Signs & Symptoms of Common Veterinary Conditions

There are warning signs you can look for, and here we list common dog health warning signs that should have you monitoring your dog or making an appointment to see your vet. Some of these warning signs can wait a day while others need immediate attention. Even if your dog doesn’t exhibit any of these signs but seems “off” for more than a day, pay close attention for additional symptoms or make an appointment for a checkup.

When in Doubt?

Please see a veterinarian for ANY condition that appears resistant to treatment or seems to be getting worse.

Any condition that causes pain or systemic discomfort has the potential to cause sleeplessness and this behaviour at night.  This includes any number of possible injuries or diseases.  However, if this behaviour chronically recurs together with vocalization in a senior to geriatric (age 10 or older) dog with no other accompanying signs of disease, this often indicates: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction/Senility

The onset of this in dogs may be slow or sudden. Either scenario requires attention; however, if it is sudden, and unexpected it generally represents a more immediate emergency.  The majority of cases exhibiting this, begin to exhibit other signs of disease. Problems that simultaneously occur with it may include changes in behaviour, weight, appetite, thirst, defecation, urination, breathing, sleeping, and heart rate. Changes in the color of mucous membranes, and problems with coughing, vomiting, balance, skin or hair coat, can also occur along with weakness.

This is a temporary abnormal electro-physiologic phenomena of the brain, resulting in abnormal synchronization of electrical neuronal activity. It can manifest as an alteration in mental state, tonic or clonic movements, convulsions, and various other psychic signs.  This can occur in dogs in cats due to abnormal area of the brain, but could also be the result of metabolic or systemic disease. 

Signs like redness, flakiness, itchiness of the skin are perhaps the most common reasons for canine and feline visits to the veterinarian.  While most primarily involve just the skin, some conditions are the secondary product of systemic disease.  Therefore, if your pet is showing signs of this disease as well as other signs of illness, such as weakness, obesity, poor appetite, excessive thirst, systemic disease should at least be considered as a possible cause for the  problem. 

This sign should never be taken lightly. It may be accompanied by pain. The owner should note whether the colour is pinkish or an undiluted bright red.

One of those vague clinical signs, because it can involve any number if injuries, systemic accidents, and many different parts of the body. If this condition is due to discomfort that is specifically attributable to certain regions of the body, one should refer to causes for Abdominal Pain, Back/Neck Pain,  Limping. 

This is a very serious clinical sign that should never be taken lightly.  With many causes for this being potentially life threatening ailments, anyone who has a pet that is struggling to breathe should seek veterinary care ASAP. 

This a sign that often goes unnoticed, or dismissed by many pet owners as just peculiar behavior.  What may people are not aware of, is that this can be a sign of serious systemic disease. If it is possible , a fresh urine sample can be most helpful in making a diagnosis at the time of a consultation.

This is perhaps one of the most vague clinical signs in veterinary medicine.  Any number of diseases can stress the body to the point of leading to this problem.  Therefore, if this condition is accompanied with poor appetite, depression, vomiting, or any other signs of illness, it should not be taken lightly and the pet taken to the veterinarian ASAP.  The diseases below which are responsible for the condition also warrant a prompt visit to the vet, but unlike many debilitating diseases that lead to this condition, these typically do not concurrently coincide with poor appetite. 

Coughing is one of the more common clinical presentations vets are presented with on a daily basis.  Coughing could indicate a fairly substantial number of diseases, including: infection, cardiac disease, inflammatory disease, or even cancer to name a few.  Conditions that present with coughing can range from mild disease to life threatening conditions. 

Diarrhea may occur occasionally throughout a pet's lifetime, due to dogs and cats (dogs especially) tending to ingest sometimes less than ideal items.  Diarrhea due to this type of dietary indescretion, may respond by feeding a bland, easily digestible diet.  If you call your vet's office, they may dispense a prescription GI diet, to feed your pet until the diarrhea resolves.  Transient diarrhea of this nature should last only one to a few days, should not be severe in nature or have blood in it, and not be accompanied by complete loss of appetite, vomiting, depression, or pain. 


However, diarrhea could indicate more serious underlying causes, as well as put the patient in danger of dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities - as such, advanced diarrhea of this nature warrants a visit to the vet ASAP. 

Distended abdomen refers to a bloated, larger than normal appearance of the abdominal region.  With many diseases that lead to distended abdomen, there is also an increase in the tenseness or firmness of the abdomen.  Other clinical signs that can accompany diseases that lead to distended abdomen include: difficulty moving, vomiting, inappetance, and abdominal pain.  May diseases that are associated with distended abdomen are quite serious, so if you suspect distended abdomen in your pet, you should seek veterinary care ASAP. 

Redness, pain, excessive blinking, tearing, or cloudiness in an eye are all signs that the eye is diseased.  Diseases of the eye range from mild irritative conditions that do not pose great danger, to conditions that can lead to severe pain and blindness in a very short period of time. 

A large variety of injuries can cause dogs and cats to limp, including muscle sprains, ligament and tendon strains, bruises, fractures, cuts of the foot pad, foreign object stuck in between the digits, and joint infection. 

Lumps or growths commonly occur on the skin of dogs and cats, some benign, some cancerous.  There is a virtually endless number of types of growths that can grow in dogs and cats.