Having a pet is an amazing and rewarding experience but, as in life, everything comes with big responsability!
- Since we have a very long journey with our companions, one of my previous posts can better explain everything you need to know about vet check-ups.
- It can happen to all of us (including our pets) to sometimes be too tired to eat, maybe because it is too hot outside and we prefer just to be hydrated instead of eating. There is nothing to be alarmed about, but if your pet skips meals for more than two days in a row, you should think about preparing better and booking a vet visit for your loved one.
- Occasionally, extra vet visits are required and worthwhile in certain cases. There is no big difference between a human and an animal when it comes being sick. If you don’t feel well, you do not want food. Same for our companions.
♡ Pet parents should keep an eye on their loved ones for:
1. Less Activity
A decrease in your pet’s activity can have different medical reasons. For example, dogs have great and constantly high levels of energy. They act very natural and they show us their enthusiasm all the time. Once they lose their interest in normal activities such as day by day walks, playing, running or swimming (depending on their preferred activity), you should seek a vet.
There are a lot of reasons for a decreased activity.
Below you have a few possible reasons for this lack of activity:
- Sore muscles;
- Joint pain;
- Heart problems;
- Oncological problems.
Weight loss may occur due to the metabolic demands of the tumour itself, or because pain and discomfort is causing reduced appetite and activity. Most diseases can be associated with lack of activity and its more like a general sign but at the same time a very important one.
2. Lump, Swelling or Growth
If you notice any lump on your pet, this must be checked by a vet in order to find out what it respresents.
Sometimes they may just be a fatty lump such as lipomas (benign tumour), but sometimes can be something more serious that can have an underlaying cause.
🐾Lipoma – Fatty Tumor. A lipoma is:
- Common in overweight and senior dogs.
Lipomas should not be mixed up with liposarcomas, which are malignant and can spread to bone, the lungs, and other organs.
Most dogs will not require the lipoma to be surgically removed unless it is causing discomfort or restricting your dog’s movement.
If diagnostic tests show that the tumor might be more aggressive, your vet may advise removal of the lipoma. Thankfully, removing lipomas tends to be a simple and straightforward process.
🐾Abscess – Infected Wound. An abscess is:
- Painful – a normally friendly dog may growl or snap when touched;
- Full of pus – it may or may not have ruptured, releasing a stinky fluid;
- Noncancerous, and will not spread;
- Forms over a wound, or near your dog’s mouth from a dental infection;
- Red and swollen;
- May be accompanied by a fever.
🐾Cutaneous Histiocytoma – Benign Skin Tumor. A histiocytoma is:
# A histiocytoma is a type of benign tumor, meaning it will not metastasize or spread into surrounding tissue. Histiocytomas originate in your dog’s Langerhans cells, a type of immune cell designed to protect tissues in contact with the outer environment, including the nose, intestines, stomach, and lungs, but they appear most prominently on the surface of your dog’s skin. Langerhans cells are alternately known as dendritic cells or histiocytes #
- Red or pink;
- On the face, ears or toes.
🐾Sebaceous Cyst – Sebum-Filled Sac. A sebaceous cyst is:
- A sac filled with sebum;
- Pink and hairless;
- Not painful;
- Shiny and oily.
🐾Melanoma – Dark Skin Tumor. A melanoma is:
- Dark in color;
- Raised or flat;
- May grow quickly.
🐾Hematoma – Buildup Of Blood Under The Skin. A hematoma is:
- Warm to the touch;
- A swollen area, not a round bump;
- Not cancerous;
- May rupture, releasing blood.
🐾Basal Cell Tumor. A basal cell tumor is:
- May or may not be painful.
🐾Mast Cell Tumor. A mast cell tumor is:
- White or pink;
- Appears on its own;
- May or may not spread quickly;
- Sometimes paired with digestive symptoms: reduced appetite, vomiting, dark faeces.
Mast cell tumors generally develop in older dogs and are the most common type of skin cancer in dogs. MCT happens when the mast cells in dogs mutate, these lumps can either be not harmful or very malignant and even life-threatening. Just like Histiocytoma, some dog breeds are more susceptible to MCT.
There are three grades of mast cell tumors:
- Grade I – considered benign
- Grade II – behavior of grade II MCTs are unpredictable
- Grade III – clinically aggressive and will spread all over the dog’s body. These can be treated, but even with proper treatment, dog’s may survive less than a year.
3. Stiff Leg(s) or Limping
There are two types of limps: gradual onset and sudden onset. Gradual onset limps happen slowly over time. Sudden limps happen quickly, like their name implies, usually after an injury or trauma.
• Injury to the spine;
• Nerves (especially from lombar region);
• Lumbosacral syndrome;
• Osteoarthritis (especially in old dogs);
• Ruptured Ligament;
• Certain bone diseases ;
• Bone Oncological Reasons.
4. Poor Coat
A pet’s coat should be thick, shiny, and soft and it can change depending on their health.
You can gain a lot of information just from looking at their coat. A dry fur with skin flaking underneath can indicate several problems: from allergies to ringworms or other kinds of infections.
5. Weight Loss or Weight Gain
First of all, to be able to make a difference, pet parents must know their pets very well and know their proper eating and drinking activity.
Some pet parents may be very busy and sometimes it may happen to not be able to notice if a pet skips some meals (especially when they have more animals in the same house/garden).
Weight loss is more commonly a sign of disease.
Below you have a few possible reasons:
- Stress. Pets are highly perceptive and can notice even minor changes in their surroundings.
- Changes in Diet.
- Dental disease. Pets may have a hard time chewing hard kibble when they’re dealing with an abscess or other gum problems.
- Parasites such as Whipworms.
- Gastrointestinal Disorders. Excessive vomiting and/or diarrhoea decrease the amount of available nutrients that your pet assimilates.
- Pancreas Disease. Also known as “Pancreatic Acinar Atrophy and Digestive Enzyme Deficiency”.
- Kidney Disease. Weight loss is typically associated with chronic forms of the disease. As the illness progresses, dogs generally feel unwell and experience vomiting, loss of appetite and dehydration.
- Advanced Heart Disease. Some pets may appear to gain weight—despite a loss of appetite due to fluid accumulation in their body.
- Metabolic disorders: diabetes mellitus, hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s Disease) can alter body condition.
- Oncological problems (more common in older dogs, and malignant forms can be life-threatening). Weight loss may occur due to the metabolic demands of the tumour itself, or because pain and discomfort is causing reduced appetite and activity.
In addition, make sure you’ve isolated their food from the other pets in the house to reduce food sharing or stealing.
Weight loss generally affects both body fat and muscle, resulting in emaciation.
If your dog is losing weight unexpectedly, it can be an indication of an underlying health or behavioural issue that requires veterinary attention.
6. Excessive Thirst
If the water bowl/ dispenser is finishing faster than normal, it may be more than thirsty (except in very hot summer days).
One of the main symptoms is drinking a lot of water when we talk about not feeling well. If you are the one who feeds your pet(s) regularly, then you should know their eating and drinking doses and schedules.
There are a lot of reasons for excessive thirst. Below you have a few possible reasons:
- Too much heating in hot days;
- Signs of diabetes;
- Kidney problems. Urinary tract infections or bladder disease;
- Adrenal gland problems.
7. Vomit, Diarrhoea/ Constipation and Scooting
If your pet throws up once, there`s nothing to be worried about. Maybe your dog ate something that wasn’t that good for him or maybe your cat has to elimiate some hairballs.
However, if you pet is continually throwing up +/- diarrhoea, it is likely that something wrong may be happening with them.
Below you have a few possible reasons:
- Hypersensitive digestive tract;
- Systemic illness;
- Intestinal Parasites;
- Rickettsial (tick-transmitted disease);
- Changes in diet;
- Eating garbage, nonfood material or spoiled food;
- Viral or Bacterial Infection;
- Drugs and Toxins;
- Ingesting foreign bodies (nonfood items);
- Intestinal blockage. Something they ate that is now stuck in their stomach or intestine;
- Metabolic disorders: Addison’s disease;
- Liver Disease;
- Kidney Disease.
Stool: If you notice that your pet’s stool is dry and hard, maybe he or she needs to drink more water. If you notice blood and mucus, or even worms, you need to see a vet.
☛ You should worry when they strain too much or stop passing stool altogether (constipation) or if the diarrhoea persists more than 24 hours.
☛ If your dog is scooting or dragging her or his rear on the floor, she or he may have worms, blocked or infected anal glands, urinary tract infection, or diarrhoea.
8. Cough, Sneeze and Red Eyes
Symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections include clear or coloured discharge from the eyes or nose, coughing, sneezing, swelling of the mucous membranes around the eyes (conjunctivitis), ulcers in the mouth, lethargy, and anorexia. In rare cases, cats may have trouble breathing.
Lower respiratory tract infections may cause coughing, lethargy, anorexia, and difficult or rapid breathing (which should not exceed 35 breaths per minute at rest).
Below you have a few possible reasons:
- Cats: Feline Herpes Virus, Feline Calicivirus, Feline Chlamydiosis (Chlamydia felis ), Fungal Infections (Cryptococcus neoformans ), Bacterial Infection (Bordetella bronchiseptica), Protozoa infections (Toxoplasma gondii) or even Pasteurella multocida which is a normal bacteria of the feline respiratory system that may cause secondary infections.
- Dogs: Kennel Cough (Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica infection and Canine Parainfluenza Virus. ), Canine influenza virus (Dog flu), Pneumonia, Viral infection (Canine distemper, Canine parainfluenza , Adenovirus type 2 , Canine influenza , Canine coronavirus).
9. Unexpected Accidents and Emergencies
Some of the most frequent reasons:
- Open wound;
- Broken leg;
- Car accidents, house accidents;;
- Difficulty in breathing;
- Swollen abdomen;
- Blood in urine;
- Bladder Stones ;
- Any other behaviour that is unusual for your pet and rises a alarmant sign.
In conclusion, please take good care of them because they deserve the best from us!