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Common Dog Problems

Not sure if your dog is sick or needs to be seen by a Cleveland veterinarian? This page is for you.

Fagin looking up his symptomsCommon Dog Health Problems Found in Cleveland, OH

Or When Should You Bring Your Dog to the Vet?

The simplest answer is if you would go or take a family member to the doctor for medical help then your pet should get veterinary medical care. But sometimes, you won’t know if your pet has a problem. We’ve listed symptoms below that indicate your pet should be seen by a veterinarian (some symptoms will be listed under multiple body location). Call us, 440-234-5831, to make an appointment if your dog has any of these symptoms:

  1. Ears
    • Frequent scratching of the ear or area around the ear
    • Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
    • Odor in the ear
    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Crusts or scabs on inside of the outer ear
    • Hair loss around the ear
    • Rubbing of the ear and surrounding area on the floor or furniture
    • Head shaking or head tilt
    • Loss of balance
    • Unusual eye movements
    • Walking in circles
    • Hearing loss
  2. Eyes
    • Avoiding light
    • Bulging eyes
    • Closed eyes
    • Cloudiness
    • Discharge
    • Excess tearing
    • Redness
    • Rubbing the eye
  3. GI/Abdominal
    • Vomiting
    • Regurgitation
    • Flatulence
    • Weakness
    • Diarrhea/Constipation
    • Worms –
    • Loss of Housetraining (Inappropriate defecation)
  4. Heart
    • Rapid Tiring
    • Fainting
    • Cough
    • Elevated Respiratory Rate
    • Pot Belly
  5. Lungs (Breathing Problems)
    • The belly and chest move when breathing
    • Nostrils may flare open when breathing
    • Breathing with an open mouth
    • Breathing with the elbows sticking out from the body
    • Neck and head are held low and out in front of the body (extended)
    • Noisy breathing
    • Rapid breathing
    • Mouth is usually closed
    • Panting that lasts much longer than normal
    • Unusually shallow breathing
    • Coughing
  6. Lymph Problems (tougher to see, more likely you will need to feel)
    • Swelling around jaw, neck, legs, groin
    • Lethargic
  7. Mouth/Teeth/Gums
    • Bad Breath
    • Discolored Teeth
    • Swollen Gums
    • Loose Teeth
    • Poor Appetite/Difficulty Eating
    • Excessive Drooling
  8. Musculoskeletal (bone, joint, and muscle problems)
    • Limping
    • Broken Bones
    • Difficulty getting up stairs
    • Reluctance to Move
    • Hunched Posture
  9. Nervous System
    • Weakness or paralysis in any leg
    • Weak reflexes, or lack of reflexes (automatic physical responses)
    • Muscle tremors, trembling
    • Spatial disorientation (inability to judge the space around oneself)
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Paralysis of the voice box
    • Paralysis of the throat/esophagus, affects ability to eat and drink
    • Facial paralysis, limp or uneven facial features
    • Dizziness, instability
    • Slow heart rate
    • Lack of an anal reflex
    • Change in tone/quality of bark
  10. Nose/Throat
    • Coughing
    • Choking
    • Hoarse Cough
    • Inflammation or swelling nose
    • Snoring or trouble breathing
    • Rubbing or pawing at his nose
    • Bleeding on one side of his nose
    • Discharge from one or both nostrils
  11. Perianal (Rectum) Area
    • Scooting/Rubbing rear on ground
    • Diarrhea
    • Blood in bowel movement
    • Straining to defecate
    • Unable to defecate
    • Blood around rectum
  12. Skin/Haircoat
    • Fleas
    • Ticks
    • Scratching, licking or chewing at skin
    • Scabs
    • Redness or inflammation
    • Hot spots (one particular area where itching is intense)
    • Round, scaly patches on the face and paws
    • Dry, flaky or otherwise irritated skin
    • Hair loss, bald patches
    • Rashes
    • Lesions
    • Drainage of blood or pus
    • Swellings, lumps or skin discoloration
    • Rubbing face against furniture or carpeting
  13. Urinary/Reproductive
    • Straining to urinate
    • Unable to urinate
    • Bloody or cloudy urine
    • Loss of Housetraining (inappropriate urination)
    • Increased amount and/or frequency of urination
    • Constant licking of urinary opening
    • Strong odor to the urine
    • Lethargy
    • Vomiting
    • Increased water consumption
    • Infection of mammary glands
    • Vaginal Discharge/Infection of uterus
    • Changes in urination pattern
  14. Parasites
    • Worms seen in bowel movement
    • Ticks
    • Fleas
    • Ringworm (circular infection on skin)


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What you can do to help with your pet’s diagnosis

If you need to bring your pet here, because they are sick or injured, here are some simple things you can do to help us diagnose what’s wrong with your pet.

  1. Bring us a small stool sample (teaspoon size). We realize that with watery diarrhea especially this may be difficult.
  2. If your pet has a urinary problem, please bring a small sample. You can get a urine sample by sticking a plate under your pet when they are urinating and then pouring the urine into a Ziploc baggie or old, but clean, butter/margarine container. Refrigerate the sample until you come to the hospital.
  3. Take a picture or video of the problem. We don’t need a “full length” movie, but a few pictures or a short video showing the problem will help us. For example if your dog is coughing, a video would allow us to see and hear the cough. A picture of “vomit” while gross sounding, can help us see color, texture, and consistency.
  4. Bring a list of medications your pet is using, especially if we didn’t dispense them.
  5. Bring the exact name of your pet’s food. For example Hills Science Diet Advanced Adult Fitness.
  6. Bring us a list of any treats or table scraps your dog may be eating.
  7. If the problem happens multiple times, keep track and let us know when, how often, and if the problem is associated with a particular action. For example if your dog regurgitates his food about 45 minutes after being fed.

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7 Reasons to Bring Your Dog to Big Creek Pet Hospital

  1. Clients tell us we are “friendly, loving, & caring” (Click here to see our reviews page)
  2. Clients have told us “they wish their (medical) doctor gave them reports like ours”. Our reports explain what we did and what needs to be done next. (Click here to see a sample medical report)
  3. We practice Progressive Medicine to quickly get and keep your pet healthy.
  4. Affordable Canine and Feline Pet Health Plans which can be paid for monthly (Click here for our ABC Canine Health Care Plans)
  5. We’re active in the Community, including W.A.G.S. 4 Kids, Safety Town and Bark for Life. Recently we were recognized as the Henry Schein Impromed Community Contributor of the Year.
  6. There is a separate Kids Room for your children (human kids that is) to play in during the appointment.
  7. Advanced Diagnostics – besides having a state of the art lab & digital radiology, we are the first (and currently only) hospital to have digital thermal imaging – “See Pain in a Different Light”


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How do I make an appointment for my dog?


To make an appointment for your 4-legged family member, call (440) 234-5831 or click here to Request an Appointment online

Please let us know what office you would like to bring your pet.

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