What Are Common Internal Medicine Cases in Dogs?

The field of veterinary internal medicine encompasses a wide range of conditions affecting animals’ internal organs and systems. In dogs, just as in humans, many potential ailments can impact their health and well-being. Internal medicine cases in dogs encompass a wide range of conditions that affect various organ systems and physiological processes within the body. While the specific cases encountered can vary depending on factors such as breed, age, and underlying health conditions, some common internal medicine cases in dogs include:

1. Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastrointestinal (GI) issues are among the most common internal medicine cases seen in dogs, highlighting the importance of a pet annual exam. During this comprehensive check-up, veterinarians can evaluate your pet’s GI health, which is crucial because conditions such as gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining), gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and dietary indiscretion can lead to serious health issues.

2. Endocrine Disorders

Endocrine disorders involve dysfunction of the glands that produce hormones, leading to hormonal imbalances and metabolic disturbances. Common endocrine disorders in dogs include diabetes mellitus (insulin deficiency or resistance), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease), and hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease). These conditions can cause various symptoms, such as increased thirst and urination, weight changes, lethargy, hair loss, and changes in appetite.

3. Renal (Kidney) Disease

Renal disease refers to conditions that affect the kidneys, impairing their ability to filter waste products from the blood and regulate fluid and electrolyte balance. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common condition in older dogs and can result from factors such as aging, genetic predisposition, infections, or toxins. Symptoms of renal disease in dogs may include increased thirst and urination, decreased appetite, weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, and changes in urination habits.

4. Hepatic (Liver) Disorders

Hepatic disorders involve liver dysfunction, impairing its ability to perform essential metabolic functions such as detoxification, protein synthesis, and bile production. Common hepatic conditions in dogs include hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease), hepatic insufficiency, and liver cancer. Clinical signs of liver disease in dogs may include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes), lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and changes in appetite.

5. Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases affect the heart and circulatory system, impairing cardiac function and reducing blood flow to vital organs. Common cardiovascular conditions in dogs include dilated cardiomyopathy, degenerative valve disease, heartworm disease, arrhythmias, and congenital heart defects. Symptoms of cardiovascular disease in dogs may include coughing, exercise intolerance, weakness, fainting episodes, difficulty breathing, and fluid accumulation in the abdomen or limbs.

6. Respiratory Disorders

If your dog is exhibiting clinical signs such as coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge, lethargy, and exercise intolerance, these could indicate respiratory disorders affecting the respiratory system, including the lungs, airways, and associated structures. It’s crucial to consult with a professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you’re in Tennessee, seeking a kitten vet in Brentwood, TN, can also be an excellent starting point, as many veterinary clinics that cater to cats often provide services for dogs. 

7. Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders affect the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves, leading to disturbances in neurological function. Common neurological conditions in dogs include seizures (epilepsy), intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), degenerative myelopathy, vestibular disease, and brain tumors. Symptoms of neurological disease in dogs may include seizures, weakness or paralysis, abnormal gait, tremors, altered behavior, and cognitive dysfunction.

8. Urinary Tract Disorders

If you suspect your dog may be suffering from any urinary tract disorders, it’s crucial to consult a specialist who can provide the appropriate care and treatment. For pet owners, an internal medicine veterinarian in Brentwood, TN, can perform detailed diagnostics and offer a tailored treatment plan to manage and resolve your furry friend’s urinary system condition. These dedicated professionals utilize their in-depth knowledge to diagnose underlying causes of urinary issues and work towards improving your pet’s health and comfort.

9. Dermatological Conditions

Dermatological conditions refer to skin disorders and allergies that affect the integumentary system, including the skin, hair, and nails. Common dermatological conditions in dogs include allergic dermatitis (e.g., atopy, flea allergy dermatitis), bacterial or fungal skin infections, parasitic infestations (e.g., mange, ringworm), hot spots (acute moist dermatitis), and autoimmune skin diseases. Symptoms may include itching, scratching, redness, inflammation, hair loss, skin lesions, and secondary bacterial infections.

10. Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders involve conditions affecting the bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissues, leading to pain, inflammation, and impaired mobility. Common musculoskeletal conditions in dogs include osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), cruciate ligament injuries, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), luxating patella, and fractures. Symptoms may include lameness, stiffness, difficulty rising or moving, reluctance to exercise, swelling or heat in the joints, and behavioral changes.

As we advance in veterinary medicine, our ability to diagnose, treat, and prevent these common internal medicine cases will evolve, leading to better outcomes and improved quality of life for our four-legged family members.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few examples of veterinary practice’s diverse internal medicine cases. Each case requires thorough diagnostic evaluation, treatment planning, and ongoing management tailored to the dog’s individual needs. Early detection, accurate diagnosis, and prompt intervention are essential for optimizing outcomes and improving the quality of life for affected dogs.