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Get Vet Advice – Three Symptoms You Cannot Ignore in your Pet

Posted Oct 19 2009 4:04am
As a pet owner, you probably want to save a little money so you often try to diagnose minor ailments in your pet and treat them accordingly. While this may work for the most part, there are a few signs of serious illness that may be misinterpreted by you. If you are unsure about some symptoms, it is important to ask your veterinarian about them.

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Lethargy

Every pet has an off day or two but for the most part, as long as they are healthy, they are always happy to see you and tend not to mope around. However, if your dog or cat is normally exuberant and active but suddenly would rather sleep than play or interact with you, do not downplay it or attribute it to exhaustion. Lethargy and listlessness are often initial, understated signs that something could be wrong. Cancer, kidney disease, urinary obstructions, pancreatitis, hypothyroidism, pregnancy problems, parasites, immune system disorders and even tumors all can cause lethargy in your pet.

Repeated Attempts at Urination

If you notice your cat straining to urinate or squatting to urinate often, an obstruction of the urethra may be the culprit. Male cats develop feline urethral obstruction more often than females because their urethra is narrower and longer. The tip of the urethra may become clogged by mucus or even dirt. A blockage of even a few days could cause kidney failure and even death if left unchecked.

Dogs can also develop obstructions in the urethra which would explain the frequent urination efforts. Bladder stones, tumors and other obstructions can also be the culprit. Urinary tract infections and bladder inflammation are other possibilities that can occur in both cats and dogs.

Coughing and Vomiting

Occasional coughing or vomiting is no big deal, especially if your pet eats a little grass or is hocking up a hair ball. However, if the vomiting and coughing occurs more than once a month, these are signs of something more serious. Dogs that vomit often may have an unknown object stuck in their stomach or intestines. Food poisoning or poisoning of some other kind can also cause vomiting. Coughing in dogs is not common so you should take it seriously. Coughing can be a sign of a throat obstruction, pneumonia, weak tracheal cartilage, a heart condition or even bronchitis.

Cats that vomit often (more than once or twice a month) may have eaten a foreign object that is causing problems in the intestines or stomach. Poisoning, inflammatory bowel disease and kidney problems are additional vomiting causes. Coughing in cats could signal asthma, lung disease or even throat obstructions. In both dogs and cats, food allergies can cause both vomiting and coughing.

At the first sigs of vomiting and coughing, lethargy or attempts at frequent urination, bring your pet into your veterinarian. Do not attempt to treat them on your own with herbal or over the counter remedies as these could exacerbate the problem. Receiving prompt medical care means that your pet can likely be successfully treated with no ill effects. Delaying treatment could literally be a matter of life and death.

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