What’s up doc? Human illnesses that can be found in pets

What’s up doc? Human illnesses that can be found in pets

Humans and their animal counterparts have a lot in common. Who doesn’t love to have a lazy day on the couch, a nice cuddle when it’s cold or a fun day at the park? Like humans, animals can share the joys of life as well as the struggles – including illness. We share four illnesses that animals and humans have in common below.

Diabetes

Everyone loves a nice home-cooked meal, but try keeping Fido out of the fridge! As we continue to see human diabetes cases increase, the same trend can be seen in household cats and dogs. 

Let’s face it, household pets often exercise less and are fed more (usually out of love), which can unfortunately lead to type-1 and -2 diabetes.

Pets with diabetes often urinate frequently, are constantly thirsty and suddenly lose a significant amount of weight – all common symptoms of human diabetes. And like humans, pet diabetes can be treated with insulin injections. Although, studies suggest some cats can kick their diabetes into remission by getting rid of a few extra pounds!

Thyroid Problems

Thyroid problems affect cats and dogs differently. Hyperactive cats that lose weight despite eating may have hyperthyroidism. Just like in humans, this condition occurs when the thyroid gland in the neck produces excess hormones. Hyperthyroidism can be treated with radiation, but treated cats must be kept in isolation for several weeks after as they are likely to emit radiation in their litter trays.

Dogs are much more likely to suffer the opposite issue. Owners might notice their dogs feeling more fatigued and slower than usual and will see them gain weight  – some of the same symptoms humans with hypothyroidism have. Like humans, thyroid hormone replacement therapy is used to help pets, too! 

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is most often associated with seizures. It can cause convulsions in both animals and humans, which can be especially scary the first time you witness it. Although pets can be treated with anti-epileptic pills, they do not work for everyone. Oftentimes, a special diet is recommended for animals with epilepsy. 

Dogs are more prone to epilepsy than cats. The most common type of seizure you’ll notice in dogs begins with a focal seizure that evolves into a generalized seizure. In many cases, pet parents are unaware that the focal seizure has happened until they spot their pet having a generalized seizure. Try to take note of what the dog was doing before the seizure to help your vet better diagnose their condition. 

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) 

FIV is one of the most common and consequential infectious diseases in cats. Similar to HIV, the virus attacks their immune system, leaving it unable to fight off other infections. In the US, between 1.5% and 3% of otherwise healthy cats are infected with FIV. Although these cats are more susceptible to infection, they should not be discounted. Cats with FIV can live full lives and can even live with other cats! FIV is only transmitted through aggressive bite wounds – not playful nips, mutual grooming or shared water sources. And it’s important to note that FIV cannot cause HIV in humans. Though the viruses are similar, they are not the same! 

If you’re concerned your animal might be exhibiting signs of illness, make an appointment with your veterinarian to get them checked out. Every pet deserves to live a happy life with a loving family, despite illness.  

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