Spotting Signs of Serious Health Conditions in Your Older Cat or Dog
With humans, it may not be that difficult to detect an illness, or to know that something is a bit “off”. But what about pets? How can serious health conditions be spotted in our cats and dogs, and what signs should we be on the lookout for? When we do encounter these conditions, what should we do?
What follows is a quick summation of some of the signs of illness in your pet, and how you should proceed if you detect them.
Signs of Serious Health Conditions in Your Dog
Typically, Fido will let you know if he’s not feeling well. Specifically, here are some of the more common signs and symptoms that you should look out for as your pet continues to age.
- Stretching and Bowing
- Loss of Appetite
- Increased Thirst and Urination
- Pale Gums
- Changes in Body Temperature
Signs of Serious Health Conditions in Your Cat
By nature, your cat is less likely to show his ailments to you, as they instinctively hide pain as a defense mechanism. Some signs, however, are harder to be hidden than others. If you are the owner of an aging cat, here are some signs and conditions to be wary of that could be indicative of a greater health concern:
- Repeated trips to the litter box, straining to urinate.
- Open-mouthed panting, projectile vomiting and diarrhea leading to extreme dehydration.
- Loss of appetite for more than 24 hours.
- Inability to use or dragging hind legs.
- Difficulty breathing or catching breath.
- Extreme lethargy and sluggishness.
- Strange behavior such as excessive hiding under a bed or in a closet.
- Pain during eating.
- Foul breath/drooling
- Constipation, or, for breeding females, difficulty delivering their kittens.
If I've Spotted These Signs of Serious Health Conditions, What Action Should I Take?
These conditions encompass both physical conditions as well as behavioral changes your older dog or cat may exhibit. As your pets age, monitor them a bit more closely to make sure they are not exhibiting any of these symptoms, as they may be signs of more serious conditions. For instance, increased thirst and urination may point to signs of kidney disease within your dog or cat. Vomiting and diarrhea, as well, can be indicators of an array of health conditions.
As such, the best course of action if any of these signs of illness are exhibited in your pet is a trip to your vet. While knowing these signs can help you monitor your aging dog or cat more closely, and be watchful of potential problems, only your vet can assess the severity of the symptoms and provide a proper diagnosis and care for your pet.