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The # 1 Pet Emergency Seen in Emergency Rooms

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Do you know the #1 emergency seen in pet emergency rooms?

Most people guess trauma from being hit by a car, a gun shot wound, bite wounds, drowning, and other urgent problems caused by accident or injury. Do you know the number one reason pet owners take their dogs to the animal emergency room?

It's vomiting. That's right, the number one reason dog owners take their dogs to the after-hours emergency room is vomiting. Your dog starts vomiting. You get a little nervous. You clean up the mess. You watch him closely. He acts listless and with no energy, and you become really worried.

Do you know what to do?

1. Make sure you know where your local emergency room is or how your vet deals with emergencies. Keep this vital information (phone number, hours, address and directions) handy.

2. Make sure you know your dog's medical history and any medications he is on. The emergency vet will want to know when the problem started, how many times your dog vomited, what the vomit looked like, the last time your dog vomited, and if there are any accompanying symptoms such as lethargy, weakness or diarrhea. Observe your dog. If possible, take a sample of the most recent diarrhea with you.

3. Call your veterinarian or emergency clinic to determine what they want you to do. Their staff will talk to you about your pet and recommend if you should take your dog in for examination. If your dog has only vomited once, is now acting normal and has no diarrhea, they may give you a recommendation to wait a few hours and see if your pet vomits again.

4. Keep your dog away from trash, table scraps and other foreign objects that he may be inclined to chew on. Make any food changes gradually, over a period of several days. Buy only safe toys and ensure your dog does not chew on any objects around that house which he could swallow and be unable to digest or pass through his system.

How much will a vet visit for a vomiting dog cost you? Anywhere from $130 - $300+ depending whether they do X-rays and other tests. This just happened to someone I know this week. She did not have pet insurance, so she paid it out of pocket. How many more times can she afford to do this?

How many times could you afford to cover your pet's emergencies out of pocket like this? And many emergencies are even more costly than this. Have you looked into pet insurance yet? If you have not done so, take a minute now to see if pet insurance is right for you.

One last thing ... Many emergencies of this type are caused by owners feeding table scraps to their pets, and pets getting access to trash. So protect your dog, and be careful what you feed him.

Until next time,

Dr. Jon



P.S. If you do not have pet insurance, you should be saving money for your dog's care on a regular basis so you can be prepared for a major medical expense.


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