Can this wait?
The Pet Corner
With Dr. Chante Wildgoose
Emergencies always seem to happen on Sundays and holiday weekends, don't they? You're having a great time at the party in the backyard and suddenly your pet seems ill. Is he sick enough for a trip to the emergency vet clinic?
No one wants to see a pet in pain or in danger. But every day, people spend money they didn't need to for emergency clinic trips they didn't have to make.
Some of the things that send people into a panic can be of no concern at all. One Sunday afternoon at home I received at total of 12 calls from a frantic woman that thought her puppy was in danger of dying because he threw up...once... but was still his normal self, eating drinking and playing definitely in need of being examined, but nothing that couldn't wait until the weekend was over.
Knowing what a true emergency is and what is not, can save you hundreds of dollars, since emergency clinics like human emergency care can be quite expensive.
It's a good time to review when a pet needs to see a veterinarian. Anything is worth at least a phone call if you're not sure what's wrong. And some things require immediate attention by a veterinarian.
How to tell the difference? Here are some signs that should have you heading for a veterinarian, day or night:
* Seizure, fainting or collapse.
* Eye injury, no matter how mild.
* Vomiting or diarrhea -- anything more than two or three times within an hour.
* Allergic reactions, such as swelling around the face, or hives, most easily seen on the belly.
* Any suspected poisoning, including antifreeze, rodent or snail bait, or human medication. Cats are especially sensitive to insecticides (such as flea-control medication for dogs) or any petroleum-based product.
* Centipede or venomous spider bites.
* Thermal stress from being either too cold or too hot even if the pet seems to have recovered. The internal story could be quite different.
* Any wound or laceration that's open and bleeding, or any animal bite. That goes for dog breeders here in particular that seem to think they can take care of any wound or bite themselves! Sometimes waiting to see if your home or Internet-remedy works will do your pet more harm than good when it comes to wounds and dog bites. A vet will examine evaluate and properly prescribe antibiotics and ointments for rapid healing and infection prevention.
* Trauma, such as being hit by a car, even if the pet seems fine. And even if the pet is a potcake!!! Yes, we all know of potcakes that are hit by a car and then get up, run into the bushes and return three days later as if nothing occurred. Those were lucky incidences and again, the situation could be quite different on the inside of the dog.
* Any respiratory problem: chronic coughing, trouble breathing or near drowning.
* Straining to urinate or defecate.
Although some other problems may not be life-threatening, they may be causing your pet pain and should be taken care of without delay... such as a ripped nail or paw pad, an aural hematoma or what lots of clients describe as a 'ballooned ear'' or even a broken tooth with an exposed nerve. Painful stuff! Signs of pain include panting, labored breathing, increased body temperature, lethargy, restlessness, crying out, aggression and loss of appetite. Some pets seek company when suffering, while others will hide and withdraw.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution, always. Better to be dead wrong about a minor medical problem than to have a pet who is dead because you guessed wrong about a major one.
Call your veterinarian or your vet clinic or hospital when you need help and ask what financial estimates and arrangements the staff suggests for emergency or after-hours care.
© 2012 The Freeport News