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Signs & Symptoms of an Internal Condition in Pets

Internal conditions and injuries in pets are more common than you might think. Our vets in Palmyra are here to provide information about these issues and advise you on when you should seek veterinary treatment for your pets.

Internal Conditions In Pets

When animals experience medical distress, they cannot communicate their condition verbally, leaving their devoted caregivers facing difficulties in understanding their situation. Veterinary internal medicine employs a blend of analysis and cutting-edge technology to delve into your pet's internal health. Subsequently, they develop a treatment strategy aimed at addressing the animal's injuries or illnesses. The veterinary internal medicine at Palmyra Animal Clinic ensures that your pet receives the medical care needed.

Common Internal Conditions In Pets

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastrointestinal disorders impact the stomach and intestines, inflicting pain and giving rise to other issues like dehydration, imbalances in acid-base and electrolyte levels, as well as malnutrition. While various types of these disorders exist, some common underlying causes include consuming human food, experiencing food allergies or intolerances, contracting infections, and having insufficient digestive enzymes.

Types of Gastrointestinal Disorders include:

  • Acute Gastroenteritis: also known as the stomach flu
  • Colitis: inflammation of the lining of the colon
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas, often associated with overindulging in high-fat foods
  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency: the inability to digest food properly
  • Small Intestinal Malabsorption: a condition that prevents absorption of nutrients through the small intestine

As with the overlapping causes, there are overlapping clinical signs to look for including changes in appetite, stool quantity and quality, vomiting, abdominal pain, weight loss, lethargy, and fever.

Hepatic Disease

Hepatic diseases impact the liver, a vital organ responsible for digestion, blood clotting, and the elimination of toxins from the body. While liver diseases are severe, they can be effectively managed. Hepatic diseases in dogs and cats may arise due to factors such as aging, genetics, infections, trauma to the liver area, medication, diabetes, excessive consumption of fatty foods, or untreated heartworms.

The clinical signs associated with these conditions can be easily overlooked, as they mimic symptoms of various other issues. These signs encompass a diminished appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, heightened thirst and urination, confusion, unsteadiness while walking, and the onset of jaundice, which manifests as a yellowing of the eyes, tongue, and gums.

Renal Disease

Renal disease, also known as kidney disease, occurs when one or both of the kidneys fail. This condition is quite prevalent in pets, affecting one in ten dogs and approximately 20-50% of elderly cats. The kidneys are crucial in filtering blood, processing protein waste, excreting waste into urine, maintaining water and electrolyte balance, and regulating red blood cell levels.

Common causes of renal disease include infection, kidney stones, blockages from kidney stones, genetic factors, and cancer. Unfortunately, treatment options such as dialysis and transplants are not available for dogs and cats, so the focus is primarily on managing symptoms.

Signs of renal disease may manifest as dehydration, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, foul breath with a chemical odor, and increased urination. It's important to note that restricting water intake to prevent accidents can exacerbate renal disease.

Urogenital Disease

There are multiple types of urinary diseases, all of them differing in severity and seriousness.

Types of Urogenital Disease

  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Kidney Infection
  • Kidney Stones / Bladder Stones
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing's disease: caused by a tumor of the pituitary gland
  • Prostate Gland Disease: non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate
  • Incontinence

Vascular Disease

Vascular diseases encompass a spectrum of issues involving arteries, veins, and lymph node-carrying vessels, as well as disorders impacting blood flow. In pets, vascular diseases fall into two primary categories: congenital and acquired. While congenital cases are exceedingly rare, I will focus on the most prevalent type of acquired vascular disease treated by Internal Medicine for dogs and cats—Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. This condition, caused by tick bites, can be effectively treated with a course of antibiotics lasting two to three weeks.

Symptoms indicative of vascular disease may include fever, coughing, abdominal pain, appetite loss, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle and joint discomfort, facial or limb swelling, and even depression.

Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), also referred to as Chronic Bronchitis, affects dogs and cats in much the same way as it affects people. While COPD progresses slowly, it is irreversible. It is signified by incessant coughing.

Secondhand smoke, air pollution, allergens, dental disease, recurrent respiratory system infections, and obesity often contribute to COPD in pets. We typically focus on improving the patient's comfort as the disease advances. As a result, we may recommend bronchodilators, cough suppressants, antibiotics, and/or corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and alleviate coughing.

Internal Injuries In Dogs & Cats

Dealing with an open wound can sometimes prove more straightforward since it's visible, making it easier for your veterinarian to identify a solution. However, internal injuries present a more significant challenge. Internal bleeding can result from various causes such as car accidents, falls from high places, fights, or diseases, leading to significant trauma within your dog's body and potentially inducing shock.

If you know the cause of your dog's distress, diagnosing and treating the issue can occur more swiftly. Nevertheless, regardless of the underlying cause, your dog requires prompt veterinary assistance.

Internal injuries may stem from incidents such as car accidents or dog fights, and certain diseases can also trigger internal bleeding and injury.

Symptoms of Internal Injuries in Dogs

Early signs can be a rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing 

  • Depression 
  • Black diarrhea
  • Gum change in colors – pale or blue is very serious
  • Your dog may go into a coma, indicating shock 
  • Whimpering on being touched or moved
  • Glazed eyes
  • Inability to focus
  • Coughing or vomiting up blood 
  • Bruising or scrape wounds 
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy 
  • Heart attack 

Types Of Internal Injuries In Pets

Sudden trauma can result in internal injuries. Incidents like contact with a moving vehicle, falls, dog fights, and, sadly, human abuse, can all inflict internal harm upon your dog. Such trauma may lead to internal organ damage, fractures, including those of the neck and spine, and internal bleeding, which can induce shock in your pet.

In addition to trauma, various medical conditions, such as tumors or spleen damage (more common in older dogs), can also be responsible for internal injuries.

Furthermore, poisons have the potential to cause internal damage and internal bleeding.

When To Bring Your Pet To The Vet

Owners need to learn how to recognize the signs that may point to a serious problem. Never hesitate to bring your pet to your vet if you suspect they may be seriously ill. Your vet may refer your pet to a veterinary internist if they suspect that an animal's symptoms point to a more serious illness like diabetes, heart disease, or even cancer.

If your pet is showing signs of an internal condition or injury, contact our Palmyra vets today for urgent care. For after-hours emergency care, contact your nearest emergency vet.

New Patients Welcome

Palmyra Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Contact (717) 838-5451