Today’s technology and the availability of information at our fingertips is both a blessing and a curse. Answering a burning question in a matter of seconds is fantastic, but always being connected can be exasperating. The fact that anyone can put misinformation on the web is one of the big problems of the internet age. Unfortunately, that can include advice about veterinary care that is less than correct.
A common bit of advice is to use an over-the-counter medicine for pain in dogs and cats. Unfortunately, aspirin, ibuprofen/advil, and acetaminophen/tylenol can cause stomach ulcers, and kidney or liver disease. Never give any medication to your pet unless your veterinarian advises it. Even if given in doses correct for their weight, medicine that isn’t approved for pets can make them very ill. Their anatomy is much different than ours and doesn’t handle things like our bodies do.
Urinary problems are commonly dismissed as being due to age. If your pet is drinking or urinating more frequently, it can be a symptom of a number of problems. If your cat or dog is having accidents when they’ve always been great with their house-training, they may be trying to let you know there is a problem. Diabetes, kidney issues, urinary tract infections and bladder crystals are all underlying diseases that can present with such symptoms. The only way to tell what is really going on is to have your vet examine, test and diagnose the cause.
Weight loss or gain is another thing that shouldn’t be ignored. It isn’t a symptom of just getting older. My own cat who has a voracious appetite began losing weight, even though she was still eating normally. She was also pestering us a lot, getting in our faces and mewing. I had her bloodwork checked, and she is hyperthyroid. She is doing well on medication, but if I hadn’t had her checked we wouldn’t know what was going on. Diabetes, dental disease, dietary problems, and thyroid issues can cause weight fluctuations and all need to be treated as early as it can be detected.
Most of all, you know your pet. If they are acting differently or having symptoms that are out of the ordinary, speak with your vet. It’s best to catch any problems as soon as possible so that you can begin treatment. Many times they will try to let us know when something is going on, whether it’s by urinating in the wrong spot or by being extra needy. Listen to them.