As a compassionate and dedicated pet owner, you are committed to ensuring that your pet lives a healthy life for as long as possible. Unfortunately, our animals are just as likely to develop illness or contract diseases as we are and there are countless varieties that can pose a threat to their health and wellbeing. Whilst some can be prevented using vaccinations and other medications, there are others that cannot currently be avoided.
One of the biggest challenges that pet owners face is the ability to detect that their pet is unwell. Animals have an instinct designed to mask signs of illness in order to protect them from potential predators. Although the risk from predators is extremely low for domestic animals, that natural instinct remains intact. Even so, it is impossible for pets to mask symptoms forever. Knowing what to look for can help you to identify that your pet is sick and if you should seek veterinary attention. Since the sooner a problem is detected, the more likely it is to be effectively treated without any lasting consequences for your pet.
Here are some of the top signs that your pet may be sick, and you should make an appointment for them to be assessed with your veterinary team.
One of the most effective signs that your pet could be sick is sudden changes in their behavior. There may be some uncontrollable behaviors that are related to their condition or they may be acting strange as a way to get our attention.
These behaviors include:
Snappy, aggressive behavior
Clinginess and separation anxiety
Withdrawal from other animals and people
If your pet suddenly develops any unusual behaviors, it is important to check for any other symptoms that could indicate that they are sick.
Sudden changes in your pet’s urinary or bowel habits is another indicator that they may be experiencing health problems. Perhaps your pet suddenly starts urinating or defecating inside the house, or they suffer from chronically loose bowel movements. Some pets strain to pass urine or not pass any at all, which is a potentially life-threatening situation. If your pet experiences any of these problems, seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
Although your pet will try and mask their discomfort, eventually they will not be able to help but show signs of being in pain. This may manifest as not wanting to move or bear weight on a certain part of their body, or that they don’t want to be touched. In addition to moving away from you, your pet might become aggressive if you try and go near them. Some animals will also persistently groom the painful area of their body.
If your pet is experiencing serious breathing problems, it is essential that you seek professional help right away. Unfortunately, some respiratory issues are fairly mild in the beginning and it may take a while for you to realize that your pet is sick. If your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms, you should take them to your vet as soon as possible:
A persistent dry, soft cough
A honking cough
Persistent nasal discharge with mucus or blood
While not all symptoms are visible to the naked eye, some illnesses result in physical changes that will help you to identify that your pet might be sick. If you notice any of the following it is important to schedule a visit to your vet:
New lumps or bumps have appeared or there are changes to existing lumps and bumps
Wounds or lumps that are oozing, hot to the touch or sore
Rapid weight gain
Rapid weight loss
Weakness of the muscles
If you would like more tips on identifying signs that your pet is sick, our experienced veterinary team would be happy to offer their advice and support.