Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is more common in humans than in pets, and transmission between people and their pets is possible but uncommon, says veterinarian Carol Maddox, a professor at the University of Illinois Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Pets more commonly carry Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, which is rarely infectious for people. However, all pets and people in a home where humans or animals are known to harbor MRSA should be tested for the bacterium, according to the AVMA.
Mammary tumors occur in dogs and cats, and early detection is key to a good outcome, according to veterinarian Alison Book. Animals that have not been spayed or were spayed at an older age face a greater risk of developing mammary cancer, according to Dr. Book. Cats tend to have a worse prognosis than dogs, but both species tolerate surgery and chemotherapy relatively well.
Pets may be born deaf, especially those with albinism, but acquired nerve damage or diseases of the ear canal can also lead to hearing loss, according to veterinarian Jennifer Scarlett. Owners should keep deaf cats indoors and teach deaf dogs to follow hand signals. "Keep in mind that deaf animals can still make great pets," said Dr. Scarlett.
Decisions about vaccinating pets are not one-size-fits-all because every animal's situation is different, but following the recommended core vaccine schedule is the best place to start to protect pet health. Vaccines are given to prevent infection from highly contagious and sometimes lethal diseases, such as canine parvovirus. The risk of vaccine reactions is low, according to the AVMA, and Oregon state public health veterinarian Emilio DeBess says that risk is far outweighed by the threat of contracting a serious illness.
Diabetes occurs in pets when the pancreas doesn't produce sufficient insulin or cells can no longer respond appropriately to insulin, writes veterinarian Julianne Miller. Common signs in dogs and cats include greater drinking and urinating, increased hunger, lethargy and poor coat quality. Blood and urine tests confirm the diagnosis. Insulin injections given daily along with a specific diet are the standard treatments for diabetes, notes Dr. Miller, who adds that working closely with your veterinarian will help ensure good management of a pet's diabetes.