Top Medical Concerns for Pets
Caring for a pet means playing detective and watching them for signs of illness. It is crucial to see a veterinarian quickly whether you notice signs of a chronic condition or a sudden illness. You don’t have to be trained in pet care just to notice you have a sick pet on your hands. Follow this handy checklist to catch serious health concerns as soon as they develop.
Watch for Worms
The digestive systems of both cats and dogs can play host to a number of worms. These parasites drain your pet’s energy and can make them lose weight quite rapidly. Lethargy also sets in when hookworms cause anemia, and the cat or dog may stop eating. Only a few types of worms show up in the pet’s leavings, so have a vet examine your animal if they show the more general symptoms.
The bites of tiny fleas don’t just itch your pet, they can trigger a full allergic reaction that leads to crusty scabs and hair loss. You’ll notice your cat or dog just won’t stop itching themselves, especially around the neck and behind the front legs. Biting is also common at the base of the tail. Products sold for flea treatment in pet stores often harm the animal and leave the fleas, so let a veterinarian handle the infestation.
Pets are growing at an alarming rate due to overfeeding and a lack of activity. Managing your dog’s daily food intake and getting him or her out to walk more often will reduce the chances of diabetes, joint problems, liver damage, and a shorter life span.
While you might chalk up your cat’s vomiting as just a sign of hair balls, they could be suffering from something far worse. Tapeworms and other internal parasites can trigger the reaction every time your pet eats. Constant vomiting after drinking water indicates organ failure or heatstroke, two emergencies that require an immediate trip with your sick pet to the vet.
Cleaning the Ears
Those cute kitten and puppy ears are magnets for mites that need a warm, cozy place to live. They bite at the skin and cause your pet to itch and scratch away until the ears are red and raw. Allergies to dust and fleas also trigger a similarly itchy reaction. Discharge in the ear could indicate a bacteria or yeast infection, especially in animals with folded ears.
Panting is normal on a hot day for dogs, but wheezing or choking is not. The animal may have something stuck in the throat, but obstructions should only be removed by a professional trained in pet care because the throat muscles are easily damaged. Chronic breathing troubles could indicate a genetic heart problem or allergies.
With some breeds, it’s a struggle to keep crust and discharge away. Tear duct infections are common in kittens, but swelling needs attention to avoid permanent damage. A pet may have a cyst or injury to the eye socket.