Dr. Susan Wylegala says when we talk what about what are the most common pet diseases we see in veterinary medicine, we really need to think about human medicine and probably the number one we see is probably obesity, and that is a disease. She says probably at least two thirds of the animals they see, on a daily basis, are overweight or obese.
Dr. Wylegala says the other common diseases that we see are more related to typical aging changes, so kidney disease, diabetes, and cancer are probably the next three top diseases they see. She says a lot of these, although they may not be completely preventable, can be managed if caught early. Certainly, obesity is preventable and really the same things we talk about in human medicine, quality nutrition, dimmish snacks, watch the calories that coming in and increase exercise and physical activity. Dr. Wylegala says it doesn’t just mean putting them out in a fenced yard because most of the time, although they may run around for the first few minutes after that most pets that go out in that yard are sedentary. Most cats that are indoors are mostly sedentary, so we have to actively pursue and push our pets to exercise more.
She says as far as some of these other common diseases we see, the biggest thing is preventative medicine. So regular physical exams with your veterinarian, who rely on doing that physical and looking at “do I feel any masses in the abdomen, what do the lymph nodes feel like, are we anemic?” All of those things, she says, give your veterinarian an indicator of what’s going on internally. Dr. Wylegala says it’s really important, in animals, to do basic preventative bloodwork. It helps you veterinarian to catch some of these diseases that are treated, and more options for treatment if caught early such as kidney disease and even diabetes. If they can treat a pet earlier, they minimize the long-term risks that they see including blindness other problems with diabetes. So, she says, regular physical check-ups, good nutrition, consistent exercise, and preventative bloodwork. Those are the most important things that we can do to help keep our pets healthy for as long as possible.