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
Lumps or tumors
Reluctance to use stairs
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
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 can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with the best ways in which to administer the drugs. Your veterinarian will explain the dosages of any prescribed medication and will be able to demonstrate the easiest ways of administering them. Luckily, many medications can be incorporated into meal times, making the process simpler and less stressful for you and your pet.
Make sure that your pet finishes the entire course of prescribed medications, even if they look and act as if they are at full health. Not doing so could mean that the virus or infection may not be fully eradicated and your pet could become unwell again.
If your veterinarian has prescribed a special diet, 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 be potentially harmful to your pet.
Your pet may need to be kept isolated from other animals in the house. They 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 they need to fully rehabilitate.
Any changes in or worsening of symptoms should be immediately reported to your veterinarian. These changes could indicate that the medication your pet has been receiving needs urgent review or your pet's illness has become more serious. Do not delay in making an appointment and be sure to fully explain the situation to the receptionist on duty.