Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Three Scariest Pet Diseases

When beloved pets get sick it's a worrying time for those who love them and treat them as part of the family. Luckily, a lot of the illnesses your fluffy friends may pick up during the course of their lifetimes are easily treatable. Although a vet bill can leave your wallet feeling sore, it's still a relief to know that your family pet will be feeling better soon.

However, it isn't always that easy. Just like human ailments, for every common and treatable disease there are some which are much more obscure, dangerous and difficult to cure. Canine distemper and canine parvovirus are just some of the deadly diseases your pet could pick up from contact with wild animals or other infected pets. Some of the zoonotic pet diseases could even put you and your loved ones in danger of infections like leptospirosis or giardia.

Here we look at three of the scariest diseases your pet could fall ill with, how to spot the changes in their behavior and how to ensure that they receive the treatment they need to get better, with input from expert vet Guy Darbyshire from David Cuffe & Associates veterinary clinic.

1. Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is not only the most common disease transmitted from animals to people, but is also very dangerous for both. It causes liver and renal failure as well as meningitis in humans. In man's best friend the effects can be just as devastating, causing vital organs to fail quickly and with very little warning.

Guy Darbyshire has seen more cases of this particular disease than most pet owners would be comfortable with, saying: “Leptospirosis is a particularly debilitating disease that I have seen on several occasions in the past 16 years. These dogs are miserable, depressed, sore and quickly die if not treated.”

The disease is commonly contracted in domestic animals by coming into contact with the urine of household rodents like mice. If you are a dog owner who has started noticing little pin pricks of poop in the pantry or the sound of scurrying feet in the loft, there is no time to waste in removing these critters from your premises. If you have had rodents in your home recently then be particularly wary of signs of fever, depression or eye inflammation in your dog as these are usually early warning signs of the disease.

2. Feline Leukemia Virus
The first disease we will discuss is a cat disease: Feline Leukemia. Kittens are especially likely to catch this disease. The disease spreads through saliva, nose discharge and urine. The disease can spread when cats live together, share food and drinks, and through biting. Mothers can also pass Feline Leukemia along to their kittens. Manifestation of the disease can be immediate yet sometimes the disease doesn’t manifest itself after several weeks. The disease can result in a number of conditions such as infertility, skin infections, bladder infections, diarrhea and eye disease. Feline Leukemia is easy to prevent with vaccination but once a cat is infected there is no cure. 

3. Feline Rabies

Stray cats rather than domesticated cats are likely to contract Feline Rabies. The degenerative and debilitating disease attacks the brain and nervous system. Cats contract Feline Rabies through bites from other animals such as bats, skunks raccoons and foxes. It can take up to a month for the virus to develop, but progression goes rapidly when the symptoms have begun. Feline Rabies can develop very slowly for up to five weeks. Symptoms of the disease include depression, weight loss, conjunctivitis, fever, drooling and strange behavior. Unfortunately there is no cure for Feline Rabies, though cats can get vaccinated for the disease.

Sam Shelley is a dedicated dog owner and blogger working in association with Chemist Direct. They provide prescriptions for pets, pet products and Royalcanin canine speciality pet food.

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