Spotlight

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats is a serious medical disease that requires lifelong care and monitoring. Approximately 1 in 300 dogs seen in Banfield hospitals is diagnosed with diabetes. The disease is more common in cats, with approximately 1 in 100 diagnosed with diabetes.

Spotlight

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats is a serious medical disease that requires lifelong care and monitoring. Approximately 1 in 300 dogs seen in Banfield hospitals is diagnosed with diabetes. The disease is more common in cats, with approximately 1 in 100 diagnosed with diabetes.

Dental Disease

Dental Disease

Dental disease – including mouth, inflammation, tartar, gingivitis and periodontal issues – affects 93% of dogs over age 3 seen in our hospitals. Of the popular breeds, small breed dogs including Dachshunds, Yorkshire Terriers, Shih Tzu’s, and Maltese have the highest prevalence of dental disease. Left untreated it can lead to infection, tooth loss, bone damage and oral pain.

Signs

  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased salivation
  • Changes in food preferences

How to Prevent and Manage It

At the Veterinarian

  • Twice-yearly dental exams
  • Annual professional dental cleanings, especially for dogs and cats over the age of two

At Home

  • Excellent dental health is maintained by daily oral hygiene. The gold standard is daily brushing. Dental chews, water additives and specially formed dry pet food can help prevent tartar build-up.

Location Risks

Dental disease is especially prevalent in these areas:


Otitis Externa

Otitis Externa

This inflammation and sometimes infection of the ear canal causes significant discomfort and can become a lifelong problem and expensive to treat. Triggers include allergies, ear mites, or irritation from plants, shrubs or trees. Dogs are more than twice as likely to develop otitis externa as cats with 1 out of 7 dogs affected in 2015.

Signs

  • Odor
  • Scratching or rubbing of ears and head
  • Discharge in the ears
  • Redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal
  • Shaking their head or tilting it to one side
  • Dramatic sensitivity when touched around the ears
  • Depressed and/or irritable behavior

How to Prevent and Manage It

Regular exams and veterinarian-recommended preventive care can help reduce frequency and severity of ear infections.


Location Risks

Otitis externa is especially prevalent in these areas:


Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus

In this chronic disease, a pet cannot control blood sugar levels due to problems with insulin production or function. Unfortunately, diabetes is growing in prevalence, and in dogs has increased by nearly 80% in the last 10 years.

Type 1 insulin-dependent

Very low or no production of insulin by the pancreas; more common in dogs and develops later in life.


Type 2 non-insulin dependent

Pancreas produces adequate amounts of insulin but the body is resistant to it; more common in cats, particularly when overweight or obese.


Signs

  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Weight loss, despite a good appetite
  • Lethargy

How to Prevent and Manage It

Prevention: Stick to consistent, twice-a-year veterinary exams to detect signs as early as possible.

Treatment:

  • Diet modification
  • Insulin injections
  • Regular trips to the veterinarian to assess condition and monitor glucose levels

Managing diabetes can be challenging for veterinarians and pet owners, as every pet responds differently to insulin. Good news: A significant percentage of newly diagnosed diabetic cats can regress to a non-diabetic state with treatment and dietary changes.


Location Risks

Diabetes is especially prevalent in these areas:


Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal Parasites

These can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and poor absorption of nutrients in pets, and also pose a threat to owners because most can be transmitted from pets to humans. Prevalence of roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms is higher in large/giant breed dogs compared to small/toy/medium.

Roundworms and Hookworms

These inhabit the intestinal tract of dogs and cats and are most common in puppies and kittens. Most puppies and kittens become infected with roundworms from their mother during pregnancy and continue to be infected after birth if untreated. Hookworms attach to the small intestine to feed on the pet’s blood. Both can cause mild to extreme illness and even death.


Tapeworms

These parasites live in the small intestines of dogs, cats, domestic animals and wildlife, attaching to the inside of the intestine using suckers, and are generally transmitted by fleas.


Whipworms

Whipworms live in the intestines of dogs, coyotes and wolves. Infection is more common in dogs than cats. Whipworms can cause mild to extreme illness and even death.


Signs of Roundworm or Hookworm in Your Pet

Most pets infected show no signs of infection. But some, especially puppies or kittens, can become noticeably ill.

  • Vomiting
  • Severe weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen stomach
  • Severe anemia
  • Bloody diarrhea

Signs of Tapeworms in Your Pet

Infected pets may not show any outward signs. Owners typically find tapeworm segments (which resemble grains of rice):

  • In fur around the anal area
  • In the pet’s stool
  • On surfaces where infected pets rest and sleep

Signs of Whipworms in Your Pet

Many pets will not show signs of infection initially. But as it progresses, whipworm infection can cause:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Severe weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Severe anemia

How to Prevent and Manage Parasites

  • Deworming medication, administered by your veterinarian, can help prevent intestinal parasites
  • Quickly clean up pet waste to remove potentially infective eggs before they spread
  • Discourage children from eating soil
  • Cover sand boxes when not in use
  • Avoid potentially contaminated areas
  • Practice good hygiene to reduce the risk of human transmission

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks do more than make your pet itchy, they can transmit disease to your pets — and to people. The prevalence of fleas in cats is greater than that of dogs with approximately 1 in 10 cats and 1 in 17 dogs receiving the diagnosis in 2015.

Fleas

Fleabites can cause irritation and transmit disease to both animals and humans. As fleas bite to eat, they inject saliva under the skin. This saliva causes irritation, leading to scratching, hair loss and damage to superficial skin layers. Bacteria already present on skin can then invade deeper layers of the skin and cause infections, perpetuating the itching. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms and spread other infectious diseases. Fleas are most prevalent through spring and summer, peaking in early fall. However, fleas are present all year round in most parts of the USA. In colder areas, fleas will wait out the winter in your home. They seek dark, warm, humid places.


Ticks

Ticks live by sucking blood from mammals. In most parts of the USA, they can transmit potentially life-threatening diseases including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These affect both pets and people, so vigilant prevention protects both. Lyme disease can be a long-term, painful and potentially debilitating disease. It is much easier to prevent than treat.


Signs of Fleas on Your Pet

  • Red, irritated and broken skin around the neck, ears, belly or hindquarters
  • Intense itching, extensive skin damage, biting, licking or scratching
  • Flea dirt; tiny dark specks that look like dirt, but are really digested blood (feces). Place some specks on a white tissue and add a drop of water. If they turn the paper reddish brown, you have fleas.

Signs of Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases

  • Ticks crawling through coat or attached to skin and feeding
  • Shifting leg lameness
  • Joint swelling
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Anorexia
  • General depression
  • Pale gums
  • Bleeding tendencies
  • Fever, more often in people than pets

Flea and Tick Control

When returning from outdoor activities, inspect your pet’s skin and coat. Removing ticks using tweezers within 24 to 48 hours can help prevent transmission of diseases.

Use parasite prevention products year round:

  • Shampoos
  • Rinses
  • Sprays
  • Mists/fogs
  • Chewable tablets
  • Topical spot-on treatments

Consult your veterinarian to ensure the products you select are appropriate for your pet; some ingredients are not safe for cats. If you have both dogs and cats at home, consult with your veterinarian. Environmental management, such as building fences and cutting grass, can help protect against ticks.


Flea Location Risks

Fleas are especially prevalent in these areas:


Tick Location Risks

Ticks are especially prevalent in these areas:


Heartworm Infection

Heartworm Infection

This potentially fatal infection is caused by parasitic worms transmitted via mosquitoes. Heartworm prevalence in dogs has decreased 41.5 percent since 2006, while use of heartworm preventives has increased over that same time period. Year-round heartworm prevention is paramount against protecting pets from this disease.

Signs

  • Cough
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Occasional hemoptysis; coughing up blood
  • Sudden death occurs rarely in dogs, but happens more commonly in cats

How to Prevent and Treat It

It is crucial to follow preventive measures:

  • Annual heartworm tests for dogs
  • Year-round preventives

Treatment for Dogs

Treatment is neither simple nor risk-free. The most common complication is blood clots within the lungs. This causes lack of blood supply and significant inflammation, leading to lung tissue damage and potential damage to organs like the liver or kidney. Physical activity during and after treatment can exacerbate the problem, so exercise restriction is incredibly important. Some degree of pulmonary thromboembolism – blockage of pulmonary arteries of the lungs – will occur whenever heartworm infection is treated.


Location Risks

Heartworm infection is especially prevalent in these areas:

Dental Disease

Dental Disease

Dental disease affects 88% of cats over age 3 seen in our hospitals. This disease has been linked with an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease. However, BARK research shows that if dental disease were eliminated, there would be up to 15,000 fewer cases of chronic kidney disease in cats nationwide! 

Signs

  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased salivation
  • Changes in food preferences

How to Prevent and Manage It

At the Veterinarian

  • Twice-yearly dental exams
  • Annual professional dental cleanings, especially for dogs and cats over the age of two

At Home

  • Excellent dental health is maintained by daily oral hygiene. The gold standard is daily brushing. Dental chews, water additives and specially formed dry pet food can help prevent tartar build-up.

Location Risks

Dental disease is especially prevalent in these areas:


Otitis Externa

Otitis Externa

This inflammation and sometimes infection of the ear canal causes significant discomfort and can become a lifelong problem and expensive to treat. Triggers include allergies, ear mites, or irritation from plants, shrubs or trees. Cats are less likely to develop otitis externa than dogs, with 1 out of 15 cats affected in 2015 compared to 1 out of 7 dogs.

Signs

  • Odor
  • Scratching or rubbing of ears and head
  • Discharge in the ears
  • Redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal
  • Shaking their head or tilting it to one side
  • Dramatic sensitivity when touched around the ears
  • Depressed and/or irritable behavior

How to Prevent and Manage It

Regular exams and veterinarian-recommended preventive care can help reduce frequency and severity of ear infections.


Location Risks

Otitis externa is especially prevalent in these areas:


Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus

In this chronic disease, a pet cannot control blood sugar levels due to problems with insulin production or function. Unfortunately, diabetes is growing in prevalence, and in cats has increased by 18% percent in the last 10 years.

Type 1 insulin-dependent

Very low or no production of insulin by the pancreas; more common in dogs and develops later in life.


Type 2 non-insulin dependent

Pancreas produces adequate amounts of insulin but the body is resistant to it; more common in cats, particularly when overweight or obese.


Signs

  • Excessive urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Weight loss, despite a good appetite
  • Lethargy

How to Prevent and Manage It

Prevention: Stick to consistent, twice-a-year veterinary exams to detect signs as early as possible. Help your pet maintain a healthy weight through exercise, and appropriate nutrition. Overweight and obese pets are more likely to develop diabetes.

Treatment:

  • Diet modification
  • Insulin injections
  • Regular trips to the veterinarian to assess condition and monitor glucose levels

Managing diabetes can be challenging for veterinarians and pet owners, as every pet responds differently to insulin. Good news: A significant percentage of newly diagnosed diabetic cats can regress to a non-diabetic state with treatment and dietary changes.


Location Risks

Diabetes is especially prevalent in these areas:


Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal Parasites

These can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and poor absorption of nutrients in pets, and also pose a threat to owners because most can be transmitted from pets to humans. 

Roundworms and Hookworms

These inhabit the intestinal tract of dogs and cats and are most common in puppies and kittens. Most puppies and kittens become infected with roundworms from their mother during pregnancy and continue to be infected after birth if untreated. Hookworms attach to the small intestine to feed on the pet’s blood. Both can cause mild to extreme illness and even death.


Tapeworms

Cats have approximately double the prevalence of tapeworms compared to dogs. This may be partially due to cats ingesting fleas during grooming. Since tapeworms are transmitted by the ingestion of fleas, this indicates that more cats should receive year-round flea prevention to reduce exposure to fleas and subsequently reduce the risk of tapeworm infection.


Whipworms

Whipworms live in the intestines of dogs, coyotes and wolves. Infection is more common in dogs than cats. Whipworms can cause mild to extreme illness and even death.


Signs of Roundworm or Hookworm in Your Pet

Most pets infected show no signs of infection. But some, especially puppies or kittens, can become noticeably ill.

  • Vomiting
  • Severe weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen stomach
  • Severe anemia
  • Bloody diarrhea

Signs of Tapeworms in Your Pet

Infected pets may not show any outward signs. Owners typically find tapeworm segments (which resemble grains of rice):

  • In fur around the anal area
  • In the pet’s stool
  • On surfaces where infected pets rest and sleep

Signs of Whipworms in Your Pet

Many pets will not show signs of infection initially. But as it progresses, whipworm infection can cause:

  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Severe weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Severe anemia

How to Prevent and Manage Parasites

  • Deworming medication, administered by your veterinarian, can help prevent intestinal parasites
  • Quickly clean up pet waste to remove potentially infective eggs before they spread
  • Discourage children from eating soil
  • Cover sand boxes when not in use
  • Avoid potentially contaminated areas
  • Practice good hygiene to reduce the risk of human transmission

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks do more than make your pet itchy, they can transmit disease to your pets — and to people. The prevalence of fleas in cats is greater than that of dogs with approximately 1 in 10 cats and 1 in 17 dogs receiving the diagnosis in 2015.

Fleas

Fleabites can cause irritation and transmit disease to both animals and humans. As fleas bite to eat, they inject saliva under the skin. This saliva causes irritation, leading to scratching, hair loss and damage to superficial skin layers. Bacteria already present on skin can then invade deeper layers of the skin and cause infections, perpetuating the itching. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms and spread other infectious diseases. Fleas are most prevalent through spring and summer, peaking in early fall. However, fleas are present all year round in most parts of the USA. In colder areas, fleas will wait out the winter in your home. They seek dark, warm, humid places.


Ticks

Ticks live by sucking blood from mammals. In most parts of the USA, they can transmit potentially life-threatening diseases including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These affect both pets and people, so vigilant prevention protects both. Lyme disease can be a long-term, painful and potentially debilitating disease. It is much easier to prevent than treat.


Signs of Fleas on Your Pet

  • Red, irritated and broken skin around the neck, ears, belly or hindquarters
  • Intense itching, extensive skin damage, biting, licking or scratching
  • Flea dirt; tiny dark specks that look like dirt, but are really digested blood (feces). Place some specks on a white tissue and add a drop of water. If they turn the paper reddish brown, you have fleas.

Signs of Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases

  • Ticks crawling through coat or attached to skin and feeding
  • Shifting leg lameness
  • Joint swelling
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Anorexia
  • General depression
  • Pale gums
  • Bleeding tendencies
  • Fever, more often in people than pets

Flea and Tick Control

When returning from outdoor activities, inspect your pet’s skin and coat. Removing ticks using tweezers within 24 to 48 hours can help prevent transmission of diseases.

Use parasite prevention products year round:

  • Shampoos
  • Rinses
  • Sprays
  • Mists/fogs
  • Chewable tablets
  • Topical spot-on treatments

Consult your veterinarian to ensure the products you select are appropriate for your pet; some ingredients are not safe for cats. If you have both dogs and cats at home, consult with your veterinarian. Environmental management, such as building fences and cutting grass, can help protect against ticks.


Flea Location Risks

Fleas are especially prevalent in these areas:


Tick Location Risks

Ticks are especially prevalent in these areas:


Heartworm Infection

Heartworm Infection

This potentially fatal – but very preventable – infection is caused by parasitic worms transmitted via mosquitoes. Heartworms attack the heart and large blood vessels. Heartworm infection can cause permanent damage before a pet shows a single symptom.

Signs

  • Cough
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Occasional hemoptysis; coughing up blood
  • Sudden death occurs rarely in dogs, but happens more commonly in cats

How to Prevent and Treat It

It is crucial to follow preventive measures:

  • Annual heartworm tests for dogs
  • Year-round preventives

Treatment for Cats

Unfortunately, there is no safe treatment for cats.


Location Risks

Prevalence of heartworm infection is extremely low in cats.