Your pet can’t tell you when something feels amiss, but they do communicate by displaying illness signs. Every pet should visit the veterinarian at least once per year for a wellness examination, but concerns often pop up between routine visits. Any change in your pet’s behavior is cause for concern, but some signs are more likely to indicate disease or illness. Our Valley Center Veterinary Clinic team shares the top signs that warrant a visit to our hospital.

#1: Vomiting and diarrhea in pets

Vomiting and diarrhea are clear signs that something is going on with your pet. Vomiting and diarrhea causes are extensive, including gastroenteritis, dietary indiscretion, foreign body intestinal obstruction, pancreatitis, and kidney and liver diseases. Prolonged vomiting or diarrhea can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, and your an ill pet should visit our Valley Center Veterinary Clinic team to receive a prompt diagnosis and effective treatment.

#2: Appetite or thirst changes in pets

Changes in appetite or thirst usually indicate a specific disease process. An increase in thirst and hunger often indicate an endocrine disorder, which can have far-reaching effects on the body. Decreases in appetite or thirst may indicate a pet is generally feeling too unwell to eat or drink, which could be caused by nearly any disease process. These vague signs may not seem concerning, but they can be the first indicators of a serious problem.

#3: Coughing or sneezing in pets

Coughing and sneezing usually indicate an underlying respiratory infection but can be a sign of something more serious. If coughing or sneezing does not resolve in a week, or if your pet is lethargic or refusing to eat, schedule a visit with our team.

#4: Eye redness, discharge, or squinting in pets

Your pet has only one set of eyes, so caring for them is paramount. Redness, discharge, and squinting are common indicators of conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, dry eye, glaucoma, and many other eye problems. Because most eye conditions manifest as similar signs, a visit with our Valley Center Veterinary Clinic team is the only way to determine whether your pet’s ophthalmic condition is minor or severe.

#5: Head shaking in pets

Head shaking is a hallmark sign of ear infection, one of pets’ most common conditions. Ear infections are painful and itchy, often coming on quickly and causing discomfort seemingly overnight. Schedule a visit for an ear checkup if you notice your pet is shaking their head, scratching their ear, emitting a foul ear odor, or experiencing an otic discharge.

#6: Limping in pets

Limping usually indicates an orthopedic injury, which may be as minor as a strained muscle or tendon. Such injuries can often heal on their own with appropriate rest and prescription anti-inflammatories. However, some injuries, such as a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tear, require surgical repair. In addition, some medical conditions can cause your pet to limp, including Lyme disease and autoimmune polyarthritis.

#7: Itchy, red, or rashy skin in pets

Skin problems are prevalent in pets and can be caused by allergies, flea and other parasitic infestations, skin infections, or autoimmune diseases. Most over-the-counter (OTC) pet itch-relief products provide only temporary comfort. To ensure your pet receives effective itch-relief treatment, our Valley Center Veterinary Clinic team must diagnose the underlying condition first. Treating your pet’s itch can be tricky, so our expert team is your best resource.

#8: Lumps and bumps on pets

A pet’s lumps and bumps are usually benign, causing no harm other than potential local irritation. However, the only way to determine whether a lump is benign or malignant is through an examination and needle biopsy, which our team will perform. If you find any new lumps or bumps on your pet, ensure you bring them to our team’s attention as soon as possible.

#9: Bad breath in pets

Bad breath is one of the easiest-to-identify dental disease signs, which is a common problem for pets 3 years of age and older. Stinky doggy breath isn’t normal, so schedule your pet’s dental assessment with our Valley Center Veterinary Clinic team. Your pet may require professional dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup, and treat teeth affected by periodontal disease.

#10: Behavior changes in pets

While behavior changes can indicate a primary behavioral problem, such as anxiety or reactivity, underlying medical issues often cause these inconsistencies. Before seeking treatment from a behavior professional, schedule a visit with our veterinary team to rule out pain, endocrine disorders, and urinary tract and other diseases that could be causing your pet’s behavioral changes.

Any notable change in your pet’s behavior, habits, or appearance warrants further investigation to determine the best solution. If your pet seems ill, or you would like to schedule their annual wellness examination, contact our Valley Center Veterinary Clinic team.