Much like children, our pets can get into trouble that can require prompt medical attention. But when should you take your pet to the vet ASAP? When is it a pet care emergency and when should you wait it out?
In the next two articles, we will discuss 8 warning signs that you should take your dog or cat to the vet. Here are the first four warning signs.
1. Odd Eating Habits
Dogs may skip a meal or two, but two days without eating means something more serious could be affecting your dog. If your dog’s normal diet has changed into more of a pantry-raiding, garbage eating fiasco, you’ll want to take your dog in for a vet check. Other signs of possible disease and health concerns include eating their own or other animals’ feces.
Also, take notice of how much water your dog drinks. If it seems your dog is drinking an unusually large amount of water, or your dog is urinating more frequently, you’ll want to consider coming in to check for kidney disease or diabetes.
If your cat goes more than 2 days without eating it can be deadly. Because a cat’s body taps into its fat supply for energy when fasting, the liver is then responsible for metabolizing all that fat. It can cause liver problems. If your cat goes more than a day without eating, contact your vet.
2. Gastrointestinal Distress
Vomiting and diarrhea are fairly common in dogs and cats, but it can signal bigger issues. Dogs often regurgitate items that don’t sit well on their tummies, or as a result of coughing, since they lack the ability to clear their throats like humans can. When dogs vomit yellow, mucus it is bile, which means that the vomit is coming from the stomach or intestines. When dogs vomit white foam, it is a sign of indigestion or upset stomach, such as eating or drinking too fast or eating something they shouldn’t.
Cats often vomit hair balls or items that don’t agree with their stomachs. While cat vomit is normal, too much hair can cause an intestinal obstruction. If your cat can’t seem to keep food down, contact your vet right away.
Repeated vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration. Retching repeatedly without producing anything can also be a sign of distress. If you notice in your pet’s vomit anything that looks like blood or coffee grounds, get your pet to the vet as soon as possible.
If your pet has been vomiting or has had diarrhea for more than 24 hours, call your vet for guidance. They may recommend withholding food until symptoms wane, or they may advise you to come in and have your pet examined.
Other signs of gastrointestinal distress include swollen or hard abdomens. In dogs, a distended abdomen can be a sign of trapped air, which can cause your dog’s stomach to twist over on itself. It can also be a sign of heart disease or internal bleeding. If your pet appears to be lethargic or weak, be sure to have your vet evaluate them.
3. Abnormal Elimination
When your pet exhibits unusual urination and bowel movements, it can often be a sign of physical distress.
For cats, difficulty urinating, bloody urine, cloudy urine and frequent urination are signs of potential urinary blockage due to crystals becoming lodged in their urethra. Some of these blockages require surgical removal, and not getting medical attention quickly can be life threatening. While urinary blockages occur more frequently in cats, they are also life-threatening issues for dogs. If you notice your dog is not producing urine, contact your vet quickly.
For dogs, bowel movements are often a good indicator of health. Diarrhea, straining, blood or mucus for more than 2 days should be evaluated by your vet. Dog stool should also be free of worms. If your dog scoots its rear, it could be a sign of worms or health problems like kidney disease, diabetes or blocked anal glands.
4. Eye Problems
Dogs in particular tell us a lot through their eyes. Cloudy or red eyes and excessive discharge can mean infection. Eye problems in dogs can escalate quickly, and can result in blindness or the loss of the eye. If your pet is bleeding from its eyes, or you can see irritation or injury to an eye, be sure to contact your vet immediately.
Seeing your vet quickly can mean the difference between a minor issue and a major issue. In the next article, we will continue our list with four additional signs your pet requires immediate medical attention. However, if you have any concerns, do not hesitate to call our offices. Our Arden veterinarian office and animal hospital is conveniently equipped to serve Arden, Asheville, and western North Carolina.