Lyme disease, which is most frequently transmitted by deer ticks, is an infectious disease caused by a bacteria called Borrelia. When an animal is bitten by an infected tick, the infection is transmitted. Ticks contract the disease by feeding on infected animals such as birds, mice, and deer.
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is most frequently manifested in pets by lameness due to inflamed joints and general malaise or discomfort. Often, pets with Lyme disease exhibit a loss of appetite or depression.
A sensitivity to touch, difficulty breathing, and fever may also be signs that your pet has Lyme disease.
How can Lyme disease be diagnosed?
See your vet if you’re concerned that your pet may have Lyme disease.
Your veterinarian will take a complete medical history of your pet and then perform a battery of tests on him or her, including blood tests, urine analysis, fecal examination, and x-rays. Additionally, your veterinarian may draw fluid from your pet’s affected joints for Lyme analysis.
What happens if my pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease?
If your pet is diagnosed with Lyme disease, he or she will most likely be treated as an outpatient. Typically, your pet will be prescribed an antibiotic course lasting at least four weeks. If your dog is particularly in pain, your veterinarian may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory (pain medication for dogs).
Heartworm disease is spread through mosquito bites and is primarily caused by a parasitic worm called dirofilaria immitis.
Pets such as dogs, cats, and ferrets may become definitive hosts, which means that worms mature into adults, mate, and produce offspring inside the animal. We refer to this serious condition as heartworm disease because the worms live in an infected pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
What are the symptoms of heartworm disease?
Heartworm disease typically does not manifest symptoms until the disease has progressed. Swollen abdomen, coughing, fatigue, weight loss, and difficulty breathing are the most common symptoms of heartworm disease.
How does my vet check my pet for heartworms?
Blood tests can be performed by your veterinarian to detect heartworm proteins (antigens) released into the animal’s bloodstream. Heartworm proteins are not detectable in an animal for approximately five months (at the earliest) after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
What if my pet is diagnosed with heartworm?
Bear in mind that heartworm disease treatment can result in serious complications and may be toxic to your pet. Not only that, treatment is costly, requiring multiple veterinarian visits, bloodwork, hospitalization, x-rays, and a series of injections. This is why we believe that the best treatment for heartworm disease is prevention.
Having said that, if your pet is diagnosed with heartworms, your veterinarian will discuss available treatment options. Melarsomine dihydrochloride is an arsenic-containing medication that has been approved by the FDA. It is effective against adult heartworms. To treat the disease, melarsomine dihydrochloride will be injected into your pet’s back muscles.
Topical FDA-approved solutions are also available. These can help to get rid of parasites in the bloodstream when applied directly to the animal’s skin.
How can I prevent my pet from getting heartworm disease?
It is critical to keep your pet on heartworm prevention medication. We recommend that dogs be tested for heartworms annually, even if they are already on preventive heartworm medication.
Heartworm prevention is much safer, easier, and less expensive than treating the disease once it has progressed. Numerous heartworm preventative medications also protect against other parasites such as hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms.
As a cat parent, you should be aware of the following illnesses. Prepare to visit your veterinarian if necessary, especially because cats tend to isolate themselves instinctively when they are ill. Three common feline illnesses and their symptoms are listed below.
Upper Respiratory Infections
Viruses and bacteria can infect your cat’s upper respiratory tract—their throat, nose, and sinuses. Cats can contract feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus through something as simple as sharing a food or water bowl.
They can transmit this virus to other cats the same way, or by sneezing or coughing. It can also be passed during grooming.
Runny nose or clear/colored nasal discharge
Decreased or lost appetite
If a cat doesn’t produce sufficient insulin to balance blood sugar or glucose levels, they develop diabetes mellitus. Left untreated, it may lead to several serious symptoms, such as:
An increased appetite (as the body cannot use the energy in food) or loss of appetite
Motor function problems
If diabetes is not properly managed, it can shorten a cat’s lifespan and cause a variety of health problems, including nerve disorders. Additionally, it may result in life-threatening emergencies. Treatment may include insulin injections and will be tailored to the patient’s specific needs.
Uncontrolled cell growth can result in cancer, which can affect a wide variety of organs and cells throughout the cat’s body. The disease begins in a cell, before attaching to the tissue beneath the skin and possibly spreading to other areas.
Cancer is frequently caused by the Feline Leukemia Virus, which cats can be tested for. Among the other causes are environmental toxins. If cancer is detected early enough during a physical examination, your veterinarian may be able to treat it.
Lumps or bumps that change in size or shape
Sores that do not heal
An odor from the mouth
Unexplained bleeding or discharge
Marked increase or decrease in appetite
Chronic weight loss
Difficulty urinating or defecating
Depending on whether the tumor is detected and diagnosed early enough, the type of cancer and its extent, the specific location within the body, and other factors, a variety of treatments such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy may be attempted.
What should I do if my cat is ill?
If your cat is ill and exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, you must take them to the vet immediately.