As pet parent you always want the best for our furry companions. But there are chances that you might overlook a symptom which later becomes a big problem. Here are 10 Signs that indicate when to visit the vet.
With pets you need to be extra cautious and alert. You never know when that slight fever becomes tick fever or that skin infection starts causing severe discomfort to your pet. Dr JC Kochar of Pet’s Mart Clinic, Chandigarh, says, “The pet has to be taken to vet when he looks lazy, is off food, feverish, has diarrhoea, and has tick infestation.”
Early detection can prevent further complications. In this, pet parent Monita from Delhi shares, “Romeo was pawing his ears and was constantly shaking his head. We thought it is ear wax irritating him, so cleaned his ears. But when the problem persisted we took him to the vet and found out he had mange all over his ears.”
It is always a good idea to take your pet to the vet for regular health check-ups. Pups should be taken for a physical examination, de-worming, and vaccination as scheduled by the vet. For senior dogs, health check-ups should be scheduled 2–3 times a year. Sometimes, you need to take you pet to the vet more often.
Following are the 10 Warning Signs that indicate you must take your pet to the vet:
1. Vomiting/diarrhoea: Your pet might have an upset stomach once in a while. But if he has been vomiting frequently, you must consult your vet. Prolonged vomiting and diarrhoea might point to stomach infection, food poisoning, food allergy, etc. Also, if there is blood in your pet’s vomit or poop, then you must take him to the vet immediately.
2. Tick attack: Summers and monsoons are the seasons when ticks are the highest. The moist conditions make a good breeding ground for these parasites. If you see your furry buddy scratching his ears, paws or elsewhere, check for ticks. If left untreated, ticks can lead to skin infection, rashes, bleeding and tick fever which can be fatal. Your vet would suggest the appropriate treatment method which can be anti-tick shampoo, tick collars or even vaccination.
3. Excessive urination: As pet parents you would know that your little one has a set pee cycle – morning, after meals and before sleep. If you notice that your pet is urinating frequently and has a lesser control over his bladder, then we suggest you must talk to your vet. Frequent and excessive urination can be early signs of bladder stones, bladder infection, cysts, urinary tract infection, etc.
4. Anxiety: Getting irritated sometimes is quite common and the same holds true for your pets as well. But look out for signs of anxiety and irritability in your pet and make sure you catch them at the right time. Increased barking, change in behaviour, withdrawal, fear and aloofness are the main symptoms of anxiety. Separation anxiety is also very common in pets. Consulting the vet is the best option. He would find the root cause and might suggest some lifestyle changes, anxiety suppressant pills and even conduct some tests. It is likely that the irritability has developed as a reaction to some toxic substance in the diet. Dr Kochar adds, “Anxiety is quite common in dogs. Talk to your pet, shower him with love and affection, take him for a long stroll – these are some of the most common stress and anxiety busters. If none of these options works, we can give the dog anti-anxiety drugs as well.”
5. Head tilting and shaking: Going ‘Awww’ on the mushy head tilt is good. But if your beloved continues to shake and tilt his head, it is a warning sign. Your pet might be shaking and titling his head because he is feeling restless and uncomfortable. Head shaking and tilting can also be a sign of ear infection or vestibular disease (it affects the body’s balance system and is commonly seen in older dogs).
6. Aggression: When your usually happy cuddly baby shows sudden aggression, it is an alarming sign. Change in behaviour, snapping, growling, biting are the main signs that indicate aggression. Possession aggression is also quite common. This occurs when your pet becomes possessive about his toys, food bowl or even the pet parent. Many times the aggression is part of a temporary phase, if your pet is in pain due to an injury or irritated due to an illness or recent vaccination. But a visit to the vet is always recommended to find out what is troubling your pet. Dr Kochar adds, “Aggression can be due to confinement and isolation. Also if the dog is threatened or challenged, he tends to growl or show aggression in some form. Male dogs can change into aggressive behaviour because of frustration due to testosterone hormone.”
7. Watery swollen eyes: Eye infections are quite common in dogs and the main symptoms are–itchy eyes, discharge from the eyes, watery and swollen eyes, etc. The infection would cause irritation which would in turn lead to itching and redness. There might be a chance that your pet has infection in his paws which got transferred to the eyes when he scratched. “Watery eyes could be due to irritation of corneal surface leading to ulcer formation,” shares Dr Kochar. He also adds that it could be due to glaucoma, conjunctivitis, infections like chlamydia or viral infection, due to some allergic reaction to insect bite, etc.
8. Not eating properly: You know it is a matter of concern when your pet’s bowl isn’t licked off clean. Loss of appetite is one of the first symptoms of fever, gastro infection, stress, etc. Take him to the vet and find the main cause why your pet is refusing to eat.
9. Difficulty in breathing: Breathlessness, difficulty in breathing, and laboured breathing are often considered signs of aging and obesity. But these signs can have hidden meanings – heart ailments, lung disease, and even cancer.
10. Lethargy: Dogs have a tendency to be cheerful, happy and playful. A lethargic dog indicates that there is something bothering him. It your pet stays away from play sessions and shows resistance while walking, you should be concerned. Being sluggish and tired indicate fatigue, sore muscles, fever, injury, etc.
So, if you see any of these signs, rush your pet to the vet immediately.