Pet Parent Article: Monitoring your Pet's Activity

Although our furry friends can not verbally communicate with us, they give us non verbal clues daily to show us how they are feeling. The way dogs and cats act and their energy level can give us hints into their general health status. A pet’s individual energy level can vary based on breed, genetics, temperament, lifestyle, and medical issues. Tracking your dog or cat's daily energy will show you trends in their health status and will alert you to subtle changes in health. The good news is that most pet parents already monitor this without even knowing it. Is Emmie sleepier than normal? Why isn’t George chasing his ball today? What happened to Cocoa-she is crazy active today? Watching activity levels closely is something all pet parents should do and Anipanion’s app can centralize and record all important daily data about your non-human companions.


Lethargy

Activity change is highly dependent on the individual pet. Monitoring trends and looking for the abnormal is the most helpful. For instance, if your high energy Vizla that runs 5 miles with you every day and only sleeps when absolutely necessary suddenly refuses her daily run or decides to walk instead of run, that is a sign that she is unwell. Your Lab that always barks at the Amazon driver or will fetch his ball even in the worst weather conditions who suddenly doesn’t respond to either tells us veterinary care is needed. Your cat that always greets you at the door and constantly meows until fed, but is now hiding and anti-social tells us something is amiss. Lethargy is a symptom of many medical conditions, so a normally high energy or active dog or cat that seems sleepier than normal, less engaged, and declines their favorite activity ia telling you that they are unwell. 



Hyperactivity

Although lethargy is the most common symptom of sick pets, some dogs and cats will become more active and hyperexcitable. High energy isn’t always a sign of good health. This can occur due to lack of exercise, boredom, and behavioral problems. This also can be seen in pets that have come into heat or suffer from hyperthyroidism. 


Acute Vs Chronic

How quickly activity and energy levels change may be indicative of a serious medical problem. If your active pet becomes extremely lethargic within 1 day, veterinary care is essential ASAP. Gradual changes in activity can be more subtle and occur over weeks to months and can indicate a huge variety of medical conditions. Monitoring daily energy level will help you realize activity changes sooner and allow for earlier medical intervention. 


Concurrent Symptoms

Sometimes, lethargy or activity change will be accompanied by other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, increased thirst and urination, or limping. Making note of any additional changes with your pet in the Anipanion app will greatly help your veterinarian diagnose and treat your pet faster. Combinations of certain symptoms can provide a lot of diagnostic information. 


Keeping track of your pet’s daily habits and activities will make you a better pet parent and will keep your pet healthier and happier by catching changes sooner rather than later. Early medical intervention can lead to better medical outcomes and less pain and suffering for your furry companion. 

Real-World Scenario

Patient Scenario A Scenario B: Anipanion Tracking

Pet: Penny


Signalment: 8yo, 75lb, FS Black Lab Mix


Medical History: UTD vaccines and preventive care. Penny has hip dysplasia and OA that is being managed well with supplements, diet, and medications as needed.


Penny has been a healthy dog overall, but has slowed down over the past 2 years due to her OA affecting her hips. She still enjoys her daily walks and chasing her ball.

Penny was playing ball with her owner like usual; however, she cut the game short and waited by the door to go inside. Her owner brought her in thinking she just didn’t want to play outside today. It was a little cold.


On her daily walk 2 days later, Penny needed a little extra motivation to keep going as she seemed reluctant to keep walking.


Penny also seemed a little sleepier than normal over the past few weeks. She was still eating and drinking normally. Her owner continued her treatment regimen for her OA and didn’t think much of it.


1 month passed and Penny refused to get up one morning. She seemed to be favoring her right forelimb.


Penny was brought to the vet that day and diagnosed with a lytic bone lesion. Chest rads revealed obvious lung masses as well. She was diagnosed with metastatic bone cancer and euthanized.

Penny was playing ball with her owner like usual; however, she cut the game short and waited by the door to go inside. Her owner brought her in and recorded the event in the Anipanion app. 


On her daily walk 2 days later, Penny needed a little extra motivation to keep going as she seemed reluctant to keep walking. Penny also seemed a little sleepier than normal. As usual her owner recorded her activity in the Anipanion app.


Penny was eating and drinking well, which caused her owner not to be overly concerned, but when the app showed Penny’s energy level and activity were declining and sharply trending down over the past week, her owner became worried.


Penny was evaluated by the vet the next day. Penny was diagnosed with a lytic bone lesion, but her chest rads showed no obvious metastasis. A bone biopsy revealed cancer and her leg was amputated 2 days later. Penny also underwent chemo.


She is 1 year out from surgery and although, 3-legged, she is still chasing her ball and going on daily walks.