Pet Diseases: A Comprehensive Overview of Common Pet Ailments

The Animalista Common Diseases

Pets are near and dear to our hearts, so it’s pretty easy to worry about their health and well being. Making sure your pets are in constant good health can be stressful, and more so when they do get sick. Yet when they do get sick, it’s hard to know what the problem may be because they can’t exactly tell you what’s going on.

When trying to identify a sickness that relates to pet diseases, looking for symptoms can be your best bet to figuring out the problem. Acknowledging that something is not right is critical to get ahead of any major health issues, and it’s best to seek a Vet’s advice. So how do you spot symptoms that can lead to, or have already reached a disease state? As part of our medical treatments feature, we break down four common diseases found in pets to help you better identify potential health issues.

Pet Disease – Rabies, what exactly is it and what are the symptoms? 

Rabies is a virus that affects animals causing them to go mad and have convulsions. This disease can be  transmitted to humans and has caused over 50,000 millions death to both humans and animals. Rabies can be spotted  by a rapid change in behavior (restlessness and aggression).

Animals will lick, bite, and chew at the spot where they were bitten which may help you detect there is something wrong. A fever may occur, and as the virus continues, they may be more sensitive to light and sound. Foaming in the mouth can be a result of paralysis in the throat and jaw muscles, which is caused by rabies. Your pet can also lose its appetite and show signs of weakness. Rabies is a very serious as far as pet diseases go, and is known to result in death. Signs of rabies may not occur until two to eight weeks after a pet has been exposed to the disease.

How do animals get rabies? 

Animals get rabies through exposure to the saliva of animals who are infected with the disease. This can occur through a bite, or a scratch on the skin that can let the virus enter the bloodstream through the open wound. Some common animals that carry rabies include; bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.

Can rabies be treated?

Unfortunately there is no treatment or cure for rabies. When having the virus, most animals will get euthanized. Although there is no cure for this virus, there is prevention, such as making sure to get your pets vaccinated. Once vaccinated, you not only protect your pet, but yourself as well from getting the disease should you get exposed. Rabies is a very deadly disease and can harm humans if exposed. Keep your pet up to date with vaccines and try to avoid your pet getting in contact with wild animals so that you limit the risk.

The Animalista - Cat receiving medical exam to prevent pet disease

Pet Disease – Diabetes, What is it?

Diabetes is a pet disease that can occur in animals when the body is not using enough glucose. First off, glucose is the body’s source of energy and controlled by insulin, a hormone. Glucose is a sugar that’s found in food, so animals are exposed to sugar through their diet. Insulin’s role in the body is to make sure that glucose is able to go from the bloodstream to the cells. When there is not enough insulin, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream. When there is not enough glucose getting to the cells there is not enough energy to function creating a state of starvation. The body will then break down fat and muscle to form the missing energy stores. This can lead to weight loss, which can be seen in some diabetics, including animals.

Symptoms of diabetes

Although diabetes isn’t easily spotted in animals, there are some signs that can help you detect early diabetes. One sign is if your pet is drinking an excess amount of  water, causing frequent peeing. Another sign is a decreased appetite which results in weight loss. If your pet has a large appetite but still experiences weight loss. This may be a sign of diabetes as well. Cloudy eyes and constant skin or urinary infections are other signs to look out for.

Animal versus human diabetes

The similarities between human diabetes and animal diabetes include the inability to produce enough insulin. The body simply does not allow the production of insulin. There are two types of diabetes found in both humans and pets; Type 1 and Type 2. Although pets have the same types as humans, diabetes in pets is less understood. Type 1 diabetes in pets is when the pancreas can’t make enough insulin, which can be difficult to prevent because it’s often hereditary. Type 2 diabetes can produce insulin, but the body can’t respond to the insulin made by the pancreas.

Treatments for diabetes

Pet diseases such as diabetes, should be confirmed by your Veterinarian. So no self diagnosis because you read this or similar articles. Treatments your Vet may prescribe include insulin, which will likely require a daily injection. Make sure to maintain a proper supply of insulin at all times, and watch for insulin overdose or an underdose by monitoring your pets levels.

Signs of weakness, tremors, seizures, and loss of appetite. If these signs are displayed, contact your Vet or visit an animal emergency hospital. Maintaining a proper diet for your pet is also an important part of treatment. In dogs, a high-fiber diet is recommended and in cats a high-protein diet is recommended. Constant exercise is also helpful and recommended as part of overall good health.  When treating diabetes, there are constant examinations required that include blood and urine tests. Monitoring your pet’s weight, appetite, drinking, and peeing frequency is also very important when treating diabetes. 

Although diabetes can be hard for pets, they can live a long and happy life with proper care and constant check up with your veterinarian.

The Animalista - Dog receiving medical exam to help prevent pet diseases

Pet Disease – Arthritis, what is it?

Arthritis in dogs is a disease that occurs when cartilage is worn away in the joints and can’t be replaced fast enough. Cartilage protects the bones but when it’s worn away the joints are swollen and painful. 

Signs of arthritis is animals include difficulty moving. You will notice your pet not wanting to go up or down stairs, get tired when walking, lies down more. When touching the affected area they might be sensitive and can growl or whimper. Causes of arthritis can be age, the older your pet the more the cartilage will start to wear away. Not only age but the breed of the dog can be a factor of arthritis. For instance, the larger the breed the more prone to arthritis and decreased mobility. Too much weight might cause arthritis because of the constant stress on the joints. Heredity and infection can also cause arthritis too.

Treatments for Arthritis

Nutrition plays a major role in helping with arthritis. Making sure your pet has a healthy diet and lifestyle can help with joint problems. Medications such as Rimadyl, Deramaxx, and Novox can be given to pets to help reduce pain and allow them to move easier. Although these medications can help your pet. It could harm their stomach and liver as well, so getting a vet to take blood test and prescribe the medication would be safer for your pet. Joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin can help stimulate joint cells and keep the joints moistened.

Pet Disease – Obesity, What is it?

Obesity occurs when excess body fat is active in the body and secretes hormones and brings stress to the body tissue. Obesity is determined when your pet’s weight is 10%-20% above their ideal body weight. Signs such as difficulty breathing, lack of fluid moving, and the obvious visible weight gain can all be a result of obesity.  Obesity happens in many ways such as; overfeeding, not giving your dog enough exercise. Age can also play a role in obesity because of the decrease in activity. Making sure to watch the amount of treats you give your pets, and giving them plenty of exercise can help keep your pets from getting obese. Having obesity shortens your pets lifespan and can expose them to other pet diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Obesity can also cause the wearing away of cartilage, which impacts joints causing arthritis.

Treatments for Obesity

If you believe your pet is overweight, regardless if they approach the 10%-20% threshold, its advisable to consult your veterinarian to get advice on how best to put your pet on a regimen in order to get them back to healthy levels. There are medications that can help with weight loss. It is recommended however to speak to your vet as s/he is best suited to help come up with the right plan for your pet to reduce weight. 

Whether it’s playing fetch with your dog or lying down on the couch with your cat, it can be easy to worry about your pet’s needs for overall well being. Once they get sick, it can be hard to notice if you’re not sure what to look out for. Even if you do spot something odd, you might not know exactly what the problem may be. Especially since your pet can’t just tell you their problem.

So after reading this article, I hope it helped you understand some of the common pet diseases, their symptoms, and how they may be treated. These pet diseases may never occur in your pet and I hope they don’t, but knowing what to look out for is better than worrying. Although this article may help you identify potential symptoms that can relate to a disease, it’s always best to consult your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment that fits your pets needs.


By: Victoria

Contributing Animalista

The Animalista contributors are animal people from around the world who use their writing talents to produce content that educates, entertains, and raises awareness for animal related topics.  


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