Identifying the Signs of Animal Illness at Home

When your pet is just not their usual energetic and enthusiastic self, and you have that persistent, nagging feeling that something might not be right, chances are you’re right. Pet parents know their pets better than anyone. That includes your veterinarian and well-meaning vet techs. You’re with your pet a lot. Because of that, you’re clued in to the nuances that show you that something might be “off” with your beloved pet’s health.

The Best Ways to tell if Your Pet is Ill

Besides the obvious signs like vomiting and changes in bowel or bladder habits, there are many other ways to tell if your pet is not feeling well, or if an illness is starting to develop. Here are some other signs of animal illness:

– Bad Breath – Especially if it shows up suddenly or is worse than usual. Also, if it shows up even though you’re brushing your pet’s teeth

– Excessive Urination and Thirst – If you’re filling the water bowl more often and notice changes in the amount of urine, it’s smart to let your vet know so your pet can be checked for diabetes

– Blood in Stools, Urine or Vomit – This can mean your pet has ingested something harmful that they shouldn’t have like tinsel, socks, underwear, thread, fish hooks, towels, corn cobs, bones, or in the case of some cats, dental floss

– Coughing – Especially when it develops suddenly or sounds like a barking cough. It can be kennel cough, caused by an infectious viruses, bacteria or other agents. It can also be related to lung or heart disease. Your pet health care professional will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis and develop a plan for treatment

– Decreased Appetite – If you know your pet is not just holding out for human food or treats, but you notice they’re eating less. This is especially concerning if decreased appetite is paired with lethargy. This is when your pet should see a veterinarian

– Noticeable Bumps or Sores – Any type of change in the skin can signal an infection or an illness and should be checked. Bumps and sores are also concerning, and unless you know exactly what caused an injury or sore, your veterinarian should be contacted

– Sore Joints, Stiffness and Trouble Getting Up – When things that used to be easy for your pet like jumping and walking become more difficult and your pet seems to be in pain, it pays to have them checked for things like arthritis, dysplasia of the hips, or injured or ruptured ligaments. There are many good treatments today for arthritis and other problems that can truly help your pet have a better quality of life

– Cloudiness or Redness in the Eyes – Can mean vision problems or that other issues like glaucoma are developing, so it’s smart to have your pets checked

Even Subtle Changes Can be Cause for Concern

Even if you feel your little bundle of furry energy just isn’t acting right, but you have trouble identifying exactly what the problem might be, it can help to bring them to a place like St Petersburg Animal Hospital or to your trusted pet health care provider. Catching health issues early and getting early treatment are the best ways to keep them from becoming more serious.

Your pet can be given a thorough physical to help allay your concerns and to address any changes and issues you’ve seen that have come up. It’s worth it to get a professional expert opinion for your peace of mind, and to know you’re doing all you can to keep your sweet little companion healthy and happy.

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