Caring for your fur family – when to seek veterinary services in Lakewood

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Two veterinary doctors with dog during the examination in veterinary clinic
Like human members of the family, pets often heal from injury or recover from illness without medical intervention, if the problem is minor. However, also like us, they are much more likely to suffer complications when necessary treatment is delayed. The challenge is figuring out when home care is adequate, and when your companion needs veterinary services in Lakewood.

Preventive care

At Bloomfield Animal Hospital we provide a full range of therapeutic treatments, medications, surgical procedures, and emergency care. However, we also want to see your pet before he or she becomes ill. Preventive veterinary services include dental cleanings, vaccinations, flea and tick repellent, diagnostics, and general examination. We also offer nutritional counselling, to help you understand your companion’s dietary needs, because this varies by species, breed, and individual medical considerations.

How to tell if your pet is sick or in pain

The outward signs of illness or injury are not always obvious. You might think your pets would “tell you” if something was wrong. Any pet parent knows that the inability to speak doesn’t keep animals from communicating their needs. Just fill the food bowl late or miss a regular walk, and they will prove it. Surely, they would let you know if they were sick or injured – wouldn’t they? Actually, the answer is no.

Even if animals were capable of vocalizing their ailments, they probably wouldn’t. Instead, they are instinctively stoic when ill. Rather than drawing your attention to the problem, they are more likely to avoid companionship, preferring to be alone in a quiet place until they feel better.


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You know your pet well, and you’re probably very familiar his or her habits, appetite, stress triggers, temperament, activity level, and more. In general, if something changes without explanation, your fur baby might not be feeling well. Common signs to watch for include:
  • Avoiding other pets and people, possibly hiding
  • Unusual aggression or signs of agitation
  • Loss of appetite or other changes in eating habits
  • Fatigue, sleeping more or playing less than usual
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Diarrhea or other changes in the appearance of stool
  • Limping, changes in posture, visible wounds
  • Vomiting, excessive drooling, or other signs of digestive distress

Go to the vet, or wait and see?

Veterinarian and dogs and cat Below are some very general guidelines to help you evaluate your pet’s needs. However, every situation is different, and every animal is different. Please be aware that general information found here or elsewhere on the web might not apply in your case.
  • Frequent vomiting or diarrhea – If the problem is recurrent, such as an episode every few days, it is likely a sign of illness. If it happens every time the animal eats or drinks, there is also a risk of dehydration, which can happen very quickly.
  • Serious injury – Large wounds, potentially broken bones, persistent bleeding, visible swelling, and injuries that cause an animal to limp should be seen by a veterinarian.
  • Impact injuries – An accident such as falling out a window or being hit by a car can cause life-threatening internal injuries. Even if the animal has no obvious serious injuries, a veterinary evaluation is essential.
  • Infection or delayed healing – Minor wounds (i.e. small in size and not bleeding heavily) are often cared for at home. However, if it does not seem to be healing, or if it gets infection, then it needs veterinary treatment.
  • Exposure to toxins – If an animal has inhaled, swallowed, or otherwise been exposed to a poisonous substance, don’t wait for symptoms to set in. Seek emergency veterinary care right away.
  • Breathing difficulties – Shallow breathing, irregularities in breathing pattern, wheezing sound, coughing, or any similar symptoms should be evaluated. If the animal seems to be struggling to breathe, then seek emergency veterinary care. Eye or ear injury – These are extremely delicate organs, easily damaged and slow to heal. Any wound, bleeding, or problem in this area is potentially serious.
  • When in doubt – The best rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution. If you think your companion might need help, give us a call.
Please understand the above list is not exhaustive. If you feel there is a problem, or if your pet is simply due for a check-up, please give us a call at (562) 383-7788 . Bloomfield Animal Hospital is AAHA accredited, 4.8 star rated (of 58 Google reviews), and approved by countless pets.