Volume 49 | March 2021

Altadena Valley Animal Clinic
    2898 Acton Road - Birmingham, AL 35243

Unless Your Pet Can Talk, Don’t Ignore These 5 Signs

Pets are great companions and best friends. However, they’re not very good at telling us when something is wrong with their health. Aside from obvious signs of illness, like an upset stomach or diarrhea, serious medical conditions can easily go unnoticed if you don’t know what to look for.

Check out these five signs you should never ignore from your pet.1

1) Change in Behavior
Pets are creatures of habit. They like routines; they usually exhibit the same behaviors over time. A key sign your pet may be experiencing pain or discomfort is through a change in their normal behavior like unprovoked aggression, impulsive temperament, anxiety, unexpected seizures, or abnormal inactivity. Even pets that suddenly show a lack of appetite or playfulness could be doing so because of pain from a number of conditions, (e.g., pancreatitis, cancer, arthritis, parasites, skin allergies, heart disease or an injury).

2) Heavy Panting
Panting is a normal pet response to active play or spending time outdoors on a warm day. When the panting becomes heavy or labored, your pet may be experiencing a heat stroke, poisoning, heart failure, Cushing’s disease, pneumonia, or lung tumors. Knowing your pet’s normal level of panting after active play or on a warm day will help you determine any changes that could indicate a serious medical issue.

3) Excessive Water Consumption
As our days get warmer and our pets spend more active time outside, they get very thirsty. However, if your pet is continually going back to the water bowl over a short period of time, something could be wrong with their health. Most pet parents know their pet’s eating and drinking habits. Excessive visits to the water bowl could be a sign of kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease, or pyometra in female dogs that have not been spayed. 

4) Drooling
Some breeds are known for their typical, happy drool. Saint Bernards, boxers, mastiffs, and bloodhounds usually come to mind. But sudden, excessive drooling by your cat or dog may be a sign of heatstroke or dental issues like periodontitis or a tooth abscess. Unusual, heavy amounts of drool may indicate that your pet has bitten into an irritating substance (such as a toxic plant), burning the mouth. Excessive drooling can also signal an underlying neurological problem.

5) Change in Odor
It’s easy to overlook a pet’s bad odor as typical or normal, especially if they are an older pet. Healthy pets should not have a highly unpleasant stench. If your pet’s odor changes and smells different than usual, they could have an unresolved medical condition that needs to be examined. Whether it’s smelly ears (infection), bad breath (dental disease, oral melanoma, diabetes, and kidney failure) or stinky skin (allergies, seborrhea, bacterial or yeast infections), a change in your pet’s normal odor should not be ignored. Gastrointestinal problems can also present themselves in the form of unpleasant gas with greater intensity and more frequency than is typical for your pet.

Unless your pet can talk, knowing your pet’s usual behaviors, smells, and other normal habits will help you identify potential health problems early. If your pet exhibits any of these signs it is recommended you bring them to the clinic for a thorough exam. Waiting could make matters worse, delaying important treatment options.

Julie Grimes, DVM

1 Adapted from PetHealthZone® by Nationwide®
Lolly Wilson, DVM
Bobby Wilson, DVM
Top 10 Dog Breeds of 2020
The American Kennel Club recognizes 192 different dog breeds from tiny toy breeds to giant breeds. AKC lists the top dog breeds each year on their website. They determine the popularity of these breeds by the number of dogs that have been registered each year.

Here are the top breeds of 2020! Looking to add a new pup or just want to know more about these breeds? Visit Wagwalking.com.
*Terms and conditions apply. Must be of the same product, size, and purchased at one time, Ask front desk receptionist for full terms and conditions.
Training Class Schedule
Yappy Hour: Puppy Socialization! 
  • New class coming soon!
  • (4-week course) 
  • Click the registration link below to sign up.

Puppy/Beginner Obedience (6-week course)​​​​​​​
Monday, March 8 @ 6:30 pm (No Class March 22)
  • ​Instructor: Catlin Hoyle
​​Thursday, April 8 @ 6:30 pm
  • ​Instructor: Anthony Rodriguez, CPDT-KSA
​​Wednesday, April 14 @ 7:30 pm
  • ​Instructor: Anthony Rodriguez, CPDT-KSA
  • Cost: $275

Impulse Control (6-week course) ​
  • New classes coming soon!
  • Cost: $275

Shaping Up (NEW)
  • Wednesday, April 14 @ 6:30 pm
  • ​Instructor: Anthony Rodriguez CPDT-KSA

See the course description below. To be notified when this course is added, contact Rebecca@lovethemtrainthem.com.

Please note, everyone in attendance will be required to wear a mask in order to keep everyone safe and reduce risk.

For more information and complete course descriptions, visit our Training website page or to sign up for classes by clicking the REGISTER link below.


Bernie and Django have been working hard in our new Shaping Up class, learning to hold and retrieve items. This course is open to all Impulse Control graduates. Come see us for the next one starting Apr. 14th! Only 2 spots available! www.lovethemtrainthem.com for more info.
Pet Picture of the Month
Phoebe looks like she's playing Hide and Seek but she is really getting a first class grooming at AVAC. If your pet needs a good bath and stylish grooming set an appointment today by calling (205) 967-7383.
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