PLEASE if you have any concern that you have an emergency,     

immediately!

Large Animal Symptoms


​Equine Symptoms:
  • Changes in Weight
    • Any sudden weight change in your horse can be concerning.   Abnormal weight loss could indicate things like worms, teeth problems, or poor quality feed.  Your veterinarian can help with all of these situations.  Weight gain can be a problem as well because it can lead to laminitis (founder), and can indicate a systemic concern, such as PPID (Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction, more commonly known as cushing's disease).  With a proper diagnoses we can treat PPID with medication, and a good diet and exercise program.  Talk to your vet if your horse seems to be overweight, especially if you also notice other symptoms such as low energy, or a dry, rough hair coat.
  • Changes in Hair Coat
    • Your horse's hair coat can tell you a lot about their health.  It should shed out nicely and evenly in the spring, leaving them with a smooth, shiny summer coat.  If you notice a change in the way your horse shed's from previous years, talk to your vet as this could be an indicator of PPID.  A dry, rough hair coat can also indicate a high worm burden, or poor quality feed.  We can talk with you about deworming protocols, and consult with you about your horse's nutrition.  We work with Central Feed Testing in Manitoba, for more information on this, you will find a link from our resources page.
  • Changes in Eating/Drinking
    • Any time you notice a change in eating or drinking in any animal this is a good indicator to book an appointment with your vet.  There are many potential reasons this may occur.  It may just be that your horse is due to get its teeth floated, or it may be something more serious.  We can check some blood work to start getting a picture of what might be going on with your horse internally to see if there may be a concern.
  • Diarrhea
    • While horses may have occasional diarrhea due to things like stress or feed changes, if your horse has persistent diarrhea for more than a couple of days, they may need veterinary intervention.  There may be a more serious issue going on, and there is potential for dehydration.  It is especially important to call your vet if you notice other symptoms along with the diarrhea, such as lethargy, or poor appetite.
  • Changes in Urinating
    • It can be difficult to notice urinary changes in our horses, especially if they have 24 hour pasture turnout, but an increase or decrease in urine output can be a serious problem.  It can indicate a problem with the kidneys, or a build up of bladder stones.  Please talk to your veterinarian if you notice a difference in the way your horse urinates, they may be going more frequently, less often, or in smaller amounts.  Watch their stance while urinating too, you may notice signs that they are uncomfortable.  Also watch for a change in the urine's colour.
  • Difficulty Chewing/Dropping Food
    • This would be the number 1 sign that your horse is due for a dental float.
  • Coughing
    • A horse may cough naturally due to dry, dusty feed or environment, but if your horse's cough seems persistent, and you see no obvious reason for it, it's probably time to consult with your vet.  Watch for any other signs of illness, such as fever, lethargy, nasal discharge, or poor appetite. Try to notice if there is a pattern to when your horse coughs as well, ie, is it only during exercise? while they are eating?  Your veterinarian will take your horse's complete history to help determine what is causing the cough, and implement the appropriate treatment.
  • Lameness
    • It is not uncommon for horses to become lame on one leg or another from time to time.  Often they recover with a little rest, cold hosing, ect. and do not need veterinary intervention.  However, if you notice a recurring lameness, or one that does not resolve on its own, your vet can help determine what is going on and provide treatment.  Make sure to note any other signs as well, such as heat or swelling, wounds, if they are lame on a specific leg, or do they seem to generally move differently.  These are all important factors that will help us determine the problem.  Your vet can use tools like nerve blocks to determine the location that is causing pain, ultrasound to check the tendon structure, and x-ray to check bone structure, and can offer some insights to soft tissue injury as well.
  • Kicking/Biting at Abdomen
    • This is usually a sign of abdominal pain (colic), which can be caused by a variety of issues such as a buildup of gas, blockage from feed, or severe intestinal worms.  Watch for other signs of discomfort such as pawing or rolling.  Monitor your horse's water intake as dehydration can be a big factor here.  Avoid sudden changes in feed, and feed grain in small meals.  Regardless of the cause, please call your vet if your horse is exhibiting signs of abdominal pain.
  • Training Difficulties
    • Many horse owners make the mistake of thinking a training problem is simply a horse being stubborn, but often there is another reason.  It is important to have a vet check over your horse before and during a training program to make sure they are healthy.  Prevention is the key to success, if there is an underlying health issue before you start training, it may worsen and a horse that is in pain can put both you and themselves in harm's way.
  • Change in Behaviour
    • Any sudden or odd change in behaviour could be due to a health concern.  Please talk to your vet if you notice this to rule out health issues first, before proceeding with training for the behaviour.  An experience equine vet will also be familiar with equine behaviour training, so together we can come up with an appropriate plan, regardless of the cause.



Common Pet Symptoms

Small Animal Symptoms


Dog

  • Vomiting/Diarrhea
    • These 2 are probably the most common symptoms in the patients we see. There are MANY things that can cause this, from medication side effects, to intestinal worms, to GI blockage.  If your pet is taking medication that may be causing vomiting and/or diarrhea, we can discuss changing it, or adding a probiotic to help digestion.  Regardless of the reason behind the vomiting or diarrhea, if it is severe or prolonged, it will likely lead to other complications such as dehydration.  Please book an appointment with us if your pet has been vomiting or having diarrhea consistently for more than 24 hours, especially if accompanied by lethargy, blood in the feces or vomit, or lack of appetite.
  • Constipation
    • This can be caused by a few different things, usually dehydration or a diet change, but could also be due to an intestinal blockage.  So it is important that you bring your dog to the vet for this as well.  Constipation causes a lot of discomfort, so you will probably also notice some signs of this like a firm or painful belly, low energy, or lack of appetite.  Owners may also confuse diarrhea for constipation, as a dog with diarrhea will often continue 'trying to go' after they have had a bowel movement that the owner has perhaps missed.  Try to pay attention to your dogs' bowel movements and bring a fresh sample in with you for  your appointment if possible!
  • Coughing/Sneezing
    • Coughing and/or sneezing are quite common in the cases we see in the clinic.  They can be a symptom of heart disease or collapsing trachea, common in many small breeds.  There is typically medication that can help, so please book an appointment so we can help you and your pet sleep at night!
  • Scooting/Licking Bum
    • These can be related to your dog's anal glands, or sometimes intestinal parasites (worms).  We do recommend deworming regularly for all our patients, so if your dog has not been dewormed in the past 3-4 months, you may pick up some dewormer at the clinic if you know your pet's weight.  Some products are also available onlineExpressing the anal glands if a quick and easy procedure that some groomers will do, and can be done at home.  Most owners will prefer to bring their pets in for us to do it, and we recommend this as there can be complications such as infection and rupture.
  • Changes in Eating/Drinking
    • This is another category of common symptoms with many potential causes.  It is normal for dogs to want to eat everything in sight, so most often we see dogs for decreased appetite, but increases in appetite may also be a symptom of a larger issue, and should not go ignored for long.  Increased drinking is often an indicator of disease also.  Many times a decrease in appetite is related to an upset belly, and can be caused by many of the same things as vomiting or diarrhea.  In order to discover this, your vet will usually start with checking blood work, and possibly x-rays, looking for signs of a blockage.  Changes in diet or medication can also cause a change in appetite, and a upset stomach.  We recommend doing a gradual transition whenever changing your pet's food, unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.  Book an appointment with us if you notice a change in your pet's eating or drinking that lasts beyond a couple of days, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomit, diarrhea, constipation, or low energy.
  • Changes in Weight
    • Both weight gain and weigh loss can be disease indicators.  Sudden weight loss can be caused by many things, and should be a high concern.  We can run some diagnostic tests to help determine the cause, and usually treatment options are available.  Weight gain can also be caused by many things, besides just overfeeding or lack of exercise, and is also a contributor to diseases like diabetes and heart disease.  Of course it can sometimes be as simple as misreading a feeding chart on a bag of food, or failing to factor treats into your dog's total daily caloric intake.  Either way, if you notice a change in your dog's weigh, we can advise you at your appointment on the best course of action. Contact us for your free information package on weight gain.
  • Limping
    • A common symptom we see in the clinic.  If a limp comes on suddenly, or if you know there has been a possible injury, it is better to bring your dog in sooner than later.  The sooner we can start treatment, the more likely a full recovery will be.  Limping, or lameness, can also happen gradually, especially in older dogs, due to things like arthritis.  Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to help ease inflammation and discomfort.  There is also aspects of nutrition that can help, and we can provide advice on the best types of exercise that will help without causing more damage. Contact us for your free information package on mobility.
  • Scratching
    • The most common causes of itchiness in dogs are skin parasites, like fleas, or allergies.  Try to think about any changes to your pet's environment or diet, we will ask you about this at your appointment.  Things like a new detergent, new bedding, or moving to a new area.  Many dogs will also get seasonal allergies and you will notice an increase in scratching at certain times of the year.  Indoor heating in the fall and winter can also dry out skin and you may notice an increase in dandruff and scratching.  It is important to have your vet discover the cause of the itch so that it can be treated appropriately.  This is not an uncommon thing and there are many treatments that can give your pet some relief.  Contact us for your free information package on itchy skin/allergies.
  • Shaking/Tilting Head
    • This is most likely related to itchy or dirty ears, but head tilting can also be related to neurological problems.  At your appointment we will likely first check an ear swab, looking for bacteria, or parasites.  We also have a special otoscope with a camera so we can check deep inside the ear canal and the ear drum.  Sometimes a hair or a wax plug will be causing discomfort, which will cause scratching or head shaking.  Prolonged head shaking or ear scratching can lead to complications such as aural hematoma (where a blood vessel with rupture and the ear will look puffy - this has to be drained and sutured under sedation), or even a ruptured ear drum, so it should be treated early.
  • Lethargy
    • If you notice a sudden change in your dog's energy level, especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as lack of appetite, please book an appointment with us.  There can be a number of factors at play.  After getting a detailed patient history, your veterinarian will usually start by checking a blood panel to try to determine the cause, and recommend treatment based on that.  A more gradual decline in energy can be associated with other things like old age, arthritis, or weight gain.  We can also make recommendation to help with this so that your dog can regain some energy and you can both continue to enjoy a good quality of life.
  • Puncture Wounds
    • Puncture wounds should not be taken lightly.  Even something that looks small can be much deeper than it looks.  If untreated, these can create pockets for bacteria to grow, causing abscesses that will have to be drained and sutured.  The early a wound can get treated by your veterinarian, the better the chances of a good recovery.
  • Odd/Abnormal Behaviour
    • It is normal for animals to try to hide their symptoms.  We always recommend closely monitoring behaviour because subtle changes can indicate larger problems.  When it comes down to it, you know your pet best, and if you are concerned about something you notice, there is probably a reason behind it.  Try to log odd behaviours and any changes in the household leading up to your appointment.  Things like new furniture, plants, renovations, can be important information for us when determining what is wrong.  Be as detailed as you like, sometimes our answers come from unexpected details.


Cat

  • Vomiting/Diarrhea
    • There are MANY things that can cause this, from medication side effects, to intestinal worms, to GI blockage.  If your pet is taking medication that may be causing vomiting and/or diarrhea, we can discuss changing it, or adding a probiotic to help digestion.  Regardless of the reason behind the vomiting or diarrhea, if it is severe or prolonged, it will likely lead to other complications such as dehydration.  Please book an appointment with us if your pet has been vomiting or having diarrhea consistently for more than 24 hours, especially if accompanied by lethargy, blood in the feces or vomit, or lack of appetite.  Diarrhea can be difficult to notice in cats as they usually go in the litter box.  You still may notice a change in consistency, and there may be other signs such as increased vocalization when using the litter, feces remaining around the anus, or excessive licking.  You may also bring in a fresh fecal sample to your appointment if you are able.
  • Constipation
    • This can be caused by a few different things, usually dehydration or a diet change, but could also be due to an intestinal blockage.  So it is important that you bring your cat to the vet for this as well.  Constipation causes a lot of discomfort, so you will probably also notice some signs of this like a firm or painful belly, low energy, "hiding", increased vocalization, or lack of appetite. Some cats can also develop a condition known as "megacolon" where the colon becomes weak, dilated, and makes bowel movements more difficult.  A veterinary recommended diet can make a big improvement here.  Book an appointment with us to discover the cause of constipation so appropriate treatment can be initiated.
  • Problems Urinating
    • Cats, especially neutered male cats, can be prone to something called FUS (feline urologic syndrome) where the urethra becomes blocked with bladder stones and the cat becomes unable to pass urine.  This is an emergency situation requiring immediate attention.  Monitor your cat's urine output, if you notice any changes, please bring your cat to the vet.  Also pay attention to changes in behaviour in the litterbox, such as increased vocalization, this can indicate a painful urination, or urinating outside the litterbox.  Cats can be fed a special diet that will help prevent the formation of bladder stones by altering the pH of the urine.
  • Coughing/Sneezing
    • While fairly less common in cats than in dogs, coughing or sneezing can still occur.  This will most commonly be associated with a respiratory infection, but could also be a variety of things, such as a foreign object stuck in the throat.  If your cat develops a persistent cough, you may book an appointment with us.  We will review your cats medical history with you, including vaccine history, to help lead us to the correct diagnoses.  Diagnostics such as blood work and x-ray may also be beneficial.
  • Panting
    • Unlike dogs, cats do not typically pant.  They may for short periods if they are very hot, stressed, or excited.  If none of these seem to be the case, and your cat has been panting consistently, please bring them to the vet asap, especially if the breathing seems laboured, or the cat seems to be painful.  Any respiratory distress is always of high concern.
  • Excessive Grooming
    • Changes in your cat's grooming habits can indicate something abnormal going on.  They might be itchy, perhaps due to an allergy, or they may be painful, due to any number of things.  Their anal glands might need to be expressed.  Cats can also exhibit this behaviour when they are stressed.  If their excessive grooming worsens, or comes on suddenly, and you don't see any clear reasons for stress, it is probably a good idea to bring your cat to be checked by your vet to determine the reason behind this behaviour.
  • Changes in Eating/Drinking
    • This is category of common symptoms with many potential causes. Either an increase or a decrease in eating or drinking can be a disease indicator in cats.   In order to discover the cause, your vet will usually start with checking blood work.  Changes in diet or medication can also cause a change in appetite, and a upset stomach.  We recommend doing a gradual transition whenever changing your pet's food, unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.  Book an appointment with us if you notice a change in your pet's eating or drinking that lasts beyond a couple of days, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomit, diarrhea, constipation, or low energy.
  • Changes in Weight
    • Both weight gain and weigh loss can be disease indicators.  Sudden weight loss can be caused by many things, and should be a high concern.  We can run some diagnostic tests to help determine the cause, and usually treatment options are available.  Weight gain can also be caused by many things, besides just overfeeding or lack of exercise, and is also a contributor to diseases like diabetes and heart disease.  Of course it can sometimes be as simple as misreading a feeding chart on a bag of food.  Either way, if you notice a change in your cat's weight, we can advise you at your appointment on the best course of action. Contact us for your free information package on weight gain.
  • Limping
    • A common symptom we see in the clinic.  If a limp comes on suddenly, or if you know there has been a possible injury, it is better to bring your cat in sooner than later.  The sooner we can start treatment, the more likely a full recovery will be.  Limping, or lameness, can also happen gradually, especially in older cats, due to things like arthritis.  Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to help ease inflammation and discomfort.  There is also aspects of nutrition that can help, and we can provide advice on the best types of exercise that will help without causing more damage. Contact us for your free information package on mobility.
  • Lethargy
    • If you notice a sudden change in your cat's energy level, especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as lack of appetite, please book an appointment with us.  There can be a number of factors at play.  After getting a detailed patient history, your veterinarian will usually start by checking a blood panel to try to determine the cause, and recommend treatment based on that.  A more gradual decline in energy can be associated with other things like old age, arthritis, or weight gain.  We can also make recommendation to help with this so that your cat can regain some energy and you can both continue to enjoy a good quality of life.
  • Scratching
    • The most common causes of itchiness in cats are skin parasites, like fleas, or allergies.  Try to think about any changes to your pet's environment or diet, we will ask you about this at your appointment.  Things like a new detergent, new bedding, or moving to a new area.  Cats can also get seasonal allergies and you will notice an increase in scratching at certain times of the year.  Indoor heating in the fall and winter can also dry out skin and you may notice an increase in dandruff and scratching.  It is important to have your vet discover the cause of the itch so that it can be treated appropriately.  Scratching the ears is commonly related to ear mites, especially if you have an outdoor cat.  Excessive scratching of the ears can lead to complications like aural hematoma, where a ruptured blood vessel leads to the ear filling up with blood and appearing puffy.  So make sure to have this looked after before too long.  Itchiness is not an uncommon thing and there are many treatments that can give your cat some relief.  Contact us for your free information package on itchy skin/allergies.
  • Puncture Wounds
    • Puncture wounds should not be taken lightly.  Even something that looks small can be much deeper than it looks.  If untreated, these can create pockets for bacteria to grow, causing abscesses that will have to be drained and sutured.  The early a wound can get treated by your veterinarian, the better the chances of a good recovery.
  • Odd/Abnormal Behaviour
    • It is normal for animals to try to hide their symptoms.  We always recommend closely monitoring behaviour because subtle changes can indicate larger problems.  When it comes down to it, you know your pet best, and if you are concerned about something you notice, there is probably a reason behind it.  Try to log odd behaviours and any changes in the household leading up to your appointment.  Things like new furniture, plants, renovations, can be important information for us when determining what is wrong.  Be as detailed as you like, sometimes our answers come from unexpected details.

Let us help you figure out what could be behind your pet's symptoms, and if or when you should bring them in.

How do you know if you need to bring your pet to the vet? 

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