Your four-legged friend is your constant companion, so you know when something is off with their behavior or habits. Subtle changes are often clues to a deeper problem that may require veterinary attention to prevent more serious illness. When it comes to your pet’s health and wellbeing, always pay attention to the following indications that they need to see their Town & Country Animal Hospital veterinarian.

Changes in your pet’s appetite

One of the first indicators of a pet’s potential health problem is an appetite change, as a sudden increase or decrease in food consumption can be concerning. If your pet is eating significantly less or their appetite is insatiable, they may have developed an issue that could range from a dental problem to a metabolic disorder. Regular monitoring of your pet’s eating habits and seeking veterinary advice for persistent changes is essential.

Changes in your pet’s water consumption

Excessive thirst or a sudden decrease in water intake can be a red flag. Increased water consumption may indicate diabetes, kidney disease, or other metabolic disorders, while certain illnesses, gastrointestinal (GI) issues, or inadequate fluid intake can cause dehydration. Monitoring your pet’s water consumption and ensuring fresh water is always accessible is crucial for maintaining hydration levels.

Fluctuations in your pet’s weight

Weight fluctuations in pets can indicate various health conditions. Unexplained weight loss can signal an underlying illness, such as organ dysfunction, parasites, or cancer. Conversely, sudden weight gain can signal hormonal imbalances or dietary issues. Regularly weighing your pet and consulting with our veterinarian about any notable changes can aid in early detection and intervention in serious health problems.

Alterations in your pet’s bathroom habits

Changes in urination or defecation patterns can indicate urinary tract infections, GI problems, intestinal parasites, organ dysfunction, or a wide range of other issues. Pay attention to the frequency, color, and consistency of your pet’s waste. Straining, blood in urine or feces, and accidents in the house should prompt a veterinary visit.

Vomiting in your pet

While an occasional isolated vomiting incident may not be alarming, persistent or recurrent vomiting is an important sign that shouldn’t be ignored. Vomiting in pets can be the result of a wide range of factors, including dietary indiscretion, infections, toxins, GI obstructions, or underlying medical conditions. 

Take note of the vomit’s color, texture, and contents. Frothy or yellow vomit may suggest bile involvement, while the presence of blood can indicate GI bleeding. Undigested food in vomit may signal dietary issues or GI problems. Chronic vomiting can lead to dehydration and nutritional deficiencies, so prolonged vomiting should be addressed before serious illness results.

If your pet is consistently vomiting or if the vomiting is accompanied by other concerning signs, such as diarrhea, lethargy, or abdominal pain, seek immediate veterinary care.

Lethargy and changes in your pet’s behavior

Healthy pets are generally active and playful, unless they are advanced in age, so any noticeable energy level decrease or altered behavior should be investigated. Lethargy can indicate pain, infections, or systemic illnesses. Additionally, behavioral changes, such as increased aggression, withdrawal, or excessive vocalization, may signify underlying stress, anxiety, pain, or health issues that require attention.

Breathing issues in your pet

Respiratory issues in pets should never be ignored, as they can rapidly worsen and leave your pet struggling for breath. Persistent coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing may indicate respiratory infections, asthma, or cardiac problems, and prompt veterinary attention is crucial to determine the cause and initiate appropriate treatment.

Limping or lameness in your pet

If your pet is limping or favoring one leg, something is clearly amiss. Limping can result from various issues, such as injuries, joint problems, ligament tears, or underlying conditions like arthritis. While a minor injury that will heal on its own may cause a mild limp, persistent or worsening lameness requires immediate attention. Delayed treatment of orthopedic issues can lead to chronic pain and more severe conditions may develop.

Eye issues in your pet

The eyes, which are often referred to as the windows to the soul, can provide valuable insights into your pet’s health. Any changes in your pet’s eyes should be monitored closely, as they could indicate various health issues. Some common eye problem signs, including redness, excessive tearing, cloudiness, squinting, or a noticeable change in pupil size, can indicate conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, infections, inadequate tear production, cataracts, glaucoma, or a multitude of other ocular conditions.

Being attuned to your pet’s behavior and promptly addressing any concerning health signs is essential for maintaining their general well-being. Remember, your Town & Country Animal Hospital veterinarian is a valuable partner in your pet’s healthcare journey, so schedule an appointment with our team if you notice any unusual signs or behaviors in your four-legged friend.