Should I Call the Vet?

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Just like us, our animal companions are not immune to diseases and mishaps. Unfortunately, they can be masters at masking their aches and pains until the problem becomes major and obvious. But by knowing the warning signs of trouble, you can step in and help your pet maintain good health – while keeping your veterinarian bills down.

The earlier we catch a disease, the better chance we have to control or even cure it.

Here are 10 situations that an owner might overlook:

1.  Breathing difficulty or intensifying coughing – The gasping could be caused by an inhaled or swallowed object, or it could be related to asthma or other medical conditions

2.  Strains and cries in the litter box – Cats, especially males, who make frequent trips to the litter box may be suffering from urinary tract problems. This could include a blockage, which is a life-threatening condition. Kidney disease could cause constipation in older cats.

3.  Gets bit or scratched by another dog or cat – Don’t dismiss even minor tussles with other animals. You can’t tell how deep the wound penetrated or if there are any internal injuries.

4.  Bouts of vomiting and diarrhea – Dogs and cats have sensitive digestive tracts and occasionally can get diarrhea and vomiting from raiding the trash or being exposed to parasites. But your pet may have eaten something toxic. Contact your veterinarian if these bouts last longer than a day or two , if they intensify, or if you notice blood.

5.  Squints or closes one or both eyes – Squinting could be caused by a piece of dirt or other debris lodged in the eye or a scratch on the cornea. Also watch for eyes that stay dilated or constricted or become red or cloudy

6.  Acts uncharacteristically lethargic (sleepy) – This could be caused by a host of diseases, including anemia, heart problems, or poor circulation.

7.  Changes in eating and drinking habits – Cats who suddenly eat more food or lick the water bowl dry may be diabetic or have hyperthyroidism. Dogs who stop being chowhounds and start losing weight could have digestive problems or even cancer.

8.  Suddenly starts having “accidents” in the house – This could be caused by a medical or behavioral problem. It is important to report the problem so your pet can be treated quickly. If there is a behavioral problem, it is best to nip it in the bud. If there is a medical problem, you want to treat it before it worsens.

9.  Falls and lands hard or is clumsy – Don’t dismiss limps or stiff movements. Tumbles and spills may appear okay on the outside,  but they could have suffered internal injuries.

10.  Emits foul breath – Doggie breath is not normal. Foul breath could signal dental problems (gingivitis or decaying teeth) or internal problems such a kidney disease or diabetes.


Quick Tips:

Book yearly veterinary check-ups, even if your pet seems healthy

Give your pet a nose-to-tail checkup at least once a month. Glide your fingers through the coat to detect any lumps or bumps.

Cats and Dogs do not communicate when they don’t feel well. By being an active health care partner, owners can keep their pets happy and healthy!