Every pet needs medical attention from time to time. They may throw up, or worse, meet with an accident inside the house. In most cases, an upset stomach is an isolated incident and nothing to worry about, especially if your pet returns to its regular activities shortly after getting sick.
But what if your pet is exhibiting other symptoms? How will you know when it’s time to take action? Here are seven signs that warrant a trip to the veterinarian:
1. Blood in Your Pet’s Vomit, Urine, or Stool
Aside from minor wounds that can be treated at home, blooding must be cause for concern. Blood seen in your pet’s vomit, urine, or stool could indicate any number of severe health conditions, including, but not limited to, parasites, urinary tract infection, kidney disease, liver disease, and cancer.
These conditions can be fatal. For instance, a parasite or urinary tract infection can be easily cured with an antibiotic for cats or dogs. However, conditions like kidney disease, liver disease, or cancer can be fatal. Hence, it is best to visit a vet if you don’t know the cause of blood in your pet’s vomit, urine, or stool. The vet will be able to diagnose the cause and prescribe the best pet medication for a cure.
2. Bathroom Messes
If your cat suddenly begins going to the bathroom outside their litter box, or if your dog becomes incontinent, it’s time for a trip to the vet. A cat making messes could be suffering from a health condition like kidney disease, urinary tract infection, or bladder stones. A dog might just be going through the normal aging process. However, it could signify something more serious, like kidney disease.
If you see a change in your cat or dog’s bathroom schedule, it could result from constipation. Cats usually use the litter box one or two times a day, and dogs tend to go after waking up and eating. So what could it mean if your pet is constipated? Several things demand veterinary attention, such as a hairball blocking the digestive tract, dehydration, a tumor, or colitis.
4. Cloudy, Red, Weeping, or Irritated Eyes
Redness, swelling, clouding, or discharge from your pet’s eyes are reasons to call the vet. These symptoms could signal an eye infection, which can be minor or severe. But either way will probably require veterinary attention. In dogs (especially seniors), these symptoms could also indicate cataracts, leading to blindness and glaucoma.
5. Significant Weight Loss or Weight Gain
If you notice a large fluctuation in your pet’s weight, one likely culprit is the thyroid - hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is more common in dogs, while hyperthyroidism is more common in cats. Visit the vet if your pet begins gaining or losing a lot of weight.
Another reason for weight gain or loss can be inappropriate food. You need to give high-energy food like K9 Advantix II for dogs or Advantage for cats.
6. Scratching and Itching
Scratching is not uncommon in pets. But a pet that scratches incessantly may suffer from a skin condition, allergies, or parasites. In many cases, the culprit will be fleas, which can cause sores, hair loss, and disease. Remove the fleas from your pet, home, and yard.
Also, talk to your veterinarian about flea prevention. The vet will prescribe an itchy skin reliever like Apoquel for dogs or Four Paws Pet Aid Medicated Anti-Itch Spray.
7. Behavioral Changes
A behavior change is a reason to take a closer look at your pet. Dogs who become anxious or distressed may be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder or separation anxiety. Cats who stop seeking attention, or start hiding, may be suffering from any number of health conditions. Consult with your vet and figure out the best course of action.
Anxiety is a common health problem in pets, especially in dogs. An anxious dog will behave unnaturally and remain silent. In that case, you need to head to a vet immediately and get dog anxiety meds so that your furry friend is happy and healthy again.
Interested in learning more about pet symptoms? Check out these dog symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore and warning signs of a sick cat.
If you are ever in doubt about whether or not a trip to the veterinarian is appropriate, give your vet a call. Most vets and vet techs will be more than happy to advise you over the phone.
Vet Care Changes As Your Pet Grows: Are You Getting the Right Care?
What happens during a veterinary visit and the frequency in which they should be scheduled will vary depending on your pet’s age. Young pets, adult pets, and senior pets all have different needs. As a pet parent, knowing what type of veterinary care is appropriate for your pet’s life stage is essential.
Here we will discuss veterinary care for your pet as they move through the different phases of life.
Veterinary Care for Puppies and Kittens
Puppies and kittens are delicate creatures, and they have special veterinary needs. After bringing your puppy or kitten home for the first time, you need to visit a veterinarian for a physical exam, a fecal exam, and begin vaccinations (if your pet is at least 6 to 8 weeks old).
Vaccinations are one of the most critical parts of your puppy or kitten’s veterinary care. Puppies receive four core vaccines -- canine distemper, canine parvovirus, canine hepatitis, and rabies. Kittens also receive four core vaccines -- feline distemper, feline calci virus, feline herpes type 1, and rabies. For puppies and kittens, additional non-core vaccines are available for pets living in certain geographic locations or conditions that put them at risk for disease.
Most vaccinations require several doses. So, you will have to visit your veterinarian multiple times over several weeks to finish the shots. The majority of puppies and kittens are finished with their vaccination shots by the age of 4 months.
In the first year of your pet’s life, many veterinarians recommend a check-up at 6 months of age, and this is also when many pets are spayed or neutered.
Veterinary Care for Adult Pets
Adult pets should visit the veterinarian at least once a year to prevent and detect any medical problems. Your pet will have a physical examination at their annual exam, undergo important health tests, and receive vaccination boosters.
Keeping up to date with your adult pet’s annual exams is crucial for their overall health and can save you money by identifying problems before they become expensive to treat. If your vet finds any health problems during the examinations, he or she will prescribe pet medications for the underlying condition.
Veterinary Care for Senior Pets
Most veterinarians recommend that senior pets check with them every 6 months. Older pets need to see the vet more often because a greater risk of disease and injury comes with old age.
One new thing senior pets typically undergo at their bi-annual visits is a geriatric screening. A geriatric screening is a more comprehensive exam that can include complete blood work, biochemistry, x-rays, and more. Your veterinarian will decide what kind of testing is right for your pet.
Regardless of your pet’s age, you should always contact your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness or injury.
5 Common Conditions That Will Require You To Call For A Vet
The affection and comfort that animal companions give us are beyond compare. They are as dear to us as a family. No wonder it breaks our hearts if we find them even a little under the weather. Unable to understand why our pets behave unusually, we start worrying about it. Groping in the blind can be quite a harrowing experience. Therefore, it is always best to call in an expert when in doubt. Here are a few of the most common pet afflictions that need a vet’s attention.
Diarrhea - Often accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea is a common condition pets suffer from. Generally, most upset stomachs get cured within 24 hours. However, if it extends beyond that time frame, it requires medical intervention. The vet should be called in immediately if the pets are in pain, throw up frequently, vomit blood or pass bloody stools or urine, look weak and dull, or have ingested something they shouldn’t have.
Swellings - Bumps or swellings may be caused by anything ranging from an insect bite to cancer. Some may be harmless, while some may not be as benign as they look on the outside. Consulting a vet will help ascertain the cause of the lump and ensure timely treatments are given to the pets.
Lethargy - Sleeping more than usual, listlessness, and losing appetite indicates that something is not quite right with our furry friends. It can have various causes such as age, arthritis, poisoning, neurological disorders, or systemic diseases. To identify the root problem and treat it, the help of a vet is essential.
Respiratory issues - Breathing difficulties can manifest as sneezing, wheezing, raspy and shallow breathing, choking, and coughing in our beloved pets. It may be triggered by simple allergies, foreign objects lodged in their airway and blocking it, lung diseases, respiratory tract disorders, or heart diseases. If it's due to an allergy, use an allergy medicine for cats or dogs for quick treatment. However, it's important to consult with a vet before giving any pet medicine as it can have side effects if the respiratory issues are not because of allergy but some other conditions.
Eye or ear problems - Whether it be for the eye or the ear, itching, irritation, swelling, redness, unusual discharge, and continuous pawing of the area are signs of an infection. They may also be due to allergies or a foreign object trapped in the eye or the ear. Urgent medical attention should be given to the pets suffering from these symptoms to alleviate their pain as fast as possible. It is also essential to ensure they don’t lose their sense of sight or hearing altogether. As the same symptom can point to several underlying illnesses, it is difficult to diagnose the problem without the required medical expertise. A timely consultation with the vet would ensure that our pets have a safe and comfortable recovery period. However, if you are sure that the ear infection in your dog is due to a bacterial infection, you can use over-the-counter dog ear infection medicine. But if the symptoms persist, your last resort is to visit a vet.
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