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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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4:01PM PDT on Jul 30, 2015


3:22AM PDT on Jun 13, 2015

thanks for the article.

12:53AM PST on Dec 17, 2014

Thanks for sharing

4:14AM PDT on Oct 23, 2014

It is very important for pet owners to pay close attention to their pets.They can not tell you when something is wrong.It is our responsibility to look for signs..I love my boys(Fenix, Pitbull and Solo,Pitbull/Bullterrier).I take them to the vet at least twice a year for check ups

2:09AM PDT on Oct 23, 2014

Important info! Thanks!

11:53PM PDT on Oct 22, 2014

Thank you.

11:27PM PDT on Oct 22, 2014

I'm already very aware, but thanks for sharing:)

7:21PM PDT on Oct 22, 2014


12:35PM PDT on Oct 22, 2014


7:48AM PDT on Oct 22, 2014

I know when something is different with my fur kids, & off to the vet we go.
Thank you, good article.

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