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What to Do if Your Dog… Has an Emergency Condition

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

Read By: Pet Lovers
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Is bitten by a snake - Do you know what kind of snake it was? If the snake was venomous, your pet should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Eats a plant – If your pet eats a plant, the safest thing to do is find out if the plant is toxic. Call your vet or local emergency clinic. You can also check out our list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

Urinates in the house – If your pet urinates in the house and this is "unusual", he or she should be evaluated. Inappropriate urination can be behavioral but can also be caused by infections, diabetes, kidney disease, or side effects of some medications. Call your veterinarian and see if they want to see your pet and if they want you to try to bring a urine sample with you.

Has diarrhea - If your dog has one episode of diarrhea and is otherwise acting normally, you can probably wait and see what happens over the next hour or so. If your pet has repeated bouts of diarrhea, you notice blood in the stool, your pet acts lethargic, is vomiting, seems anxious or uncomfortable, then he should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Is limping – There are many causes for limping from minor problems, muscle strains to ligament tears or fractures. If you notice your pet limping, keep his activity restricted to leash walks. If he seems painful, the limping persists, or you suspect a fracture, see your veterinarian immediately. To prevent further injury, keep you pet confined and restricted to leash walks for urination and defection only until the problem has been evaluated.

Pulled out its suture – If your pet is licking at its suture line – call your veterinarian as the next thing your pet will probably do is pull out the sutures. If your pet is licking, he probably needs an "E-collar" that will prevent him or her from reaching the wound. If your pet has already pulled out the sutures, look at the incision. Is it open? How long has it been since the surgery? If the wound is open or the surgery was less than 5 days ago, most likely it will need re-sutured. Additionally, the area will need to be bandaged if possible or an e-collar placed on your pet to prevent further injury. If there is any doubt about what needs to be done, it is best to have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian. If the area is infected, your pet may also need antibiotics.

If your pet has something in his eye – This can be serious. You should prevent him from scratching at it and take him to your veterinarian. Scratching or rubbing at the eye is a natural response but pets can do a lot of damage by doing this. If you have an e-collar at home, place it on your pet immediately while you make arrangements to have your dog evaluated at your vet's office.

Is lethargic or unresponsive – This is often a life-threatening symptom and can be associated with many different diseases. Call your veterinarian immediately and have your pet evaluated.

Can't or has trouble urinating - If your dog is straining to urinate, can't urinate or is licking the genital area excessively, he or she should be examined by your veterinarian. This condition can be caused by urinary tract infection, bladder stones or prostate problems in males, as well as vaginal or uterine infections in females.

Can't or has trouble defecating – This symptom needs to be watched carefully. If it is only one episode and then your pet acts normal, you may not have to worry. If your pet can't defecate in 24 hours, strains, you see blood, or is not eating, then he or she should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

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