Every pet gets sick from time to time, throwing up or having 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 their normal 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 7 symptoms 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, blood should be cause for concern. Blood seen in your pet’s vomit, urine, or stool could indicate any number of serious health conditions, including, but not limited to, parasites, urinary tract infection, kidney disease, liver disease, and cancer.
2. Bathroom messes
If your cat suddenly begins going to their bathroom outside of their litter box, or if your dog becomes incontinent, it’s time for a trip to the vet. A cat who is 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 be a sign of something more serious, like kidney disease.
If you see a change in your cat or dog’s bathroom schedule, it could be the result of 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? A number of things that 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 all reasons to call the vet. These symptoms could signal an eye infection, which can be minor or serious, but either way will probably require veterinary attention. In dogs (especially seniors), these symptoms could also indicate cataracts, which can lead 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 can both result in dangerous weight changes. 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.
6. Scratching and itching
Scratching is not uncommon in pets, but a pet who scratches incessantly may be suffering from a skin condition, allergies, or parasites. In a large number of cases, the culprit will be fleas, which can cause sores, hair loss, and disease. Remove the fleas from your pet, home, and yard, and talk to your veterinarian about flea prevention.
7. Behavioral Changes
A change in behavior is definitely a reason to a 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.
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.
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