Signs That You Should Take Your Pet to a Veterinarian - Immediately
Many pet owners think of their cats and dogs as more than just pets; they're members of the family. We like to spend time with them, spoil them with toys and treats, and do everything we can to maintain their health and help them to live long and happy lives.
This isn't always easy, though. We don't speak the same language, and our pets can't tell us when they're sick. Thankfully, there are some things that your cat or dog will do to indicate that they're under the weather — some of which might indicate that you need to take them to the veterinary hospital immediately.
Below, we'll go over the most common things your pet will do to let you know they're sick and how your local veterinarian can help.
When to Take Your Dog to the Veterinary Hospital
The following signs indicate that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away.
1. Change in eating and drinking habits
If your dog has suddenly lost its appetite or it's not drinking as much water, as usual, it might be suffering from a digestive problem.
2. Difficulty breathing
All dogs pant, especially on warm days or after exercising, but their breath shouldn't be labored and should return to normal after a quick break. If your dog is having a hard time breathing, it needs to see the veterinarian make sure there isn't something more serious going on.
3. Vomiting or changes in stool
Occasional vomiting or diarrhea is normal, but excessive vomiting might mean that your dog ate something poisonous. Ongoing changes in how it poops can indicate inflammation in the intestinal track, which is also a sign of ingesting something poisonous.
4. Lack of energy
Lethargy is more alarming in puppies and younger dogs, but excessive tiredness and disinterest in usual activities are signs that your dog might be physically hurt.
5. Hard or swollen abdomen
Your pup's stomach should feel soft, but if it's hard or swollen, it can indicate Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GVD), which is very dangerous bloat. It can also indicate Peritonitis, an infection caused by a rupture in the stomach; Cushing Syndrome, which is the result of the overproduction of the hormone cortisol; or Ascites, which is a buildup of fluids in the abdomen. Your dog should be taken to the veterinary hospital immediately if its stomach is hard.
6. Poor balance or difficulty moving
If your dog is limping, it might have pulled a muscle or tendon. If its balance is off or it's moving awkwardly, it might have a neurological problem and need to see a veterinarian immediately.
7. Changes in gum color
You should regularly check your dogs' gums to make sure they're a healthy light pink color. Changes in gum color can indicate several problems, such as anemia, liver damage, problems breathing, or gingivitis.
When to Take Your Cat to the Veterinary Hospital
Many of the signs that your cat could need to see a veterinarian are similar to those listed for dogs, but cats tend to be better at hiding illnesses, so it's important to know what to look for.
1. Abnormal breathing or coughing
Cats don't pant the way dogs do. If you see your cat breathing with its mouth open, it means it's in respiratory distress. If your cat is coughing, it can indicate asthma, allergies, or lung and heart disease.
2. Changes in litterbox behavior
If your cat uses the litterbox more frequently, has accidents outside the litterbox, or exhibits pain while urinating, it might have a UTI, kidney stones, or feline interstitial cystitis.
3. Sudden paralysis of one or both hind legs
If your cat suddenly loses control of one or both of its hind legs, it can indicate a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
4. Inability to hold its head up
If your cat is struggling to hold its head up, it could be experiencing advanced kidney failure. Advanced kidney failure leads to an extreme loss of potassium in your kitty, impairing its ability to use and control its muscles.
5. Changes in behavior
If your cat is hiding, not engaging in grooming, is overly lethargic, and isn't eating or drinking normally, it might be sick and need to see the veterinarian.
If your cat or dog exhibits any of these behaviors, it's important to take them to a veterinary hospital right away. If you're in the Jacksonville area and are searching "veterinarian near me" or "veterinary hospital near me," contact our expert team at Forever Vets today!