When your fur baby has been a part of your family for a long time, you know their little quirks, reactions to certain things, and other ways that their personality shines through. Eventually, you will even start to notice when something’s not quite right. However, because they can’t talk and tell you exactly what the problem is, it can take a while for new pet owners to know for sure that there’s something seriously wrong. To protect the hairiest member of your family from coming to serious harm, here are some tell-tale signs that you need to take them to the vet.
Swelling of lymph nodes
Mostly fleas can cause a lot of uncomfortable itching, but if you see signs of swollen lymph nodes, it means the fleas are carrying a parasite, and your beloved pet is infected with Bartonella (usually known as Cat Scratch Fever). The best thing you can do is to avoid fleas altogether by investing in the best flea treatment for cats and dogs, but if you suspect that one of the little ticks has managed to sneak in, you should take your pet to the vet as soon as you see the first signs of infection, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Fleas can also cause anemia, tapeworms, and flea allergy dermatitis, so do everything you can to keep them away from your house and your pet.
Changes in posture
If your dog or cat are walking in an unusual way – limping, or favoring one leg over another, hesitating to sit down, or sleeping in a strange position – it could be a sign that they have arthritis, an infection, a fracture or another injury. 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.
Dogs and cats have funny ways of showing you they don’t like their food, and it’s certainly not uncommon for them to skip a meal or two if it’s hot outside, but odd eating habits can be a red flag that something is wrong. Some diseases can cause your fur baby to develop unusual eating habits, so if they’ve gone two days without eating you need to rush them to the vet. The same is true for the opposite – if your usually well-behaved pet is suddenly raiding the pantry for snacks then there might still be something not right.
It’s bad enough that pets can’t tell you if something is bothering them, but then they try to hide their pain by avoiding you. Often, when a cat isn’t feeling well, he or she will hide or avoid interaction, become lethargic, neglect grooming or simply not act like his or her usual self. Dogs can suffer from fatigue or sore muscles during high temperatures, but it’s worth having them checked out if they’re still quiet after two days. Pets that aren’t acting normally need a checkup.