How to know if your dog or cat is sick Signs of a Sick Cat or Dog
Certain behaviors gestures or reactions of the animal should be interpreted as a symptom of a pathology
The dogs and other pets are also constipated , they suffer from osteoarthritis and joints hurt them develop tumors , suffer from diabetes , heart disease And although we coexist with them is not always easy to detect who are sick or They suffer some discomfort or pain, and some minor pathologist may end up getting worse if the initial symptoms go unnoticed.
However, veterinarians and animal behavior experts ensure that the observation of the pet and certain knowledge – including some very basic tricks and guidelines – allows you to quickly detect if a dog or cat suffers from a disease .
An abnormal behavior of the animal, such as apathy , that makes its needs at home (dogs) or outside the sandbox (cats), or that is especially irritable , can warn us that our pet suffers a pathology. Or generate enough doubts to go to ask the trusted veterinarian.
The first basic warning that experts make is that cats are much more cryptic than dogs when it comes to detecting if they are sick. However, the degree of each person’s relationship with their animal is also essential. Nor is a young pet that is not yet well known, like a dog or cat that has been living at home for years.
“Each species can vary at the time of manifesting when it is bad or suffers pain. From the beginning, cats are more complicated, it is much easier to identify that a dog is ill than to detect in a cat ”, highlights Marta Amat , a doctor in Veterinary medicine, head of the Ethology service of the Veterinary Clinical Hospital of the Autonomous University of Barcelona ( UAB) We need to know some keys to understand what our cat wants to tell us.
If the initial symptoms go unnoticed, the pathology can worsen
In dogs, more routine and more dependent on their owners, it is easier. Several reasons explain that interpreting feline behavior is more complex. “For the life that cats do in many cases the relationship with the human is not as close as with dogs, it is not so on top of them and some symptoms can be overlooked
a change in behavior can be an indicator of illness, due to pain , but it can also mean that the animal is stressed by a change in its environment, ”adds Amat. And if they are cats that spend part of their life away from home, it is even more complicated.
We must also take into account the particularities of each animal, its character . Knowing our animal well also helps detect if something abnormal happens. The aggressiveness or ability to relate to other changes animals and can also educate .
The character and expressiveness of the animal influence when it comes to detecting if something “abnormal” happens
Not all cats and dogs show the same way they feel bad or suffer pain. “There are animals that are more expressive and others that are less expressive ; the height of the little expressiveness is the cat: it can be fatal and the only symptom is that it stays still on the couch, ”says the doctor in Veterinary. Therefore, the first thing we have to do is look closely at the behavior of our animals.
But what should we look at and consider?
Daily activity falls and hunger decreases
One of the first symptoms to consider is whether the cat or dog reduces its activity level or eats less overnight. Apathy, lack of interest and the lack of desire to play or interact with people can be a first warning sign. “We must look at the activity. If the animal does not come to receive us when we get home, it does not eat or do so in less quantity, or it sleeps more hours than usual, it is a little suspicious, and we have to start getting alert, ”explains Maria Pifarré , veterinarian.
Body temperature above 39º
Cats and dogs have a body temperature different from that of humans. Your body temperature normally ranges between 38 and 39 degrees . If you can place the thermometer on the animal, which is not easy, and this temperature appears, no, our cat or dog does not have a fever. If it is above 39, alert.
Secretions or sudden blinking
Observing the eyes of the pet is a good indicator of their state of health. “The eyes have to be clean and bright, ” explains Pifarré. There are tear secretions, however, which are normal, provided they are not green or yellow . There are breeds more predisposed to tear secretions, such as Yorkshire or Maltese dogs .
There are animals that blink very often or cannot open an eye, which indicates discomfort or pain. If you observe these symptoms, it is recommended to go to the veterinarian.
If the animal shakes its head a lot or has it tilted , it is an indicator of a problem in the auditory system. Veterinarians advise owners to get used to the smell of their animals’ ears because in this way they can detect the bad smell more easily. The bad smell of the ears is one of the most obvious symptoms of otitis.
Vomiting, diarrhea and very soft stools
In cats it is not uncommon for the animal to vomit promptly. Another very different thing is if the cat vomits when it eats food or even just drinking water. If this happens, you have to go to the vet.
There are animals suffering from diarrhea when they occasionally change their usual feed or food, or who have stools very soft. Nor do we have to worry. If the dog or cat besides vomiting or having diarrhea is apathetic and tired, it is necessary to consult with a specialist.
“There are easy to identify symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea. But if a cat is apathetic or eats less, it is not so easy to identify that there is a problem. I always recommend that before any change or something that surprises, it is better to consult and work on prevention. It costs nothing to call the vet and, if it’s nothing, much better, ”says Amat.
Drink a lot of water, a long or short time ago
If the cat or dog constantly drinks water and pees repeatedly, much more frequently than usual, you have to be alert and take the animal for consultation. “It is a syndrome and usually denotes many pathologies , not just one; it’s the same as with fever, ”explains Pifarré. It is not easy to detect, especially in summer, when animals drink more water.
When we see that a dog tries to pee and cannot or expel very little urine, it is a common symptom of a pathology or disorder, such as urinary infection (cystitis) or kidney stones.
“In case of any change or something that surprises, better consult and work on prevention”
MARTA AMAT Chief Ethology of the UAB Veterinary Clinical Hospital
In cats it is especially important, because they are animals that spend a lot of time in the sandbox when they cannot pee, constantly entering and leaving. “You have to run to the vet, a blockage of the urethra can be deadly,” warns Pifarré.
Weight changes, limp, flow, breathing
There are other factors to consider. If the animal loses or gains weight in a short time , it is advisable to ask the specialist’s opinion because it may be caused by a health problem. The anxiety to eat, to see that the animal is very irritable or that it moves away and wants to be alone, are behaviors that can be caused by the discomfort or the pain derived from a pathology. It may also be that the animal simply goes through a stress process.
A limp , not slightly and occasionally, but repeatedly, every time the animal has been stretched resting, it is not normal. Occasionally, a bone problem, such as osteoarthritis in the hips – very common in older cats – can be manifested only by the fact that the animal stops peeing and pooping in the sandbox, or is simply more irritable. “Behavior change can be the manifestation of pain , and it often happens,” explains Amat.
“Behavior change can be the manifestation of pain, and it happens often”
MARTA AMAT Chief Ethology of the UAB Veterinary Clinical Hospital
If we see that our cat has a careless appearance in the hair because it is less cleaned, it is a typical symptom that it is not right. “Cats are very clean, they spend a lot of the day cleaning themselves. If we see that the hair is not so bright it is because it is not cleaned and that means that it is not well ”, exemplifies Amat.
In female dogs, if it presents a vulvar flow that does not correspond to the heat, it is as if it were turned off and it is very pee, it could be that it suffers an alteration of the matrix.
We must also be aware if the dog starts coughing at night, or drowns when excited or exercises. Veterinarians warn that this may be derived from a heart problem. They also emphasize that if a cat breathes with his mouth open and drowns, one must quickly go to the vet.
If a dog or cat scratches a lot, it is for three reasons: for the presence of parasites (fleas, scabies, etc.), for an allergy or for a skin infection. They can occur separately or the three pathologies together.
When an animal wobbles or loses its balance it may be suffering from a neurological, liver or kidney problem, so it must go through a veterinarian’s office. And if there are lumps that do not know how they appeared and we know that the animal has not been beaten, we must also follow up, take precautions and go to the specialist to review it.
There is a disease, the syndrome of cognitive dysfunction , which appears in elderly animals, and can be manifested in that the cat stops using the sandbox, does not sleep well or is more irritable and even aggressive.
Beware of internet and false alarms
It is very common for owners to go to the internet to try to know if what they have observed abnormal in their pet corresponds to some disease or is a simple change of behavior. And in those cases it is common that serious illnesses related to such behaviors are found and panic invades us.
That is why veterinarians advise caution when it comes to information through the Doctor. Google . “The Internet is very good for learning things, it is a great tool; But don’t be scared to misunderstand the information. If we look for fever, distemper appears , which is a deadly disease, and we are alarmed , because we always tend to think the worst. Quiet! ”, Recommends PifarréAdvertisements