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How to Tell if Your Pet isn’t Feeling Well

Image of a cat and dog not feeling well

Signs that Your Pet may be Ill

Since our pets can’t speak to us in a typical way, we may not always be aware of when they’re feeling badly. Instinctively many pets, like cats, will hide their pain, as a survival mechanism, and in those circumstances especially, we’re unable to tell if something’s wrong. Oftentimes, as pet owners, it’s not until a disease has already progressed that our pet will give us a sign that they’re ill.

However, there are some warning signs that you can keep an eye out for. If your pet breaks from their normal behavior, or seems withdrawn, or sleeps more than usual, then something may be wrong with them.

If you see any of the following, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your Austin veterinarian, as these could indicate larger issues:

1. Diarrhea and Vomiting

If you pet vomits several times in one day or has diarrhea that does not go away on its own, then it could be a cause for concern, and a trip to your veterinarian is in order. If your pet appears to be lethargic and has no interest in eating, and also has these symptoms, it’s important you bring them in to see the vet.

There can be many causes of diarrhea or vomiting, and your veterinarian will help diagnose what is the root of the issue with your pet.

These can include parasitical infections, which can cause roundworms and hookworms among others. One step you can take to prevent parasites is to de-worm your pets on a regular schedule. This is particularly important if your pets spend a lot of time outdoors. Your veterinarian can provide you with deworming medicine. Preventative care is also a good idea to prevent worms – topical applications like Revolution help prevent this.

It’s important to be sure you’re making these efforts, because many parasites also affect humans, especially those who are ill, or have a weakened immune system. If you suspect your pet has worms, and you have young children, be sure to separate your children from your pets until the issue is resolved.

In the event that you see traces of blood in their stool, don’t wait…it’s important to bring your pet to see the vet right away.

2. Lethargic Pets with no Interest in Eating

One day where your pets are a little more lazy than usual, or don’t have quite as strong an appetite doesn’t necessarily mean they are sick. But if this persists or gets worse, then it may be something serious, and you should bring them to your vet right away.

Fever, pain and stress can be related to your pets not eating, and if it goes on for more than 24 hours, it could be a serious problem and they need to see an Austin veterinarian.

Lack of eating tends to be more serious for cats. In many cases, they’re often just picky about what they want to eat, but a lack of eating for an extended period of time, especially in overweight cats, can cause liver issues. A buildup of fat can develop, which can lead to liver failure, so if you notice this happening, it’s time to see the vet.

Lethargic pets are a bit harder to narrow down. The could be sluggish if they haven’t had exercise, a change in weather may make them sleepy, or it could be a more serious issue, such as heart disease. It could be any number of things, so if you’ve tried to get them motivated and it’s not working, your vet may be able to help figure out what’s going on.

3. Urination Issues and UTIs

If your pet is showing any types of issues with bathroom habits, you should take them to your vet. Excessive urination may be associated with issues such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney issues and adrenal gland problems. As the disease progresses, a pet that is housebroken may start urinating on the floor, or they may need to urinate at odd times in the middle of the night.

Your pet may also have urinary tract (UTI) or bladder problems. This can be extremely dangerous for cats as crystal accumulation or bladder stones can cause painful inflammation and produce small quantities of blood in their urine. It may be difficult to detect at first, because your cat may hide from you in a hard to find place. You may notice your cat going into the litter box, but not producing any urine, or straining to pee. They may also make groaning noises because of the pain that they’re experiencing. If you notice this, bring your cat to your vet right away, as it a sign that your pet is blocked, and it is a life-threatening situation.

4. Kennel Cough

Our pets do cough from time to time. Sometimes they just have something in their throats, much like humans, but it could be a sign of something else, such as heart disease, lung disease and heart worms.

Kennel cough is a condition that primarily affects dogs. It’s a form of bronchitis (tracheobronchitis) that produces a hacking cough. Kennel Cough can be cleared up quickly in adult dogs, but it’s more dangerous for puppies, as it can turn into pneumonia if not treated.

Kennel cough can also affect specific breeds of dogs more than others, such as boxers, bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers. These specific breeds have a unique anatomy with the shape of their heads (they appear to have pushed in faces), that can be very susceptible to respiratory problems.

Other symptoms of kennel cough include fever, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, and lethargy. You should also be aware of any constant sneezing as well as any discharge that appears in the ears, nose and eyes.

5. Hair Loss, Itching and Skin Rashes

During the spring season in Austin, fleas can become a problem.

If you see your cat or dog constantly itching or showing signs of hair loss, or if you yourself are constantly itching, fleas may be the cause of it. One flea can turn into many quickly, so you’ll want to confront this head on right away. The best cure is prevention, so consider using Revolution on your pets to prevent flea problems from getting out of control. Another great way to control fleas is with beneficial nematodes, which you can get from your garden store. If you do get caught with a flea problem, wash your pets bedding and vacuum regularly – twice per day until the problem is under control. This article goes into further detail of how to prevent parasites like fleas from invading yours and your pet’s life.

Hair loss and itching can also be caused by other issues, including staph infections, endocrine problems, or fungal and yeast infections, to name a few. Many vets can check this by taking hair and small skin samples to determine if it’s an infection or a hormonal issue. So if you don’t see signs of fleas, it’s important to also have your pet examined for these issues as well.

5. Mobility Issues

There are a variety of reasons why our pets experience mobility issues, including hip or spine arthritis, disc disease, ruptured ligaments, or hip dysplasia. Arthritis can also develop due to tick-borne illnesses, like Lyme disease.

Hip dysplasia is caused by the hip joint developing abnormally, which can cause degenerative joint disease. This can affect larger breeds of dogs such as German shepherds, labradors, and golden retrievers as they often have inherited joint problems. Over time, arthritis can develop if it’s not properly managed.

Arthritis is a problem for both cats and dogs. We may overlook these issues and see it as a sign of our pets just getting old, but it could be something more serious, so it’s best to plan a veterinary visit if you think a problem is on the way. The good thing is that most of these mobility problems can be treated with medications and supplements, such as glucosamine, NSAIDs, as well as exercise and as a last resort, surgery.

If your pet isn’t feeling well, or you think they may have an underlying issue that’s not quite clear, please contact ATX Animal Clinic. The health and well being of your pets is very important us.