Spotting the Vital Signs: When Your Best Friend Needs a Health Check
Those of you who follow us on social media may be aware that Jimmy, the top dog at Petiquette, has a few medical conditions that cause him pain. He suffers from degenerative disc disease, which can cause him to be unsteady, and his back end to give way, causing intense pain. After x-rays and numerous vet visits, he’s now as settled as he can be on a combination of pain medications and supplements, along with gentle exercise to keep his joints moving.
He’s a senior at the wise-old age of 12 and has developed arthritis in his front legs. He’s currently going through a bad patch with this, so we’re keeping him under strict house arrest, and he’s being carried up and down stairs to avoid further pressure on his joints until a new monoclonal antibody injection he’s been given starts to work it’s magic and gives him some relief.
Because of this, it may be helpful for people to put together a list of ten signs in no particular order, which indicates it’s time for an unscheduled trip to the vet.
- Eyes Looking Red or Watery: If your dog’s eyes are red, watery, or producing excess gunk, it could be a symptom of an eye infection like conjunctivitis or even an injury like corneal abrasions. Eyes are sensitive, so it’s better not to wait.
- Not Eating as Much: If your canine companion is suddenly uninterested in their dinner or treats, it’s a concern. Changes in appetite can suggest issues ranging from dental pain to gastrointestinal obstructions, which can be life-threatening and may require surgery.
- Drinking Loads or Barely at All: An unusual thirst can indicate issues such as diabetes or kidney disease. Drinking too little could suggest possible dehydration or urinary problems. It would be best if you didn’t overlook changes in your dog’s drinking and urinating habits.
- Changes in the Way They Move: If your dog’s walk or balance seems different, it’s worth investigating. While it could be a simple sprain, balance or coordination issues suggest neurological disorders, which can progress rapidly if left untreated.
- Being Sick or Having an Upset Stomach: Dogs can occasionally have an upset stomach and recover quickly. But if it’s a recurring issue, it could signal severe conditions like pancreatitis, food allergies, or even ingesting toxic substances.
- Feeling Tired or Uninterested: Lethargy in dogs, especially puppies, can be a sign of infection, heart disease, or other systemic issues. It’s not normal for a young dog to consistently lose interest in play or exercise.
- Unusual Grumpiness or Behaviour Changes: If your ordinarily cheerful pooch suddenly seems irritable or starts displaying unusual behaviour like excessive barking or pacing, they might be uncomfortable or in pain. Behavioural changes can often be the first sign of illness in dogs.
- Changes in Skin or Coat: Skin irritation or changes in your dog’s coat might be due to allergies or skin conditions like dermatitis. Long-term skin issues can lead to more significant complications like skin infections, so getting these checked out is worth it.
- Showing Signs of Pain: If your dog is whimpering, avoiding touch, or seeming to be in pain, they could be suffering from conditions ranging from arthritis to injuries or even certain cancers. Pain assessment in dogs can be tricky, so it’s best to consult your vet.
- Struggling to Breathe: It’s normal for dogs to pant when hot or after exercise. But continued heavy breathing or difficulty catching their breath could suggest urgent issues like heart disease or respiratory disorders.
Early detection of health issues can make a massive difference in treatment outcomes and your pet’s quality of life. Ignoring these signs could lead to more critical conditions or complications. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your furry friend’s health. If you notice any of these signs, don’t hesitate to consult with your vet. They’re the best resource to ensure your dog stays healthy and happy.