Your precious pet becoming unwell is something that no owner wants to have to think about. However, the fact remains that our animals are just as likely to fall prey to illness or disease as we are. There are countless different viruses and infectious diseases that can pose a threat to their health, and while there are vaccinations to prevent against many of them, not all illnesses can be kept at bay and most pets will suffer from at least one minor or major health problem during their lifetime.


One of the biggest challenges that pet owners face is the ability to detect that their pet is unwell. All animals have a natural tendency to try and mask signs of illness – an instinct to protect them from potential predators who may otherwise take advantage of their weakness. While the risk from predators is extremely low for household pets, this doesn’t stop their natural instincts from kicking in.


However, eventually symptoms do make themselves known and it is very valuable for responsible pet owners to be vigilant around their animal and to know the signs that could indicate that your pet is unwell and in need of assistance to feel better again.


Here are some of the top signs that your pet is sick and needs veterinary attention.


Behavior Changes

One of the easiest ways to know that something is up with your pet is noticing that her behavior has changed. Animals often act a little strangely when they are trying to get us to notice something. Some of the types of behavior that you can expect from an unwell pet include:

  • Snappy, aggressive behavior

  • Clinginess and separation anxiety

  • Withdrawal from other animals and people

  • Considerable tiredness/lethargy

  • Disorientation/confusion

If your pet suddenly develops any unusual behaviors, it is important to check for any other symptoms that could indicate that she is sick.


Toilet Trouble

Sudden changes in your pet’s toileting routine are another good indicator that she is experiencing health problems. These types of issues can include having urinary or bowel movements in the home if previously housetrained, struggling to pass urine or feces, ongoing diarrhea or passing excessive amounts of fluid. If your pet experiences any of these problems seek veterinary help as soon as possible.


Obvious Pain

Although your pet will try and hide it initially, pain associated with health problems is often progressive. If your animal has suffered an injury, she may have obvious pain immediately after the trauma occurred. If your pet is in pain, she might not want to be touched and could become aggressive when approached. She may be reluctant to move around if she does, may not move normally. She may persistently groom the area of her body that hurts too.


Breathing Problems

If your pet is experiencing serious breathing problems, it is essential that you don’t delay, and you seek professional help right away. However, some respiratory issues do start out fairly mildly and subtly, and you may not realize that your pet may have an underlying illness. Some of the breathing problems that your pet might suffer from include:

  • A persistently dry, soft cough

  • A honking cough

  • Gagging

  • Rapid breathing

  • Labored breathing

  • Persistent nasal discharge with mucus or blood


Physical Changes

While not all symptoms are visible to the naked eye, physical changes tend to be some of the most noticeable and can be a good indicator that your pet is unwell. If you notice any of the following it is important to schedule a visit to your vet:

  • New lumps or bumps have appeared or there are changes to existing lumps and bumps

  • Wounds or lumps that are oozing, hot to the touch and sore

  • Rapid weight gain

  • Rapid weight loss

  • Hair loss

  • Persistently scratching

  • A rash

  • Weakness of the muscles


If you would like more information on the best way to tell if your pet is sick, our experienced veterinary team would be happy to offer their advice and support. Contact our office today to speak to us.