Signs of Pain
Cats and dogs can be very good at hiding their pain. Nadia Crighton takes a look at the top symptoms that may suggest your pet is in pain.
Ever wondered if your pet is in good health? For many of us that gut instinct is enough to warrant a vet visit. But sometimes it’s just not that clear that your pet could be possibly hiding pain. So what are the top symptoms to look out for that could signal your pet is hiding their pain?
All in the Walk & Gums
For dogs and cats, you may notice a change in their walk. They may seem hunched over or reluctant to walk. If they are limping or refusing to use one leg, that is a clear sign that something is not right. A dog who is also fidgety or feels unusually stiff may also be exhibiting signs of pain. For a cat, look at their pads and paws, do they look swollen? If your cat has recently been in a fight, they may have an abscess forming on their paws. Look for swollen, hot areas that could be the source of the pain and seek veterinary treatment.
Also get to know your pet’s gums! These can reveal a lot about what is going on in their body. Healthy, happy gums should be pink and moist, and when pushed should turn white and then pink again. Try this regularly with your pet. If you notice their gums are grey, red, white or almost blue, a trip to the vet may be in order. If you are concerned about your pet’s health at any time, a quick call to your local clinic can help you decipher if an appointment is needed and how quickly.
Is your dog or cat acting strange? Think:
- Over vocalising
- Aggressive or overly submissive
- Excessive sleeping
- Reluctant to move
- Digging or trying to bury themselves
- Chewing legs or paws
- Excessive licking / grooming of an area
- Low energy
- Hiding and avoidance
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive drinking
- Can’t seem to get comfortable and paces
If you are worried about any of these behaviours or if they are sudden and very obvious, medical treatment is a must to rule out any possible pain-related issues.
Call the Vet – NOW
Many symptoms can leave pet owners with a ‘we’ll wait it out’ attitude when it comes to pet problems. Let’s face it; a limping dog can suddenly become a bounding beauty within a few minutes of gentle walking. Many of us have been quick to jump the gun, only to end up sitting in the veterinary clinic with a happy pain-free pet. So what conditions should you seek veterinary treatment immediately for?
Remember, always have the closest emergency veterinary hospital phone number on hand and double check your if local vet can cope with emergency cases. It’s also a good idea to call ahead to alert the practise of your pet’s condition.
- Breathing – if your dog or cat is struggling to breathe.
- Injury or trauma – such as a car accident or serious fall. Your pet could have internal injuries that may not be obvious. If they are in obvious pain, get to a vet quickly.
- Seizures or Fits
- Disorientation or anything neurological – if you suspect something is not right with your pet and they seem disorientated, or suddenly uncoordinated seek help immediately.
- Toxic Exposure
- Ingestion – if you suspect your dog has eaten half a tennis ball or a pair of knickers get to the vet.
- Distended stomach – this could be a sign something is very wrong. Seek advice quickly. If your dog is also trying to vomit and is very uncomfortable; do not wait for the problem to get better, seek help quickly!
- Blood in urine, or toileting problems – these can escalate and signal a problem. Heading off for a check is vital.
- Repeat vomiting and loose stools – in many cases this can be nothing to worry about. However, if your dog or cat is continuously vomiting and experiencing very loose stools a vet appointment is necessary.
- GUT INSTINCT – go with your instincts, if you think something is wrong get your pet to the vet.
A BIT ABOUT THE BLOGGER:
Nadia Crighton is a well-known and accomplished Australian Journalist and pet magazine Editor. As a busy mum of four humans, two dogs, 50 sheep, one cat, a handful of chickens and a goat named Billy (and let’s not forget the axolotls!), she simply adores pets of all shapes and sizes. These are her personal thoughts and advice from many years of pet-ownership and working within the pet industry.