Health Issues You Might Not Realize Your Pet Has: Part 2

Liver Disease

The liver is an important organ that plays a role in a number of important body functions. When something goes wrong with it — inflammation or infection by various organisms, damage from drugs or poisons, or cancer, to name just a few possibilities — it’s serious.

But damage to liver cells or a decrease in liver function isn’t always evident. Signs of liver disease are often not very specific: vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea, weight loss and unusual tiredness. More obvious signs might be fluid accumulation in the abdomen, spontaneous bleeding or bruising, and yellow skin or gums. Regular veterinary exams can help to ensure that conditions such as liver disease are discovered early.

Glaucoma

You’d think eye disease would be visible, wouldn’t you? And while some are obvious, indicated by signs such as redness, squinting and discharge, glaucoma can have a more insidious and subtle onset. High intraocular (inside the eye) pressure can cause chronic pain in pets, but the pain comes on gradually, and many animals simply learn to live with it, instinctively hiding their discomfort.

Some signs of glaucoma and other eye diseases include blinking frequently, a cloudy appearance at the front of the eye, an enlarged eyeball, redness of the blood vessels in the whites of the eyes and apparent vision loss. You may also notice that your cat or dog doesn’t eat as well, plays less or doesn’t greet you normally, all of which can be signs of chronic pain. Take your pet to the veterinarian if you notice these signs.


Problems such as these are why I think regular veterinary exams are so important. Your veterinarian is trained to look at and feel your pet’s body and catch things that you may not be unaware of. In most cases, the earlier that happens, the better your pet can respond to treatment.

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