A healthy pet makes a good companion. But you really need to take good care of your pet to keep it in good condition. In spite of all your efforts, the pet may fall ill. It may contact a deadly disease. The key to a healthy pet lies in taking all the precautions so that it does not fall ill and more importantly recognizing the symptoms of diseases, which if left ignored may turn out to be fatal.

Some of the symptoms that indicate an onslaught of a deadly disease are:

  • Abnormal discharges from the nose, eyes, or other body openings.
  • Loss of appetite, marked weight losses or gains, or excessive water consumption.
  • Difficult, abnormal, or uncontrolled waste elimination.
  • Abnormal behavior, sudden viciousness, or lethargy.
  • Abnormal lumps, limping, or difficulty getting up or lying down.
  • Excessive head shaking, scratching, and licking or biting any part of the body.
  • Dandruff, loss of hair, open sores, and a ragged or dull coat. Foul breath or excessive tarter deposits on teeth.

Cancer
Cancer is very common in pets and accounts for almost half of the deaths of pets over 10 years of age. The cause of most of the cancers is not known and hence its prevention is difficult. Breast cancer can be prevented with early spaying.

Symptoms of Cancer in Pets

  • Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • Offensive odor
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Hesitance to exercise or loss of stamina
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating
  • An early detection of cancer is paramount in its treatment.

Rabies
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. The virus is usually transmitted by a bite from a rabid animal. Only mammals get rabies. Birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians do not. Prompt and appropriate treatment, after being bitten and before the disease develops, can stop the infection and prevent the disease in people.

Prevention/Treatment of Rabies

  • Get your pet vaccinated against all the deadly diseases including rabies.
  • Don’t let your pets roam freely. Keep them indoors.
  • If a pet has been bitten by another animal contact a veterinarian immediately.
  • If pets that have been vaccinated against rabies are bitten by another animal, they should be revaccinated immediately, kept under the owner’s control, and observed for period of 45 days.
  • If unvaccinated pets are bitten, the pet may have to be euthanized immediately. Alternatively, the animal should be checked and immediately placed in strict isolation for 6 months and vaccinated 1 month before being released.

Ear mites
They are common in dogs and cats. These mites spend most of their life in the ears. Often an animal can be severely infested with the pests before there is any outward sign of their presence. If ignored it is followed by a bacterial infection that can spread deep into the ear and eventually penetrate the brain causing convulsions and death.

For prevention, get your pet’s ears regularly examined by a veterinarian.

Spaying/Neutering
Get your pet spayed or neutered. Spaying your female pet (cat or dog) can help to prevent cancers of the reproductive tract, including breast cancer, and will decrease the incidence of reproductive infections. Neutering your male pet will prevent testicular cancer and can decrease the incidence of prostate problems. Certain behavioral problems are also reduced when the pets are spayed or neutered.

Dental Care
Pets need good oral care. Remove plaque regularly from your pet’s teeth as part of the dental care routine. Regular dental checkups by an experienced veterinarian are also essential. Bad breath could be a sign of impending dental disease such as gingivitis. Dog breeds, such as Pekingese and Shihtzu are more prone to dental diseases because their teeth are crowded into small mouths and this creates a haven for plaque buildup. Some signs of a tooth decay are: bad breath, a yellow brown crust of tartar around the gumline, pain or bleeding from the gums.

Vaccination
Like us pets can be prevented from diseases by vaccination. They should be vaccinated to protect them from many highly contagious and deadly diseases.