Saturday, November 8, 2008

When is it time to see the vet?

This actually shouldn’t really be such a big deal and in my opinion, as I say usually, common sense should answer any questions there are about this question. But I notice lately that with budgets being as tight as they are in these rough economic times and that combined with the steadily rising already high cost of veterinarian medical care, more pet owners these days are reluctant to take their pet to the vet. Home remedies can help with minor incidents of illness, but sometimes there is just no way around the visit to the vet’s office.
Look for these general warning signs, a collection of the most common ones and certainly not a list to be considered complete:
Fever, bad or foul odor coming from mouth, ears or skin, attitude changes, changes in energy, lumps or bumps, sudden weight loss or the opposite, sudden gains, unusual discharge from eyes, nose mouth or any other body opening, sudden increase or decrease in water consumption, stiffness, difficulties rising,. If you notice any of these on your pet, I would strongly recommend to see your vet.
Others include vomiting, diarrhea and limping. Vomiting is a symptom rather than a disease. It can occur with a great number of illnesses. The most common one is often also the most obvious: Eating something that upsets the stomach. With cats this could be hair for example, dogs sometimes react to table food this way, just because its simply nod made for them. If your pet vomits but otherwise seems to be ok, take away any food for a period of up to a full day and provide water only (very important!). If that seems to help get the animal back on its regular diet, start with small rations and gradually slowly increase back to the regular schedule. It is time to see the vet if the cat or dog does not keep the water down, has abdominal pain, is lethargic or even has fever, simply cannot keep any food down, these are more indications that it is time for a vet checkup. Keep in mind that even simple cases can lead to death from dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Also remember that the youngsters, puppies and kittens as well as the elderly seniors are at increased risk.
Diarrhea can be a symptom of anything ranging from change in diet to cancer. Mild cases can be resolved with home treatment. This is similar to what was said above about vomiting. However, go and see the vet immediately if the stool is bloody, the diarrhea is persistent and or combined with other symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy or pain.
If your pet is limping check out its legs, if it lets you. If not, its no longer your, but the vet’s turn. Let the pet rest for an extended period of a couple days. If the problem seems to go away, slowly go back to your usual routine of walking or other exercise routine you have your pet on. Do NOT give your pet over the counter medications without checking with your vet first. Also, seek help immediately if the symptom is accompanied by great pain, fever or drastic loss of appetite.
Use the same common sense as you do with yourself or any other human family member. Key is that you need to know your pet. Once that is the case you should be able to easily notice any problem with your animal’s well being. Remember, while there are many clear indications that something is wrong, as described above. I always know when there is something wrong with my cats or dogs, I can tell immediately. In those instances I keep a close eye on hem. Keeep in mind your cat or dog can’t talk and tell you. It is up to you to figure it out and make sure it is well and healthy.

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