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If your four-legged friend is looking at you with big, sad eyes, he may be trying to tell you something. Animals don't always whine or act out when they don't feel well. As a pet owner, you need to know your animal's routine, and be alert when it changes from the norm. Here are a few symptoms that may indicate health problems and require a trip to your veterinarian.
Just like humans, animals will drop pounds if they get more exercise, or if they cut down on snacks and extra helpings. Unexpected weight loss, however, may indicate a serious health problem. If your pet has not been on a diet, but is losing weight, visit your vet to rule out cancer or other grave illness.
All pets have a quiet time of day. Sometimes, however things can get a little too quiet. If your dog or cat seems otherwise healthy, but is sleeping more than usual, or doesn't greet you at the door in the expected manner, pay attention. It's possible your pet's subdued behavior is the result of an internal infection that you can't see.
Even animals can become tired of the same, old routine and demand a change of menu. Your cat may decide that her favorite food is suddenly the equivalent of stale cafeteria fare. Some animals, however, may abruptly stop eating if they are ill, or emotionally upset. If you are travelling and leave your pet with someone else, they may stop eating because they miss you. If your pet goes on a hunger strike, switch his food to tempt them with other tastes. If he still won't eat, take a look inside his mouth. Check for bleeding or infected gums. He will not eat if his mouth is in pain. If he seems otherwise healthy, see your vet. Your pet may have parasites, or other stomach or intestinal complications that inhibit his appetite.
After a long game or fetch, or when the thermometer rises, your pet may drain the water bowl. However, if you are filling the water bowl many, many times every day, be suspicious. Your pet may need to be checked for kidney disease, diabetes or other health problems. Be aware that some medications may increase thirst, so if your pet is medicated, ask your vet if thirst is a side effect.
This is one of the most frightening signals that your pet is sick. One minute your dog will seem perfectly normal, and the next he will begin to quiver and shake, and fall to the floor, unable to control his body. This fit, or convulsion, may cause your pet to lose bladder control, and will sometimes leave him exhausted or ravenous, but otherwise unhurt. Seizures should be reported to your vet and monitored closely, as they may indicate epilepsy or be caused by a brain tumor.
Just as in humans, an unexpected lump on the body can be cause for alarm. Lumps can appear anywhere on an animal's body and they may be perfectly harmless, or a sign of cancer. All lumps should be examined by your vet.
Any physical change in your pet, or change in personality, may be a sign of illness. Consult your vet if you suspect your pet is not himself. Professional help maybe the only way to aid your four-legged friend.