A vet has warned owners that their pet could be suffering from any of these five common illnesses without them even realising it.

From contended purring to wagging tails, it's not always clear when our furry friends are poorly.

With this in mind, one veterinary expert has reminded pet parents that their dogs and cats can be susceptible to lots of illnesses that are often hard to spot.

Jackie Marshall, qualified vet and technical advisor at the veterinary nutraceuticals company VetPlus, said: “Lots of people pamper their pets but to properly care for our four-legged friends, it’s crucial to be aware of the health conditions that could affect them.

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“Despite their prevalence, conditions such as osteoarthritis can often go unnoticed in pets but it’s best to identify them as early as possible to be able to start effective management programmes – with products such as supplements often a helpful tool as part of a multimodal approach.

“As always, if you suspect your pet might be experiencing health difficulties, contact your vet for further guidance.”

Vet explains 5 common illnesses which may be why your pet is sick

Oral Health Issues

More than 80% of dogs suffer a stage of gum disease before they turn three years old, according to figures from The Kennel Club.

Vet Jackie explained that gum disease can cause chronic pain and often affects the appetite of pets.  

The qualified vet urged owners to look out for bad breath, bleeding gums, and excessive salivation in their pets.

Jackie Marshall explained that these are signs that your pet is suffering.

The expert also urged owners to take precautions by brushing their teeth regularly from an early age with a pet-specific toothpaste. 

The vet continued by saying: "If you are worried about your furry friend’s dental health, take them to your local vet to get checked out".


The vet has also pointed to clinical studies showing that up to 65% of dogs are obese or overweight as reported by the PDSA.

Obesity in our pets increases their risk of other serious illnesses like heart problems and osteoarthritis, according to the expert.

The vet explained that obesity can usually be prevented and managed by making sure your pet does regular exercise and follows a balanced diet.

Jackie Marshall added: "There are also supplements that can support your pet’s gastrointestinal health, such as SUSTAIN® from VetPlus.

"This probiotic is available for both dogs and cats and helps to promote gut health whilst also aiding the immune system. 

"FIBOR® from VetPlus is also a good option to support a healthy diet and satiety levels, combining seven different natural sources of fibre, including kiwi fruit.

"Both supplements can be added to your dog’s normal diet on veterinary advice".

Ear infections 

Another common issue that the vet has warned owners about is ear infections.

The medical issue particularly affects dogs with longer and floppier ears and those with underlying skin problems.

The vet urged owners to look for smelly ears and to see if their pets are scratching at the head or ears since these can be indicators of an infection in this area.

The technical adviser continued: "Excess water is a common cause of the condition so make sure you dry your pet’s ears after they’ve been out in the rain, if they’ve been swimming during a walk, and when they’ve had a bath.

"You should use a towel that doesn’t shed so no fibres get caught in the ear canal and make sure not to put anything down the ear canal itself".


Diabetes, a hormonal disease, also can affect pets, according to the vet.

Jackie Marshall went on to say: "If you notice your furry friend urinating more frequently, losing weight, or drinking a large amount of water, raise the issue with your vet so they can investigate the potential cause".


The vet also warned that Osteoarthritis affects four out of five older canines and more than 90% of adult cats.

It is a disorder that causes stiff and painful joints, impacting movement and activity. 

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The expert pointed to some key warning signs to look for including licking excessively at a certain area, not wanting to be stroked or picked up, and limping on daily walks.

Jackie Marshall continued:"Whilst there’s no cure for osteoarthritis, there are ways to help manage it, including following a dedicated programme which could include supplements such as VetPlus’ SYNOQUIN® which helps with inflammation, protects joint structures, and supports your pet’s overall mobility.

"If you’re worried about your pet’s health or have any questions about any potential symptoms, visit your local vet who will be able to advise further".