Pet Health Symptoms - What to Watch For

To insure that your pet will be healthy in the years ahead, it is essential to have them visit their vet at least once each year. While pet health symptoms provide useful information about the health status of your pet, it is essential to have the veterinarian administer timely vaccinations, do a routine check and run necessary lab tests. These help to prevent against later disease or illness and can provide you with the opportunity to treat them as early as possible. You'll also want to prevent spreading of illness onto you or those you care about, as there are some diseases that can be passed to humans. There are general pet health symptoms to be particularly aware of as they are reliable indicators of your pet's overall condition: Coat: Their fur coat should be shiny and soft. Hair loss and constant scratching or biting can be a sign of parasites, tics, mites or fleas. Mouth: The mouth should not carry a bad odor. Healthy gums are not inflamed or swollen. The teeth should be free of plaque and tarter. It is important to provide dental care by brushing or giving them dental treats. Nose: Signs of runniness, sneezing, thick or crusty drainage are not healthy. Stool: The stool of your pet should be compact, not loose, bloody or runny. Movement: Your pet should be running, jumping and playing without pain, stumbling or strain. Eyes: Their eyes should be clear and free of any discharge. Ears: The ears should be clean, free of discharge, debris and odor. Temperament and Behavior: Watch for signs of depression, falling, tiredness, anxiety and aggression. Behavioral changes will usually correspond with changes within the household (ie: moving or death). While pet health symptoms in the above list can be generally applied to most pets, some are more specific and are signs of serious health issues. If you have a cat, some important signs that should put you on alert are: excessive grooming, licking or scratching, problems using the litter box or eliminating in places other than the litter box, hiding in unusual places, drooling, extreme tiredness and lethargy, and excessive thirst. For dogs, be on the lookout for symptoms similar to the flu: weight loss, lethargy, and loss of appetite. These pet health symptoms are indicators of heartworms, which can be fatal and the treatment is very expensive. Recognizing the signs of when your pet is in pain is also important, as it will prompt you to seek immediate medical assistance. Cats and dogs exhibit pain much differently than we do. Dogs may turn aggressive or become vicious, whimper, whine and yelp. Certain canine breeds have a high pain tolerance making it difficult for you to realize they are indeed hurting. The Pit Bull Terrier breeds are within this category. When a cat is experiencing pain they may withdraw, bite out of fear and hide in an unusual place. Because you'll want to enjoy your pet for as long as possible, it is very important to watch out for and learn more about pet health and the markers of illness.