Your Dog Could Be Sick If….

By Maria Posted in dog care, dog training /

The health of a four-legged family member is the topmost priority for any pet owner. Unfortunately, our canine and feline companions can’t really tell us when they’re feeling under the weather. There are ways to determine if your pet is sick, though. The best way to treat illness is to detect it as early as possible, so here are some indications that your dog or cat isn’t feeling well.

Vomiting. This is a sure sign that something’s wrong with your pet. Vomiting can be a symptom of a digestive problem, metabolic condition, infection, heartworms, or even cancer. And as unpleasant as it sounds, it’s vital to take note of your pet’s vomit. Is it liquid only or does it contain undigested food? What’s the color? Answers to these questions will help your vet know what’s going on. Also observe how often your pet vomits and his behavior prior to vomiting.

Diarrhea. Prolonged diarrhea can lead to a loss of electrolytes which could in turn result in more serious conditions such as distemper, diabetes, pancreatitis, inflammation, infection, or cancer. Again, your vet will need to know what the diarrhea looks like including its color and if blood or mucus is present.

Changes in appetite. A decrease in appetite may mean a minor stomachache or something serious, so talk to your vet immediately. Similarly, an unexpected increase in appetite can also be a bad sign, especially with older cats. Hyperthyroidism, which is over-activity of the thyroid gland, is common in geriatric felines and can be recognized through a cat that eats a lot but doesn’t gain weight or has even lost weight. In addition, if your pet suddenly starts eating dirt, feces, etc. it could mean a nutritional deficit in his diet.

Weight loss. If you see any bony protrusions in the spine, hips, or ribs, it could be a sign that your pet’s muscles are wasting away.

photoChanges in activity levels. A pet’s behavior deviating from the norm is a huge indication that something’s up. You should be concerned if your usually active pet becomes lethargic all of a sudden or if your normally calm pet starts running around frantically out of the blue.

Clumsy behavior. This can be a symptom of liver disease, a neurological disorder, sight-related issues, or an ear infection. Disorientation can also be caused by ingesting dangerous chemicals or poisonous plants. In all cases, call your vet immediately. Don’t wait a few days to see if things improve.

Frequent urination. If your pet is going to the bathroom more often than usual, it can signify kidney malfunction, infection, bladder crystals, or diabetes. Telling your vet the color and other characteristics of the urine will help him in making a diagnosis.

Straining to urinate. Should you see your pet squatting to urinate but nothing’s coming out, head to the nearest animal clinic straight away. Don’t wait as this can be a medical emergency. Possible causes include infection, urine crystals, an abnormal growth in the bladder, and prostate issues.

Strange odor. Extremely bad breath can mean tartar on the teeth, gum disease, or even a foreign body stuck inside the mouth. Smelly ears can be caused by infestations or infection. Skin problems can also give off a foul odor.

Runny nose or eyes. A runny nose doesn’t always indicate a cold; it could be other illnesses like sinus infection, respiratory infection, tooth abscess, or cancer. Runny eyes can be a sign of infection or inflammation.

Hair loss. Hair loss can be caused by skin parasites, metabolic disorder, flea infestation, nutritional deficiencies, caustic chemical contact, or cancer. Other less serious causes are nursing a litter or late pregnancy.

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