When should I visit the Vet?
We regularly get phone calls from concerned pet owners wondering whether they should visit the vet. Animals are very good at hiding health issues which can make it difficult to tell as an owner if the problem is serious or not. Below are the most common symptoms we see in pets that are unwell, to help make the decision on whether to come in easier:
1. Itching and skin allergies
As with humans some dogs and cats will be more inclined to suffer from skin allergies. This issue is quite common, and can be very irritating for the pet, with constant licking and scratching resulting in redness/ broken skin and hair loss in the area. Secondary infections can then result which adds to the discomfort for your best friend.
Skin allergies can be difficult to treat, as finding the underlying cause of the irritation is the key to successful treatment. In general too, treatment is quite often required on an ongoing basis, to successfully manage the underlying cause.The most common form of allergies causes we see are:
- Flea allergy
- Insect bites
- Environmental allergies – contact with grasses and certain plants
If a skin irritation has been present for more then a week, and your pet is licking or scratching the area then it would be best to come in and work with a vet to get to the bottom of the issue.
2. Lameness/ Limping
Animal are very good at hiding injuries and illness, so if your best friend starts to limp you can be sure they are in pain, and the underlying cause is something to talk to your vet about. Lameness can be caused by many underlying issues, so a full examination will be required to diagnose the problem.
Some of the common causes of lameness are:
- Muscle soreness
- Back/spinal soreness
- Knee ligament issues
Many muscle lameness issues will resolve themselves within a few days to a week. If your pet is still showing lameness after a week it would be best to come in for an examination to try to find the underlying cause.
Lumps and bumps can be quite common in pets particularly dogs as they get older. There can be many reasons that cause a lump, from infection, insect bites, fluid build up and of course cancer. The problem with lumps is that from the outside it can be impossible to tell what the lump is. While most lumps we see are harmless (non life threatening), if the lump is cancerous then as for humans early detection and removal is the key to helping your best friend stay healthy.
If you notice a lump of bump on your pet, then it is best to come in a get it checked out. The vet will do an examination and likely take a small sample of fluid from inside the lump to look at under a microscope. This quick and painless test can provide valuable information to the vet as to the best course of action to take.
Coughing in animals can be a sign of quite serious underlying illness. As a symptom however it is non-specific which means it can be linked with numerous underlying issues which include:
- Something stuck in the throat
- Infection in the lungs
- Heart disease
- Heartworm disease
- Upper respiratory tract issues that are breed related
If your pet has been coughing for more then a few days with a mild cough or has a severe cough, it is best to come in and have an examination and diagnosis of the underlying cause.
5. Bad breath
This is usually a sign of dental disease in pets, but can also be a symptom of more serious illness. Sore teeth and gums can be very painful for pets as it is for us humans, and while sometimes just a change in diet is all that is required a dental examination will ensure that any tartar build up or teeth that are causing issues can be removed. As part of your pets yearly examination a thorough teeth and mouth exam is performed. In the interim however if you notice your pets breath getting worse, then its best to come in and get the underlying problem diagnosed.
6. Eating or drinking changes
Both increases and decreases in the amount your pet is eating and drinking can be a symptom of your pet being unwell. As with many symptoms this alone can be non-specific, so a full examination is usually required to diagnose the underlying issue. If you notice a significant change in your pets eating and/or drinking then give us a call to discuss.
7. Change in toilet habits
If your pets toilet habits change and you notice any of the following, it is best to give us a call to discuss:
- Urinating more or less frequently
- Straining to urinate
- Blood in urine or change in colour
- Blood in stools
- Straining to defecate
These can be symptoms of illnesses such as:
- Kidney disease
- Urinary tract infection
Give us a call to discuss any of the changes mentioned above, and our team of experts can decide if it is best to monitor or come in for a check up.
If your pets starts vomiting and it lasts for more than a day or two, then it is best to give us a call to discuss. Vomiting can be caused by many things some of which are potentially quite serious for your pet.
If you have any concerns with changes in your pet’s health or behaviour, then please give us a call to discuss.