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Chronic Conditions

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Chronic Conditions

Chronic Conditions

Our pets share a great deal in common with us, including the tendency to suffer from chronic conditions like allergies, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. The Richman Animal Clinic team is experienced in diagnosing and treating such conditions. And we’ll work with you to tailor a treatment plan that suits your pet’s age, breed, size, and lifestyle.

Allergies

In general, allergies in pets manifest themselves either on the skin or in the respiratory system. If your pet is always itching, licking her feet or chewing on her coat, or if she has a dull coat or flaky skin, there’s a good chance she has skin allergies. Skin allergies are often reactions to fleas, food, and or/the environment, and effective treatment requires that we discover the underlying cause of the problem.

Start by looking for fleas. If you suspect a flea problem, wash all the fabrics in your home and vacuum thoroughly. It’s always a good idea to administer flea medication to pets all year round, especially in our warm and humid climate.

If you’ve ruled out a flea allergy, schedule an appointment with us to rule out issues like mange and ringworm. We might recommend an elimination diet to see if your pet has a food allergy. A word of warning: because you might have to try out different types of food, it could be a long process. We can also administer skin and blood tests to diagnose and environmental allergies that might be at play.

Allergies that impact the respiratory system, on the other hand, can provoke symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. In rare cases, these kinds of allergies can inflame the lungs, causing asthma and making breathing difficult.

Allergens that tend to set off these kinds of reactions include pollen, dust mites, fleas, smoke, and mold. Up to 10% of dogs suffer from environmental allergies, and cats are much more susceptible to asthma than dogs. Both conditions can make your pet miserable.

If you think your pet might be suffering from skin or respiratory allergies, give us a call at (440) 585-3600.

Diabetes

If your pet has been diagnosed with diabetes, the first thing to know is that with proper care, your pet can still live a long, healthy life. 

Just as in humans, diabetes in pets is the result of the pancreas producing less of the hormone insulin than is needed or the animal’s cells becoming resistant to insulin.

Carbohydrates in your pet’s food get converted to various sugars, including glucose. Without insulin—or if the cells are resistant to insulin—the glucose can’t enter the body’s cells. That sugar then accumulates in the blood.

While this disease can’t usually be cured, it can be successfully managed with appropriate treatment and monitoring. Your veterinarian can instruct you on making lifestyle changes that may make managing diabetes easier for you and your pet. They include:

  • Changing your pet’s food to a formula with lower carbohydrates and higher protein
  • Switching to reduced-calorie food and treats
  • Monitoring glucose levels with blood and urine testing.

Remember, the Richman Animal Clinic team is happy to help and answer any questions you may have about managing your pet’s disease and your pet’s health in general. Don’t hesitate to call us if you need assistance—we’re here to make sure your animal companion has as many happy, healthy years as possible.

Obesity

If your pet is carrying a few extra pounds, you’re not alone. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Those numbers are alarming enough on their own, but add to them the health risks that come with obesity – an increase in the likelihood of developing chronic conditions like diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, breathing difficulties, joint injuries, and cancer – and they become downright dire.

What contributes to a pet becoming obese? The reasons vary. Sometimes it’s as simple as a lack of exercise and too much food. Age can play a role, too. As pets get older, their energy levels drop, and that often coincides with a tendency to exercise less. And pets who’ve been spayed or neutered gain weight faster than pets who haven’t been sterilized.

Regardless of the reasons behind your pet’s weight problem, there are several steps you can take to help your fluffy friend get back into his or her skinny collar, including:

  • Measuring your pet’s food to make sure you’re not overfeeding
  • Placing food in toys that require interaction with your dog or cat to receive a food reward
  • Making sure to walk your dog 3-4 times a week and play with your cat for at least 20 minutes every day
  • Hiding kibble around the house so that your pet must hunt for food. (If you have a cat, consider putting it high on a kitty tree)
  • Spreading meals out throughout the day (note: make sure the total amount fed for the day is the correct amount)
  • Playing with your cat or dog using love and attention, not treats
  • Making use of pet-focused fitness apps like Whistle and FitBark
  • Getting health conditions under control. Some illnesses, like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, can cause weight gain in pets. It’s important for you to work closely with your veterinarian to manage these medical issues.

If you’re worried about your pet’s weight, we’re here to help. Richman Animal Clinic offers nutrition counseling as one of our suite of services aimed at keeping your best friend healthy and happy over the course of its lifetime. We’re more than happy to answer any questions you have about feeding and exercise. Just call (440) 585-3600 to talk to one of our nutrition experts today!