Pet parents who willingly share their homes and their lives with one or more dogs surely strive to keep their pets happy and healthy. Vaccinations, proper food, exercise, and staying alert for cuts, strains, and any other signs of injury are par for the course as a good pet owner. Sometimes, however, signs of serious illnesses or disease can be overlooked by even the most diligent pet owner, simply because they are very subtle or come and go with no easily notable pattern. If you share your home with a canine buddy and want to enjoy their companionship for as long as possible, never ignore the following signs that they may be dealing with a serious illness.
Drinking more water than usual
While any dog is likely to drink more water on days when they are exposed to warmer temperatures or are very active, dogs that suddenly begin to consume copious amounts of water for no apparent reason may be developing a serious illness. Called polydipsia, drinking excessive amounts of water can be a symptom of:
- Cushing's disease - a serious illness related to an overproduction of cortisol from canine adrenal glands, often due to a tumor
- diabetes mellitus - a chronic condition related to the bodies inability to make or use insulin properly in order to regulate blood sugar
- kidney failure - a serious, often untreatable condition in which damage or disease is limiting kidney function
Drinking too much water can also be an occasional symptom of boredom, but if your dog begins to drink significantly more water on more than just an occasional basis, a physical exam is a very good idea.
Excessive panting, restlessness, or pacing
Storms, loud noises, and many other sounds and experiences can cause dogs to become nervous or agitated. But when this behavior is noticed without any apparent cause, the dog may be experiencing a serious digestive tract issue, such as bloat or a blockage. Conditions like these can be life threatening, so it is important to seek veterinary care immediately for dogs exhibiting this behavior.
Unexplained lethargy or weakness
Dogs who suddenly begin to act very tired, lethargic, or appear weak and unsteady on their feet can be experiencing one of several serious illnesses. Some of these illnesses include:
- internal bleeding
- glandular issues, such as Addison's disease
- organ failure
- serious cardiac issues, such as a pericardial effusion
- a reaction to some type of poison
Dogs, like humans, typically exhibit clues when they are not feeling their best. If you pet is acting differently in these or other ways, its a good idea to have them evaluated at a clinic like Pitts Veterinary Hospital PC. Along with regular checkups, observant pet parents are a dog's best defense against the effects of a serious disease or illness.