Vet Blog

Common Diseases in Cats & Dogs

July 13, 2023

Taking Care of Pets can be Complex

If you have pets, you know they are more than just animals that live in your house. They’re members of the family, and they enrich your life in myriad ways. When they get sick, it can be alarming. Cats and dogs can’t tell us what’s wrong, so how can we determine if they’re dealing with something serious or just feeling a little bit under the weather? Your pets can’t tell you, but the Pet Doctor of Chandler can, with this list of some common diseases in dogs and cats, meant to help you be proactive about protecting your pets’ health.

Understanding Common Diseases in Cats and Dogs

If your pet is sick, you might notice a loss of appetite, refusal to drink water, abnormal gait, vomiting, or sores. Your pet may pace, whine, growl, or lie in an unusual position, or may urinate or defecate somewhere they don’t usually “go.” Any of these symptoms, along with any other behavior that just seems off, warrant close attention, and maybe a trip to the vet. Many common ailments, however, can be prevented. Just as you do, your pets need good nutrition, regular exercise, and preventive care. Make sure your dogs and cats are up to date on their vaccinations and are being given medications to protect them from fleas, ticks, heartworms, and other parasites.

Common Diseases in Cats & Dogs

  • The flu: Dogs can contract influenza, and will display symptoms like coughing, sneezing, running a fever, or having a runny nose. There’s nothing much you can do about this except just help your dog feel more comfortable and give your pet some extra love. Cats don’t typically get influenza, but they can catch upper respiratory infections from other animals, and these can sometimes be quite serious, especially for kittens or cats with another illness. If your cat is sneezing, coughing, has a runny nose or eye discharge, and is lethargic, see your vet immediately.
  • Diabetes: Dogs and cats can get diabetes, just like humans can. Obesity is a common cause, so make sure your cats and dogs are eating a nutritious diet and getting plenty of exercise. If your pet has diabetes, you might notice symptoms like drinking, eating, and urinating more than usual. Take your pet to the vet to be examined if any of these symptoms are present.
  • Diarrhea: Healthy pets produce firm stools, so if your pet’s stools are loose or contain mucus or blood, there is probably a problem. With dogs, diarrhea often indicates a change in diet or consumption of something the dog shouldn’t have eaten. However, it can also be caused by an infection, so it’s best to see the vet. Cats with diarrhea tend to have accidents around the house. A change in diet can cause this problem, but it could also be intestinal parasites or hyperthyroidism, so have your vet give your kitty a checkup.
  • Obesity: Let’s face it, dogs are often food-driven, and so are some cats. You can’t eat a meal or have a snack without being given the old puppy dog eyes from across the room, and it can be tempting to indulge their requests and feed them too many scraps and treats. It’s important that you keep unhealthy snacks to a minimum, and make sure your pets get plenty of exercise because obesity can lead to a wide range of other conditions.
  • Urinary tract issues: A dog who has accidents in the house, has trouble passing stools, or has blood in the urine may have bladder stones. These can be very painful, but your vet can provide medication to dissolve the stones. A cat with blood in the urine, a change in bathroom habits, lethargy, frequent urination of small amounts, or excessive licking of the genital area may be suffering from urinary tract issues. Increased water and a modified diet may help, but if symptoms continue, it’s important to see a vet. Male cats in particular can be susceptible to crystals in the bladder, and this sometimes requires surgery.
  • Thyroid problems: it is common for older cats to suffer from hyperthyroidism, in which the thyroid gland is overproductive. Your cat might be restless, cranky, or weak, or may lose weight, vomit, or have difficulty breathing. Your vet can help, with treatments that reduce the amount of thyroid hormone in your kitty’s body. Dogs don’t tend to suffer from hyperthyroidism and are much more likely to have hypothyroidism, a lack of thyroid hormone. Dogs with this condition become lethargic, lose fur, gain weight, become more sensitive to the cold, and are reluctant to exercise. Take your dog to the vet if you notice these symptoms because this condition is treatable.
  • Hairballs: Cats are meticulous self-groomers, and that’s great because it means you don’t have to bathe them often. The downside is that all that grooming can result in hairballs. This is not a disease, but it is common, because cats swallow loose hair while cleaning themselves, and this creates a hairball. Dogs can get hairballs, too, especially long-haired breeds, but it’s not as common as it is with cats. Hairballs are often vomited up but can sometimes cause digestive issues. You can reduce their likelihood, though, by feeding an anti-hairball diet and brushing your pets daily.

Importance of Veterinary Care

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of regular vet care. When your pets go in for regular check-ups, the vet will be able to catch any diseases in the early stages, when they can be successfully treated. Pets who are seen regularly are also kept up to date on vaccinations, parasite control, and other preventive care, and your vet can make recommendations about nutrition and other steps you can take to keep them in good health.

Pet Doctor of Chandler Cares for Your Pets

When you need a vet you can trust to keep your dog or cat healthy, Pet Doctor of Chandler is here for you. At Pet Doctor of Chandler, we believe in providing quality veterinary care, with all-inclusive pet care services at affordable prices. We know you have many different options for veterinary care, so we provide comprehensive services, with a focus on compassionate care. Our friendly team is well-versed in all sorts of pet care, and we want to help your furry family members live their best lives. For veterinary services in Chandler, AZ, including spay and neuter services and dental care. To request an appointment or learn more about how we can help your pets lead healthy, happy lives, call (480) 681-6866 or contact us through our website.