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Veterinarian with Dog

There are times when our pets just don't seem themselves, become injured, or have symptoms of illness.  Whether it's just general fatigue, limping, constant itching, or other issues, it is important to check in with us at Carter Veterinary Clinic to get to the root of the problem before symptoms progress to a more serious level.

During a pet illness and/or injury exam, Dr. Carter will examine your pet, run any necessary tests, perform digital X-rays if needed, and provide advice and treatment recommendations to help your pet get back to their usual, spirited self.  As a full service hospital with an in-house pharmacy and laboratory, Carter Veterinary Clinic is capable and experienced in treating a broad range of illnesses, disease, trauma, and other conditions.

When Should I Bring My Pet to the Vet?

Dr. Carter recommends wellness visits every 6-12 months.  However, if you notice any of the following signs between wellness visits, it's a good time to book a sick or injury examination.  Always use your best judgement as every situation is unique.  The guide below is a general guide for several common occurring conditions.  If your pet has severe or sudden onset issues, trauma, open wounds, and more serious concerns, please contact us for appointment needs immediately.


Your pet's vomiting may indicate an illness or that the've just eaten something that's upset their tummy.  It's important to pay attention to the color, frequency, and appearance of your pet's vomit.  If your pet only vomits occasionally, this is an issue to bring up at your next scheduled wellness visit. If the vomiting is increasing in frequency or related to the consumption of an unknown food, it is important to schedule a sick visit.  If your pet consumed a toxic food, or is vomiting frequently with high volumes, please contact us to schedule a visit as soon as possible.


If your pet has occasional diarrhea, it could simply be due to something they ate, or a lack of fiber in their diet. For these one-off loose bowel movements, you can wait to discuss it at the next scheduled wellness visit.  Similar to vomiting, if your pet's diarrhea is frequent and occurring in large quantities, it is a good idea to book a sick appointment.  If your pet seems to have loose control of their bowel movements or the diarrhea is related to a toxic food consumption, scheduling a visit immediately is a good idea.

Unexplained Bleeding

If you find blood on or around your pet but cannot think of how they may have injured themselves, it could be a source of concern and warrant a trip to Carter Veterinary Clinic.  If you only see it once, and the amount of blood found is small, it is suggested to continue to monitor the situation for repetitions.  If you find a large amount or are finding spots of blood regularly, then it is important to get your pet fully checked out.  Blood found in your pet's feces and/or urine should be investigated immediately.  Similarly for any signs of damage to the mouth, ears, or eyes.


Due to their active lifestyle and time spent outdoors, there could be many factors causing your pet to limp.  It could be something mild, such as a thorn in the paw, to something very serious, such as a broken bone.  If you notice your pet limping, it is encouraged to make an appointment for examination.  If your pet is struggling to move at all, or is moving in an unusual pattern, like crawling, siding, swaying, or continuously falling, we encourage you to contact us immediately.


Although it can look cute when your pet scoots their way across the floor, this behavior is typically a sign of digestive or anal gland problems.  One occasional scoot may just mean your pet ate something that didn't quite agree with them, but persistent shooting should be checked out during a sick appointment.

Persistent Crying or Whining without Reason

Pets have their own way of communicating with their human families. Whether they are hungry, need the bathroom, or simply want some attention, they may voice this with a whimper, or other common sound. When you cannot link your pet's crying to a specific need, or their noises are accompanied by other symptoms, like lethargy, a visit for evaluation is a good idea.

Unusual Smell Around Their Ears or Mouth

Depending on the type of food your pet eats, their breath could get a little stinky directly after a meal, especially with wet pet foods. However, persistent foul smells from the mouth can be a sign of dental problems or gum disease.  Unusual smell around your pet's ears is typically a sign of an ear infection and should be treated as soon as possible.

Rash, Itching, or Skin Inflammation

Rashes on pets are very common and can have a wide variety of causes ranging from an easily cured flu infestation and season allergies, to more serious cancers and organ malfunctions. It is a good idea to make an appointment if your pet's rash or lump is growing, spreading, secreting puss and/or blood, or is still present after several days.

Discharge In or Around the Eyes, Ears, or Nose

Discharge or puss is a common indication of irritation, allergies, and/or infection.  If your pet has the occasional eye discharge after a long sleep, there is likely not much to worry about.  If your pet has persistent mucus collecting around their eyes, nose, or ears, they should be checked out as soon as possible.

Unexplained Lethargy

All pets get sleepy after a long day of running, playing, and entertaining their humans.  Older pets in particular tend to become more lethargic with age.  If your pet is unusually tired, lacking energy after little exercise, or hiding away in quiet corners when they are typically very social, it could be a sign that they are sick. If lethargy symptoms continue for 24 hours or more or if you notice any other sign of illness emerging alongside lethargy, it is a good idea to make a sick pet appointment with us. If your pet collapses, struggles to stand up or walk, or refuses to eat or drink, this is considered an emergency situation.

Decrease in Appetite

Appetite levels are very closely linked to a pet's overall health and wellbeing. There is a wide variety of factors that can lead to food avoidance in pets, so it is important to pay attention to any other symptoms they may be displaying to help gauge the urgency of seeking veterinary assistance. If your pet's decrease in appetite is accompanied by occasional vomiting, diarrhea, and/or lethargy, we encourage you to contact us to schedule a sick appointment.  If your pet has not eaten or drank anything for 24 hours please contact us as soon as possible.

Repeated Coughing and/or Sneezing

If your pet has repetitive coughing and/or sneezing, it can be seasonal allergies, the common cold, or flu. Coughing can also be a sign of heartworms and congestive heart failure and other more life threatening conditions.  If coughing and sneezing worsens over 24i-48 hours it is a good idea to make an appointment to get to the root cause of the issue.

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