When Your Pet Is Not Quite Right: Subtle Signs of DiseaseDanielle Sullivan
Has you dog or cat ever seemed to be acting different? Not outright sick but a little off? Depending on the symptoms, those very subtle, almost silent changes in behavior and habits could signal a health problem.
Years ago, we had an orange Tabby named Jason. He was finicky (and a little cranky) from kittenhood. When he was about 10, he became even more so. He started to sleep and eat more than normally had, and he began to drink voraciously, so much so that he would urinate an obscene amount. It was so odd that it demanded a trip to the vet who diagnosed him with diabetes. His blood sugar was almost 500. From then on, he needed insulin injections and lived for another year or so after that. Had we not taken him to the vet when we noticed his odd behavioral changes, the vet said he would have died quite soon.
It’s easy when we see a sore or a wound on our cat or dog, or when they are vomiting or having another obvious reaction, but often, indirect signs can indicate a health problem.
Dr. Marty Becker over at VetStreet details 5 signs to look for:
Weight: If your pet has gained weight or lost weight without any changes in their eating plans, that could signal anything from diabetes to a thyroid condition, or even cancer. Give your pets specific and regular amounts of food so you can easily monitor consumption. (But of course, always leave an unlimited supply of water available at all times).
Changes in Activity: Sleeping all day or running around like an energizer bunny (when they previously hadn’t before)? That may be indicative of a metabolic disorder or it could be nothing but t warrants a trip to the vet.
Changes in Eating, Drinking, or Elimination: Like Jason, he had problems in all three of these areas, which I learned later on, was a giveaway for diabetes.
Thermo-regulation: If you dog or cat just can’t cool off and is panting when it’s not even that hot out, it can be a problem. Alternatively, if they are always cold or shivering, that is also a reason for concern.
Skin and Coat Health: Has your cat’s coat gone from shiny and clean to dirty and dull? When a dog or a cat’s coat changes dramatically, it’s a sign that something is up, and only your vet can find out for sure what that something is.
Image: Flickr/ Dani_Girl
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