Undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges of pet ownership is not being able to communicate verbally with your furry, feathered, or scaly friend. While you may have an unbreakable, deep bond, there’s no getting away from the fact that there are times where it would be really helpful if they could talk. No time is this more obvious than when our pets are injured or unwell. While some injuries or health problems are clearly visible, others are much harder to identify. Factor in that animals are predisposed to mask signs of vulnerability, and it’s easy to see why some issues go undetected for days, weeks, or even longer – something which could see your pet suffering unnecessarily or that could make their condition worse.
To help you recognize if your animal is experiencing a health problem or injury that requires medical attention, here are the top 10 warning signs that you should take your pet to the vet.
Changes in drinking habits should always be investigated if they have no obvious cause. Drinking more on a hot day is normal, but not drinking enough could be a sign of digestive problems, while drinking excessively can often indicate diabetes or kidney disease.
Similarly, most pets have a fairly rigid pattern when it comes to their eating. Most are fed a consistent diet of the same foods at set times of the day, as well as a selection of favorite treats and nibbles. If your pet suddenly turns their nose up at their usual food and lose their appetite, they could have undiscovered digestive issues. Meanwhile dropping food is a common sign of dental problems.
Unsurprisingly, any sort of breathing difficulties should be treated as a veterinary emergency and you should take your pet to see your vet immediately. There can be a range of reasons for breathing problems to occur, from a windpipe blockage or allergic reaction to a lung condition or heart disease. Your vet will be able to help your pet by identifying the cause and offering treatment.
It’s certainly not unusual for a pet to experience vomiting and diarrhea from time to time and most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about. However, there are instances where veterinary intervention is necessary, such as if there is blood in your pet’s vomit or feces if they occur more frequently or multiple times in a row, or there are any other abnormalities.
A very bloated or distended abdomen doesn’t just mean your pet has eaten too much, it’s actually a sign of a very real medical emergency called gastric dilation-volvulus, known as bloat. This is where the stomach twists over itself, causing total obstruction and is life-threatening. Other causes of a distended abdomen include internal bleeding, heart disease, or pregnancy, so it’s always best to get it checked out immediately.
Many people are surprised to learn that skin rashes are just as common in animals as they are in humans. There can be a variety of reasons for your pet to develop a rash, but allergies are one of the most common causes. Skin rashes may not seem serious, but they can be painful and debilitating for your pet. They can also become infected and so should be seen by your vet.
Your pet’s eyes are as delicate as your own, and so any concerns that you have about them should be explained to a vet rather than trying to deal with them on your own. Common signs of eye problems in pets include redness, weeping, mucus, and swelling.
All animals groom themselves as a way to keep their body clean. However, if your pet is excessively grooming one specific area of their body, or if they are biting or chewing at it, it’s likely that they have an injury of some kind and are in pain and are trying to soothe it. It may be that they require x-rays or another diagnostic testing to establish the cause, so schedule an appointment with your vet to have them checked out.
If your pet is usually fairly active and they suddenly seem like they are having issues with getting about, if they are reluctant to move or exercise, or if they suddenly seem very lethargic and tired, you should take them to see your veterinarian as soon as possible. These are common signs of underlying illnesses or injuries, and your pet could be in pain. A prompt visit to a professional is needed to diagnose the problem and find the best way to help them.
You know your pet better than anyone else. Often when animals are hurt or unwell, they change their usual behaviors – for example, a pet that is in pain may not want to be touched and may growl or hide to prevent you from doing so. Trust your instincts. If your pet is behaving strangely, but you aren’t sure why don’t wait around to see if it resolves itself. Schedule an appointment with your vet so that you can explain your concerns.
Learn more about the warning signs to look for in pets & when to take pets to the vet, contact Community Pet Outreach in Lewisville, TX at 972-848-8930.