The Pet Corner: You know your pet best

No one knows a pet better than its owner.

You’re the one who can sense your pet just isn’t acting quite right. You may not be able to determine exactly what’s bothering him, but no one else could even tell he was acting sick at all.

That’s because you know your pet’s normal personality, level of activity and normal routine.

It’s pretty easy when your pet comes through the house holding a leg up. However, they can’t talk and tell us where it hurts, how much it hurts or how they got hurt, so we have to rely on their actions to investigate their particular injury or illness.

It’s important to convey everything you know about your pet’s illness or injury to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian relies a lot on the history of your pet’s illness.

Your veterinarian can perform an examination and diagnostic tests, but the information you give about the way your pet is behaving could be just as important as the tests.

Often, pet owners can tell by looking at their pet something is wrong. It’s not unusual for someone to bring their pet into the clinic and say they aren’t sure if their pet is really sick, but they don’t act right. More often than not, the pet owner is right and something was wrong with their pet.

To best take care of your pet, your veterinarian needs you to give them as much information as possible, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

For one reason or another, pet owners don’t share some pertinent information with their veterinarian making diagnosis and treatment more difficult.

On some occasions, I’m sure the pet owner doesn’t know they are not divulging all of the important information.

A common scenario is when married couples bring their pet into the clinic and they don’t seem to completely agree on their pet’s symptoms. Often, one of them will say their pet has not been vomiting and immediately the other will correct their spouse stating, “He has been vomiting. I saw him vomit once about two weeks ago.”

It is also important for us, the patient’s doctor, to be precise with our line of questioning. Sometimes we will sense the pet owner does not give out all of the known history of their pet because they don’t want us to think they have not been good pet owners. Only after asking them several times, they will admit to treating their pet at home with some questionable medication.

If you have been giving your pet some type of medication, it is imperative you share that information with your veterinarian. For example, if you have been giving your dog aspirin at home and your veterinarian doesn’t know that, they might give your dog a medication that could potentially cause serious side effects.

Aspirin often causes microscopic ulcers, or bleeding, in the stomach and intestines. Some medications could potentiate the effects of bleeding in your dog’s intestinal tract making them feel very bad. It could cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and even anemia or low blood count.

If your veterinarian doesn’t know about the aspirin, they won’t know which medications to reframe from using.

It is always best to be totally up front with your veterinarian and offer as much information about your pet as you possibly can.

As always, if your pet is showing any signs of illness, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.

Dr. Jeff Castle is a veterinarian at Clark County Veterinary Clinic.