By LuAnn McLain
A recent experience seeking veterinary attention for a dog has reminded us that it is not always easy to know when veterinarian care is needed. Our dog had symptoms we had complained of for over a year. It wasn't until a veterinarian did some tests that the source of some of the symptoms was discovered.
We can all benefit from reminders of symptoms that call for veterinary care and what to tell the veterinarian we've observed. Keep in mind that a veterinarian often relies on the owner to inform her of symptoms noticed to enable her to know what to investigate.
IMMEDIATE care should be sought for any of the following:
* High fever (normal for cats and dogs is in 101 degree range).
* If vomiting is bloody or dark.
* Bloody diarrhea.
* Pet can not urinate.
* If you notice a thick discharge from the eye or the pet seems unable to see as well.
* If the pet is squinting, tearing, or holds the eyelid closed.
* When there is lameness that is severe or very painful.
* Seizures or convulsions.
* Coughing with difficulty breathing.
The following warning signs should get an early visit to the vet:
* Poor appetite for more than a few days.
* Eating quite a bit more food than usual for at least a week.
* Losing weight when the animal is allowed as much food as wanted. If the pet is eating as much as usual or more than usual and still losing weight it is especially serious.
* Sneezing for more than one day.
* Drinking lots of water for more than several days. Excessive water intake is considered to be more than 2/3 ounce of water per pound of body weight. (Example: 9 pound cat drinks more than 6 ounces of water per day.)
* Vomiting more than three times.
* Lethargy and diarrhea if it lasts more than a day.
* Coughing if it lasts more than a day.
* Urinating more often, or if the pet has sudden accidents in the house, and any difficulty urinating or blood in the urine.
* Any change in the way the eye looks to you.
* Changes in behavior lasting more than a day.
* Limping or difficulty walking which does not improve in a few days when the pet is allowed to rest.
* Scratching the ears or shaking the head or discharge in the ear.
* Itching and scratching is noticeably increased.
* Trouble eating or mouth pain.
The symptoms listed above provide a basic reference. There certainly are other circumstances and symptoms that will require prompt veterinary attention.
The pet owner's judgment is the best source of information, and if you have a doubt about a pet's condition, trust the concern you feel. It means you should consult the veterinarian.
Have a happy and healthy week with your companion critters. If you would like to write to Pawsitively Pets, please send your letter to PO Box 1731, Havre, MT 59501.