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Easy to miss signs of a sick pet – explained by a Markham veterinarian

By August 30, 2014 February 28th, 2019 Uncategorized

Veterinary clinics in Markham still see too many pets with symptoms of disease, yet the owner were unaware…

It might be a good time to review some of the symptoms pets show when they are ill with an internal disease. In some cases these symptoms are subtle and require careful observation on your part. Also, when a pet has multiple (and busy) owners it is easy to overlook the early signs of disease in pets.

Obvious signs of internal disease in pet explained by vet in Markham:

Some symptoms of internal disease are obvious, the primary ones being

  • lack of appetite and
  • persistent vomiting or
  • diarrhea
  • lethargy
  • strong odor
  • lack of social attention

The more subtle signs of illness in pets and a common mistake you don’t want to make.

  • A pet that does not eat its food as vigorously as it once did could indicate a problem anywhere from the mouth, to the brain, to the internal organs. Many times owner believe that the pet is bored with their current food and buy something tastier… This is a common mistake. Vets in Markham often see animals whose owners give them a new variety of food every few days. The owners bring the pet because they are frustrated about their pet being “finicky”. In reality the poor pet is ill and won’t eat because of the disease.
  • Panting more than usual, even during the cooler time of the year, could indicate an internal hormone problems called or even discomfort or pain from arthritis or an internal organ problem. Since many dogs pant from excitement as well, this is a more difficult sign to differentiate. Our veterinarians always advise that increased panting needs to be brought to our attention.
  • Panting in cats is ALWAYS a serious sign.
  • Laying around more often, or gravitating towards warm areas could indicate a hormone problem involving the thyroid gland.
  • Any eye or nose discharge that is persistent, and drains from only one side could indicate a number of problems.
  • Subtle behavior changes that include a lack of recognition when your pet greets you, changes in sleep patterns, circling around a table in your house, staring into space, or wandering into a wall could indicate anything from an old age problem to a problem with a brain tumor or central nervous system infection.
  • A pet that drinks or urinates more than its usual amount is a potential symptom of many different problems. The same holds true if your pet experiences the opposite and drinks or urinates less.
  • A significant change in the color of your pets stool, usually much darker or much lighter, is also a potential sign of many different problems.
  • A sick pet usually is less interested in its social environment. A cat may sleep a lot and not greet the owner. A dog may just prefer to stay downstairs instead of following the family up to the bedrooms.

Any change that becomes apparent is an indication for a physical exam by a veterinarian. Our veterinary team will ask you virtually EVERY visit about changes in behaviour and appetite. Since many signs are quite subtle, our veterinarians are trained to look out for them during the yearly Wellness exams that include a physical exam along with a fecal check for parasites and a routine blood panel go a long way towards identifying problems before they become well entrenched and difficult to treat. This is particularly true for our geriatric pets that commonly become ill but do not show any outward or apparent signs.


Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

PS: Watch this video to understand our practice philosophy.

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of  Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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