Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest Blogger - 6 Subtle Signs that Should be Checked by your Veterinarian

It is not hard to notice when your dog is vomiting, or limping, or doing something obvious that you recognize as abnormal. Consider those symptoms that are barely noticeable, or don't look too abnormal. They can in fact be an indication that something serious is wrong and your dog needs prompt veterinary attention.

Staring Into Space
If your dog occasionally stares into nothingness, they may be having a seizure. Another unusual type of epileptic fit is snapping at imaginary flies. In both cases, if the seizures are frequent, they can be managed with proper medication.
A Soft Cough (particularly at night, and less interest in going for a walk)
The most observant owner can easily overlook a soft cough; however, it could be an early warning of heart failure. If diagnosed early and treated properly, your dog is likely to enjoy a normal life for quite some time.

Changes in Water Intake
It's not always obvious when your dog is making frequent trips to the water bowl until you notice you’re filling it for the third time, that day!  This is a common symptom in dogs of all ages, and can indicate that your four-legged family member has diabetes, hormonal disease or kidney disease. Again, an early diagnosis means a better outcome.

Changes in Weight and Body Condition
You often don't notice such changes yourself, but a friend or family member who doesn't see your dog every day may comment on it. Abdominal enlargement can be associated with a tumor affecting the internal organs.
On the other hand, weight loss can be due to a reduced ability to digest food, or even cancer. Your vet will need to do some tests to work out exactly what is happening with your dog, and start the appropriate treatment.
Grumpiness (can be associated with old age, but it also can result from pain)
If your sweet natured dog is suddenly growling at you when you cuddle him, you need to explore the reasoning. If he is hurting, he can be treated with prescription medication to ease the pain. Proper treatment can also prevent someone from a dog bite as the pooch tries to protect himself from a painful experience.

Again, this is a very vague, nonspecific symptom. Your dog just doesn't have the same interest in activities as he used to, and doesn't really want to get up off his bed. This isn't normal, and there are too many possible causes of this behavior to list. If the lethargy lasts longer than a few days, then it's well worth having your vet run some tests to see if there is anything wrong with your dog that isn't obvious on the outside.

You do need to find a balance between being oblivious to the subtle signs of illness in your dog, and rushing him to the vet whenever you notice anything unusual. It is far better to err on the side of caution. If you take your dog for a checkup and there is nothing wrong, that is much better than him not getting treatment if he really needs it.

Susan Wright, DMV has dedicated her professional life to caring for domestic animals as a veterinarian, author and dog training collar expert.


Kimberly, The Fur Mom said...

Thanks for the tips! I think it's so important for dog owners to know their dogs well. When you know your dogs, you know what's usual and what isn't usual in their behavior. I've managed to ward off big medical issues (and bills) by paying attention.


Allen Pearson said...

You're welcome! When I got my dog, I started paying close attention to everything and have ever since. I've gotten to know him like a best friend, well, he is isn't he. Thanks for your comment "Fur Mom!"

Clients said...

Good Share! Some really valuable information here. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Look forward to reading more of your articles. Voted up!

Allen Pearson said...

Thank you!! And, thanks for the vote. Have a great weekend.