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5 Illness Indicators Pet Owners Should Never Ignore

Photo: Courtesy of Matthew Henry

Your pet can’t talk, but signs that they’re sick are right in front of your eyes — if you know where to look. Like humans, an animal’s eyes, ears, skin, hair and nails offer telltale signs that something might be wrong, such as the following:

1. Hair loss

If your pet is experiencing hair loss, it may indicate a hormonal disorder, such as an underactive thyroid gland. Your pet should see a veterinarian if hair loss is present anywhere on the body.

2. Yellowing

Pay close attention to the color of your pet’s eyes, the area around the eyes, gums, the inside of the lips and the skin on the tummy. If the skin in any of these areas appears yellow, it could indicate a liver problem.

3. Redness

Redness in the whites of the eyes may indicate a serious health issue such as a corneal ulcer, glaucoma or conjunctivitis.

4. Bloody nose

While a bloody nose is usually not a cause for concern in humans, in pets it can indicate trauma, a nasal infection or cancer.

5. Excessive drooling

Excessive drooling should raise your level of concern. While all dogs drool, excessive drooling is a sign of a serious dental issue, gum disease or even an oral tumor.

Programs such as the Animal Medical Center’s recently launched Usdan Institute for Animal Health Education are working to spread expert animal health knowledge with pet owners across the country and around the world. But the bottom line is, these are just a few signs to keep in mind, and no matter how informed you are, you can never be too careful when it comes to the health of your pet. Trust your gut — if you think your pet might be sick, it is always best to seek an evaluation by a veterinarian.

To learn more about signs of illness in your pet and other animal health topics, visit www.amcny.org/usdaninstitute.

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