Animals get diabetes too?
Yup, dogs and cats can develop diabetes. In this post we'll be discussing the basics of diabetes, the diagnosis, and how to manage it. More complicated diabetes will be covered in a future post.
Diabetes, or Diabetes Mellitus to be specific, is a condition in which the pancreas no longer makes enough of the hormone insulin for proper health. Insulin is a hormone essential for the body to efficiently use carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Another essential function of insulin is efficient use of glucose, the body's energy source. When there is not enough insulin in the body, glucose isn't used properly so body cells starve and the glucose leaves the body through urine. Starving cells need some sort of energy, so if glucose isn't available muscle and fat can be used, which is not healthy and leads to quick weight loss and other metabolic issues. Glucose leaving in the urine causes water to leave quicker too causing extreme thirst and urination.
How would I know if my pet has diabetes?
There are some clinical signs, or symptoms, you may notice at home. Extreme thirst and urination is definitely something to let your veterinarian know about. There are several reason for this to happen and diabetes is one of them. A pet that is always hungry can also be a warning sign. Since the body is not using glucose properly it feels hungry. Loosing weight is also a red flag. Sudden, extreme weight loss without a decreased appetite can indicate diabetes.
Here's a good info-graphic from Vetsulin to see if your pet is experiencing symptoms of diabetes.
A little organ tucked in that helps with digestion
Nestled between the lobes of the liver, lies the gallbladder. It serves as a reservoir for bile. As the liver produces the bile, it moves through canals (called canniculi) through the liver until it travels through the hepatic duct and into the gallbladder. Once food has entered the stomach, a chemical cue stimulates the gallbladder to release the bile. The bile flows from the gallbladder through the common bile duct and is secreted into the stomach to facilitate digestion of the meal.
The gallbladder is part of the gastrointestinal system and is important in digesting food.
Occasionally, problems can arise! Problems can stem from obstructions, neoplasia (cancer), or stones, to name a few. Obstructions can be caused by an inflamed and swollen pancreas (pancreatitis) compressing the common bile duct, gall stones blocking the duct completely, or cancer. Or, the bile itself can become too thick to travel through the common bile duct and can back up in the gallbladder itself and cause pain and discomfort. Sometimes the bile can become a mucous ball that does not leave the gallbladder, this is called a mucocele and can be an emergency situation.
Addressing problems affecting the gallbladder quickly is important because if they are left untreated, they can cause serious complications. If you notice your pet not eating as well as they used to, vomiting, or if your pets skin, eyes or gums begin to turn yellow, please seek veterinary care immediately.
If your veterinarian recommends removal of your pets gallbladder, do not fret! Cats and dogs can live long and healthy lives without it and not suffer any complications!
Ashley DiPrete, RVT, VTS (SAIM) is a Registered Veterinary Technician practicing in California and obtained her Veterinary Technician Specialty in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2016. She is the co-founder and a contributing author for InternalMedicineForPetParents.com. Visit her author page here.
A giant Thank You to all the veterinary technicians working closely with pet parents ensuring the best lives possible for pets diagnosed with intricate internal medicine diseases. They work closely with pet parents to educate them and get updates about pets, ensure patients have the best care possible, work tirelessly with veterinarians sometimes around the clock and on holidays, and continuously learn new skills to keep up to date on medical practices. Vet Techs wear many, many hats.
Our pets are living longer than ever and we want to celebrate veterinary technicians this week for working with us.
We're celebrating veterinary technicians all week on our Facebook page. We hope you join the conversation. You can also follow #vettechweek or #nationalvettechweek on social media for more.
Wondering what a veterinary technician is and what we do? Read the blog post titled Who's Who in the Vet Clinic Part 1 to learn what a veterinary technician is and Who's Who in the Vet Clinic Part 2 to learn more about a specialty veterinary technician.
You're welcome to leave a thank you below for any veterinary technician who has made a big impact on the life of your pet and you!
We're excited to be creating the Diseases section of the website and getting it up and running for you to enjoy. We're working hard to make sure the information is there for you for the diseases you want to know more about.
The Hematology page is pretty well set up, so go check it out here. You'll get a sneak peak into what our plans are for all the body systems.
The goal is to build up the Diseases section to be a resource for anyone looking for more information about a particular body system or disease process that is internal medicine related.
A quick warning:
If you see this adorable worker pug, the page isn't quite ready yet. Check back and hopefully we'll have it up and ready for you soon!
We'd love your feedback as we go along, so if you read a particular page and you still have questions please email them to us because if you've got questions, we're betting someone else may have the same question! Send an email to us by following the link here.
As always, if you'd like to stay up to date with what's going on join the newsletter for weekly updates and get a copy of our Weekly Medication Tracker, a downloadable PDF you can use to track your pets medications and daily habits.
Yvonne Brandenburg, RVT, VTS (SAIM) is a Registered Veterinary Technician practicing in California and obtained her Veterinary Technician Specialty in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 2016. She is the founder of InternalMedicineForPetParents.com. For more about Yvonne visit her author page here.
Getting an Over Active Immune System to Chill
Auto immune or immune mediated diseases are those diseases where the immune systems has malfunctioned and is attacking its own body. The immune system is too sensitive, it's hyperactive, it is responding to things inappropriately.
What are some of the common immune mediated diseases? Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, Immune Mediated Thrombocytopeina, Evans Syndrome, Immune Mediated Neutrophilia, Panniculitis, and Immune Mediated Polyarthritis.
In the case of most of these diseases, the immune system has wrongly tagged the body's cells with an antigen tag that labels it as a foreign invader. Normally these antigen tags are a good thing. In a normal immune system when a virus, bacteria, or other foreign organism invades for the first time the immune system has to first recognize the organism as being harmful. Once the immune system establishes this, it remembers the organism by creating an antibody (a type of protein in the blood) specifically for the antigen so the next time the antibody runs into the antigen, the immune system can respond quicker and better.
The immune system catalogs the antigens with the corresponding antibodies. The more antibodies for a specific disease floating in the blood stream, the easier it is to find that invading antigens. These are measured with antibody titer levels. The higher the titer, the more the immune system can patrol the body. Think of the antibodies as police, if there are more cops on the beat, crime goes down. But, if there aren't enough police officers, bad things can spread quickly and invade the surrounding neighborhoods.
If the body incorrectly tags a cell within its own body as being bad, then the immune system produces more antibodies for these 'invaders' and more of the body's normal cells are attacked.
What can we do to stop the body attacking it's own cells? We suppress the immune system. A suppressed immune system means it is sluggish to work, or it doesn't respond at all to antigens. In order to do this we used certain medications.
Be aware that close monitoring of your pets blood is required during the initial phase of treatment, and it is very common for doses to change frequently. I highly recommend using a spread sheet to keep track of medications to help prevent missing or doubling doses. I also found a pill dispenser to be very helpful to make sure nothing gets missed. Filling the dispenser once a week can save time throughout your week, and keep you sane.
Drugs Commonly Used
This website is NOT a substitute for veterinary care with a veterinarian. We recommend you follow the advice and treatment plan as prescribed by your veterinarian, and only after discussing anything found on this website with your veterinarian, with their approval, implementing advice found here.
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