Pet Subject

A healthy dog is a happy dog

A healthy dog is a happy dog - Credit: Archant

For once, I was sitting in the waiting room of the surgery this Sunday morning just chatting to clients, when what looked like “the dog with the happiest smile” joined us!

He truly had the biggest and broadest grin on his face and his owner explained that he was just happy to be out of the consult room and back into the safety zone of the waiting room. It was such a nice picture to see dog and owner so tuned into each other and she knew exactly what he was thinking. Sometimes though people come in for a consult with the words “Something is not quite right, but I can’t put my finger on it”. I have to admit, however, that most of the time the owner’s hunch was correct.

Finding out more may well involve answering the 101 questions of your vet, but you are his eyes and ears after all when it comes to his health. In the worst case scenario, “clipping a hole in his sleeve” as a client once so nicely put it to her cat, followed by a tiny scratch, and a simple blood test is needed. Urine is another easy way of screening and often in such cases can tell us where or where not to look further. I know urine samples are not always easy to get and if you are spotted can produce funny looks from neighbours! There are litter tray kits and it is worth the effort as the samples can be extremely helpful and sometimes even life-saving.

Another thing to do, preferably while you both are having a rough and a tumble, is to regularly have a good feel around. While your pet is relaxed, it will not only be easier but you will feel more. Feel around for any new lumps and bumps and have a look at them. Most of the time they are warts, cysts and fatty lumps, which are all quite harmless, but if you are unsure or anything looks suspicious then it is best checked. Also touch their ears, see if they are painful or smelly, and look at their eyes, anything red or runny may warrant a closer look at, and then there is the bad breath – best to see a dental clinic nurse.

Any changes in eating or drinking habits are important, especially if your pet is also losing weight as well. Unfortunately these changes happen so gradually that they can go unnoticed, even to the most experienced owner, hence those 101 questions. Just remember, if you have that hunch you are usually right!

In the meantime, enjoy the fun of keeping an eye on them and let them do the smiling!

Chapelfield Veterinary Partnership: 21 Chapelfield Road, Norwich, 01603 629046; Post Mill Close, Wymondham, 01953 602139; Wellesley Road, Long Stratton, 01508 530686; Bungay Road, Brooke, 01508 558228; Norwich Road, New Costessey, 01603 743725.

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