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Pet Disease

Take care of your pets from silent diseases

A renal failure was the reason for the death that was specified in the statement that was disseminated on Twitter, as if it were a very famous person. She was not a human, but a cat, Grumpy Cat, one of the most recognized felines in the world due to her seemingly bad-humored face, although her family described her as affectionate.

He was only seven years old, a short age, but from which the care of cats and dogs requires more attention, because there are conditions that manifest when the solution is already difficult and death threatens. Grumpy Cat arrived at a veterinary clinic with Feline Lower Urinary Tract disease (known in English as FLUTD) that resulted in renal failure.

“In Cats, renal alterations are the most common,” says Catalina Yepes , a veterinary doctor specializing in feline internal medicine, referring to silent causes of death in this species.

According to her, it is given that way because when there are symptoms almost always the injuries are already serious. That is to say that when the cat shows behaviors such as difficulty urinating, its genital area or urine is licked out of the sandbox, kidney damage exists and is possibly serious.

For Grumpy Cat the outcome was fatal because these types of infections are of a complex medical management and require very specific treatments, for example with antibiotics, for which a urine culture must be generated, says María Camila Gómez , veterinarian at the Center of Veterinary and Zootechnics (CVZ) of the CES University and specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology in small animal species.

It’s not the only one

From the age of seven, other pathological conditions begin to appear in cats, the cardiological ones are different, says Gomez. These cardiac alterations are surprising, Yepes reaffirms. “Sometimes they are difficult to diagnose or confused with others,” he says.

It is not that cats suffer from a heart attack like humans, “but arrhythmias, alterations of the heart valves or an increase in the size of any of the chambers of this organ,” says the feline internal medicine specialist.

What happens with cats, as well as with other animals, and of course humans, is that over the years it is common for vital organs to begin to fail. In the case of felines, details the veterinary doctor Yepes, especially with the kidneys, heart and liver.

In dogs, renal and cardiomyopathies are applied, which in some cases occur due to wear of the heart valves; then patients present with heart murmur, which generates different disorders. “That is why it is important that they be taken to the cardiologist,” says the doctor at CES.

In dogs, hypothyroidism and diabetes (which is autoimmune) are common. In the city there is a lot because it is related to obesity in dogs, and has an incidence of 56% in dogs, says Gomez.

“It is a silent disease, many people like to see their chubby dog, but the implications are very serious,” she clarifies and adds that diabetes can involve the supply of insulin and lead to continuous treatment because among the complications, in addition to mortality There are blindness and kidney problems.

Can be prevented

Diseases in pets can go unnoticed, says veterinarian Gomez. According to her, because the pain threshold in dogs and cats is sometimes higher and due to their natural behavior they usually hide the clinical signs. Thus, when the symptoms are finally evident, it is because they have already advanced a lot.

Among those silent diseases of pets are infectious, neoplasms (uncontrolled and abnormal growth of cells or tissues in the body) and hormonal.

In the case of cats older than seven years, says the CES specialist, it is possible that they have thyroid gland affectations without showing relevant clinical signs.

When do you suspect you have a thyroid disease? The specialist responds that there is an increase in the production of thyroid hormones, which speeds up the body’s metabolism, causing the pet to eat more and be overactive. Gómez adds that changes in behavior can occur (they become more aggressive), diarrhea and significant weight loss.

And although these symptoms could indicate that the disease is not silent, you have to be careful, says Gomez, because there is apathetic hyperthyroidism that shows no more signs than weight loss, even if they eat a lot. “And hyperthyroidism can trigger kidney disease,” explains the specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology in small animal species.


Yepes’ recommendation is that caregivers subject their pets to frequent professional check-ups to diagnose illnesses in time. For felines, it suggests that it be from the age of seven and annually. And it also suggests that they have blood and urine tests, and if possible abdominal ultrasound and echocardiography.

Important, she says is balanced feeding, in many cases based on the needs of the pet, reviewing water consumption, taking into account the importance of exercise and taking care of external factors such as cold, which could potentiate a disease in the respiratory tract.

The neck should be checked to identify masses or nodules. Ultrasound is done there and another option is blood tests that measure thyroid hormones, Gómez advises.

Each caregiver is responsible for their hairy, should provide these check-ups and the necessary treatments in the event that a health problem is diagnosed. That way, sure, the cat or dog will accompany you for more years and will not leave as fast as the Grumpy Cat did.


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