Endocrinology involves disease processes of the glandular (or endocrine) system or of their secretions (hormones). You many already know of several of these diseases. Illnesses such as hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) and diabetes mellitus (uncontrolled high blood sugar) frequently affect humans and animals. There are other endocrine diseases that are not as common, and therefore not familiar to pet owners. Because endocrine problems can affect numerous organs in the body, these diseases can often cause a variety of symptoms and problems in our pets. Fortunately, our team of veterinarians at Polo Springs has extensive experience managing the full spectrum of endocrine diseases.
As with our approach to any disease, we always begin our assessment of your pet by first asking detailed questions regarding your pet’s problem. Next, we will perform a complete and thorough physical examination of your pet. It is interesting to note that it is not uncommon for us to detect an abnormality on a routine physical examination that may alert us to an underlying endocrine problem of which the owner was unaware. Since our pets cannot verbally communicate with us, and some of the early symptoms of endocrine disease are mild and/or easily hidden, annual or ideally semi-annual wellness examinations are critical for your pet’s health. In most cases when we suspect your pet may have an endocrine problem, we begin by recommending a full blood panel accompanied by a urine test. In many instances, this will provide the information we need to make a diagnosis. When necessary, we may subsequently recommend additional testing in order to assess the affects the disease may have already had on your pet or to help us better manage your pet’s problem.
Many endocrine diseases are complex, so it is very important to have your pet diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian that is experienced and knowledgeable in this area of medicine. Serious and potentially life threatening complications can rapidly develop in a pet that is suffering from an endocrine disease if they are misdiagnosed or poorly managed. Because of this, the veterinarian treating your pet must be willing to spend whatever time is necessary to explain your pet’s condition and necessary treatment. Because these conditions are chronic, your veterinarian needs to be available to you to answer all of the questions that frequently arise when you are managing your pet at home. We frequently see new patients who are not doing well with therapy because no one has taken the time to adequately assess and manage them. The veterinarians at Polo Springs are deeply committed to making sure that these pet owners are fully informed and counseled so that they can have a complete understanding and an active role in managing their pet’s disease. We welcome frequent updates and feedback from these pet owners as it assists us with managing their pet.
Most endocrine diseases will require life long management, however, many companion animals do very well with treatment and go on to live long and happy lives.