Igor Mikhailov

Leading veterinary expert of the chain of pet stores “Four Paws”.

Your pet should be regularly examined by a veterinarian. It is recommended to show kittens and puppies to a specialist monthly, adult pets – annually, elderly animals – twice a year. And this is the case if they do not experience health problems. However, there are signs that should not delay a visit to the veterinarian.

1. Refusal of food

A good appetite is one of the main indicators of the health of any living being. But a long (more than a day) ignoring food and water is an alarming and serious indicator that something is wrong with the pet.

Perhaps the animal develops a dental disease and it is physically painful for him to eat dry food. Other options are digestive difficulties, helminth infection, liver disease, urinary tract disease, and so on. Only a veterinarian can determine the exact reason for an animal’s refusal to eat, and it is best to contact him as soon as possible.

2. Vomiting

If a pet vomits once, this can be attributed to the body’s natural reaction to some kind of irritant. But regular getting rid of the absorbed food (once every 20 days or more) is definitely one of the alarming factors.

Most likely, the matter is in parasites, but intestinal obstruction, oncology, gastritis, pancreatitis are also not excluded. Be that as it may, self-medication is categorically excluded here. Like food refusal, vomiting and diarrhea are a reason to contact your veterinarian immediately.

3. Apathy

The animal may look tired after a long walk or game. But when a pet is lethargic for several days, this is already an occasion to pay attention to the state of his health. This symptom can be expressed by a decrease in activity, the rejection of favorite games, drowsiness. The animal can hide in secluded places and avoid human contact.

4. Unusual behavior

Other changes in the behavior of the pet also indicate a likely illness. For example, he loses his cheerfulness, hides from the owners, does not allow himself to be touched, or rushes around the house. In general, it does not behave as usual.

The following situations are also potentially dangerous: the pet cannot stand on its paws or is clearly lame, it is disoriented, suffocating, it has convulsions, and the like. These symptoms are already related to problems with the central nervous system. If you notice them in your pet, contact your doctor immediately.

5. Problems with stool or urination

They may be different. Diarrhea lasting more than two days, constipation of the same duration, blood in the urine, difficulty passing a little, or, conversely, too frequent urination.

The reasons for such phenomena are even more diverse. Stool problems can be the result of an overly sensitive digestive system, a viral infection, parasite infestation, or even stress. In turn, difficulties in urination arise due to inflammation of the genitourinary system, cystitis, and kidney problems. The vet will figure it out.

6. Weight loss

It is necessary to ensure that the cat or dog does not overeat, control the weight of the pet and especially pay attention to its unreasonable decrease. If the animal continues to lose weight within a couple of weeks, you need to contact a specialist.

There are many reasons for weight loss: parasites, ailments of the liver or thyroid gland, problems with the pancreas, or chronic diseases of the digestive system.

7. Unpresentable appearance

A qualitative indicator of a pet’s overall health is the skin situation. It should be smooth, slightly pink or black. But if the skin is flaky, and the animal suffers from itching, this is already a mess.

Also, the presence of health problems can indicate the eyes, nose and ears. The former may be watery, red, or in discharge. The nose shows unhealthy by flowing. As for the ears, they should be clean, without excessive accumulations of sulfur, and they should not interfere with the animal. If the pet is constantly scratching his ears, experiencing obvious anxiety, this is a reason to contact the veterinarian.

8. Abnormal temperature

This is another important indicator. When an animal is healthy, its temperature ranges from 37.5 to 39 °C. In young pets, it can be half a degree higher.

Please note that it is impossible to determine the temperature of an animal by the nose, this is a myth.

It is best to use an electronic thermometer. To take a measurement, you need to lubricate the tip of the thermometer with oil or petroleum jelly and insert it into the anus.

The temperature going out of the indicated corridor is a sign of health problems, and they can be quite serious. If the owner has ruled out relatively innocuous causes of temperature changes – overheating, hypothermia, stress – and could not bring it back to normal, it’s time to visit the veterinarian.

The causes of all these symptoms are very diverse. What you definitely shouldn’t do is make diagnoses based on articles from the Internet and self-medicate. Unlike a person, an animal cannot tell when it became ill and where it hurts. Therefore, it is extremely important to treat our four-legged friends with great attention and, if necessary, trust a specialist.