As a pet owner, you are responsible for your pet’s overall wellbeing. Our pets have significantly shorter lifespans, so they age quickly and may experience more health issues. Some of these problems can be minor or life threatening.
Cats and dogs cannot verbally communicate their feelings so it takes vigilance and plenty of observation and understanding to be able to discern your pet’s condition. This attention to detail can be crucial to their life. Here are some signs and symptoms indicating a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
1. Unexplained Weight Changes
Animals may lose or gain weight for a number of harmless reasons including engaging in more physical activity, finding their food unappealing or old age. However, some sudden weight changes may be a cause for concern. Kidney failure, liver disease, cancer, diabetes, neuromuscular disease, Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism are some contributing factors. If you notice rapid increase or decrease in their weight, consider bringing them to the vet for assessment immediately.
2. Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Lack of Appetite, Unproductive Retching
Acute cases of vomiting, diarrhoea, or unproductive retching may be a result of stress, overeating, or an empty stomach. But it could also arise from ingested toxins, infectious diseases or an organ malfunction. Bloating can also lead to retching, which is life threatening as it occurs when your pet’s stomach fills up with gas, twists around, and obstructs blood flow. Pancreatitis is another very common condition among dogs and cats that affects their digestive systems, it often presents itself as nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and decrease in appetite.
You should bring your pet in for an emergency vet visit if more than one symptom develops concurrently or a single symptom persists for more than 24 hours. Do monitor your pet’s condition closely, as early detection can save lives.
3. Weakness, Unable to Stand or Walk Stably
Injuries may cause weakness or the inability to walk properly. But if your pet is not injured, these symptoms may signal a heart, lung, brain, or spine issue. Clots in the arteries that supply blood to the body can create these problems. Abnormalities in blood glucose levels could result in unstable gait and require immediate attention.
4. Change in Appetite
Switched out your pet’s diet for something new and they’re refusing to eat? It’s not something to worry about. If your pet is not eating despite you feeding them the same meal, it is an indication that they are not well. Certain illnesses, dental issues, or allergy reactions could result in your pet rejecting food. If you constantly have to switch out their meals for other items in order to get them to eat, your pet could be sick.
5. Struggling to Defecate or Urinate
Difficulties with defecating or urinating may be the result of a tumour, neurological issues, dehydration, or obstructions in the urinary tract or intestinal tract. These problems require emergency vet care.
6. Fainting, Unconsciousness, Seizures or Other Similar Conditions
Health problems such as anaemia, infectious diseases, lung issues or internal bleeding can result in fainting, unconsciousness, seizures, weakness and/or lethargy. Fainting may also happen when your pet isn’t getting enough oxygen to the brain.
7. Difficulty Breathing, Choking, or Persistent Coughing
Breathing problems may stem from a heart ailment, choking can be caused by obstructions in your pet’s trachea, while non stop coughing may occur due to a collapsed trachea or infectious disease.
8. Severe Bleeding
External heavy bleeding from any part of your pet’s body that continues even after 10 to 15 minutes requires immediate medical attention. Bleeding from injuries may not warrant much concern, but if your pet continues to lose a lot of blood over a period of time, they may go into shock. If left untreated, shock can cause their organs to shut down, lead to permanent brain damage, and even death.
Weakness, breathing difficulties, pale gums, or a swollen abdomen, are common signs of internal bleeding, if you notice these symptoms, bring your pet to the vet for immediate treatment.
Blood in your dog or cat’s stool can be the result of bacterial or viral infections, parvovirus, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and other serious conditions that require emergency vet care too.
These are clear telltale signs of health problems your pet may be suffering from. Upon noticing these symptoms, immediately bring them to the vet for medical intervention. You may choose to engage a house call vet if your pet cannot be transported.
My Family Vet Clinic and Surgery is a walk-in veterinarian clinic in Singapore that offers house call vet and emergency vet services for domestic pets. Find out more here.