Some Signs That Your Pet Needs to Visit The Veterinarian (Part 2)

Shedding abnormally

I’m not talking about in the summer seasonal shedding or loss of hair in a general and a set pattern that you have observed throughout your pet’s life, but rather an abnormal amount of shedding within a short time span.  There can be multiple reasons for such a warning sign, but acute alopecia(rapid hairloss) should never be taken lightly.  It can easily be caused by an elevated temperature, and an elevated temperature could be a symptom for something far worse, such as a hormonal imbalance.  Best get it checked out.

Elevated temperature

Although temperature by touch is not really accurate on any level, if you do know how your pet is supposed to feel, temperature wise, and they feel abnormally warm or cold for that matter.  It may be a good idea to go to your local grocery store and pick up a two dollar digital thermometer.  It may be messy, but a quick temperature check in the rear end may determine whether your pet is in danger.  Important, as stated above regarding dehydration, please be gentle, the thermometer only needs to be able to read correctly and you don’t want to put your pet through any further discomfort.  If you do decide to go the grocery store, picking up a small tube of lube of some sort is almost a necessity.  From experience, it seems that larger animals have less of an issue with getting their temperature taken as a whole,(no pun intended)and why wouldn’t they, it is a bit easier on them, relatively speaking.  If your pet truly does not approve and strongly reacts to getting their temperature taken, give up on the process because you do not want to stress them out further,  and just take them in for a checkup.  Animal temperatures are not the same as human temperatures, a healthy dog can range from 99° to 102° dependent on size.  And a healthy cat can range from 100° to 102°.  Smaller animals tend to have a higher temperature in general whether dog or cat.

Panting a lot

If your pets seems out of breath constantly but has clearly not been exercising then this is a clear sign of respiratory distress or possibly an allergic reaction, amongst a multitude of other things.  Like humans, your animal’s body works holistically, and if their lungs are working on overtime then it is likely that their heart is as well, not a good sign, and take your pet it in.

Irregular bathroom breaks

If your pet has a standard pattern for going to the bathroom, either number one or number two, and they’re clearly differing from it than this to be assigned to the potential bowel movement blockage or renal distress.  In particular, look for signs that their squatting for not releasing anything, cats are especially prone urinary blockage and infections in their urinary tract, and larger dogs run the risk of developing an abnormal twisting of their stomach that could cause a blockage.  Either case is quite serious and demands immediate attention, don’t wait till tomorrow, go to the veterinarian now if your pet experiences these symptoms.  It could easily be life-threatening.  I can’t imagine what it would feel like to need to go to the bathroom all the time and be unable to.

On a lighter note constipation and diarrhea can be a sign of a nutritional or dietary factor that may require attention, if you feel the need to bring your pet in for these reasons, by all means do so.  Although not as life-threatening as a complete blockage, these could still be early warning signs for something far more serious.

Lethargic

If your pet is usually up and running by 7 AM and instead today will not get out of their bed, then it is clear that something is wrong.  A behavioral sign that a pet is ill is just as important as any physical sign, just as in people, animals can express on their face how they feel as well.  If your pet clearly is behaving as if they are sick then do not take it lightly just because it will continue to eat and drink water and move around a bit.  This faint behavioral symptom can easily be one of the most alarming of all because whatever it is that is causing your pet discomfort could go ignored for far too long. 

Pale gums

An easy way to check on how well the circulation of blood within your pet is traveling is to take notice of their gums, they are filled with tiny capillaries that are constantly feeding blood and oxygen to teeth and other areas.  Normal gums should be a fluid and moderate shade of pink.  If your pet’s gums are abnormally pale or far worse near white, blue or gray, then seek medical attention for your pet immediately.  As water is the key to all life, blood is simply an offshoot of that same concept.  If your pet’s gums do not look normal then they’re not getting enough blood and therefore not getting enough oxygen where it’s needed.  This is a sign that cannot wait.

Cats in general have a bit of a lighter shade of pink in their gums when healthy and dogs are a bit darker.  This is a complete generalization and an easy way to assess the circulation within the gums of your pet is to lift up their lip and give a firm push with your finger into one of the gums, release your finger and you should see a white patch where you just pushed, observe how quickly the white patch turns pink once again.  Any longer than 2 seconds should be considered a red flag or at the very least a yellow flag dependent on your pet.  The response time for the blood in the gums of your pet is also dependent on size, smaller animals tend to be quicker, while larger animals tend to take a little bit more time.  There’s no clear way to assess this without the help of a professional, but if your pet is clearly in the warning area with this test, then seek medical help immediately.

Abnormally defensive and aggressive

Just as lethargic behavior can be a clean cut warning sign, be on the lookout for other observable differences in behavioral patterns of your pet.  Look for an abnormally skittish attitude in which your pet may be a bit too jumpy, or possibly quite a bit more easily irritable than normal, or both.  The reclusive and defensive behavior coupled with an aggressive stance, even to you as the owner, is a clear sign that your pet is in pain and does not want any contact.  Although only you can tell if your pet will actually act on any aggression, likelihood is that in either case, your pet needs to get immediate help because it is in pain.

As stated above, this is meant to be a generalization on all fronts and not meant to be taken in the place of a professional or expert opinion, such as one from a veterinarian.  But if you’re like and cannot afford to constantly go to the vet, this seems like a helpful way to see whether it is worth going.  As always trust your gut in regards to the safety of your animal, and whether or not any symptoms or coincide with this article, you as the owner are fully responsible for your pet and you know what the best course of action is in the end.

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