6 Signs You May Have a Sick Dog
By: Jody Smith | Reviewed by Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM | May 20, 2019
It would be nice if your dog could tell you what’s wrong when she’s sick, but unfortunately, we have to learn how to tune in through other means. There are many warning signs that speak loud and clear if we’re paying attention. We just need to know what to watch out for. Therefore, here are 6 signs you may have a sick dog.
1) General Changes
If your dog is usually energetic, but now has lost interest in things that used to be fun, she may be ill. If she has lost interest in eating and has lost or gained a good amount of weight, seemingly for no reason, your dog could be experiencing a health problem. If your usually friendly dog has become disinterested or outright hostile, you could have a sick dog on your hands.
2) Changes in Elimination
Diarrhea can be no big deal, just a result of eating something unusual. But it can also be a sign of illness.
Bloody stool is a sign that you need to get your pet into the vet right away.
A change in the amount or frequency of urination is noteworthy. Less urinating, or having a hard time trying, could indicate bladder stones or a urinary tract infection.
More frequent urination, along with greater thirst, can be symptoms of diabetes. So can a noticeably bigger appetite or weight loss that has no apparent explanation.
A urinary tract infection or urinary tract stones can be signaled by urination attempts which are unusually frequent or sudden, and not very successful. If there is blood or pain, these can also be signs of urinary tract issues.
Adrenal gland disease, kidney disease or liver disease can also cause an increase in urination.
A chronic cough can indicate heart disease, heartworm or lung disease.
Kennel cough is an infectious tracheobronchitis. You’ll hear a hacking, harsh cough. It often is a mild condition that only last for two weeks or less. But in a puppy, it can become quite serious and may lead to pneumonia which can be fatal. Possible signs of pneumonia are appetite loss, fever, lethargy, nasal discharge, and a productive cough.
For some breeds with faces that are more pushed in, kennel cough can also lead to worse health problems with their respiratory systems. Boston terriers, boxers, bulldogs and pugs are some breeds that can run into this.
It is possible to have your dog vaccinated against some of the organisms responsible for kennel cough.
4) Dry or Itchy Skin
There are many possible causes for your pet losing hair or having itchy skin. Just a few of these are endocrine issues, along with fungal, staph or yeast infections.
Sometimes these symptoms can be caused by infestations of ear mites, fleas or ticks. Ear mites or yeast infections in cats or dogs can result in a crumbly brown ear discharge. You may see a lot of scratching at their ears.
If you see your dog rubbing his ears or backside across the floor, it may be because he’s trying to relieve irritation he has due to an allergic reaction, a skin infection, a fungal condition, or various bug infestations.
A dog can run a fever. A normal range is 99.5°F (37.5°C) to 102.5°F (39.2°C). If you’re seeing something different, call the vet.
If your dog is vomiting while also lethargic, and with a noticeable loss of appetite, this is a combination that needs attention.
It’s not unusual nor is it a problem if your dog occasionally vomits. This can be from eating grass, or something that disagreed with him. But if you’re seeing blood or bits of bone, and if it goes on for hours along with pain or fever, things can be very serious.
If there is blood in the vomit, your pet may have a gastric ulcer, or other GI problems. Parasites like giardia, hookworms, roundworms or whipworms can also cause this symptom. This may also be a sign that your pet swallowed something it shouldn’t. The list of possibilities is seemingly endless — clothing, cutlery, string, toys, sharp bone, and tinsel are just a few objects that could be causing a problem.
If you notice any of the above signs, take your dog to see its veterinarian right away.
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