Fuquay Varina Veterinarian Discusses Managing Chronic Disease in Pets
For a while you’ve noticed that your pet is “off,” but you can’t quite put your finger on it. A visit and some diagnostic testing later at HillTop Animal Hospital, your Fuquay Varina veterinarian, show that your pet has what’s called a chronic disease. The good news is, these diseases can be managed, the bad news is, they can’t be cured.
Common Chronic Diseases in Pets
The more common chronic diseases pets experience are much the same as what people experience. Those common in pets include:
- Arthritis and other orthopedic conditions: Generally strikes middle to older pets and causes pain in the joints
- Chronic kidney disease: Common in older pets and a common cause of death in older cats
- Hepatitis and other liver diseases: Usually of unknown origin and cause a complicated array of symptoms
- Skin allergies: Result in chronic inflammation, lesions, bald spots and itching
- Diabetes mellitus: Disease that affects the body’s ability to appropriately metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats caused by insulin issues
- Cushing’s and Addison’s Diseases: Disorders of pets' hormone levels
- Inflammatory bowel disease: A difficult to diagnose disease causing vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss
- Hyperthyroidism (cats): Caused by overproduction of thyroid hormone and commonly seen in older cats
- Hypothyroidism (dogs): Caused by underproduction of thyroid hormone and generally diagnosed in middle-aged dogs
How Chronic Diseases Are Managed
If your pet is diagnosed with one of these conditions, you will work closely with our Fuquay Varina veterinarian to find the management protocol that best controls the illness. In order to diagnose the illness, your pet will probably need a number of tests that may include lab work and surgical biopsy. We will then prescribe the initial regimen of treatments, starting with medications. Once your pet is on medication, we will need a series of re-checks to make sure the medication is working and that your pet is feeling better. These re-checks with you Fuquay Varina veterinarian are particularly important to evaluate whether the disease or its treatment is affecting any other organs or part of the body.
Owners of pets with a chronic disease need to think about a long-term care plan for their pets. We will help you:
- Figure out a long-term care management plan
- Determine if the illness is progressive or stable
- Help you recognize signs of worsening
- Set up a recheck schedule
- Minimize medication side effects
- Maximize your pet’s overall quality of life
The fact is, managing a chronic disease is not easy, but with your commitment to your pet, combined with the dedication to excellence care by our veterinarian can result in a happy and comfortable life for your pet. We would be happy to share more information with you about chronic disease, please give us a call.