Top five signs that your pet could be seriously ill


MedicAnimal co-founder and Chief Veterinary Officer, Andrew Bucher, outlines five problems in pets that owners should never ignore.

Commenting on these symptoms, Andrew Bucher said: “There are some symptoms that might seem unimportant but in actual fact could be signs of a serious, and potentially life-threatening, illness for your pet. If more people knew about what to look out for I am convinced we would prolong the lives of thousands of pets every year right across the UK.”


1. Bloating

Bloating can be extremely serious and can cause death in a matter of hours. It is more common in larger breeds of dog who tend to “wolf their food down”. The stomach can bloat and twist on itself, causing a massive release of toxins into the bloodstream. Best way to avoid it if you have a ‘wolfer’ is to feed your dog from a raised height. If your dog is bloated, get it to the vet as soon as possible.


2. Constipation

Constipation can be far more serious in our pets than in owners; it is potentially life-threatening and death can occur within 24-36 hours if left untreated. Constipation suggests your pet is actually having problems to urinate and you may see small amounts of blood-stained urine in the tray. Take your pet to the vet immediately, who will anesthetise it and remove the blockage. Re-occurrence is prevented by simple diet changes and regular urine checks.


3. Thirst

If your cat is drinking excessively it could be a sign of kidney failure, particularly if they are over the age of eight. This is made worse as we do not see the symptoms until 75 percent of the cat’s kidneys have been destroyed. If this is combined with notable weight loss, it is particularly important to see your vet as soon as possible. Thirst can also be a sign of Cushings in dogs, diabetes in both cats and dogs, or thyroid issues in both species.


4. Bad breath

Bad breath is part and parcel of pet ownership, but if it is unusually bad, will not go away or you spot something unusual inside your pet’s mouth, get to a vet. Look out for reddening of the gums, bleeding, calculus (horrible yellow looking plaque) and a smell so unpleasant that you can’t stand having your pet’s face close to yours. If so, this needs immediate intention.

Not only is it painful for your pet to eat, the constant attack of the bacteria entering your pet’s bloodstream can result in heart issues or kidney disease. If advanced your pet will need a general anaesthetic and intravenous fluids to have their teeth cleaned properly, which can cost £250-300. If you haven’t already, invest in a cat/dog toothbrush and toothpaste to prevent this.


5. Sleeping more than normal

Always ask yourself “what is my dog doing now that it wasn’t before, or what did it do but no longer now?” Notable changes are always work investigating. Sleep is one good example – if you have been out on a five hour hike then it is obviously explainable, but if not then it could be a sign that your dog has dementia. More common in older animals, there is no definitive treatment but changing the way you exercise and stimulate your pet, as well as some food supplements, can have a notable impact.