One of the most common questions asked of any veterinary clinic is “Do I need to bring my pet in to the hospital?” Unfortunately, the wide variety of potential illnesses and injuries may make it all but impossible to answer that question. But what are some things that you can do until you can get your pet to the vet?
Here’s Noah’s Animal Hospitals’ Tom Dock with more:
1) In the case of vomiting and/or diarrhea, keeping the pet hydrated is important, but challenging if the pet continues to experience either vomiting or diarrhea. Veterinarians recommend immediate examination if vomiting has occurred more than 4 times in an hour or 8 times in a day.
2) In some cases, simply withholding food and water for a short time, 6-8 hours, is enough to calm the GI tract and resolve the issue. If you have removed food and water and the pet stops vomiting, try offering SMALL (think 1 teaspoon per lb of body weight) amounts of water throughout that day and night. Bland diets can be offered in small amounts the next day.
3) Seeing a pet with a possibly fractured limb is pretty traumatic and worrisome, especially if the fracture is “open” or poking through the skin. Closed fractures can’t be necessarily be seen. The first rule here is to understand that your pet is likely very painful and made need to have a muzzle placed.
4) If the fracture is open, cover with sterile gauze or clean cloth (a feminine pad will do). Do NOT attempt to push the bone back under the skin or into place. With all fractures, movement should be done as gently as possible and ideally the pet would be immobilized on a board for transport.
5) If the pet can still walk on three legs, help support the pet’s movements by using a towel or blanket and sling under the abdomen. This helps support the rear legs and can help keep the pet under better control while walking. Then it’s on to the ER for exam and xrays
6) Dog fights and cat fights happen often and sometimes leave significant damage in their wake. If your pet has been in a fight, first see if there is active bleeding. If so, apply direct pressure to the wound. If the wound is deeper than the skin (you can see fat, muscle, or bone), apply a wet compress and leave in place until the pet is seen at the veterinarian.
7) Minor wounds (not all the way through the skin) can often be cleaned and bandaged at home by following guidelines found here. It’s still important to get the wound examined by a veterinarian as some bite wounds, especially those of cats, can cause damage MUCH deeper than anticipated.
8) Finally, for this section, understand the proper way of providing CPR to a pet can be lifesaving. Unlike with humans, many pets should have CPR done with the pet on his/her side versus on the back. And, just like with people, the right rhythm is important…Use “Staying Alive”, “Hips Don’t Lie”, Missy Elliott’s “Work It”, or even “Another One Bites the Dust” to keep your tempo.
9) Pets should receive 2 breaths for every 30 compressions. CPR on pets (or people) is hard work and should make you sweat. It is important to realize that while CPR can be lifesaving, very often the pet is likely to have similar issues in the future.
10) Your veterinarian and your local animal emergency hospitals are always happy to help guide you with any pet injury or illness. The absolute best option is to have a physical exam performed, even if you are certain that the issue is minor.
11) Be wary of Internet sites and comments that steer you away from your pet’s doctor. These folks don’t know you or your pet (in most cases) and diagnosing a pet’s illness virtually is often challenging, even for veterinary professionals. Play it safe…go see your Veterinarian!