Common Illness and Disease

Below are a list of common pet diseases we treat our patients for at Cole Animal Clinic. As a pet owner it is important to be aware of the medical conditions that can affect our loved ones. As always, please consult your veterinary doctor with any questions and concerns regarding your pet’s health.

Allergy and Itchy SkinArthritis and Joint PainHeart DiseaseDiabetesEar InfectionsGastrointestinalHypothyroidism in DogsHyperthyroidism in CatsKidney FailureRespiratory ProblemsCancerUrinary Problems
Allergy and Itchy Skin in Your Pet

When a pet is constantly itching and scratching, the first assumption is usually that the animal has fleas. The truth is that there are quite a few causes for itchy skin in a pet that range from allergies to infection. Here are some of the main causes of itching and skin irritation in animals.

Food Allergies – Many low cost brands of pet food claim to provide a balanced diet, however, they actually contain large amounts of fillers which cause pet allergies.

Seasonal Allergies – Much like humans, pets are susceptible to seasonal pollen allergies found in the grass, trees, plants and the air outdoors.

Parasite Infestation – Pet allergies caused by parasites such as fleas, ticks, or mites can cause itchy skin that is incredibly uncomfortable.

Contact Allergy – Itchy skin can be caused by coming into contact with an irritant such as detergent or other chemicals. Pets can also be allergic to their shampoo or other grooming products.

Skin Infection (dandruff) – Pets can be vulnerable to bacteria, fungi and yeast that thrive in the moisture found on the skin beneath their coat. These infections can cause dandruff, itching and scratching in pets.

If your pet is experiencing excessive itching and scratching, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.

Arthritis and Joint Pain in Your Pet

Has your pet been limping, acting as though he’s in pain, or perhaps she isn’t as active as she used to be. One of the reasons for joint pain in your pet may be pet arthritis. Pets, like humans, can and do get one of the most common forms of arthritis – osteoarthritis. Pet arthritis can be just as miserable for them as it can be for you.

Unfortunately, our pets age, as we do, and osteoarthritis is a very common disease of old age. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. Scientists are not sure why it occurs in some individuals but not others. It is most commonly caused by overuse and wear and tear on joints, which cannot be avoided in pets that live long, active lives. There is a layer of cartilage between bones that acts as a preventative and buffer against the bones touching. Once that protective layer of cartilage is gone, the result is pain and selling of the joint area.

Many cases of pet arthritis are caused by hip dysplasia, a genetic disorder in certain breeds of dogs that can cause much joint pain and suffering. Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip joint socket. After many years of using the affected joint, crippling arthritis forms in the joint, which causes lameness in the animal.

If you are concerned your pet may be suffering from arthritis and joint pain, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.

Heart Disease and other Cardiac Problems in Your Pet

Heart disease is different in cats than in dogs, but the symptoms can be fairly the same. Some signs of pet heart disease are, coughing, lethargy, weakness, loss of appetite and a general unwell or unkempt appearance of your pet. They may also be short of breath (possibly severely so), depending on the current condition of their heart. Cats generally develop heart disease in the heart muscle, whereas dogs in general develop heart disease in the valves of the heart, similar to humans. Dogs may develop abnormal cardiac rhythms, which casue a backup of excessive blood to the lungs, causing the characteristic cough most pets with heart disease can have.

What should you do if you suspect cardiac issues with your pet? You must have them seen by their veterinarian for diagnosis. Your vet will give a physical exam of your pet, electrocardiograms, x-rays and blood tests to diagnose cardiac issues with your pet. Treatment of the disease, once diagnosed are fairly simple and straightforward. There are medications to treat and ease symptoms most pets suffer from, such as shortness of breath and lethargy.

If you are concerned your pet may be suffering from heart disease and other cardiac problems, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.

Diabetes in Your Pet

Diabetes is becoming an increasing problem for dog and cat owners. Pet diabetes is similar to Type 2 diabetes in humans. Bodies need insulin in order to survive. Normally, a dog or cat’s body produces enough insulin to keep the pet healthy and active. But in pet diabetes, the pet’s pancreas is no longer to produce insulin or blood sugar to keep the pet healthy.

Symptoms of diabetes in cats and diabetes dogs are similar. The pet will become incredibly thirsty and will drink a lot more water than usual. As a result of drinking more, the pet urinates far more often than normal. The pet’s appetite usually increases, too. As the disease progresses, the pet’s appetite disappears.

The good news is that diabetes in cats and diabetes dogs is mostly preventable. Overweight pets are more suspetable to developing diabetes, therefore if they maintain a healthy body weight, their risk is lowered. Diabetes in dogs and cats is easily treatable with medication and a proper nutritional diet designed by your veterinarian.

If you are concerned your pet may be suffering from diabetes, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.

Ear Infections in Your Pet

Ear infections are one of the most common types of pet illnesses. Pet owners can quickly determine if an ear infection is bothering their pet by observing the pet’s behavior. Ear infections can cause a pet to scratch their ears or shake their head. In addition, animals that have an infection may sometimes have a strong odor emanating from their ears.

Certain types of pets are more apt to suffer from ear infections. For example, dogs with floppy ears are susceptible to ear infections because moisture can easily become trapped in the ear canal. This can lead to the growth of bacteria or yeast. Likewise, certain breeds with a lot of fur in their ears may also experience frequent infections.

In some cases, a pre-existing health condition can increase a pet’s chances of developing an ear infection. Pet diabetes is one such condition. Typically, diabetic pets are overweight and animals that have weight problems may also have excess skin which can prevent the air from properly circulating in their ears. In addition, pets with diabetes are more likely to develop yeast infections than their counterparts without the disease.

If you are concerned your pet may be suffering from frequent ear infections, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.

Gastrointestinal Problems in Your Pet

There are several types of gastrointestinal disorders that your pet may experience. Some of the most common gastrointestinal disorders that pet owners can anticipate include diarrhea, constipation, colitis and gastroenteritis.

Diarrhea symptoms include frequent, loose and watery bowel movements. Your pet may also have a fever and bloody stool. Diarrhea can be caused by a change in diet, consuming spoiled food, internal parasites, infections and stress.

A pet owner can detect constipation if the pet’s stool is small, hard and dry. A pet owner may also suspect constipation if the pet whines or shows other signs of distress when trying to go to the bathroom. Constipation is typically caused by a diet poor in water and fiber. Other causes of constipation include trauma, consuming hair or foreign objects and metabolic disorders.

Symptoms of colitis include stool with mucous and small spots of blood. Vomiting is also present in pets with severe colitis. Pets may also experience pain when going to the bathroom. Colitis can be caused by whipworms, a change in diet, tumors, allergies and even by swallowing foreign objects.

Gastroenteritis can be suspected in pets that are vomiting, experiencing diarrhea and that are lethargic. Gastroenteritis can be caused by consuming spoiled food or toxic plants and by food allergies, internal parasites and stress.

If you are concerned your pet may be suffering from gastroinestinal problems, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.

Hypothyroidism in Your Dog

Hypothyroidism is a clinical condition associated with a deficiency of thyroxine (T4 and T3) in your pet. This leads to slow metabolism in most tissues in your dog’s body.

Hyperthyroidism is rare in dogs, but some of the signs and symptoms can be: diarrhea and vomiting, increased thirst, and hyperactive behavior. Your dogs will most likely appear ill and unkempt too. A simple blood test at your veterinarian’s office can give the diagnosis. The treatments are almost identical in dogs as cats, medication first, or surgery, and in rare conditions, radiation treatment (to reduce a tumor) for your pet. Surgery is usually not performed unless there is a tumor in the thyroid, which is rare. Your dog’s blood levels will need to be monitored in the upcoming weeks when taking thyroid medication. Carefully monitoring symptoms of hyperthyroidism in your dog can go a long way in early detection and treatment for your pet.

If you are concerned your dog or puppy may be suffering from canine hypothyroidism, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.

Hyperthyroidism in Your Cat

Hypothyroidism is a clinical condition associated with a deficiency of thyroxine (T4 and T3) in your pet. This leads to slow metabolism in most tissues in your cat’s body.

One the most obvious and easy signs of detection of this disease is weight loss and increased appetite in your cat. Your cat may also vomit, pant, shed hair, and may be urinating more frequently. Signs of symptoms of hyperthyroidism in your cat warrant action on your part. This disease is not limited to any certain breed of cat. It is one of the most common glandular disorders seen in cats, and can be confused for other diseases in your aging pet such as diabetes or arthritis. Fortunately, hyperthyroidism can be easily treated by your veterinarian with one of three methods: surgery, which is usually only used if there is a tumor present on the thyroid, medication or in rare occasions, radiation injections. Your cat must be monitored by your vet’s office when taking thyroid medications, as it’s critical that the proper amount of medicine is regulating its thyroid.

If you are concerned your cat or kitten may be suffering from feline hypothyroidism, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.

Kidney Failure in Your Pet

Kidney disease in your pet is a serious illness and requires prompt attention by your veterinarian. Kidney disease in dogs is a result of their kidneys not being able to rid themselves of waste products carried by the blood. This disease can be caused in a number of ways. One of the most infamous is ingestion of radiator antifreeze. Other causes are obstructions of the urethra, lime disease, shock or rupture of the bladder. This is a medical emergency in dogs and should only be treated by your veterinarian. The following are signals that your pet may be experiencing kidney failure: excessive urination, and as kidney failure progresses, your dog will be lethargic, depressed and have and have a distinctive breath odor.

Kidney disease in cats can be caused by physical trauma, such as being hit in the stomach, shock, urinary tract infection, and poisoning among other causes. Kidney diseases is much more urgent when found in cats because felines do not appear to show signs of kidney failure until about 70% of the nephrons in their kidneys are destroyed, causing this to be unfortunately a quickly fatal disease. Signs of kidney disease in cats may be frequent urination, with output being quite large. This may appear that the kidney is functioning, but they are not. In later stages, your cat may stop urinating all together. Vomitting, diarrhea, and lethargic behavior are also signs that your cat may be experiencing kidney failure.

If you are concerned your pet may be suffering from kidney failure, please contact Cole Animal Clinic immediately. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will aid in the next step to treating the illness.

Respiratory Problems in Your Pet

Because all mammals can develop respiratory problems, domestic pet owners need to be aware of signs of respiratory problems in cats and dogs. Our furry friends often come down with minor ailments such as colds that cause sneezing and sniffling, and like us, they usually heal within several days. However, some symptoms may indicate a more serious problem than just the common cold. If your cat shows one or more of the following signs of severe respiratory distress, you should take it to the veterinarian immediately.

  • Strange noises coming from the chest area
  • Shallow, intense panting
  • Bright red or blue-gray gums
  • Difficulty breathing

Serious respiratory problems in dogs are indicated by the same general symptoms as the ones listed above for cats. Just like in human beings, rapid, shallow breathing after even moderate exercise may indicate heart failure or lung disease.

If you are concerned your pet may be experiencing respiratory problems, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.

Cancer in Your Pet

Many pet owners do not realize that their furry friends are as susceptible to the development of cancer just as human beings are. Older cats in particular have a high rate of cancer. Some signs to watch out for that may indicate cancer in your cat are bumps or lumps anywhere on your feline’s body.

If you suspect cancer in your cat, you should immediately make an appointment with your veterinarian. Even though cancer is common in cats, early diagnosis and treatment often saves lives.

Cancer is also a leading cause of death among our canine companions. In order to help protect your friend from the effects of cancer, you need to be aware of signs that may indicate your dog may be suffering from this disease. As in cats, lumps and bumps may mean the presence of cancer in your dog, and you if you find any, you should quickly schedule a visit with the veterinarian. Other classic cancer symptoms found in canines include wounds that won’t heal, abnormal bleeding and swelling of the lymph nodes.

If you are concerned your pet may be battling cancer, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.

Urinary Problems in Your Pet

Our pets can suffer from urinary tract infections (UTI’s) just as we humans can, and it can be just as painful as it is for us. Urinary tract problems in your dog can be caused by a number of things – crystals in the urine, stress, prostate disease and even rarely, cancer. Your dog may have difficulty urinating (straining), or may dribble while urinating, have a fever, bloody or cloudy urine and he may lick at the urethra. Urinary tract problems in your dog must be diagnosed by your veterinarian, no matter how many times it happens. Once diagnosed, your pet can be treated with antibiotics, other medications or a change in diet – and quite possibly a combination of these treatments.

Symptoms of a urinary tract problem with your cat can be similar to dogs. The causes of a UTI are similar too: crystals in the urine, which may be caused by feeding your cat incorrectly, stress, illness or cancer. Your cat may strain while urinating, will urinate inappropriately – outside of its litter box, may pant, and cry and just seem to be in distress or have a poor, unwell appearance. Her urine may be cloudy or bloody. Treatment for urinary tract problems in your cat is similar to dogs in which treating with an antibiotic and a change in diet seem to be most helpful.

If you are concerned your pet may be suffering from urinary tract problems, please schedule an appointment with Cole Animal Clinic. A physical exam and discussion of your pets specific symptoms will help establish an effective treatment plan.