Whole Body Disorders

What are Whole Body Disorders in Dogs?

A whole body disorder is an injury or disease process affecting multiple areas and systems within a dog's body. Such a disorder can have a broad impact on the animal's ability to move, and if left untreated may progress into a debilitating or potentially life-threatening problem. Canines of any age or breed can be affected, and every case will vary depending on the dog and specific factors influencing the injury or illness.

Dog sitting in a field at sunset.

People who are concerned with the mobility and function of their dog will often get referred by their primary veterinarian to a dog orthopedic surgeon. Our veterinary surgery staff offers both surgical and regenerative medicine techniques that can effectively treat a variety whole body diseases and injuries.

What are the Most Common Symptoms of Whole Body Disorders?

You know your dog best, so if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, you should call your veterinarian right away, as they could indicate the presence of a whole body disorder. Your vet can evaluate your dog and if necessary will refer you to an orthopedic veterinarian near Omaha who can make an accurate diagnosis:

  • Swollen, stiff, red, and/or warm joints
  • Unusual lumps and bumps
  • Impaired physical function and lameness, including: limping, difficulty getting up off the floor, and inability to or reluctance to use stairs or go into a car
  • Widespread pain and/or pain in specific areas of the body (it's not always easy to tell if your dog is in pain, so paying attention to its function and behavior is key)
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss and/or decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea

This is not an all-inclusive list. When in doubt, call your vet to voice your concerns.

What Types of Whole Body Disorders Affect Dogs?

Whole body disorders often involve multiple physiological systems within your dog, including the musculoskeletal system, the hormonal system, the cardiovascular system, and even digestive system. Due to the multifaceted nature of such disorders, it's extremely helpful to consult with an orthopedic veterinarian who is skilled in treating the symptoms and addressing the underlying cause (or causes) of the condition. Such conditions may include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Joint Infection
  • Immune-mediated polyarthritis (IMPA)
  • Panosteitis
  • Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD)

What Causes Whole Body Disorders?

It's worth realizing that certain breeds of dogs are more at risk for developing certain whole body disorders. Preventive measures, such as nutritional supplementation, medications, and exercise, are important areas to maintain as your dog grows up in order to reduce its risk of developing a disease or illness affecting the entire body.

Common causes and risk factors for whole body disorders in dogs may include:

  • Advancing age
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Trauma
  • Repetitive stress or strain
  • Parasite-borne illness
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor nutrition

How are Whole Body Disorders Diagnosed by My Orthopedic Veterinarian in Omaha?

At Sirius, Dr. Horstman and the rest of the orthopedic veterinarian team can consult with you and your dog after receiving a referral from your primary vet. During the consultation, we'll utilize a variety of diagnostic techniques and technology to determine the exact type of whole body disorder affecting your animal. Techniques may include lab work, diagnostic imaging, a thorough physical examination, and a history intake to get your insight on what's been happening with your animal.

Once a diagnosis has been made, our team will discuss with you the most appropriate treatment options for your dog. Treatment of a canine whole body disorder varies and truly depends on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, and how long the injury has been present.

We'll also let you know about any additional tests or screens that may need to be done to ensure that both treatment and recovery go as smoothly as possible.

Is Your Vet Recommending That You Consult With An Orthopedic Veterinarian Near Omaha? Request A Referral To Sirius Veterinary Orthopedic Center

At this point, you probably have more questions about your dog's health and how the veterinary surgery staff at Sirius can help. We invite all pet parents to explore our website to learn more about what to expect before your first visit, how to prepare for the consultation, and why meeting with an orthopedic veterinarian near Omaha may be the best choice for your canine companion. Our staff would also be happy to speak with you, so please call us at (402) 934-1332 with your questions.

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