The Health of Your Cat’s and Dog’s Eyes, Ears, and Mouth
A cat’s or dog’s quality of life doesn’t diminish if they have issues with their eyes, ears, or mouth, as long as their owner puts in the effort to accommodate their different abilities. However, it’s important to recognize when your pet is in discomfort, pain, or is feeling anxious or depressed, so owners can act quickly, and find solutions and act on them. It is unresolved and untreated issues which damage a pet’s quality of life, not in their eventual abilities. Eyes, ears, and the mouth are essential to how pets, and we, perceive the world. Maintaining, or improving, the health of these organs and parts of the body is important. Here are some issues to look out for and how you can prevent them.
The eyes are a sensitive organ. Foreign bodies – dust, pollen, grit, etc. – and allergens – dust and pollen fall under this category too – can cause a few issues. Allergens, in particular, is a growing problem for humans as well as pets, with theories such as improved hygiene and a lack of exposure to germs and bacteria which strengthen a body’s immune system.
Eye redness is one effect. It is how it sounds. The whites of the eye become red due to inflammation. There is also irritation – which can happen at the same time as the redness or independent of it – where a pet might be rubbing or pawing at their eye, blinking more often, and have tears streaming down their face. These can be treated by monitoring what might be causing this redness (allergens) and avoiding it and, also, gentle washes can solve the issue of allergens and foreign bodies.
Redness, irritation, increased blinking, squinting, discharge, and sensitivity or unresponsive to light are common symptoms of less serious – in most cases, those mentioned above, and conjunctivitis and glaucoma – to more serious illnesses – corneal ulcer, cataracts, and cherry eye, for instance. Looking out for these will go a long way to recognizing your pet’s eye health.
Cherry eye is worth dwelling on. It is a condition where the inner eyelid protrudes, and tends to affect certain breeds of dog more than others: bulldogs, cocker spaniels, and beagles, for instance. Many people wonder what pet insurance actually covers. Insurance companies, like Lemonade, will be aware of the health problems certain breeds tend to have. Your policy will have factored in your pet’s breed and other details, and coverage will be tailored to your dog.
Your cat might be ignoring you, it’s true. It’s possible your puppy doesn’t know their name yet or is just quite happy doing the exact thing you don’t want them to be doing. Odds are they can hear everything from their name being called to the news about Halle Berry’s new film. However, if this is a repeated issue which isn’t just situational to telling off your pet, there might be more to it.
Deafness is usually congenital or caused by old age. As such, it doesn’t tend to occur outside of these parameters. There are other ear problems which pets can have, though. Ear infections are a common one. Symptoms for these are head shaking, ear scratching, brown discharge, and bad odour, with more serious symptoms like a loss of balance occasionally occurring. Cats don’t tend to have too many problems with their issues. Dogs with long, floppy ears are quite susceptible to ear infections. The shape of a dog’s body causes fluid and bacteria to stay within the ear. Vets will clean the ear with medical equipment and prescribed a cleaner for home-use and medication. Dog’s ears are sensitive, so to perform the clean well, owners should be delicate and ask for a vet’s advice before doing it.
Polyps and tumours do occur in the ear canals. These often require surgery for treatment.
Everything ends up in your pet’s mouth. It is important for how they sense the world. As such, keeping it healthy is key.
Being so mouth-dependent and explorative, pets can injure themselves or have foreign objects lodged in their cheeks, gum, or tongue. If they look like they’re in discomfort or they’re not eating, then something might be up. Safety is essential before having a look in a pet’s mouth. They might be in pain and become aggressive, so opening their mouth might make you vulnerable. It might be best to take them straight to a vet.
Bad breath, bleeding gums, excessive drooling, reduced appetite, and reduced grooming can all indicate dental issues. Tooth breaks or resorption, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and even tumours could be the cause of these symptoms. It’s not just the ice cream! Booking to see a vet is the best course of action.
Being vigilant and recognizing changes in your pet’s behaviour will ensure they are bright-eyed with their eyes perked, and always receptive to the food on their plate (and yours).