As pet owners, we may know at the back of our minds that health issues can pop up suddenly for our four-legged friends. And yet, we can still be taken by surprise when something does happen. Combine this with the fact that dogs and cats cannot communicate to us clearly when something is wrong, and it can be all too easy to miss the warning signs! That’s why we want to help you prepare for such events (even if they end up never happening) and know what actions to take to aid your pet and get them the care they need, when they need it.
Our objective is to help you observe and report your pet’s condition as accurately as possible. Therefore, if you contact our animal hospital to describe your pet’s problem, our team will be able to determine whether your pet’s condition is potentially severe and in need of immediate treatment, or something less urgent that can wait another day.
The Risk of Downplaying Your Pet’s Condition
Before we go further, we’d like to make it clear that we are not placing any blame on you if your pet comes down with a sudden illness or becomes injured. We know how much you love and care for your pet and aim to always do right by them.
Here at Bayshore Veterinary Hospital, we sometimes have dogs and cats come in with health problems that turn out to be much more serious than originally reported. A pet owner may misinterpret the animal’s symptoms or behaviors, or assume they are not so serious. As pet owners ourselves, we understand that its natural to err on the side of optimism and assume a symptom or behavior is just minor, and not cause for concern.
Unfortunately, this assumption can result in the downplaying of a serious medical condition. If that happens, a pet’s health and life could be jeopardized, and we want to help you prevent that as much as possible.
The last thing we want for you and your pet is for them to be brought to us too late. Below are some important recommendations for recording any health issues you observe in your pet. These tips can help you provide our veterinary team with clearer and more accurate information about your pet’s condition, which in turn will help us recommend the appropriate (and potentially life-saving) course of action.
How to Record Your Pet’s Symptoms and/or Behaviors
There are several ways you can record any abnormal signs or behaviors in your pet.
Take Photos with Your Phone
It’s not always easy to describe what you’re seeing. Taking photos can give us a much clearer idea of what’s going on with your pet, and it can save time.
Record a Video on Your Phone
Video is a great way to log abnormal pet behaviors and actions. For example, maybe your dog is walking with a head tilt, or your cat is dragging a limb. Video can show us exactly how your pet is moving around at home and give us a better sense of what might be going on.
Keep a Journal
Writing notes in a journal (with dates, times, and associated events such as meal time, play time, etc.) can lend context to your pet’s symptoms or behaviors and help our team formulate a bigger picture of their condition. Notes also allow for precise descriptions and may help us determine how long your pet has been having problems.
Ask Yourself Objective Questions About Your Pet
Try to ask yourself matter-of-fact questions about your pet’s condition. How frequently does your pet’s problem occur? Is it ongoing? How does your pet act when the problem occurs? What sort of things do you see? Does your pet make any unusual sounds? Have their daily habits changed at all?
The information you can get from making these observations and recording what you see, hear, feel, or smell is incredibly important for our team, and can help us help you and your pet avert disaster. Providing us with as many details as possible can enable us to formulate a bigger picture of your pet’s health and determine whether their condition requires immediate treatment.
Please get in touch with us if you have additional questions about observing and accurately reporting abnormal health problems in your pet. We are always happy to help and give you peace of mind when you need it most. Call [business-phone] to speak with our team!