On This Page:

Introduction to metabolic diseases.

A healthy body requires that all the organs in the body are working well and working in harmony. 

The spleen, the gall bladder, the liver, the pancreas, the adrenal glands, the bone marrow, the thyroid glands ... and so forth ... all have important metabolic jobs.

Any of these organs can become dysfunctional or diseased. And that's the subject of the following pages:

Obesity (adipose tissue is a major
metabolic organ and a producer of harmful hormones)

Addison's Disease

Cushing's Disease


Heat Stroke     

Liver Disease    

Pancreatic Diseases
Kidney Disease   


Diseases of the Spleen
Bone Marrow Diseases

Immune Mediated Disease
Gastro-Intestinal Disease 
Sex Hormone Diseases

An experienced veterinarian will often suspect one or more of these diseases just from examining the patient and listening to the history.  But it usually takes an urinalysis, some blood work, and often radiographs and/or an ultrasound to get a confirmed diagnosis

Lab Tests: Interpreting the results

"Esse Quam Videri"   from Cicero's Essay on Friendship: To be rather than to seem.

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The Treatment and Discussion
Metabolic, Hormonal, Immune Mediated, Liver,and Other Diseases in
Dogs and Cats

Introduction to Metabolic Diseases

Metabolism is the magic and wonder of what goes on inside our organs and their cells. 

Each organ ... the kidneys, the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the adrenal glands, the sex organs, the gall bladder, the thyroid  glands, the bone marrow, and the immune system ... all have special functions in the body.

And when these organs get out of whack all kinds of things start going wrong in the body ...  often one thing after another ... because as you might imagine, every function is inter-related.

In the study of medicine, we tend to study one organ system at a time for ease of understanding, but when one organ stops doing it's job well for whatever reason, you can be sure the rest of the body will be affected.  Sometimes we forget this.  

That said, it IS easier to discuss each organ disease separately, so this page is:

1.  A directory to other pages discussing particular problems.
The list of links to our pages about each metabolic problems is at your left, below, and also at the top of this page.

2.  A discussion about laboratory testing... our number one tool for detecting and monitoring metabolic diseases

A Directory of Metabolic Diseases:

Addison's disease or Hypoadrenalcorticism: one of the many major diseases that make your pet nauseated, weak, and lethargic.  It's a treatable disease, but your vet won't know your pet has this disease unless you permit him or her to do some blood work.  Click here to go to our page about Addison's disease.

Cushing's disease or Hyperadrenalcorticism:  a hormonal disease that causes skin problems, bloat, excessive appetite, inability to fight off infections, muscle weakness, and excessive drinking and urination.  Cushing's patients often also have diabetes and other problems a the same time.  Once again, blood work is needed to make the diagnosis.  Click here to go to our page about Cushing's disease.

Hyperthyroid disease:  a common disease of older cats causing weight loss despite a good appetite at first progressing to no appetite, nausea, weakness, and lethargy. Guess what? This is a disease we detect using blood work.   Click here to go to our page about feline hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroid disease: a common disease of middle aged and older dogs causing skin problems, weight problems, poor healing, and general health problems.  Easy to diagnose with bloodwork.  Click here to go to our page about hypothyroidism.

Liver disease:  Very common in both cats and dogs as either a primary problem or in combination with other problems.  In other words, the liver is almost always affected in the negative by other diseases.  Medications and anesthetics also affect the liver.  And when the liver is sick, typical symptoms include weight loss, no appetite, nausea, poor digestion, poor general health,  and lethargy.  Yes, blood work is our main diagnostic tool.  Click here to go to our page about liver disease in dogs and cats.

Pancreatic Diseases:  The pancreas have two main functions; some cells in the pancreas make insulin and other cells produce digestive enzymes.  When the pancreas doesn't do it's job well, this results in either diabetes or pancreatic insufficiency.  Infection or inflammation of the pancreas ... a very common problem ... results in pancreatitis.   Cancer of the pancreas is luckily much less common, but pancreatic cancer is very serious.  Click here for details about pancreatitis and pancreatic insufficiency.  For diabetes ... see below.

Diabetes: Common in both cats and dogs.
Click here to go to our page about what to expect when your pet has diabetes: 

Website Directory

Home    The Human-Animal Bond     The History of Veterinary Medicine    About our No Kill Shelter     The FoxNest Veterinary Hospital     

"What To Expect When You Go To The Vet"
if your pet should have a problem with ...

Abscesses, wounds, and injuries

Arthritis, Lameness, Fractures, and Ligament Injuries
To include Femoral Head Removal, Hip Dysplasia, Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries, Panosteitis, Radiographic Demonstrations, Disc Disease, and Bone Surgery

Bladder, Urinary Tract, & Kidney Problems

Blood Diseases, Anemias etc
Strokes, Vascular Diseases, Anemias, DVT, DIC, Blood Parasites, Rat Poison, & Bleeding disorders

Cancer, Masses, Lumps and Bumps

Cardiology  Heart disease in Cats, Cardiac Hypertrophy, Valvular disease, Cardiac Insufficiency, Congestive Heart Failure, Heartworm Disease, and a little history about the milestones in treating heart disease

Cats: general information page and directory of diseases and problems specific to cats including vaccine recommendations, leukemia, feline viral infections, feline upper respiratory disease and cats that just aren't feeling well.

Dentistry and problems of the mouth and throat

Dermatology: Skin problems including allergies, rashes, bacterial infections, and itching. Hair Loss, Yeast Infections, Hormonal Problems


Ear Infections and Other Ear Problems

Eye Problems  and Ophthalmic Diseases

Exotics:  Pocket Pets, Rabbits, Hamsters etc

Fleas, Ticks, and other parasite problems

Heart disease; Cardiac diseases, vascular diseases, stroke, & heartworms

Hormone Diseases: Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, Cushing's Disease or Hypercortisolism, Addison's disease or Hypocortisolism, Pancreatitis, obesity as a disease

Infectious Diseases  Colds, Distemper, Parvo, Leptospirosis, Bruceellosis, Panleukopenia, Feline AIDS, Leukemia, Hepatitis, Kennel Cough, Ringworm, Rabies, FIP, Canine Herpes, Toxic Shock Syndrome, & More

Intestinal problems: diarrhea, constipation, torsion, indigestion, and gas. Also pancreatitis, vomiting, esophagitis, colitis, parvo and other types of dysentery

Kidney Disease

Liver Diseases     

Metabolic Diseases: Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, Cushing's Disease or Hypercortisolism, Addison's disease or Hypocortisolism, Pancreatitis, obesity as a disease

Neural Problems and Diseases: Epilepsy, Rabies, Distemper, FIP, Paralysis, Tetanus, Seizures, Disc Disease, Toxoplasmosis & others

Obesity; new information and about a diet that is working well in cats and dogs


Parasite Problems Fleas, Ticks, Heartworms, Intestinal Worms, Mosquitos, Lice, Mites, and other welfare recipients

Poisons  Snakes, Insects, household chemicals, plants, and foods that might poison your pet

Respiratory Diseases

Senior Pet Page: Geriatric Medicine

Skeletal-Muscular Problems Arthritis, Fractures, ACL, Ligament Injuries, Disc Disease, Pannus, and many other problems of the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments

Skin Problems: allergies, rashes, bacterial infections, and itching. Hair Loss, Yeast Infections, Hormonal Problems

Surgery: Spays, Castrations, Testicle Recipes, Soft Tissue Surgery, Hard Tissue Surgery (Bones), C- Sections, Declawing, Tumor Removal and Cancer Surgery

Wounds, punctures, injuries, and abscesses

Urinary Tract Diseases and Problems

Other Topics on This Site

The Human-Animal Bond

History of Veterinary Medicine; lots of interesting stuff    

Zoonotics: Diseases, worms, and parasites people get from pets.

Lab Tests and what they tell us

Medications/Pharmacy Page

Nutrition & Diets
Includes information about Prescription diets used to treat disease, and a discussion about the pet food industry

Reproduction, breeding, & rearing information
Includes information about feline and canine heat or estrus, breeding, C-Sections, pyometra or Infected Uterus, dystocia, no milk, mastitis, & brucellosis
Also newborn care, undescended testicles, and alternative to spaying and castration

Vaccine and other preventive health recommendations

WildLife Page:  Taking care of baby bunnies, squirrels, and birds.  A very funny story about beavers, and other misc information

Our Dog Page:  a directory of problems of concern in dogs including parvovirus, distemper, canine herpes, and other diseases

Veterinary Pet Insurance

The little dog on your left has Cushing's disease, one of many diseases we will discuss in this section of our website.
Heat Stroke and Body Temperature Problems: Pretty important stuff when you think about it. 
Click here for more information.

Kidney Disease:  The number one cause of death in older cats and dogs. (number 2 in humans)
Click here to go to our Kidney Disease Page

Anemia: The bones do more than just support your body.  They're also metabolic factories that make red blood cells for carrying oxygen as well as white blood cells needed for fighting infections.     Anemia and other Bone Marrow Diseases:

Immune Symtem Diseases ... coming soon

Sex Hormone and Growth Hormone Disease: ...coming soon

Diabetes is quite common in both cats and dogs.  Giving insulin by injection seems scary at first but most people find treatment no big deal after a few times.
Know the signs of
Heat Exhaustion:

- virorous panting
- high heart rate
- excess salivation
- vomiting
- diarrhea
- staggering
- gasping
- gums that are purple, brick red, or blue
- dark red tongue
- too weak to get up
- body temp greater than 104F