When your pet or work animal acts unusual, there is a possibility this is a sign of a mild ailment or a serious sickness. Animals are not built like human beings and because of this, it could be difficult to find out your pet is sick until it is too late.

Sometimes a medical procedure or treatment is cheaper when detection is made on time and this will not only put your pet in a faster road to recovery, it also saves your money which would have been spent in an emergency or advanced treatment.

Remember that animals have a tendency to hide when they are sick. This is a normal behaviour that is encoded in their genes as a means of survival in the wild. In times past and now, animals that exhibited signs of injury, or illness had a higher mortality rate as they would be a target for predators or shunned by the herd.

So how do you find out your pet animal companion is suffering from more than a wee bit under the weather? There are symptoms to look out for spotting a sick animal some of which include:

♣ Little or no appetite for food or drink

♣ Lethargy or low energy levels

♣ Hiding

♣ Vomiting or incessant diarrhoea with flecks of blood present in faecal matter

♣ Distended abdomen

♣ Loss of hair

♣ Bad odour emitted from orifices such as ears, mouth, skin and anus

♣ Mucus or abscess from the eyes, nose, and anus

♣ Limited mobility or inability to move around as before

♣ Seizures

There are many more symptoms but these are some signs to look out for. Depending on the symptom, the animal may need emergency care or surgery if symptoms persist for over 48 hours. Signs of emergency veterinary care include a distended abdomen, constant vomiting and diarrhoea, as well as the inability to walk. Minor symptoms could need an assessment by a qualified veterinary doctor within a day or two.

Once an ill animal has been to the doctor and received treatment, there may be a need to continue medication as well as medical supervision at home. This will mostly include taking the prescribed medication, special foods and including physiotherapy. These are a few tips to ensure you handle your sick pet with the right care:

• Make sure you understand the prescribed amount of medication to be given to the animal as instructed by your vet doctor. The doctor knows of the challenges which may be involved in giving an animal its medication and will be happy to give practical instruction in that regard.

• Remember that an animal undergoing treatment may need to be isolated in a quiet environment. Also, if the animal is suffering from a virus, putting such an animal in quarantine is a necessity as you will not want to infect other animals within the environment. Make sure to keep children away from such animals until the animal gets better.

• If there is a special food prescription, feed the animal on a separate bowl and not in a communal bowl with the rest of the pets. Communicate to the surrounding people including adults and children not to give the animal treats like sweets which may interrupt with its dietary needs or interfere with medication.


Remember, a sick pet has the tendency to pass waste more times than its usual so you must clean its environment consistently. Hygiene is an important part of taking care of a sick pet.