How Can a Person Know an Animal is Sick?
The first step in disease recognition and control is being able to recognise when an animal or group of animals is unwell. By compiling information from the history of an animal or group of animals, conducting a physical examination, and undertaking special testing (if necessary) the veterinarian or government inspector is generally able to determine the cause of a condition or disease.
The following list outlines some of the more common signs that can be looked out for in an ill animal:
Common signs of an ill or injured animal
- The animal not eating as much as usual – this is usually the first sign you will notice
- It may also drink more or less water than normal, depending on the illness.
- An animal standing by itself away from the herd
- Animal limping or dragging a leg
- Discharge from eyes, nose, or vaginal area
- There may be abnormal lumps
- The eyes may be dull and the mucous membranes may have changed colour. Deep red membranes indicate fever; pale membranes show anaemia; yellow membranes indicate a liver disorder, while blue-red membranes show heart and circulatory problems, or pneumonia.
- Animal making unusual noise (bellowing, grunting)
- Animal acting uncomfortable, getting up and down
- The animal might be sweating. A cold sweat indicates pain while a hot sweat indicates fever.
- If the animal is in pain it will probably be restless (getting up and down and pacing about), and it may even be groaning
- Diarrhoea or straining to defecate
- Animal not defecating or with very little stool
- Animal urinating a lot, or not as much as usual
- Marked weight loss or gain
- The coat will look dull and dry, and the hairs may stand up.
- There may the presence of open sores, dandruff, or the loss of hair or fur from the body
- Behavioural signs – Recognise any significant differences in the behaviour of an animal such as increases in viciousness, lethargy or any other abnormal signs such as excessive head shaking, scratching, licking or biting of certain parts of the body
- The vital signs of a sick animal will change. The temperature may go up or down. A rise in temperature of one or two degrees usually indicates pain, while a rise of more usually indicates infection.
- The rate of respiration, and the way the animal breathes could also slow changes. With pain or infection, breathing becomes more rapid. In a very sick animal, breathing can be laboured and shallow.
- A slightly increased pulse rate suggests pain, while a rapid pulse suggests fever. An irregular pulse can indicate heart trouble. In a very sick animal, the pulse is weak and feeble.
- A sick animal may also possess foul breath or excessive tarter deposits on the teeth
HOW CAN STUDY HELP YOU?
This course will help you to more readily recognise problems with animals as soon as they manifest.
If you have always wanted to work with animals then this course is a great starting point towards a qualification.
If you work in an animal shelter, have farm animals, care for pets, work in a pet shop etc and would like to recognise the first symptoms and signs of a disease so you can call in a health proessional as quickly as possible – this course will help you to do that.