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Animal Pain Awareness

September 1 2023
September is Animal Pain Awareness Month. It’s extremely important to be able to recognize the signs of illness or injury in pets. With some things, such as a sudden limp, it’s obvious that something is amiss. However, other warning signs can be harder to detect. A local Oshawa, ON vet goes over some common signs of animal pain in this article.


We’ll start with the more universal issues. These include things like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, fever, trembling, stumbling, limping, discharge, skin/coat problems, uncharacteristic grumpiness or aggression, increased thirst, changes in waste, and refusing to eat. You’ll also want to watch for changes in your pet’s usual behavior or vocalizations. Some examples of that would include a quiet cat that is suddenly yowling all the time, or a bird that stops chirping. Reduced interest in play, exercise, and snuggles can also be signs that something is off. 


Dogs that aren’t feeling well sometimes pace, or get up and down continuously, as though they’re having a hard time getting comfortable. Fido may also lick or bite himself, and he may have a hard time getting on or off beds or couches.


If Fluffy isn’t feeling well, she may withdraw to a secluded spot and not want to leave. Your kitty may also stop grooming herself, which will soon make her coat start looking greasy and/or unkempt.

Pocket Pets

Smaller animals are often susceptible to dental issues. You’ll want to watch for things like visible swelling and/or overgrown teeth. Bunnies may grind their teeth when they hurt. Others may just seem listless and lethargic.


We should note that reptiles are the exception when it comes to refusing food: this is normal behavior for a snake or lizard that’s getting ready to shed their skin. Stargazing is one thing to watch for. This is the term for when reptiles sit in strange positions, sometimes with their heads held as though they are watching the sky. You’ll also want to look for pus or discharge around the eyes, nose, mouth. Incomplete sheds are also an issue.


Every animal is different, so it’s important for you to do some research about your specific type of pet. We also advise erring on the side of caution. If you aren’t sure if your pet is hurting or not, contact your vet just in case. Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Oshawa, ON animal clinic, today!

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