Every year when you bring your pet in for a check-up, your veterinarian likely talks to you about vaccines and gives Fluffy or Fido a good look over. They may draw blood, or recommend preventative care routines, like a dental cleaning or grooming. But what are some of the most common serious ailments for cats and dogs that your veterinarian wants to help you prevent and control?
10. Kidney disease: Kidney disease is common in senior cats, but also seen in cats and dogs of all ages. It can be congenital or develop as the pet ages. While cats with kidney disease can be treated and kept healthy for several years in most cases, dogs typically deteriorate more quickly. Kidney health is typically evaluated with annual bloodwork at your veterinarian.
9. Diabetes: Just like with humans, pets can develop diabetes as part of the aging process. While diabetes in cats and dogs can often be controlled by a plan of diet and exercise, some pets will require regular insulin shots.
8. Arthritis: Arthritis is often seen as a rite of passage for our older pets. They may seem slow to rise in the morning, or a bit reluctant to jump up to their favorite spot on the couch. Your veterinarian can diagnose most forms of arthritis during a routine exam, but they may also recommend an x-ray to rule out other issues or evaluate how seriously inflamed the joints are. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are joint supplements, and even treatments like acupuncture, to help keep your pet as mobile as possible for as long as possible.
7. Flea and tick borne diseases: Fleas and ticks are certainly undesirable guests on your pets fur, but they are more than just unwelcome creepy crawlies. These tiny passengers can carry serious diseases that can cause profound illness in both pets and people. Want to keep your cats, dogs, and human family healthy? Use a monthly topical flea and tick preventative, vacuum regularly, and always check your pets and yourself after playing with other animals or in grassy fields.
6. Rabies: Rabies is the disease made famous in the hearbreaking scene in Old Yeller. Thankfully, the widespread use of the rabies vaccine in recent years has made its occurrence in pets in the U.S. quite rare. However, it is still present in wild animal populations, and because rabies is always fatal, it’s critical to make sure that your pets are current on their rabies vaccination.
5. Distemper: Distemper is a tragic, often fatal disease of dogs and puppies. While the distemper virus is part of the typical puppy vaccine series, puppies too young for vaccination and dogs who were never vaccinated are most vulnerable. The virus typically comes along with neurological symptoms, nasal discharge, and high fevers. It also has a high mortality rate, and the rare dogs who survive infection often bear long-term effects, such as seizures and hardened paw pads.