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May 09 2017

Catching Illness Early in Pets

Did you know that there are many things that you can do at home to catch early changes in your pet’s health? Our furry companions can be very good at hiding the signs that they are not feeling well. This is especially true for cats. Here are some suggestions on things you can observe or physically check on your pet to catch problems early on at home.
Being aware of your pet’s normal habits and daily routine is a good place to start. Monitoring food and water intake can be extremely helpful. There are several disease processes that will increase or decrease appetite and/or drinking. It is also important to monitor for any changes in urination habits as well as any vomiting or diarrhea. Watch for changes in activity and energy level or any alteration in normal daily patterns. For example, hiding under a bed or no longer jumping up on a favorite piece of furniture could indicate a problem. Also monitor for any limping or evidence of generalized painfulness.
There are many aspects that you can also physically check on your pet. You can perform an at home exam from nose to tail. Check for any discharge from eyes or nose, any odor from ears or mouth, or excess drooling. If your pet permits, you can look in the mouth to observe the teeth. You can feel the hair coat checking for mats of hair, wounds/scabs, fleas/ticks, and any lumps on or under the skin. Also look at the nails/paws to observe any overgrown nails or other foot problems.
The bottom line is that close monitoring at home and being in tune with your pet’s normal daily life and any changes therein can clue you in to early changes in their health. If you notice any concerns, call and discuss with your veterinary clinic to determine whether an examination is recommended. Your veterinarian will do a full physical exam. Depending on your history and changes observed at home, combined with physical findings on exam, further testing such as lab work may be indicated. Catching disease early on allows better and more successful management.

camillusac | Diseases

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