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10 Common Animal Health Problems and How to Prevent Them

10 Common Animal Health Problems and How to Prevent Them

Animal healthcare is crucial to the health and well-being of your pets and livestock, but it’s easy to overlook when you have so many other things to worry about. Don’t let common health problems creep up on your animals, though, by reading this guide on the 10 most common animal health problems and how to prevent them. In it, you’ll learn about the symptoms of each problem and how to ensure you catch it early enough that treatment can be effective.

1) Underweight animals

If your animal seems unusually thin or is losing a lot of weight, it may be suffering from a number of possible health problems. If you notice that your pet has lost weight in recent weeks or months, take him/her to see a veterinarian right away. A number of conditions could be causing underweight animals, including diabetes, hypothyroidism and chronic digestive issues such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). If left untreated, these health problems can result in serious complications.

2) Diarrhea in Dogs

A common health problem with dogs is diarrhea. Dogs often develop diarrhea when they eat things they shouldn’t have eaten. It can also happen as a side effect of certain medications or even food allergies, but most often it’s because they ate something they shouldn’t have eaten—or something that disagrees with them.

3) Fleas

Have you ever noticed that your pet is itching uncontrollably, or seen small red dots on your pet’s skin? These are telltale signs of fleas. Luckily, there are a number of safe ways to get rid of fleas

4) Ear Mites

One of the most common problems in dogs, ear mites are also one of the easiest to prevent. Ear mites are microscopic parasites that live in your dog’s ears. They aren’t painful, but they can cause itchiness, head shaking, redness, swelling and discharge from your dog’s ears. Itching is usually worse at night. Ear mites can be spread between dogs (and cats) by direct contact or by sharing food bowls or other objects.

5) Tape Worms

Tapeworms are common parasites that can be transmitted from pets to humans. To prevent them, avoid eating raw meat. Wash your hands after handling pets. The easiest way to prevent tapeworm is by treating your pet with an anti-parasite medication regularly.

6) Arthritis in Birds

This is caused by an imbalance in nutrient intake; some bird owners mistakenly give their feathered friends a diet consisting of seeds only. However, birds need just as much fruit and vegetable matter as they do seed in order to remain healthy. Improper nutrition leads to weak bones, which are susceptible to breakage. Arthritis is also common in older birds. If you have an old or injured bird, you should consider speaking with your veterinarian about necessary healthcare problems and how to prevent them.

7) Respiratory Infections in Cats

Though cats are known for their strong immune systems, they can develop a variety of health problems that affect not only their physical well-being but also their behavior. One such problem is respiratory infections, which can be caused by several different viruses or bacteria. For example, in both dogs and cats, respiratory infections are often caused by feline herpesvirus (FHV-1). These diseases cause inflammation in a cat’s airways—making it difficult for them to breathe. Respiratory infections are usually spread from cat to cat through direct contact or through inhaling aerosolized virus shed from infected cats (it's possible for humans to spread these viruses as well). Though there’s no cure for these diseases, a vet will typically prescribe antibiotics as treatment.

8) Parasites in Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are susceptible to many parasites, including worms. If you’re a guinea pig owner, it’s important that you monitor your pet for health problems regularly—especially worms. Parasites can be particularly serious for guinea pigs, as they carry a low body temperature which makes them very susceptible to infection.

9) Bladder Stones in Rabbits

The most common animal health problem for rabbits is bladder stones. Bladder stones in rabbits form when certain minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, are not excreted from your rabbit’s urine. They can cause discomfort for your pet, which might lead him or her to stop eating or drinking. Sometimes bladder stones may be too small to notice, but they still cause discomfort that should be addressed immediately with a veterinarian’s help.

10) Lumps and Bumps

Bumps and lumps on your pets can be a concerning sign of serious health problems or minor nuisances, but learning what animal health problems they are signs of is important. Without proper treatment, bumps, scratches and bites can develop into infections that last long after a trip to your veterinarian. In some cases, however, all it takes is a little patience until you can get an appointment with your local animal healthcare provider (i.e., vet). Some bumps are harmless because they're not even related to disease or injuries—things like cysts or fatty deposits on organs—but don't jump to conclusions about healthy looking bumps until you've talked with your vet.

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