If only our pets could talk! Knowing when a dog or cat is sick isn’t always easy. Pets are notoriously good at masking symptoms of medical conditions. By the time a sick dog or sick cat displays obvious signs of feeling under the weather, it’s likely he’s been ailing for quite some time.
Maintaining annual wellness visits coupled with age-appropriate diagnostic bloodwork is the best line of defense against disease processes. But what should diligent pet parents do between visits with the vet to protect the health of their pets?
First and foremost, be aware that many symptoms of a sick dog/cat are very subtle. And many times, even the most well-meaning pet parents attribute these subtle changes to the normal aging process.
Next, be aware of the physical and behavioral signs that could mean your dog is sick or your cat is sick. The experts at Bowman Veterinary Hospital have compiled some symptoms to watch for.
Signs of a Sick Cat or Sick Dog
Without a doubt, you know your pet better than anyone. Any unexplained changes in your pet’s normal activity level, temperament, or mobility warrant a call to your veterinarian.
Here are 10 common signs that your cat or dog is sick:
- Decrease in appetite accompanied by weight loss
- Bad breath or foul odor coming from the ears or skin
- Excessive thirst or urination
- Unexplained aggression or other behavioral changes
- Trouble walking or climbing stairs
- Inability to urinate or have bowel movements
- Respiratory problems: sneezing, coughing, excessive panting, trouble breathing
- Lethargy, hiding
- Frequent vomiting or diarrhea
- Abnormal whining, crying, or other vocalizations
Emergency Warning Signs
The best way to know for certain if your cat or dog is experiencing a pet emergency is to contact your pet’s doctor. However, some symptoms are clear signs that you should seek immediate treatment, including the following:
- Hard, distended abdomen
- Inability to urinate
- Excessive diarrhea and/or vomiting
- Trouble breathing
- Lack of coordination/inability to stand
What to Do When Your Pet Is Sick
First, remain calm and make a note of your pet’s symptoms and when they began. Then contact your veterinarian to find out if you should schedule an appointment or visit the nearest emergency hospital. Your pet may require diagnostic tests that include bloodwork; urinalysis; heartworm tests or screenings for tick-borne diseases; ECG to check heart rhythm; and other diagnostics.
Once your pet is receiving treatment, be sure to finish any medications prescribed, and report any new or worsening symptoms to your pet’s veterinarian immediately.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (530) 823-6306 if you suspect that your pet is sick. We’re here to help!