10 Symptoms You Should Not Ignore in Your Pet

on March 25, 2016
Posted in Cats

With the advent of the internet and Dr Google, many pet owners try to diagnose their pets’ problems without consulting a veterinarian. Sometimes good internet advice from reputable sources might save a trip to the veterinarian but there are times when it is dangerous to wait and not seek the advice of a flesh and blood pet doctor! The symptoms listed below, although not an exhaustive list, are some that should never be ignored and should prompt a visit to your local veterinarian.
  1. Vomiting—Cats and dogs will occasionally vomit but if your pet vomits 3 or more times in one day then this should mean a trip to the veterinarian.  Vomiting could mean an intestinal obstruction from a foreign body, pancreatitis, infection, kidney or liver disease or a metabolic problem. If vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea, this makes it even more critical. Don’t ignore this one.
  1. Fever— A normal dog or cat should have a temperature of 38.5 C or 101.5 F. Temperatures in excess of 102.7 F are considered fevers. Persistent fever can mean your pet has an infection, or heat stroke. Fever can lead to other symptoms such as seizures and coma.
  1. Difficulty urinating—this could mean an infection, cancer or a bladder stone. Bladder stones can be particularly problematic in male dogs and cats as even a tiny stone can cause a urethral obstruction. The urethra is the tube that carries the urine out of the bladder so if this is blocked your pet will be unable to urinate. If that happens your pet becomes critical quickly so dismiss this symptom.
  1. Bloat—if your pet appears to have a distended abdomen, make your way at once to the nearest veterinary emergency clinic. Bloat can kill dogs quickly and should be taken very seriously. Other causes of a distended abdomen can be internal bleeding or a hormonal imbalance—neither of which should be ignored.
  1. Unexplained Weight loss—this can be a serious problem that may signal cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, a metabolic disorder or a neuromuscular problem. Sometimes weight loss is a result of decreased appetite which can be a sign of a number of problems including those already mentioned.
  1. Eye problems—red eyes, squinty eyes, swollen eyes—any eye problem should be considered an emergency. Eyes are very precious and very sensitive. Red eyes can signal an increase in eye pressure such as found in glaucoma or an eye ulcer or scratch. Many eye problems can result in blindness without prompt treatment.
  1. Fainting or collapse—this can signal heart disease, seizures, infection, cancer or severe anemia and should never be ignored. Seek veterinary attention immediately.
  1. Diarrhea—like vomiting this can be a serious matter. If the diarrhea goes on for more than 24 hours or is accompanied by vomiting or contains blood, then it is an emergency. Any small animal can quickly dehydrate from diarrhea. Bloody diarrhea can result from severe infections, anal gland problems, parasites, colitis,ulcers or cancer. It should always mean a trip to the vet.
  1. Persistent cough—all animals cough occasionally but a persistent cough is a reason to visit your animal ER. Cats can cough as a result of asthma which is less common in dogs. Coughing in dogs can signal heart disease, bronchitis, pneumonia or tracheal collapse. All of these problems deserve prompt attention.
  1. Bleeding—pets that are bleeding should be attended to immediately by your veterinarian. Cut pads and tongues can bleed profusely and require surgery. If your pet is bleeding, apply pressure with a gauze or towel and take him or her to veterinarian ASAP.

Knowing all these symptoms should help you decide if your pet really needs veterinary attention. Remember your pet is counting on you to keep him healthy.

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Read also: Annual Exams for Cats and Dogs

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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