When to Call the Veterinarian

Knowing when to call the veterinarian can be a stressful and confusing decision. No one wants to take up the veterinarian's time and pay for an office call if it isn't necessary, yet we don't want to deny our dog care should it be needed. Most veterinarians say, "If in doubt, call," and that's good advice.

Before anything happens, you need to make a habit of paying attention to your dog. Know what is normal behavior for him and what isn't. How hard does he normally breathe after playtimes? How quickly does he eat? How much water does he drink each day? In addition, give him a gentle massage everyday so you know what his body feels like. Then when something happens, you know exactly what is different.

Here are some problems you should watch for and call the vet for her recommendations:

♦ Diarrhea that lasts more than a day or that contains blood or a lot of mucus.

♦ Vomiting that doesn't stop after a couple of hours.

♦ Refusal to eat and missing two meals.

♦ A rectal temperature lower than 100 degrees F or higher than 102.5 degrees F.

♦ Bleeding that doesn't stop with direct pressure on the wound.

♦ Cuts or wounds that gape open.

♦ A snakebite of any kind. Get a good look at the snake so you can describe it to the vet.

♦ A bite by a bat, rat, or other rodent, or a bite by another wild animal, such as a fox or coyote.

♦ Breathing difficulties, including gasping, heavy panting, coughing, or repetitive sneezing.

♦ Breathing with a gurgling sound, or a running nose, or a liquid cough.

♦ A potential allergic reaction, with red skin, welts, or swelling, especially around the face.

♦ Suspected poisoning, especially antifreeze, rodent poison, ant poison, or snail poison.

When you call your veterinarian, she will ask you some specific questions. Have this information at hand so you don't have to fumble around for it or call back:

♦ What is the specific problem?

♦ What made you pay attention to it?

♦ When did the puppy eat last? How much? How does this differ from normal? Did he throw up afterward?

♦ Is the puppy drinking water? Is this normal or different from normal?

♦ Is there any diarrhea? What does it look like?

♦ Has the puppy gone anywhere or gotten into anything that might have caused this problem?

Tell your veterinarian anything that might tie into this problem. It's better to give too much information rather than too little; she can wade through it and pick out the important pieces.

Once your dog has seen the veterinarian, follow through with all recommended care at home. Unfortunately, far too many dog owners don't follow through and will stop giving prescribed medication once the dog is feeling and acting better. In too many cases, this could cause a relapse or a severe infection.

Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.

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