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10 Signs Your Pet Needs the Vet

10 Signs Your Pet Needs the Vet
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published on January 28, 2013. We are republishing it for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Most pet guardians recognize the obvious signs of a pet in distress and would seek veterinary care for all the obvious signs of illness or injury such as bleeding or an animal who can not stand. But what about the more subtle signs that your pet needs help? Every species has its one code, its own tell-tale signs of trouble, and in the animal kingdom, communication can be cryptic to the human eye. One golden rule is to watch for any behavioral shifts which may have an alarming underlying cause…

#1 Restlessness: Maggie, the 10-year-old calico cat, was always a quiet girl. She preferred to spend most of the day sleeping in a wicker basket. So when Maggie began exploring the house more, particularly at night, her family was thrilled to see her becoming more active. Maggie would pace through the house, checking every room and sometimes let out a single meow. Turns out, Maggie was suffering from a brain tumor that was giving her severe headaches. The pacing was her response to the pain. What looked like a wonderful new sense of exploration, was actually the manifestation of severe illness. Restlessness can be a firm indicator of pain or anxiety.

At first, no one knew Maggie's wandering about the house indicated pain.

#2 Unusual Ways of Getting Your Attention: What do you make of a bunny who normally wanders the living room floor but is suddenly ascending onto the couch? Perhaps he has his ears cocked in different directions instead of the usual symmetrical arrangement. Bunny may be trying to get your attention. A common cause of pain in rabbits comes from their mouths as teeth tend to grow spurs causing painful lacerations and infection, especially in the rear corners of the mouth that can only be viewed with special veterinary instruments.  Read a complete list of bunny health warning signs here.

In dogs and cats, frequent barking or meowing that is uncharacteristic for your pet could be a sign of distress. Any time your pet is persistently turning to you for attention and you are unable to satisfy this pleading with food, water or a walk outdoors, you could be looking at a pet who is in need of care.

In iguanas, face rubbing is a problem and can lead to injury from abrasive metal cages. Environmental changes, health issues or a small cage can provoke the behavior.

#3 Changes in Body Presentation and Posture: A pet bird who sits with his feathers ruffled out for a long period of time may be suffering respiratory illness.  See a complete list of bird health warning signs here. In rabbits, a hunched and hunkered down posture can indicate stasis, a painful and potentially deadly slow-down of the gastrointestinal tract which is common to rabbits and requires immediate veterinary intervention. And in dogs and cats, you’ll want to pay attention if your pet is suddenly sleeping in an unusual position, limping or hesitating to sit down.

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383 comments

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12:36PM PDT on Apr 26, 2014

thanks, noted

12:35PM PST on Nov 21, 2013

Thank You!!!!

5:22PM PDT on Aug 2, 2013

thanks

6:56AM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

Thanks for the great article. I'm taking my pets to the vet tomorrow for their annual checkups. I will mention a few of these to the vet.

5:22AM PDT on Jul 21, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

10:40PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

Good article. I am glad to see it includes other pets besides just cats & dogs, since many people have MA NY different types of pets.

8:53AM PDT on Jul 4, 2013

Grazie per la condivisione.

7:38AM PDT on Jul 2, 2013

thank you for the interesting article,2/7

4:50AM PDT on Jun 27, 2013

Thank you.

11:37PM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

Really good advice, thanks.

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