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3 Signs Your Pet May Be in Pain

It crosses every pet owner’s mind: “Is my pet in pain?” And this question comes up more and more as our pets get older. One of the most difficult things about being a pet owner is that our pets cannot verbalize how they’re feeling. This leads us to wonder if our dogs and cats are living their best lives. The last thing you want is your pet struggling with chronic or acute pain, after all. And while your pet will likely never learn to speak human, they often send more subtle signs that they’re in pain. Here are 3 of the most common signs that your pet is in pain:

1. Changes in Behavior

It can be difficult to tell what is normal slowing down due to age for a dog or cat versus what is a change in behavior, activity level, or temperament due to pain.

What’s normal?

Partaking in games, affection, and fun but with less intensity. Many dogs and cats will also become more tired than they did when they were young. Sleeping more often between stints of activity is also normal.

What’s not normal aging?

If your pet’s attitude or interest in their favorite activities abruptly changes, there’s a very strong possibility they’re in pain. Discomfort and pain can make pets feel cranky and grouchy. It also zaps the fun out of playtime, snuggling, and receiving attention.

Many pets will tend to become more irritable over the course of the day. This is due to compounding aches and pains. There’s also a very good chance that if your pet is experiencing pain, they’re not sleeping well which adds to their crankiness.

Some pets may even growl or nip in response to pain. If you stroke your pet and they pull away or turn to nip you, you may have run your hand over a sore area.

If your pet loves snuggling on the sofa, but suddenly refuses to hop up, they’re likely not feeling their best.

2. Obsessively Licking One Area of the Body

Both dogs and cats will obsessively groom an area that is bugging them. The most obvious reason they do this is that they’re surveying and cleaning the area. Secondly, the tongue massages the tissues and increases blood flow to the area for a better immune response.

Not only does licking stimulate more blood flow to an area of discomfort, but it also releases ‘feel good’ endorphins in your pet’s brain.

You may notice your pet licking their paws and joints. This may be due to arthritis pain or over-exertion and soreness. Many dogs and cats will also paw at itchy painful eyes or ears.

3. Difficulty Eating or Lack of Appetite

If your pet loses interest in their meals, they are very likely not feeling well. Injuries can immediately cause a dog or cat to not want to eat. This is part of their fight or flight mentality as a response to pain.

Disinterest in food can be a sign of internal illness, as well. Many hidden conditions can cause a pet to feel lousy, which makes them lose interest in food. The most common internal conditions include:

  • Parasites
  • A strain or broken bone
  • Allergies
  • Tumors
  • Infection
  • Organ problems
  • Possible poisoning
  • An autoimmune disorder

Oral pain will also cause a reluctance to eat. If your pet skips a few meals or begins eating but stops, check their mouth for broken or chipped teeth. It can be difficult to tell what you’re looking at when it comes to your pet’s mouth, so be sure to make an appointment to see us.

Don’t Let Your Pet Continue to Deal with Pain

If you believe your pet may be in pain, please do not wait to schedule an appointment. Many of the signs we’ve listed could be symptoms of a worsening, severe, or life-threatening issue. We can diagnose your pet and provide the most advanced pain management and treatment.

Proactive preventative care, including dental cleanings, parasite prevention, exercise, regular checkups, and a healthy diet are the building blocks to your pet’s good health. We’re here to help you on this journey.

 

 

Feline Fine - 5 habits that positively impact the health of your cat

Cats are wonderful pets; in fact, over 25% of US households share their home with a feline companion, according to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association). They’re cute, cuddly, comical, and provide delightful companionship! But there are some things you will want to keep in mind to keep your cat's health in tip-top shape. Since August 22 is National Bring Your Cat to the Vet Day, we're sharing 5 habits that positively impact the health of your cat!

1. Feed them a healthy diet

One of the best things you can do for your cat is to feed them a healthy diet. The diet should be high in quality and be appropriate for their overall health needs. For example, we offer diets that help support dermatologic issues, weight problems, sensitive stomachs, and provide overall support for your pet at whatever life stage they are in. You will want to avoid giving your cat junk food or table scraps, which will lead to an overweight kitty and affect their health.

2. Brush their teeth

Brushing your cat's teeth is one of the easiest ways to support their health. Not only does brushing their teeth remove plaque buildup, but it also helps support healthy gums. Without brushing, periodontal disease can develop - and left to worsen, this can affect your cat's internal organs, leading to costly illnesses.

Important tip: NEVER use human toothpaste to brush your cat's teeth. There are toothpastes specifically for your feline friend, and even in flavors they'll love!

3. Provide mental stimulation

Cats have active minds and a native instinct to hunt. If these two characteristics are not addressed, you may notice destructive behaviors in your cat, or possibly even boredom or depression. Food puzzles, foraging toys (which hide food inside), scratching posts, and vertical shelving for cats to get a "birds-eye view" can go a long way in keeping their minds engaged and their bodies active and healthy!

4. Be on the lookout for behavioral and health changes

There are some signs that can indicate your cat needs attention or medical care. If your cat is showing any of these signs, bring them to see us right away:

  • Changes in activity level
  • Changes in their appetite
  • Hiding
  • Signs of pain when touched or moved
  • Weight loss

It's important to note that cats are notoriously good at hiding pain and sickness, so subtle changes can help provide insight into issues that need to be addressed.

5. Remember to schedule their yearly veterinary visit

It is important that you bring your cat in for a yearly veterinarian visit. This ensures that they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and continue to get checkups to ensure that they remain healthy.

As we briefly mentioned before, cats hide illness and pain. Annual veterinary visits provide that nose-to-tail medical insight into changes that may have occurred over the past twelve months. As your cat's veterinarian, we will check their weight, administer necessary vaccinations, complete any relevant lab work, and check the health of eyes, ears, skin, and teeth.

If your cat is a senior, more frequent visits, such as two times per year, are advised. Generally, cats become seniors around age 10, according to The American Association of Feline Practitioners.

We love seeing your cat!

All in all, there are many habits that will go a long way in keeping your cat healthy. We are here to partner with you in keeping your favorite feline happy, healthy, and part of your family for as long as possible! Give us a call to schedule your cat's annual visit today!

 

 

Our Mission:

We provide the quality care our clients expect and their pets deserve, by relying on the expertise and
compassion of each team member.

 
 
 

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Westgate Pet Clinic
4345 France Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Directions to Our Clinic
(612)925-1121
(612)925-6297 Fax
(612)568-1405 Pharmacy

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