How to know when to call the vet



How to know when to call the vet

Pets or «non-human family members» are an important part of our lives. We buy them toys. We play with them. Many of us treat them like babies. Like babies, it isn’t always easy to know when they aren’t feeling well or, even worse, when something is wrong. Thank goodness for the veterinarian. Always there when needed; eager to help us in our time of need. When is our time of need? When should we call the vet?

My first suggestion is to ask your veterinarian what h/she thinks is a time of need. This should be done on your first visit, whether with a new pet or your first appointment with the veterinarian. The veterinarian knows the specific needs of the species and breed of pet (s) you have and, if you and your pet are established with the veterinarian, h/she knows you and your pet. As we all know, each species and breeds have different medical needs. Listen carefully to the signs and symptoms, then make a list. Keep this list posted somewhere; carry a copy in your wallet. When something comes up or you think something has come up, look it over.

Another suggestion I have is to pay close attention to your pet. Know your pet’s mood and behavior; get a feel for what is normal for your pet. Both of these can help determine if you are indeed in a time of need.

One night, I woke up with a feeling something was wrong with Baxter, my basset hound. Flipping on the light, I saw him. There was something different about they way he was looking at me. I called him and he jumped of the bed and came to me. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what. I rubbed him all over, looking for something new or unusual. I found nothing. I even took his temperature, which was normal. There was just something about his eyes; they didn’t look right; he wasnt looking at me right. Despite not having any evidence that something was wrong, I called our veterinarian, at home, at three in the morning.

After explaining I couldn’t find a problem, but he was not «looking at me right,» and answering her questions, our veterinarian was amused. «I’ll meet you at the office.» She laughed. «If there isn’t anything wrong with him, I’m making you clean the stables and I’m charging you triple the emergency fee.» She and I had a great relationship and I considered her to be a friend.

Baxter ran to the car, eager to go. Nothing was wrong with him. I felt silly as I drove to veterinarian’s office. When I got there, she was waiting for us. I opened the door and called to Baxter to get out. He couldn’t. Our

Any pet that you have will ultimately rely on you for it’s general wellbeing. What you feed your pet and how you home it are both prime examples of a pet’s reliance on you. The state of it’s health could even be down to how you have cared for it over the years. All animals at sometime or another will fall ill and may need professional treatment but how do you know when such treatment is needed?.

You know your pet better than anyone. Well you do if you are a caring and responsible owner. You will know whether your pet is normally a lively little creature, or not, and should soon notice any changes which could be a sign of ill health.

Often your gut instinct will tell you when to consult a vet. For example, one of my dogs recently seemed to develop a sort skin tag. When she was having her booster vaccination I asked the vet to check this out and he said it was fine, but to keep an eye on it for any changes. A few months later we noticed that, all of a sudden, this skin tag had changed dramatically and was now large, to what it had been, and looked totally different. We decided that an urgent visit to the vet was needed and she was booked in for a check-up immediately. Within four days she had surgery to remove the lump and have the histology checked. Thankfully the tests showed that this tumour was benign, but it could have been something sinister. We just knew to check with the vet as our common sense told us this could be a serious health risk.

Dogs in particular are good at hiding pain. So if a dog is showing that it is in pain it is definitely time to consult your veterinarian. It may be nothing but pain should not be ignored. Your dog has very few ways of showing that he or she is unwell and signs of distress are showing just that.

If your dog vomits it may mean that he has just eaten something that has gone off or, who knows, he or she could have been poisoned. You will need to monitor your dog closely for a few hours to see if anything progresses or if the symptoms settle down. You obviously cannot take your dog to the vet’s for every little thing but when in doubt you should consult your veterinarian. Sometimes just ringing the veterinary practice can result in good advice and peace of mind.

Usually sudden trauma will need veterinary treatment. Trauma such as:-

Road traffic accidents which may have caused internal injuries.
Ingestion of poisonous substances.
Large cuts or burns.
Possible broken bones.

When to See the Vet!

There comes a time in your dog’s life, just as it does it does in your life when it is necessary to see the doctor. We as humans, generally put it off as often as we can, but many of us wonder «how will I know when my dog needs to see the vet.»

Naturally we all know if there has been an accident or your dog is bleeding or has been bit by another animal these emergencies require seeing the vet at once. It is those other times when you think he/she is not feeling well, but don’t want to spend the time or money to just take them to see your veterinarian on what might be a wild goose chase.

In the following paragraphs I am going to try and give you a «bird’s eye» view of what symptoms to look for in your dog that might require a trip to the vet for its health’s sake.

Puppies, those wonderful full of mischief creatures are always into something. The most common problem is they have chewed and swallowed something they should not have. With the holiday approaching and treats are everywhere, puppies are great candidates for indigestion and toxic poisoning. Simple things like grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts, avocados and chocolate can be deadly to a puppy. Tulip bulbs, antifreeze and alcohol also rank high in toxic poisoning. Feeding a puppy alcohol is often thought of as something funny to do, but that can create serious harm in a puppy’s internal system. If your puppy has ingested any of these items call your vet at once.

It is also a good idea to have your vet’s number taped near the phone in case of an emergency along with the telephone number of the ASPCA’s animal poison control center (888) 426-4435 (it is toll free.)

Puppies love to chew anything they can get into their mouths, things like holiday tinsel, pieces of clothing, Christmas ornaments, socks and even pieces of old shoes can get stuck in their intestines and throats and need medical treatment at once. If you puppy is choking, check his mouth for the cause of choking, if you cannot find anything try the Heimlich maneuver on the puppy.

For a small puppy, sit on the floor and place the puppy face down on your knee so that your kneecap is just behind its ribcage. Gently but firmly push him down on your knee several times in a thrusting motion, checking to see if the object has popped out. Repeat if necessary!

For a larger puppy, from the rear wrap your arms around the puppy at its waist and lift it slightly to raise its hind quarters, place a fist behind its ribs and give it several

The health of our pets is of utmost importance, so we must keep a watchful eye to know when they are suffering an illness or injury. Symptoms, such as lethargy, can seem insignificant to us while indicating a serious problem in need of prompt attention. Health problems frequently present vague symptoms; therefore, knowing when to call the vet is vital to the wellness of our beloved pets.

Emergencies always warrant a call to the veterinarian, day or night. Pets can sustain injuries when jumping, from getting into fights with other animals and the unfortunate meeting of moving vehicles. Always call for help if your pet ingests something toxic, or possibly toxic. Your vet will treat the issue or direct you to the local Poison Control agency for assistance. Veterinarians are «on call» outside of regular business hours and will be paged in the event of an emergency. Immediately call the vet in the event of a serious or suspected physical injury.

Some illnesses are as much of an emergency as a physical injury, though the symptoms do not always sound our personal alarm bells to call the vet quickly, as they should. We know the normal behaviors of our animals, so we know when Fido is «not being himself». Always call your veterinarian when your pet is acting abnormal no matter how subtle the change.

Knowing when to call the vet can be a tricky decision because sometimes an issue is from a common virus, which will pass, and some problems are treatable at home. However, the same exact symptoms may be an underlying serious illness. A change of regular food can cause a case of diarrhea, but so can Parvovirus in dogs, which is deadly. Take a thorough assessment of symptoms and changes within the environment to get a better idea of the potential severity or causes of an illness. When in doubt, make the call to the vet. It is much better to make a five-minute phone call than let something small grow into a larger problem.

Changes in stool or urine are worthy of a call to the vet. You can wait until regular business hours to call the vet if you find worms in your pet’s stool; whereas, you should immediately call the vet if you see blood in the stool or it is loose to the consistency of soup. Severe diarrhea causes dehydration, which can be fatal if left untreated. Also seek medical attention if your pet seems to have difficulty urinating. Urinary troubles indicate infection of the urinary tract or kidneys, which are easily treatable but worsen without medication.

Lethargy (lack

Pets, like your children, depend on you to make them feel better. When presented with an issue that may need a veterinarian’s intervention, listen to your gut. That gut feeling will often prevent a disaster.

When you first get a pet, be sure to find a good vet you trust and arrange an appointment shortly after the pet arrives. This will help if future visits are needed, as the vet will have access to their medical records should you need help.

When you have a pet is distress, whether they are sick or injured, many will present with physical symptoms. It is important to be in tune with your pet so you can tell immediately when something is wrong. If you have large animals, make sure you observe them everyday so you can be alerted when they are acting «off». With smaller animals that your co-habitate with, it is not uncommon for your pet to seek you out for help. They look to you to make their world okay again.

You can’t stress the above point enough. There have been too many pet owners devastated by the loss of their beloved pets by not paying attention to their behavior. Use common sense when observing your pet. The most common comment made is, «I can’t afford a vet», it is your responsibility as a pet owner to see to their every need. They cannot depend on themselves when we put them in the position to reside with us, therefore, you are their sole caretaker. Even if you are strapped financially at the time of need, a simple call to the vet can ease your mind. They can help you recognize if a visit is needed at all. Best yet, the call is usually free.

When calling the vet, be sure to have as much information as possible to your pet’s condition. Take precautionary action when dealing with a sick or injured animal. Although he may be your baby, he is still an animal with animal instincts. You may find that your easy going golden retriever will snap at you while you move their injured leg. It’s important to take a simple compiling of information for the vet, which includes the following: temperature, water and food intake, if normal stooling and urination, any vomiting (if the animal is able to vomit), when did you notice the symptoms, to what degree is the symptom severity, was there a known injury, and what are your expectations. When talking to your vet, don’t give a detailed history of your pet, just give the facts as you know it and answer the questions they ask you.

The biggest folly a pet owner can have, is missing a problem because they don’t know their pet well enough to recognize when there is a problem.

KNOWING WHEN TO CALL THE VET FOR YOUR DOG

The decision to call the vet is easy when your dog has just been in a fight or swallowed the pellets left by the lawn service. It’s the less dramatic situations that make give a pet owner pause. Over time, just as a mother learns what’s «normal» for her child, pet owners discover what is «normal» for their dogs. Just like a mother, a pet owner who observes changes or uncharacteristic behavior in a dog might worry and wonder if it merits a call to the vet. Some people are «watchful waiters», while others prefer to err on the side of caution. Unfortunately, a number of symptoms that may seem minor can actually indicate a serious underlying problem requiring veterinary care.

While you should never hesitate to call your vet if you have concerns, being informed of some common danger signals will allow you to act quickly (and in some cases, save your dog’s life). Here are some symptoms that definitely require a call to your vet:

-Prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhea
Given a dog’s lifestyle, an occasional bout of either is nothing to be surprised or worried about. If the problem has not improved (or has gotten worse) in 24 hours, it could be a sign of pancreas, liver, kidney or intestinal disease.

A dog’s gums should be bright pink. Pale gums can be the first sign of anemia or other disease. They can also be the only indicator of internal bleeding.With the exception of older dogs that slow down a bit with arthritis, this can be a sign of a heart problem or other serious disease.A cough that lasts longer than a few days can potentially be caused by heartworm infection, canine influenza, lung tumors, or congestive heart failure.A swollen abdomen requires quick action, as it can be a sign of a blockage requiring surgery, internal bleeding, liver failure, or severe hormonal disease. A dog that has stopped eating, and/or is losing weight, is suffering from an underlying disease.Testing must be conducted to determine the cause of a seizure. A seizure left untreated can sometimes lead to a fatal episode.This may be caused by a uterine infection, and immediate surgery is required to prevent a ruptured uterus.A dog that is suddenly unable to walk or is dragging its back legs has most often suffered a spinal cord injury. Recovery depends on prompt treatment.If bleeding does not stop, the dog could have a clotting problem. One common cause of uncontrolled bleeding in dogs is ingestion of rodent poison.A change in your dog’s habits may be a signal of a hormonal imbalance.Many dogs develop skin masses as they get older. Some are benign fatty tumors; others can be malignant. Early diagnosis and treatment of a malignancy will influence the outcome for your pet. Never assume that you can clean a wound and your pet will be fine. Many wounds require deep cleaning under anesthesia to prevent serious infection.

Knowing your dog well and being alert to changes that can signal a problem are your best defense of your pet’s health.

Pets or «non-human family members» are an important part of our lives. We buy them toys. We play with them. Many of us treat them like babies. Like babies, it isn’t always easy to know when they aren’t feeling well or, even worse, when something is wrong. Thank goodness for the veterinarian. Always there when needed; eager to help us in our time of need. When is our time of need? When should we call the vet?

My first suggestion is to ask your veterinarian what h/she thinks is a time of need. This should be done on your first visit, whether with a new pet or your first appointment with the veterinarian. The veterinarian knows the specific needs of the species and breed of pet (s) you have and, if you and your pet are established with the veterinarian, h/she knows you and your pet. As we all know, each species and breeds have different medical needs. Listen carefully to the signs and symptoms, then make a list. Keep this list posted somewhere; carry a copy in your wallet. When something comes up or you think something has come up, look it over.

Another suggestion I have is to pay close attention to your pet. Know your pet’s mood and behavior; get a feel for what is normal for your pet. Both of these can help determine if you are indeed in a time of need.

One night, I woke up with a feeling something was wrong with Baxter, my basset hound. Flipping on the light, I saw him. There was something different about they way he was looking at me. I called him and he jumped of the bed and came to me. I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what. I rubbed him all over, looking for something new or unusual. I found nothing. I even took his temperature, which was normal. There was just something about his eyes; they didn’t look right; he wasnt looking at me right. Despite not having any evidence that something was wrong, I called our veterinarian, at home, at three in the morning.

After explaining I couldn’t find a problem, but he was not «looking at me right,» and answering her questions, our veterinarian was amused. «I’ll meet you at the office.» She laughed. «If there isn’t anything wrong with him, I’m making you clean the stables and I’m charging you triple the emergency fee.» She and I had a great relationship and I considered her to be a friend.

Baxter ran to the car, eager to go. Nothing was wrong with him. I felt silly as I drove to veterinarian’s office. When I got there, she was waiting for us. I opened the door and called to Baxter to get out. He couldn’t. Our veterinarian got a stretcher and we both carried him inside. By nine that morning we knew what was wrong with him. He had a spinal disorder common to hounds — one of the joys of having short legs and a long, heavy body. I didn’t have to do any cleaning chores and I wasn’t even charged the emergency rate. If I hadn’t brought him in, he could have gone into shock due to the pain. Animals hide their pain, so he probably wouldn’t have fussed too much. The shock, due to his age, could have killed him.

How did I know something was wrong? I don’t know. My veterinarian called it «mother’s instinct.» I just felt it; felt it so strongly and deeply in my heart that I woke up. It saved Baxter’s life.

A definite time to call the vet is if something traumatic has happened to you dog. Getting hit by a car, a foreign object in it’s eye or any other body part (do not try to remove!) ingesting poison or possible poison, broken tooth (not just a tooth falling out), falling down the stairs, and, depending on it’s size and age, if your pet falls off the bed, couch, porch, etc. Even if there are no signs of bleeding or broken bones, your veterinarian should still be contacted. Your veterinarian will ask you specific questions and, depending upon your answers, will explain a course of action. Watch your pet closely for the next twenty-four hours (more if that is what the veterinarian recommended); call again if you suspect something is wrong.

Animals, even domesticated animals, do not show pain easily. It is a defense mechanism — hurt animals become prey, easy prey. Look for signs of pain. These can include shaking, hiding, and limping. Animals that are in pain may retreat from you, growl, and even bite when approached. You know your pet. If you notice something unusual and you suspect pain, make that telephone call.

Any type of discharge from any orifice of your pet’s body (including incisions from surgery or another procedure) is a good reason to call you veterinarian. This can be a sign of injury, illness or infection.

Make that call to your veterinarian if notice any changes in your pets bowel movements and/or urine, including difficulty doing either one or both. Changes include color, texture, consistency, smell (especially if vomit smells like feces) and, sometimes, amount. Any sign of blood in your pet’s stools or urine is a definite time of need. When blood is present, that could be a sign of internal injury, infection, parasites, and poisoning. If your pet is a puppy and is vomiting and/or having diarrhea (with or without blood in it) this could be a sign of Parvo. Although all unvaccinated dogs can contract Parvo, it is most common in puppies. Parvo must be treated immediately. Also, there will be «that Parvo smell.» I apologize for not being able to describe it. It smells like nothing else I have ever smelled. The smell is distinctive and unique. Trust me, once you smell it and know what you are smelling, you will never forget it. Only then will you understand what is meant by «that Parvo smell.»

Unusual vomiting is another time to call your veterinarian. What is unusual vomiting? You know your pet. When you see unusual vomiting, you will recognize it. If it is the first time your pet has vomited, making a call to the veterinarian is a good idea. Unusual vomiting can be a sign of ingesting poison, parasites and worms, ulcers, intestinal problems, and, yes, even cancer.

If your pet looses consciousness, collapses, or looks confused/dazed or looses it’s sense of balance, you should call your vet. These symptoms of a variety of medical problems. Animals, like people can have strokes, heart attacks and blood clots. These are very serious and require immediate medical attention.

If your pet a seizure, this is a time need and the veterinarian should be contacted. That call should be made immediately, especially if your pet has never had seizures before. If your pet has a history of seizures, follow your veterinarian’s directions. If the seizures seem different in anyway, especially if the seizures were previously under control, call your veterinarian. Be careful when dealing with a pet that is having a seizure. Do not touch or try to restrain them. Make sure children and other animals are not in the same area and remove, if possible and can be done safely, any furniture or items that can be knocked over. The pet may loose control of it’s bodily functions, it’s eyes might glaze over and the pupils dilate. Sometimes, a sign of a seizure is your pet just acting strange.

Any type of unexplained bleeding is an excellent reason to call your veterinarian. Any time an animal is bleeding from it’s nose, mouth, eyes, ears, or rectum it is defiantly a time of need and that telephone call should be made immediately. Bleeding can be a sign of poisoning or some type of internal injury. These can be life threatening when not treated as soon as possible. If your pet is recovery from a recent surgery and the incision is bleeding, the veterinarian should know about this. A little oozing can be normal. How much is just a little oozing? Call your veterinarian and ask.

Another time to call your veterinarian is if your pet has a persistent or unusual cough. Respiratory infections and kennel cough (in dogs) are quite common. This can also be a sign your pet is infected with heartworms. Heartworms, untreated, can be deadly. This can also be a sign of an allergic reaction, especially if accompanied by a swollen face and head and/or hives.

If you find a lump on your pet, you should call your veterinarian. It could be as simple as a cyst or it could be cancer — and just about anything in between. It is better to be safe than sorry. Make that telephone call and give yourself a little peace of mind.

Gums that are not their normal shade (paler than usual, white or blue) merits a call to the vet. This can be a sign that your animal is going into shock. It can be a sign of internal bleeding or a respiratory or heart problem. When an animals gums are not their normal shade, it is a sign the blood is not flowing normally. If the blood isn’t getting to the gums properly, it is highly probably that blood isn’t getting your pet’s heart, brain, and lungs properly either.

Sudden changes in behavior (appetite/water consumption, activity/inactivity level, licking, scratching, weight, etc) is a good reason to call the veterinarian. The possibilities of a problem being present is high. These could be signs of kidney problems, blocked intestines, allergies, infection, diabetes and a long list of other health problems.

If you pet seems to be having problems giving birth, call the veterinarian immediately. Several lives are depending on your pet getting the necessary treatment. Chances are, you and your veterinarian have discussed labor and delivery, so you have an idea what is normal and what to expect. If, at any time, you feel something is not right, pick up the telephone and call.

So, when should you call the veterinarian? All of the reasons listed are good reasons to call the veterinarian. Anytime you feel like something is strange or unusual. And, that feeling you get in your heart, that feeling that won’t go away? That is the most important time to call. That may very well be your time of need.


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