From "Frasier's" Eddie to PBS's "Wishbone," the Jack Russell terrier (JRT) is one of television and film's most famous breeds of dog. These sturdy little dynamos are best known for their energy, loyalty, intelligence and companionship, making them perfect for both starring roles on the big screen as well as in your family. Originally bred to be hunters, Jack Russell terriers are determined, fearless and bold. Because of their strong personalities, they require a lot of discipline and exercise and need consistent obedience training.
But what if your normally fit and lively JRT isn't feeling well? Although dogs can't verbalize how they feel, they can give you signs to indicate when they're under the weather. Whenever your pet starts acting differently, it might be a sign that they are sick. Always consult a veterinarian when you have questions about your Jack Russell terrier's health. Read on to learn about top five signs that your Jack Russell may be sick.
5: Throwing Up
Dogs have a vomit center in their brains that causes them to throw up more frequently than other animals. This center acts as a defense system because dogs have a predilection to scavenge for food. This vomit reflex is particularly helpful to Jack Russells because they were originally bred to be hunters.
To figure out what's making your dog throw up, you first have to determine whether he is vomiting or regurgitating. A dog will regurgitate when food becomes lodged in his esophagus. The food that your dog throws up will be undigested and in a tube shape because it has not made its way to the stomach. You don't need to worry if your JRT regurgitates; vomiting, on the other hand, might be a sign of a health problem.
Vomiting occurs after the food has made it to the stomach. Some common causes for vomiting are consuming food that is inedible, overeating or eating too quickly, stress, or having worms. More serious causes of vomiting include ulcers, kidney or liver failure, distemper, cancer, diabetes, or poisoning. If the vomit is clear and frothy, your dog might have a stomach problem such as acute gastritis or pancreatitis.
If your JRT vomits more than once a day; projectile vomits; vomits up blood; if the vomiting is continues for more than 24 hours or is accompanied by other symptoms, consult a vet immediately. These are signs of serious health problems.
If your Jack Russell has diarrhea, he might just have a mild stomach bug as a result of a change in diet or a harmless bacteria. Signs of diarrhea include loose stool and frequent bowel movements.
However, diarrhea can also indicate a major health problem.
How do you know the difference? First, remove solid food from his diet for 24 hours. Make sure he has plenty of water to drink, as diarrhea can lead to dehydration. If that stops the diarrhea, this indicates that the problem probably isn't serious and can be resolved with continued adjustments to his food regimen.
But if your dog continues to have diarrhea after removing food from his diet or if the diarrhea contains blood, take him to the vet immediately. He might have a more serious health issue such as inflammatory bowel disease or kidney or liver failure or a parasitic infection such as roundworm or hookworm.
3: Lack of energy
Since Jack Russells are a breed known for their exuberance and energy, a sudden shift to lethargy might indicate a health problem. For example, if your JRT is usually excited about taking a daily run in the park and suddenly doesn't show interest, this could be a sign that he is under the weather. A lack of energy is one of the most subtle ways your dog might be signaling that something isn't quite right with his health.
There isn't one go-to reason for a dog to experience a sudden change in energy; rather, the cause could range from dehydration to anemia to much more serious health problems such as cancer. Consult a veterinarian if this lack of energy persists or accompanies other symptoms such as a change in exercise tolerance or lack of appetite.
2: Hair loss and Excessive Scratching
The Jack Russell's coat is one of its defining characteristics. Whether smooth-coated, rough or broken-coated (mix of smooth and rough), JRTs are known for their signature white, red, and brown coats. A change in your Jack Russell's normally shiny and thick coat may be a sign that he is experiencing a health issue.
If you notice that your dog is shedding more than usual, experiencing hair loss, or itchiness on the skin, this could mean a problem with food allergies, fleas, ticks, mange, or ear mites. Hair loss might also indicate endocrine problems, fungal, yeast or staph infections, or Cushing's syndrome, a condition caused by excessive exposure to cortisol and other steroids that may indicate tumor growth on the pituitary or adrenal glands.
1: Excessive Drinking
A dog needs an ounce of water per pound of body weight. A grown Jack Russell terrier should drink between 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of water a day. If your dog is drinking more than this, it may indicate that something is wrong.
Excessive drinking could be a sign of kidney or liver disease, Cushing's syndrome, cancer or diabetes. Sometimes medicine for these problems can cause extreme thirst. Other times, it might be simple dehydration. If your dog is drinking a lot, you also may want to reduce the amount of sodium in his diet.
Although it might be hard to keep track of how much your dog is drinking, you'll best be able to tell if he's drinking too much if he needs to go out to urinate more frequently than usual. You can also keep track of how much your dog is drinking by giving him water at the same time each day, always filling the bowl to the same level and noting how much is left at the end of the day.