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Published: Apr 18, 2012

It is nearly inevitable that your pet will come down with some type of illness in its life, but knowing the difference between an acute and chronic disease could help you understand how to best aid your animal companion in its time of need.

An acute disease is one that occurs once and is most likely cured by a relatively straight-forward treatment. A bladder infection is an example of a dog and cat illness that is acute - it occurs once, but is resolved completely by medications like antibiotics. However, acute illness can become chronic if it lasts longer than three months or if the acute illness recurs multiple times within a period of time.

Chronic diseases are those which usually do not have a cure but are manageable with medication or other treatments.  Treatments for chronic conditions are typically designed to control the symptoms, aiming to give the best quality of life for your pet. For instance, canine diabetes is a chronic illness that is treated with daily shots of insulin to keep the dog's body functioning properly so it can enjoy life to the fullest. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, most dogs with diabetes need one or two insulin shots per day, and often need changes to their diets as well.