There are many illnesses that your beloved family dog or cat can succumb to during their lifespan. Some of those illnesses will be a usual sickness or diagnosis for an animal their age, weight, breed, species, but others may be more life-threatening than those. Most pet owners probably have no idea what symptoms they should especially look for when their pet starts acting strange or aren’t their normal happy selves.
Most vets will tell you some of the more common symptoms that you should be aware of regarding the health of a dog or cat are: vomiting, diarrhea, a decrease in appetite along with decreased activity, change in urination, coughing, increased itchiness, loss of mobility, and bad breath. Now, of course, these are only a small list of the things you should be mindful of concerning pet health, but they also happen to be associated with the most life-threatening diseases your pet could fall ill with. Hopefully, this list will help you be better able at ensuring that your dog or cat are the healthiest they can possibly be!
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- All dogs and cats tend to vomit or have diarrhea occasionally. They can be playing around and end up eating grass and then throw up and go on playing. But if you start to notice that your dog or cat won’t stop vomiting or having diarrhea you need to get them to a vet. Watch out for vomit containing blood (this can sometimes look like coffee grounds).
- Decreased appetite associated with weight loss or gain
- Dogs and cats will refrain from eating as a result of many varied reasons, some of which are: stress, pain, and fever. If your pet has a decreased appetite that seems abnormal you should take them to the vet promptly. Cats are the pets that should be monitored more closely for this symptom. Dogs can be picky eaters and turn their noses up to their food because they are anticipating human food, but if your cat stops eating their food for a while, they become at risk for fatty liver syndrome– which can cause liver failure.
- Decreased activity
- Again, if you notice that your pet is lethargic or acting in an abnormal manner for more than 24 hours, keep a careful and watchful eye on them. If the lethargy can’t be attributed to anything specific, your pet should be taken to the vet promptly. Many problems can cause lethargy in your animals, but one of the major problems that can arise is heart disease.
- Increased or decreased frequency in urination
- Increased urination in conjunction with excessive thirst might mean that your pet has diabetes, but it can also signal problems with the adrenal gland or liver and kidney issues. This can be hard to notice, but usually, you will find that your housebroken dog might start urinating indoors instead of signaling that he needs to go out. With cats, it’s so much harder because you can’t really tell if they are urinating or not because you will just see them taking multiple trips to the litter box. Just keep an eye out for any unusual bathroom habits from both your cat and dog.
- Coughing, sneezing, excessive panting, or labored breathing
- You should notice these symptoms right off the bat, and look out for symptoms that persist over time. Any persisting symptoms will need to be evaluated by your vet. If you notice any sort of persistent sneezing, discharge from the eyes, ears, or nose, any rapid or difficulty breathing call your vet and make sure you can get them checked out as soon as possible.
- Hair loss or itchy skin
- Hair loss or itchy skin is usually related to fleas, ticks, and ear or mange mites. But they can also mean endocrine issues, infections from fungus or yeast, or a condition called Staphylococcus Aureus, known as “Staph.” You may notice that your pet is itching itself more than usual and that there are tufts of hair missing from their body. Something you might also notice is brown, crumbly discharge from the ears. If you happen to see any of this, make an appointment with your vet to have it looked at and treated.
- Lethargy, exhaustion, stiffness, and difficulty with movement
- Most commonly, symptoms of this nature are related to problems such as hip dysplasia, arthritis of the hip or spine, ligaments that have been ruptured, and disc disease. If you start to notice that your pet is not able to jump onto furniture as well as they used to, or are struggling to put full weight on their legs you need to get them examined. It’s common for you to think that their difficulty getting around could be a sign of aging, and that might just be it, but it’s always better to have it checked out than to let it grow into something more.
- Bad breath
- A dog and cat will normally have bad breath to begin with, but if it smells a lot worse that than it ever usually does, you need to make an appointment to have them checked out. This kind of smell coming from their mouth can potentially mean kidney disease or a digestive disorder – both you can imagine are incredibly painful for your beloved pet.
One of the biggest things you can do to keep your pet safe and healthy is to ensure that you take them to the vet routinely, probably every couple of months. Another thing is to keep note of any unusual behavior they might exhibit. Remember, there is no harm in reaching out to your local vet to make sure that your pet is healthy.
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