Alison Laurie-Chalmers, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets
Here is some advice and a guide through a quick ‘Nose to Tail’ pet health check that you can carry out yourself at home on your own pets. A great thing to do to keep you busy during this difficult time.
Always start at your pet’s head reassuring and talking to them throughout and handling slowly and gently.
First check their nose for any discharge, crusting, bleeding sneezing, snuffling, snorting or impaired breathing.
Check their outer lips gently for any growths, inflammation or sticky discharge. Then, if you can, lift their lips and check their gums for any swelling or bleeding. Check their teeth for any severe tartar, movement or pain.
Check their eyes for comfort. Are their eyes wide open and clear with no excess blinking, or are they holding their eyes shut? Check for any inflammation, excessive discharge, swelling, blinking constantly, or pain.
Check their ears for any redness, inflammation, smell, discharge, pain, excessive scratching or holding their ears down.
Check the outer throat area for any obvious swellings.
Take a look at their chest. Is your pet’s chest moving normally, with no increased effort and no puffing, breathlessness or coughing?
Now move your hands gently over your pet’s tummy, is it soft and comfortable with no swelling, bloated appearance or pain? Are there any lumps over the lower abdomen nipple area? Also feel gently over their body for any signs of any new lumps or bumps.
Check their limbs. Is there any pain, heat or swelling? Has there been any lameness? Is this worse first thing in the morning or after exercise?
Is your pet’s coat matt and tangle free and their skin clean and clear and free from crust, scales and inflammation?
Now check their paws, pads and nails. Are there any cuts or abrasions? Are there fractured, split or over-grown nails? Is there any swelling or discharge around the nail beds?
Check under their tail and around the anal area for any swelling, discharge or inflammation there. Is your pet constantly chewing or licking, dragging or ‘scooting’ its bottom? Also, have there been any recent problems passing urine or faeces?
And finally, the tail - Check that their tail is held up in the usual way. Is it high and wagging, or held low and flopped down? Is there any evidence of cuts or grazes at the tail's tip?
Covid-19 has sprung us into difficult and worrying times. However, be reassured, we can still give advice and provide essential care for your pets during the current government lockdown restrictions. If you are concerned about any recently noted health problems, you can still get in contact with us as normal. During this time clients are being offered video or telephone consults, enabling you to get the advice you need and for your Vet to have the information required to decide if they may need to see your pet as an urgent, emergency case.
For any emergencies they will guide you on their protocol at this time to have your pet seen safely and as soon as possible.
If any of the following symptoms occur, then please do contact your Vet as soon as possible as these can constitute emergency cases requiring attention as soon as possible:
- Major Trauma (e.g. falls & car accidents)
- Any Breathing difficulties
- Open wound injuries with significant bleeding
- Cats struggling in the litter tray to pass urine
- Swallowing hazards i.e. toys/clothes etc
- Known or suspected ingestion of poison/harmful substances
- Sudden onset Eye problems
- Vomiting or diarrhoea especially if your pet appears quiet or depressed or if it has been going on for more than 24 hours
- Swollen abdomen or unproductive retching (especially in large breed dogs)
- Loss of thirst & appetite lasting more than 24 hours
- Struggling to urinate; Struggling to give birth S
- Significant weakness or collapse
- Acute severe lameness
- Rabbits neglecting food
- Fly-Maggot strike
If you have any health concerns about your pet call us on 01463 237000.