We decided to write up some guidelines for people to help them judge when their pet might be sick. Of course it is only a partial list and if something unusual is happening please give us a call for advice. After hours we recommend Bay Area Veterinary Emergency Clinic in San Leandro (510-352-6080) or Pet Emergency Treatment Service in Berkeley (510-548-6684).
If your pet’s appetite has noticeably diminished. Animals are sick if they suddenly become extremely picky or only will eat people food when normally they readily consume their plain old dry food.
Weight loss. Unless you are really restricting the food and increasing the exercise level, then weight loss should be investigated. Sometimes it is hard to tell in longhaired animals, and it’s not as obvious when you see them every day. Feel free to bring your pet in for a weight check any time we are open and we can compare it to their last visit.
Excessive urination or thirst. These symptoms can be an indicator or kidney disease, diabetes, and some other disorders and needs to be looked in to.
Frequent urination, blood in the urine, or straining to urinate. This can be life threatening, especially in male cats, who can have their urethra become completely obstructed with crystalline debris or stones. In most other animals this is indicative of a urinary tract infection. Any of these problems should be seen the same day.
Weakness, collapse, or seizures even if followed by a return of strength and seemingly normal behavior should be investigated.
Difficulty breathing is considered an emergency situation. Cats will sometimes hide disease in their chests so if you see a cat moving their chest more than normal to breathe they need to be seen. Coughing may or may not be seen. Exercise intolerance can indicate a heart problem.
Vomiting can be very serious if the animal can not hold down food or more importantly water for more that a day. Intermittent vomiting is more of a chronic condition.
Diarrhea which lasts more than two or three days should be checked into. If it is combined with vomiting or if the diarrhea is very watery then dehydration can occur quickly.
Constipation can require medical attention, especially in older cats. If you see your animal straining on and off to defecate with no result for more than a day then they need to be seen.
Please remember; never give your animal human medications without consulting with your veterinarian first! Many medications can be poisonous to dogs and cats and can cause serious problems or even death in some cases.