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Karlin
27th September 2005, 11:16 AM
From http://www.canismajor.com/dog/signs.html :


Signs of canine illness

How to tell if your dog is sick

Owners who observe and handle their healthy dogs have a head start on recognizing early signs of illness in their pets. Those who know what a healthy pet acts, feels, and smells like can spot differences in behavior and bodies and determine whether a trip to the veterinarian is necessary.

Healthy dogs have a temperature of 101-102º F, a respiratory rate of 15-20 breaths per minute, and a heart rate of 80-120 beats per minute. They have pink mucous membranes (gums, inside of lips, tongue, inside of eyelids) and rapid capillary refill action in these areas. They have clean-smelling ears and skin and a full haircoat. Their skin is pliant, an indication of proper hydration, and their eyes are clear and bright.

If your puppy or dog shows any of the following signs, be prepared to call your veterinarian.

Eyes: swelling, discharge, redness, etc.
Nose: running, crusting, discharge, etc.
Ears: discharge, debris, odor, twitching, scratching, shaking, etc.
Coughing, gagging, sneezing, retching, or vomiting.
Irregular breathing, shortness of breath, prolonged or heavy panting, etc.
Intestinal activity
Color and consistency of bowel movement
Frequency of defecation
Bloody stool
Evidence of parasites, etc
.
Change in amout of food intake
Change in body weight
Change in water intake
Urine
Color
Frequency
Amount
Straining
Dribbling, etc.
Odor
Mouth?
Skin?
Ears?
Other?
Coat & skin
Wounds
Tumors
Hair loss
Dander
Color change
Biting
Scratching
Bite marks
Evidence of parasites
Licking, etc.
Behavior
Depression
Anxiety,
Fatigue
Lethargy
Sleepiness
Trembling
Stumbling
Falling, etc.

Noticing signs is half the battle; keeping a record helps the veterinarian make a diagnosis. Be sure to note when the symptom first appeared, and whether it has been intermittent, continuous, increasing in frequency, getting better, or getting worse bfore calling the veterinarian.