It is sometimes difficult to determine if your pet is ill, especially since many pets have subtle signs of illness that they easily hide from owners. Here are 7 basic areas you should observe on a daily basis to help determine if your pet needs an exam by one of our doctors.
Watch your pets daily eating habits for :
- difficulty chewing
- pawing at its muzzle
Since dental disease is so prevalent please follow the link to learn how this can affect your pet’s eating.
When your pet is at rest count the number of times it breathes per minute (watch it for 15 seconds and multiply that number by 4). A typical dog or cat breathes 30-40 times per minute, although this can be variable based on breed and external temperature. The important thing to watch for is an increase in its respiratory rate over a period of time. Trend this on a piece of paper weekly so you can see this trend as it gets going. This can be a subtle but very important parameter to measure since an increase here can be for many serious reasons.
Look for any changes in the following:
- Urinating more often or in greater amounts than normal
- Urinating small amounts frequently
- Straining to urinate
- Inability to urinate
- Licking at genitals
In female dogs it can be difficult to assess some of these parameters, so try to pay close attention when she squats to urinate.
Any significant change here is important:
- Continual diarrhea of any type
- Straining to defecate
- Licking at anus
- Any blood on feces
Obvious lameness is readily noticed. Also look for a pet that is leaning more towards one leg or the other, tires easily after walking or playing, is slow at getting up after resting, or is reluctant to go up or down any type of elevation like stairs or jumping into a vehicle.
- Lethargic for more than a few hours
- Crying, moaning, or vocalizing
- Disorientation (ataxia)
- Walking in circles
- Pressing head against the wall
- Gazing up at the sky
- XS salivation
- Sore skin
- Bleeding from an unknown source
- Bleeding from the nose, mouth, ears, penis, vagina, or anus
- Distended abdomen
- Swelling anywhere
- Redness patch on skin that comes and goes
Now that you have observed your pets daily habits lets look at how you can perform a basic exam at home by going to our In Home Exam page.