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How To Tell If Your Pet Is Sick

Unfortunately animals can’t simply speak to us an tell us what is wrong, what hurts or that they feel sick. This is why it is important to know and understand some of the signs that can indicate that your pet may not be feeling well and might need to be seen by a veterinarian.

Some signs to know and be aware of that can indicate a sick animal include:

  • Lethargy or depressed – not being as active as normal or lack of interest in things they once enjoyed
  • Behavioural or attitude changes – becoming aggressive or more needy
  • Seperation – a pet that all of sudden doesn’t want to be around or interact with humans can indicate they are feeling unwell
  • Lame, limping, stiff or sore – can indicate pain somewhere in the body
  • Changes in appetite – either not interested in eating or showing excessive hunger
  • Excessive drinking
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Change in gum colour – very pale or bleeding gums
  • Abdominal pain or upset
  • Increased urination – frequency or volume
  • Digestive upset – change in bowel movements ie bouts of diarrhea or constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Gagging or unable to swallow
  • Laboured/heavy breathing
  • Excessive panting
  • Persistent nasal discharge
  • Excessive drooling
  • Eyes looking dry, cloudy or red
  • Shaking of the head
  • Presence of lumps
  • Bad breath

These signs are very general and can indicate a number of different health issues, some of these could indicate emergency situations requiring immediate attention.

We aren’t all vets but just having a small understanding of some of these signs can help to determine when your pet is sick. And remember you know your pet, you are the one that spends time with them, cares for them and loves them, so if you ever have a feeling that something isn’t right, trust your instinct and contact a veterinarian.

Originally published in My Pet Magazine Issue 16, Spring 2018.
To view all issues of My Pet Magazine click here.

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