In these tough economic times, we are looking for ways to save money on our pets. Unfortunately, this could also leads to delay seeking medical care because we're uncertain if a visit to the vet is absolutely necessary. Most of us know if a pet has collapsed, had a seizure, is bleeding, bloated, unable to walk, or has been injured they should see their veterinarian quickly. But what about other, more subtle symptoms? When should you absolutely, positively take your pet to the veterinarian?
Here are examples of some common clinical signs that you should never ignore in your dog or cat.
1. Difficulty Breathing
Any changes in your dog’s breathing needs to be addressed immediately. Because small dogs have small respiratory tracts, even seemingly minor breathing issues can quickly lead to life-threatening situations. If your dog is coughing, panting more than normal, fatigues easily, or suddenly has loud or noisy breathing, it should be examined by your veterinarian immediately. Heart and lung disease, infections, obstructions, and more can cause sudden breathing problems.
Diarrhea that persists for more than a day should always be addressed. Dogs can become dehydrated more quickly than we do because they are smaller. Additionally, no one likes to clean soiled carpets and bedding! If your pet has loose stools that last longer than a day, do your pet (and yourself) a favor and have he or she checked out. Most pets can receive simple treatments that will leave them feeling better in no time.
4. Sudden increase in water consumption or urination
Changes in thirst and urination can be challenging to identify in dogs. If you suddenly observe your dog constantly at their water bowl, asking to go out more frequently, or you notice you are changing the litterbox more often, take your pet to the vet. These clinical signs may be associated with diabetes, kidney or liver disease, kidney or bladder infections, poisoning, hormonal diseases, and more.
5. Not eating for 48 hours
6. Dark or bloody stools
Dark, black, or tar-like stools are often associated with digested blood in the feces. Bright red blood often accompanies colitis or anal gland conditions. Either way, you should have your pet checked out when you see changes in their feces. Bleeding ulcers, intestinal parasites, foreign objects, and more can cause dark or bloody stools and should be treated as quickly as possible.
7. Unable to defecate or urinate
A pet who is straining or unable to urinate or defecate is in immediate danger. Besides the risk of bladder or urethral rupture, kidney failure, blood poisoning, seizures, and even worse conditions is great, your pet should have medical attention immediately. Many dogs start out straining to go to the bathroom only to suddenly develop complete blockage. Male dogs are at particular risk for urethral or urinary obstructions.