As a pet owner, you have probably experienced a time or two when your furbaby wasn’t feeling so great. It is important to recognize when your pet is feeling sick. The sooner you notice a problem, the quicker you can seek help. Unfortunately, a pet’s signs of illness can be quite subtle or hard to recognize. If you keep an eye out for the following signs, symptoms and cues- you may be able to catch a potentially serious illness before it can cause a permanent problem.
Potty and Vomiting Problems
If your pet is vomiting, has diarrhea, constipation, peeing more frequently or less frequently- these can be signs that they aren’t feeling top notch! Just like humans, potty and vomiting problems can be the cause of an underlying illness. If you notice that a normally house trained dog or cat is suddenly urinating or defecating in the house or outside of the litter box, an illness could be setting in causing them to lose control of their bladder and bowels. Excessive urination could indicate a kidney or bladder problem while frequent loose stool could indicate a colon or stomach issue.
As uncomfortable as it may seem, monitor your pet’s bathroom breaks and keep an eye out for color and consistency of waste. This can be a huge indicator of their health. You can check out more about healthy pet poop here! Always keep an eye out for blood in the excrement, urine or vomit and consider consulting your veterinarian immediately! Continued vomiting and diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration, which can cause other physical problems to take place.
Changes in behavior or mannerisms can be an obvious sign that your pet may be sick. Nobody knows your pet’s personality and behavior better than you or your family. Be sure to watch for overly clingy behavior. Maybe your pet is hanging closer to you more than normal? Or maybe they aren’t as anxious for a walk or playtime? If you are noticing that your pet is seeming withdrawn, irritable, more aggressive than usual or even sleepier than normal, you may want to consider getting them checked out by a vet.
It is also important to take note of any abnormal pain they may be experiencing. Is your cat or dog overly sensitive about you touching a specific part of the body? Are they having a hard time walking, jumping or using their limbs? Keep an eye out for stiffness of joints, guarding a particular body part, difficulting chewing or swallowing and aggression or agitation when touched or approached. Any abnormal behavior can be a sure tell sign that your pet is not feeling well.
If you start to notice that your pet’s fur or skin is looking abnormal, this can be a sign of illness as well. Look for signs of coat dullness, flakiness, hair loss, persistent itching, lumps, bumps, rashes or dryness. Certain skin and fur problems can be indicators of underlying illnesses like diabetes, thyroid problems or even cancer. If skin or fur issues arise or are reoccurring, consider asking your veterinarian to analyze or monitor the issue.
Neurological issues can come across as a change in appearance as well. These symptoms can be amongst the most frightening to witness and should be considered very seriously. If you notice that your cat or dog is experiencing loss of consciousness, disorientation, fainting, twitching, wobbling, stumbling or seizures- consult your veterinarian immediately. Neurological issues can come on quickly and cause permanent damage if they are not handled correctly. If you notice any abnormal neurological symptoms, observe your pet closely and get them checked out as soon as possible!
Having a sick pet can be unnerving. (Our team at Southwest Veterinary Surgical Specialist has seen their share of sick pets!) Be sure to watch for these abnormal signs and symptoms to guarantee your furbaby stays feeling happy and well! And remember- you know your pet best! If something is concerning, don’t hesitate to take a visit to the vet. Your pet may not be able to voice it, but they will appreciate your ability to notice when they may be in need of medical care.