Healthy animals are alert and active; they look around their surroundings and are interested in what is going on.
A lack of interest in the animal’s environment may indicate a health issue. This can be determined by the way an animal moves; if it is unable to stand on all of its feet, this is a sign of a health issue.
Eyes are vital to a healthy animal because they help animals see and communicate. They are also home to glands that produce and drain tears.
During a wellness checkup, your vet will examine the eyes with an ophthalmoscope to look for signs of eye disease or vision problems. Symptoms of a problem can include cloudiness, yellowish whites, unequal pupil size or a visible third eyelid.
Eyes are also important for animals who work outdoors and for those with special needs such as guide dogs or therapy animals. Regular vet visits and screenings can help prevent eye issues from developing, as well as provide early diagnosis for serious diseases such as glaucoma.
Ears are important for transferring sound and balance information to the brain. They are also sensitive to environmental factors.
Ear infections are common in dogs and cats and can be treated successfully. They can be divided into two categories: otitis externa, which affects the outer ear canal; and otitis media, which affects the middle ear.
Keeping the ears clean is a key to good health and prevention of ear problems. A weekly ear cleaning with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleansing solution can minimize or prevent ear infections.
The nose is one of the main gates to the respiratory system. It allows you to smell and tastes things, but it also helps you stay safe by warning you of rotten food or smoke before you see it.
Your nose is made of many parts that are hidden deep inside your head and nasal cavity. Some of these parts are made of bone and cartilage (say: SEP-tum). In the center of your nose is a wall called the septum, which separates your nostrils from the nasal passages.
The coat of a healthy animal is not only shiny and smooth but also helps regulate body temperature. The hairs are arranged in various ways to allow air to pass through and heat or cool the animal efficiently.
This is because the hairs can be moved up and down or closer together to enclose air or open up and let it out to allow cooler or warmer air to enter or exit the animal’s torso. This process is referred to as thermoregulation. The best way to keep your animal’s coat in tip-top shape is to feed them a diet that has a well-rounded blend of essential nutrients.
Bird feathers are a beautiful part of any animal’s body. They have many important functions, including helping birds regulate their body temperature, protect themselves from the wind and sun, and send signals to mates or rivals.
Feathers are primarily composed of keratin, the same protein found in hair and nails. They form within follicles in the skin and grow as they develop, then molt once a year to replace them with new ones.
Tails are fascinating appendages that serve a wide variety of purposes. They help animals move, communicate, stay warm, and find mates.
Almost all vertebrates – fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds – have a tail. However, many invertebrates and some insects don’t.
Animals with backbones rely on their tails for balance. Kangaroos swing their tails side to side as they leap over open land to maintain their weight.
The breathing of a healthy animal should be smooth and regular when at rest. It may also increase slightly if the animal is hot or active, but that is normal. A normal breathing rate is between 10 to 30 breaths per minute. Faster breathing suggests anxiety, fever, pain or a serious health issue and should be taken seriously.
Our veterinary specialists at the University of Missouri’s Respiratory & Aerodigestive Disorders Specialty Clinic, or BREATHE, are trained in respiratory medicine and swallowing disorders that impact the respiratory tract (aerodigestive disorders). They help patients recover from respiratory problems like pneumonia, asthma, lung infections, heart failure and respiratory disease by using advanced diagnostic technology.