nutritional value. Our animals need fresh foods just like humans for the best health. I will be going over the best foods for our pets later on in this article. The symptoms you need to look for are:
- Dry skin and dandruff in the fur
- Cataracts in the eyes ( cloudy eyes)
- Excessive urination and thirst
- Weight loss
- Muscle loss
If you see any of these symptoms in your pet, they need to be seen by a vet. The physical will most likely include a blood and/or urine test. The normal level of glucose in dogs is 60-125 mg/dl, and for cats 70-150mg/dl. Diabetes is diagnosed when blood glucose is consistently at a high level such as 200 and above. Most likely, it won’t be diagnosed from 1 visit. The levels need to be monitored because blood sugar can rise from stress, and your pet can become stressed just by being at the vet.
It might be good to find a vet that makes house calls or one that can calm your baby down. If your pet is diagnosed as having Type 1 diabetes, they will need insulin injections daily and a change in diet because they may need to lose weight. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a controlled diet and oral medication. Some pets with Type 1 lose weight and may not need the insulin anymore. You have to be sure to keep all the vet appointments so they can monitor the treatment.
Pets And Cancer
We aren’t the only ones that can be affected by cancer. Cancer in animals has been found to go back thousands of years. Cancer is most often a silent disease, meaning unless it has been found through regular testing, the signs and symptoms are few. There are some very important signs to look for and if you see any of these in your pets, get them to the vet as soon as possible:
- Lumps in the skin that grow or do not go away
- Abnormal odor
- Weight loss
- Wounds that won’t heal
- Change in appetite
- Coughing or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue or depression
- Change in bathroom habits
- Abnormal discharge
- Evidence of pain
If you see any of these symptoms in your pet, you need to have them seen as soon as possible. Cancer in animals is the leading cause of death in pets older than 10 years. Depending on the length of time and how old your pet is, some animals can be diagnosed by the vet, just by the signs they’re showing. Other times further testing is needed such as scans and blood work. My dog had some of these signs, but we didn’t get her to the vet in time and we had to put her to sleep because she had suffered long enough, so I don’t want anyone else to have to go through that.
I found other diseases common in pets and the signs to look for.
- Ring worm- This is caused by a fungus and is passed from animal to animal, This can also be passed from animal to human. Look out for a circular, scaly red rash that itches. Your pet may have patches of hair missing due to the itching.
- Cat scratch disease– As the name suggests, your cat will be scratching himself in certain areas and this is caused by an infectious bacteria and this can be passed on to humans.
- Campylobacter-This is a disease caused by bacteria found in feces. Symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever. There is no treatment for this, and it will pass in about 1 week. This is also passed to humans.
- Toxoplasmosis– This is caused by a single-celled parasite and is passed onto humans. Cats get this by eating infected prey such as rodents and birds. This is very dangerous for pregnant women because it can be passed on to the unborn baby and cause birth defects affecting the nervous system. Symptoms to look for in your cat are fever, loss of appetite, breathing trouble and weight loss just to name a few. Do not clean the litter box if you’re pregnant.
- Mites- Intense itching and seizures are a sign of this tiny parasite. Also, crusty eyes is a sure sign something is wrong.
Our little buddies may not be able to tell us what is wrong, but paying attention to how they’re acting can be a sure way to distinguish how they’re feeling. Yearly check ups at the vet are highly suggested. If your pet is outdoors a lot, it is best to have some flea and tick protection. There are collars, but it is best to use something like Advantage that lasts a couple months and you just put it on the fur around the neck area.
We want them to have the longest life possible. The best foods for our pets are fresh, balanced, and homemade. This is the best option because you are in control of the ingredients. I found a cookbook specifically for pets. If you have to feed your pet canned or dry food, make sure it says human grade in the ingredients.
This will ensure there aren’t any harmful things in there. Pets need exercise just like us, so make sure to have play time and activities set aside for your pet. As you can see, animals get sick just like humans, but if you know the signs to look for, they can live a long happy life with us. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment. Is there anything I left out? Has your pet been sick? Thanks for reading!!