Posts Tagged ‘diabetes’

Too Much of a Good Thing

March 7, 2010

We love when our animals are eating and drinking well.  After all, a hearty appetite and ample thirst are positive tangible affirmations about the quality of our pets’ lives.  I think this is the reason why so many people delay consulting with their veterinarian when they notice an obvious increase in their pet’s thirst or appetite.  They ascribe busting into the garbage pail, begging at the dinner table, and eating foreign objects to bad behavior rather than an underlying medical issue.  Filling the water bowl more frequently than normal may simply go unnoticed or may be viewed as simply “more of a good thing.” 

Well, I’m here to provide you with a wake up call! If your dog has recently turned into a major “chowhound” or your kitty has become obsessed with her water bowl, please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.  An overt increase in thirst or appetite is often a symptom of an underlying medical abnormality.  Increased thirst typically accompanies kidney disease, liver disease, and underlying hormonal imbalances such as diabetes, Addison’s disease (too little cortisone), Cushing’s disease (too much cortisone), and overproduction of thyroid hormone.  A dog or cat whose appetite is uncharacteristically insatiable may have pancreatic disease, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes or Cushing’s disease.  (More information about all of these diseases can be found in Speaking for Spot).    

The good news is that, when associated with disease, increased thirst and appetite tend to be early symptoms.  Paying attention to them sooner rather than later will give you and your vet a head start on making a diagnosis and initiating therapy.  And in most cases, the earlier the disease is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis.  Remember, our dogs and cats tend to be creatures of habit.  Anything that seems out of character is deserving of your attention and discussion with your veterinarian.

Best wishes to you and your four-legged family members for abundant good health,

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

Website: http://www.speakingforspot.com
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

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Too Much of a Good Thing

March 6, 2010

We love when our animals are eating and drinking well.  After all, a hearty appetite and ample thirst are positive tangible affirmations about the quality of our pets’ lives.  I think this is the reason why so many people delay consulting with their veterinarian when they notice an obvious increase in their pet’s thirst or appetite.  They ascribe busting into the garbage pail, begging at the dinner table, and eating foreign objects to bad behavior rather than an underlying medical issue.  Filling the water bowl more frequently than normal may simply go unnoticed or may be viewed as simply “more of a good thing.” 

Well, I’m here to provide you with a wake up call! If your dog has recently turned into a major “chowhound” or your kitty has become obsessed with her water bowl, please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.  An overt increase in thirst or appetite is often a symptom of an underlying medical abnormality.  Increased thirst typically accompanies kidney disease, liver disease, and underlying hormonal imbalances such as diabetes, Addison’s disease (too little cortisone), Cushing’s disease (too much cortisone), and overproduction of thyroid hormone.  A dog or cat whose appetite is uncharacteristically insatiable may have pancreatic disease, gastrointestinal disease, diabetes or Cushing’s disease.  (More information about all of these diseases can be found in Speaking for Spot).    

The good news is that, when associated with disease, increased thirst and appetite tend to be early symptoms.  Paying attention to them sooner rather than later will give you and your vet a head start on making a diagnosis and initiating therapy.  And in most cases, the earlier the disease is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis.  Remember, our dogs and cats tend to be creatures of habit.  Anything that seems out of character is deserving of your attention and discussion with your veterinarian.

Best wishes to you and your four-legged family members for abundant good health,

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

Website: http://www.speakingforspot.com
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

Everybody’s Gone Surfin’ (Part One)

December 15, 2009

When you or a loved one develops a medical issue, chances are you’ll be inclined to do some Internet research.  While I say, “More power to you!” other medical professionals might roll their eyes at the thought of “wasting” valuable time discussing potentially “whackadoodle” notions gleaned from cyberspace. 

Mac, who resides in Vienna, AustriaPart one of “Everybody’s Gone Surfin” will teach you how to find instructive, accurate, worthwhile Internet information while avoiding “online junk food.”  Part two (coming soon to your home computer) will provide tools to assist you in comfortably discussing what you’ve learned online with your veterinarian, in a way that promotes collaborative discussion. By the way, although I’m a veterinarian teaching people how to better care for their furry and feathered family members, please know that this information also applies to your own health care. 

So, let’s begin.  How can you determine whether or not a Web site is dishing out information that is worthy of your time? Here are some general guidelines: 

  1. Ask your veterinarian for her Web site recommendations.  She might wish to refer you to a specific site that will supplement or reinforce the information she has provided.
  2. Veterinary college Web sites invariably provide reliable information.  Search for them by entering “veterinary college” or “veterinary school” after the name of the disease or symptom you are researching.
  3. Web addresses ending in “.org,” “.edu,” and “.gov,” represent nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and governmental agencies, respectively.  They will likely be sources of objective and accurate information.
  4. If your dog has a breed-specific disease, pay a visit to the site hosted by that specific breed’s national organization.
  5. Avoid business-sponsored Web sites that stand to make money when you believe and act on what they profess (especially if it involves purchasing something).
  6. Be ever so wary of anecdotal information.  It’s perfectly okay to indulge yourself with remarkable tales (how Max’s skin disease was miraculously cured by a single session of aromatherapy; how global warming is the cause of hip dysplasia), but view what you are reading as fiction rather than fact.  As fascinating as these National Enquirer type stories may seem, please don’t let them significantly influence the choices you make for your dog.
  7. I really love disease-specific online forums.  Check out those sponsored by Yahoo (http://groups.yahoo.com).  Not only do they provide a wealth of educational information, members can be a wonderful source of emotional support- always a good thing for those of us who share our homes and hearts with an animal.  If you are considering joining an online forum, I encourage you to look for a group that focuses on a specific disease (kidney failure, diabetes, etc), has lots of members, and has been around for several years.  For example, an excellent Yahoo group K9KidneyDiet (addresses issues pertaining to dogs with kidney failure) has 3,391 members and has been up and running for eight years.  A large group such as this typically has multiple moderators who provide more than one point of view (always a good thing) and greater round-the-clock availability for advice and support.  Look for presentation of cited references (clinical research that supports what is being recommended). Such groups should have a homepage that explains the focus of the group and provides the number of members and posts per month (the more the better).  They may have public archives of previous posts that can provide a wealth of information.

 Listed below are three Web sites that discuss Addison’s disease (an illness that can affect dogs and people- John F. Kennedy was diagnosed with Addison’s disease).  Now that you are an expert on evaluating Web sites, here is a little test of your skills.  Which one of these three sites is worthy of your time and attention? Have a look and let me know what you think! 

  1. http://addisonsdiseasebreakthroughs.com
  2. www.addisondogs.com
  3. http://www.natural-dog-health-remedies.com/addisons-disease-in-dogs.html 

Keep an eye out for Part Two of “Everybody’s Gone Surfin” in which I will give you some tools for comfortably and effectively broaching the subject of your Internet research with your veterinarian! 

Wishing you and your four-legged family members abundant good health,

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller. 

Order  a copy of Speaking for Spot personally signed by Dr. Kay – http://www.speakingforspot.com/purchase.html

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Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross