Dogs and cats aren’t always great at letting their owners know when they’re not feeling so hot. Their will to play, eat, and enjoy life doesn’t always wane until a disease has significantly progressed. Since it’s typically easier and more effective to treat health issues early on, it’s important for pet parents to keep an eye out for the following subtle symptoms that could mean an illness is brewing:
1.) Weight changes: While gaining a pound or two may not seem like a lot, it definitely is for your 7 pound Chihuahua. Keep an eye on your pet’s weight and discuss any changes (gain or loss) with a veterinarian. A thyroid condition, Cushing’s Disease, or another health issue could be to blame.
2.) Hair loss: If you notice hair loss, a variety of medical conditions could be at fault including an estrogen deficiency or excess, Cushing’s disease, mange, dermatitis, and hyperthyroidism. A physical examination and testing may be required to uncover the cause.
3.) Excessive panting: Panting is obviously a normal canine behavior, but when panting becomes constant or excessive, it’s time to speak to a veterinarian. Heart failure, pneumonia, Cushing’s disease, and lung tumors can all result in heavier-than-normal breathing.
4.) Changes in appetite: If your pet doesn’t seem particularly hungry or is all of a sudden ravenous, a few medical reasons could be the culprit. Dental disease, cancer, liver problems, infections, and kidney failure can all result in a decrease in appetite. On the other hand, an increase in appetite can sometimes be an early symptom of diabetes.
Spending a lot of quality time with your pet makes it easier to notice subtle changes in appearance and behavior. Be sure to discuss any questions or concerns with your pet’s veterinarian.