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How To Tell If Your Pet Requires Veterinary Attention
May 15, 2024

Being a pet owner is truly a wonderful and fulfilling experience, filled with countless moments of joy and laughter. A significant amount of responsibility comes with it. When you bring a pet into your home, you become responsible for every aspect of their well-being. That includes keeping a close eye out for signs of sickness, and, if necessary, bringing your pet to an animal emergency clinic. This article from a local East Indianapolis, IN vet highlights several warning signs to watch out for.

What Are Some Signs Of Non-Critical Issues In Pets?

Not all health concerns in pets necessitate immediate attention. Although there are some minor issues that should be addressed, there are also several matters that can be handled with an appointment rather than a visit to the emergency room. That would cover issues such as torn toenails, tartar buildup on teeth, minor scratches, and skin irritation.

Keep in mind that signs do vary, depending on what sort of pet you have. A bunny may grind her teeth if she’s in pain, for instance. Cats often retreat when they don’t feel well, while dogs may seem listless or restless. Do some research, and ask your East Indianapolis, IN vet for more information.

If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to reach out to your East Indianapolis, IN animal clinic and seek their advice. It is advisable to exercise caution in this particular area.

What Are The Most Important Signs That A Pet Needs To See A Vet?

Our beloved pets rely on us to take care of their healthcare needs, and they can’t tell us if something is wrong. Remaining vigilant for any indications of potential issues is crucial!

Without further adieu, here are some of the major ones:


It’s important to distinguish between restlessness and zoomies in this case. Our furry companions are known for being active, playful, and full of energy. (We also have some patients that are couch potatoes, but that’s another topic.) A clear indication of unease is definitely a warning sign. An example would be a dog repeatedly changing positions, as if he is unable to find a comfortable spot. Pacing can occasionally be a warning sign as well.

Trouble Breathing

Dogs pant to regulate their body temperature, especially in hot weather, so it’s completely normal for Fido to pant after a fun round of Tag, Fetch, or Catch That Squirrel. However, if you’re unable to determine the reason behind your dog’s panting, or if your furry friend is panting excessively, there might be an underlying issue.

Shallow breathing can indicate that something is not right. Wheezing, gasping, and coughing are also red flags.


Staggering and stumbling are almost always signs of underlying medical conditions that require immediate attention. There is a wide range of potential health issues that can cause this, varying from severe allergic reactions to neurological problems and everything in between.

Vomiting And Diarrhea

To be fair, pets sometimes experience upset stomachs, which is not uncommon. Our feline pals are also very susceptible to hairballs. Occasional vomiting or diarrhea is not necessarily a cause for concern, though you could call your vet to see what they say. However, if pets are frequently, persistently, or forcefully vomiting or having diarrhea, that’s a different story. Bloody or frothy vomit is also a cause for urgent care.

Decreased Enthusiasm for Play

Pets bring so much joy to our lives with their playful nature. However, if your furry companion is feeling under the weather, they may not show much enthusiasm for their usual toys or activities.

Lack Of Energy

Some pets are more active than others. And, like people, pets tend to slow down over time. It’s likely that some of you have lazy pets lounging on your couch. That being said, even pets who tend to be more relaxed should still remain attentive and aware of their surroundings, and should show enthusiasm for activities such as mealtime and playtime. If your pet appears to lack energy, something could be wrong.

Unexplained Weight Fluctuations

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for a pet’s overall well-being. If everyone in the house has been giving the dog treats all day, you won’t be in the dark as to why Fido is gaining weight. Fluffy also has a knack for persuading people to feed her whenever she wants. Sudden changes in your pet’s weight, however, can be signs of medical issues. That may not call for urgent care, but definitely warrants making an appointment.

Changes in Behavior

Our furry pals all have their own personalities. Take note of any behavior that seems outside the norm for your pet. Getting to know Fido and Fluffy and paying lots of attention to them will help you recognize any changes that could indicate medical problems.

Untidy Fur 

If you’re not feeling your best, it’s likely that your usual beauty or self-care routine might take a backseat. The same holds true for cats. Fluffy usually keeps her fur in good condition. However, if she’s not feeling well, she may not be up to it. Her fur will quickly lose its luster and become disheveled.

It’s important to mention that this is not necessarily a cause for concern with older cats. Elderly cats often have a slightly unkempt appearance. That’s because it’s more challenging for them to bend and stretch sufficiently to groom themselves effectively.

Loss of Interest in Food

It’s almost always a cause for concern when an animal refuses to eat. Most animals have healthy appetites. There are a few exceptions, like a reptile that’s about to shed its skin. But for the most part, if your pet isn’t eating, there may be something wrong.

A word about our feline pals: cats are known for being finicky. However, if Fluffy is just being picky, she’ll definitely let you know she wants something else. If a kitty shows no interest in food, it could be a sign of illness.

Excessive Thirst

It’s completely natural for Fido and Fluffy to need to drink more in hot weather or after engaging in vigorous activities. However, if your pet consistently appears thirsty, there may be an underlying issue to consider. (Note: you may need to set out extra water stations in summer.)

How Can I Determine If My Pet Requires Immediate Medical Attention?

There are certain indicators that would always require immediate medical attention for your pet.

Here is the list:

  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Bleeding
  • Swollen Abdomen
  • Inability To Urinate Or Defecate
  • Bloody Diarrhea
  • Eye Injury
  • Known Or Suspected Poison Ingestion
  • Choking
  • Lameness
  • Inability To Walk
  • Unconsciousness
  • Shortness Of Breath
  • Broken Bones
  • Severe Limp
  • Vomiting  
  • Diarrhea
  • Mydriasis
  • Obvious Pain
  • Unable To Deliver Puppies Or Kittens
  • Balance Disorder
  • Sudden Blindness
  • Fractures
  • Pale/Discolored Gums
  • Inability To Walk
  • Lethargy
  • Known Accidents/Trauma

If you notice any of these warning signs, call the vet right away, or just bring your pet in as soon as possible.

Set An Appointment At Your East Indianapolis, IN Pet Hospital

Are you seeking information or advice regarding your pet’s health or care? Get in touch with us, your East Indianapolis, IN animal clinic, today!