Is your pet feeling under the weather?

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Is your pet feeling under the weather?

As a Veterinarian here in the Vail Valley, I often times am asked, “Isn’t your job so much more difficult than a human doctor because, well, Pet’s can’t tell you what is wrong?”  This is a very true statement in the literal sense, because we all know our pets cannot “talk “ to us, but what I do tell inquisitive minds,  our pets still “communicate “ with us, just not by talking!

Then the question arises, “How do I know if my pet is sick?”

Our Pets actually  communicate to us thru their actions, which if understood by a watchful owner, can catch health issues before they become life threatening!

Signs to watch for in our pets that may signify an underlying health concern include:

  • Not eating or Overeating If a pet is not eating, they are telling us they do not feel well. Pet’s do not necessarily get “picky” about their food and need a Buffet every morning to encourage appetite. A pet that is not eating does not feel well and this should raise concern . If your pet has begun asking for more and more foods, this can also signify underlying health concerns.In cats for example, this can signify disease such as an overactive thyroid which drives your pet’s appetite and metabolic rate. Is your cat howling and waking you up at night? Then you need to get your pet into your vet for an examination.
  • Not drinking Water or  Excessively drinking water 
  • Is your pet refusing to drink water? This can be a sign of many internal health issues, just as not eating is. This can quickly lead to dehydration and eventual organ failure should it progress so be cogniscent of your pet’s normal drinking habits so as to be alerted if it suddenly becomes reduced.! IF your pet is “hovering”over the water bowl or following you into the bathroom to sneak a lick of water out of the fawcet, and you notice that usually very full water bowl is emptying far faster, this is reason for concern. Diseases such as diabetes, kidney failure, Adrenal Gland diseases, among others, cause excessive thirst.
  • Excessive shedding/Not grooming
  • A cat that begins to have a very “greasy,” “matted,” and “unkept” haircoat should alert an owner to an underlying health issue for example. In both cats and dogs, excessive dryness,hair loss, bald batches, excessive itching and poor hair texture can all indicate disease in your pet and warrant a veterinary visit.
  • Hiding

       Is your dog not wanting to go for their usual walk?  Is your dog going to places he/she doesn’t normally go and not coming home? Is your cat hiding in places he/she has never been before? When animals are sick, it is not uncommon for them to wander off to be alone, or to hide in places so as to avoid contact with other pets.

  • Inappropriate Urination

Is your cat urinating around the house and you think he/she is “mad” at you ? Is your dog squatting to urinate in front of you in the kitchen this morning? Pet’s urinate inappropriately many times because of an underlying infection in their urinary tract. Don’t ever “assume” this is behavioral before you have ruled out infection with a proper Urinealysis with your veterinarian!


The list of how our pet’s communicate how they “feel” to us goes on and on but I’m hopeful this short list can make us all aware of the “bigger” signs to watch for that may tell us our furry friend is feeling under the weather!



We look forward to seeing you!