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Breed & Health Resources

Signs Your Pet May Have an Infection

By Roxanne Hawn

black lab licking mouth

No one knows your pet better than you do. That is why paying attention to what’s normal and what isn’t is so important. Little changes in your pet’s behavior, in how they move, and even in how they smell might just indicate something icky is brewing inside.

While regular veterinary exams and diagnostics, such as blood work, can catch many things, your veterinarian relies on you and your family for the best intel on your pet’s health changes.

Signs Your Pet May Have an Infection

Here are a few signs that your pet may be harboring an infection. Be sure to alert your veterinarian if you notice any of these changes:

Do you smell that?

If your pet’s “smells” begin to change, it could be sign of something serious. This can range from terrible breath and unusually smelly urine or feces to general body odor such as your pet’s coat. While some scents can change due to diet or environment, this is definitely something you want to take note of.

Changes In Behavior

Have you noticed a shift in their general attitude? Pet parents report their animal’s personality taking a hit when they are feeling under the weather. Such changes consist of:

  • Hiding or isolation (especially in cats)
  • Sudden development of new fears
  • Paying much attention to (looking, licking, etc.) to any part of the body
  • Sudden incontinence
  • Lethargy
  • Dullness of response to you or day-to-day life
  • Blank stare

Is your dog making unusual noises?

Some dogs really like to talk and be vocal! Others, not so much. You know your dog and how they communicate with you. If they are performing unusual vocalizations it can be indicative of something gone awry.

Other types of sounds can highlight health issues, as well. If you hear sudden, excessive gurgling during digestion or airy/explosive sounds while going to the bathroom (either way) – we recommend talking with your veterinarian.

Look Out For Swelling

Infections can lead to inflammation on the skin, near joints, or inside your pet’s mouth. If there is swelling of the mouth, you should also pay attention to any color changes. Pale gums are commonly an important sign that something serious may be happening and you should get your pet to the vet as quickly as possible.

Infections Can Cause Pain

If you noticed your dog moving differently or with difficulty, it could be a sign that they are experiencing pain with movement. Keep an eye out for:

  • Sudden stiffness
  • Trouble rising
  • Avoidance of stairs
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