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Common Signs of Sickness in Pets and When to See a Vet

May

Our beloved pets enrich our lives with unconditional love and companionship. They become integral members of the family, so it's natural to want them to live long, healthy lives. Unfortunately, our furry friends can't always tell us when they're feeling unwell. Unlike humans who can verbalize their discomfort, pets often mask their pain and sickness through instinct. This makes it crucial for pet owners to become familiar with the subtle signs that might indicate their pet needs veterinary attention. By recognizing the warning signs and seeking professional help promptly, you can ensure your pet receives the timely treatment they need for a speedy recovery and a healthy future.

Changes in Appetite and Eating Habits

One of the most telling signs that your pet might be under the weather is a shift in their usual eating habits. A healthy appetite is essential for maintaining your pet's energy levels and overall well-being. Here's what to watch out for:

 

  • Decreased Appetite: A sudden disinterest in food, especially for normally enthusiastic eaters, can be a cause for concern. This could be due to a variety of factors, including nausea, mouth pain, dental problems, or even emotional distress.
  • Picky Eating: If your pet starts turning their nose up at their favorite food or becomes selective with their kibble, it might indicate an underlying health issue. Gastrointestinal issues, infections, or even organ problems can affect a pet's sense of taste and smell.
  • Changes in Quantity: Pay close attention to how much your pet is eating. A noticeable decline in food intake can be a red flag. However, be mindful of the other extreme as well. Pets who suddenly start devouring more food than usual might be experiencing health problems like diabetes or hyperthyroidism, which can cause increased hunger despite weight loss.
  • Monitoring Water Intake is Key: A pet's thirst can also be an indicator of health. While some fluctuations are normal, excessive thirst combined with frequent urination could point to diabetes or kidney problems. Conversely, a lack of interest in water can signify dehydration, which can be a symptom of various illnesses. If you notice any significant changes in your pet's eating or drinking habits, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a world of difference in your pet's recovery.

Behavioral Shifts and Lethargy

Our pets communicate a lot through their behavior. A sudden change in their usual demeanor can be a significant indicator of illness. Here at Shepherd's Vineyard Animal Hospital in Apex, NC, we advise pet owners to be attentive to any behavioral shifts that might suggest their furry companion is under the weather.

 

  • Unusual Aggression or Withdrawal: A typically playful and social pet that becomes withdrawn or even aggressive towards you or other pets in the household could be experiencing pain or discomfort. This change in behavior could be their way of communicating that they don't want to be touched or bothered.
  • Excessive Whining or Vocalization: An increase in vocalization, particularly whining or howling, can be a sign of pain, anxiety, or even cognitive decline in senior pets.
  • Changes in Sleep Patterns: While pets do love their naps, a noticeable increase in sleeping or lethargy, especially during the day, can be a cause for concern. This could be a sign of weakness, pain, or depression.

 

It's important to remember that these behavioral changes can also be caused by external factors like stress due to environmental changes or new pets in the house. However, if the behavioral shift is persistent and accompanied by other symptoms like loss of appetite or vomiting, it's best to err on the side of caution and schedule a visit with your veterinarian. During the examination, we can discuss your pet's behavior in detail and conduct a thorough check-up to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

 

Early detection and treatment of pet illness are crucial for a speedy recovery and a return to your pet's normal happy and playful self. By being observant of any behavioral changes and scheduling prompt veterinary care if needed, you can ensure your pet receives the attention they deserve and lives a long, healthy life.

Warning Signs Requiring Urgent Veterinary Care

Some signs simply can't wait. While many symptoms can indicate a developing issue, certain warning signs require immediate veterinary attention:

 

  • Persistent Vomiting or Diarrhea: Occasional vomiting or loose stool might not be a cause for immediate alarm. However, if your pet experiences persistent vomiting (more than twice in 24 hours) or diarrhea that lasts for a day or more, it's crucial to seek veterinary attention. This could be a sign of dehydration, infection, or even a blockage in the digestive system.
  • Difficulty Breathing: Any sign of labored breathing, excessive panting, or coughing in your pet is a serious cause for concern. This could indicate respiratory problems, heart issues, or even a collapsed lung. If you notice your pet struggling to breathe, don't hesitate to rush them to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic.
  • Bleeding: Excessive bleeding, whether internal or external, requires immediate medical attention. If you notice any signs of bleeding from your pet's nose, mouth, ears, or during urination or defecation, seek veterinary help right away.

 

In addition to these specific symptoms, any sign of extreme pain, lethargy, weakness, seizures, or unconsciousness warrants a trip to the emergency vet. When faced with these situations, prioritize your pet's well-being and err on the side of caution. The quicker you get your pet the medical attention they need, the better their chances of a full recovery.

 

Prevention is always better than cure. Scheduling regular checkups and staying informed about the signs of illness can help you identify potential problems early on and ensure a lifetime of health and happiness for your beloved pet.

Keeping Your Pet Healthy in Apex, NC

At Shepherd's Vineyard Animal Hospital, we understand the deep bond between you and your furry companion. As pet owners in Apex, Holly Springs, or the surrounding communities, it's our responsibility to ensure their well-being. By familiarizing yourself with the common signs of sickness in pets, you can become a vigilant advocate for their health.

If you notice any of the warning signs mentioned above, including changes in appetite, behavior, or the presence of urgent care symptoms, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with our caring and experienced veterinarians at Shepherd's Vineyard Animal Hospital. We offer a comprehensive range of veterinary services, from routine checkups and vaccinations to advanced diagnostics and surgical procedures. Our goal is to provide your pet with the highest quality care, ensuring they live a long, happy, and healthy life by your side.

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We're a full-service animal hospital providing quality vet care in Apex.
We're a full-service animal hospital providing quality vet care in Apex.

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Our Hours

Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm
Saturday: 8am-1pm
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Phone Number

(919) 335-9276
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We're a full-service animal hospital providing quality vet care in Apex.
Phone Number

Phone Number

(919) 335-9276

Quick Links

Our Hours

Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm
Saturday: 8am-1pm