Recognizing an Ill Pet

Just like humans pets can have days where they feel a little lethargic and under the weather, but it is the natural instinct of an animal to try and disguise any signs of illness. They do this in the wild as showing weakness leaves them vulnerable to predators and open to attack. Unfortunately this can make it tricky to determine if your pet is feeling a little unwell or if they are suffering from a more serious illness.

There are a number of symptoms and changes in your pets’ appearance, behavior and physical condition that you can look out for. These include but are not limited to:
  • Abnormal vocal noises
  • Bloating of the abdomen
  • Blood in the stools or urine
  • Decreased energy or activity levels
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Excessive scratching or licking of the body
  • Foul odor from ears, mouth or skin
  • Increased shedding or bald patches
  • Limping
  • Lumps or tumors
  • Persistent hiding
  • Reluctance to use stairs
  • Seizures
  • Straining or an inability to pass urine or stools
Any of the above symptoms should be checked out by a veterinarian within 24/48 hours.

Symptoms that require immediate veterinary treatment include:
  • Bloated or hardened abdomen
  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea
  • Inability to stand up or urinate
  • Seizures

Whilst a sick pet may require inpatient treatment in care in your veterinary surgery for days or even weeks, you will need to continue providing them with care and compassion to aid their recovery when they come home. This can include administering medication, supporting physical rehabilitation, emotional care, and fulfilling any special dietary requirements.

Medicating your Pet
Medicating your pet can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the best ways in which to administer the drugs. Your veterinarian will explain about the dosages of any prescribed medication and will support you by demonstrating the easiest ways of administering them. Many medications can be incorporated into meal times making the process simpler and less stressful for your pet.

Ensure that your pet finished the entire course of prescribed medications. Not doing so means that the virus or infection may not be fully eradicated and your pet could become unwell again. Even if your pet looks and acts as if they are at full health, still finish all prescribed medication.

If your veterinarian has prescribed special food then be sure to feed your pet separately from any other animals in the house. Adhere strictly to the instructions given as any deviation from the plan, no matter how small, could potentially be harmful to your pet.

Ongoing Care
Your pet may need to be kept isolated from any other animals in the house. It will need a quiet environment with food and water nearby as they may be physically weak for some time. Ensure plenty of fresh water is always available.

You should also keep young children away from your recovering pet as they may not understand the space that it needs to rehabilitate fully.

Any changes or worsening of symptoms must immediately be reported to your veterinarian. They could indicate that the medication your pet has been receiving needs urgent review, or they could indicate that your pets’ illness has become more serious. Do not delay in making an appointment and explain the situation fully to the receptionist on duty.