Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How to Diagnose your Pet's Health Symptoms

A brief look at what some common symptoms mean in a pet and where to find more help if you think your pet is sick.  This list is not every symptom, nor is every cause listed it is only to give you some ideas of health concerns in pets.

Vomiting – There are a few different types of vomit pets can have. Food vomit is when there are still undigested chunks of food and can just mean the particular type of food does not agree with your pet's stomach (or is rotten). Bile is yellow liquid containing no food and can mean the pet has an upset stomach but the stomach is empty. Cats sometimes vomit up hairballs. Vomiting can be a sign of poisoning or other health concern. 

Diarrhea – Diarrhea can signal many problems, from a poor food, to a too rich food. Diarrhea can be an indication of worms, bacterial infections, or a viral problem. Black smelly diarrhea can indicate parvo

Blood in the Stool – If bright red, blood in the stool indicates a problem (such as worms) in the lower intestine, if dark red it can be a problem in the stomach.

Refusing to Eat – Can be just a minor tummy upset or something more serious. The pet could have bad teeth, or an upset stomach.

Refusing to Drink – This is a very serious problem that can cause body organs to shut down and often means the pet is very ill and should see a veterinarian immediately.

Drinking A Lot – This can be a sign of many health concerns, of which diabetes is one.

Frequent Urination – Again this can be a sign of diabetes, or urinary tract problems.

Change in the Stool Habits – This can be from a change in food or an internal health problem.

Pet Appears to be in Pain – Could the pet have been hit by a car, hurt by a neighbor, or child, could it have fallen down stairs? Could the pet have been bit by a snake? Is the pet old and possibly suffering from arthritis?

Swollen Joints and Pain – This could be a sign of Lyme disease.

Holding Head at a Tilt, Falling Over – This could be a sign of a brain injury, stroke, or vestibular disease, it can be due to an ear infection affecting balance.

Pale Gums – Can be a sign of anemia, poor blood circulation, a weak heart.

Coughing – There are many different types of coughs in pets and a cough can be a sign of any number of concerns including a bacterial or viral infection, heartworm (if coughing after exercise), something stuck in their throat, trachea collapse, and so forth.

Fever – Note that to determine if your pet has a fever you must actually take its temperature, feeling the nose is not an accurate way to judge if your pet has a fever. If your pet does have an elevated temperature this usually means it is fighting some sort of infection.

Lethargy – Can be a sign of an infection, poisoning, or other concerns.

Itching - Can be from fleas, lice, ticks, or even a food allergy or an allergy to chemicals used in the home or yard.

Bad Breath -  May be due to rotten teeth, poor food, or can be a sign of a problem with one of the pet's internal organs.  Diabetes can also make a pet have bad breath.

Above all if your pet is exhibiting any kind of health problem you should consider taking it to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.  Kittens, and puppies, in particular can get worse very quickly but symptoms of a health concern should not be ignored in older pets either.  This list was only very basic. I am including two links for further help regarding diagnosing your pet. 

PetMD lets you ask questions online from a real veterinarian.

Their Symptom checker lets you select either a cat or dog and you click on the body of the pet to see a list of symptoms and then are given information in regards to what the problem could be. Just click on their ad or link below.  

Remember in most areas vets are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is no reason to ignore the health of your pet.

1 comment:

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