It is sometimes difficult to know what requires a trip to the veterinarian and what can be monitored at home. Some symptoms that are mild can resolve on their own with little or no medical intervention. Other symptoms are red flags for serious, sometimes even life-threatening, problems.
These are a few of the more common situations that require prompt veterinary attention:
1) A male cat that is straining but unable to produce urine. Immediate attention is necessary as this cat may have a urethral obstruction.
2) Drinking more water than usual without an obvious cause (such as temperature or exercise). Increased thirst (polydipsia) can be a clue that your pet is suffering from a disease such as diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid disease, or hyperadrenocorticism.
3) Ingestion of toxins such as lilies, prescription or over-the-counter medication, rodent poison, or chocolate. If you are uncertain about what your pet ingested or if it could be toxic, please give our office a call.
4) Multiple episodes of vomiting. If your pet has vomited more than once or twice in a short period of time, we will want to make sure there is not an intestinal obstruction.
5) Bleeding. This includes subtle bleeds such as bruising of the skin without an obvious cause or bleeding that looks like broken blood vessels on the gums. This could indicate a clotting disorder. Pale gums can indicate anemia.
6) Pain. This can be acute, indicating a new problem, or chronic, such as with arthritis. We have many options for managing pain in pets. Because our pets frequently don't whine or complain, remember to look for subtle signs such as stiffness or hiding. Even relatively minor disease, such as ear infection or urinary tract infection, can cause significant pain so don't wait to get these guys in to see us.
7) No interest in eating. In our kitty patients, especially, this is something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible as there can be very serious consequences of anorexia.
There are many other important reasons to bring your pets in for veterinary attention. This, by no means, is an all-inclusive list. If you have any questions, please give our clinic a call and we can help you make a decision. Above all, you know your pets best. If you think there may be something wrong, please schedule an appointment for them to be seen. Problems that are caught sooner may be easier to treat than those that aren't found right away.