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-   -   When Does Your Pet Need to go to the Vet? (

MBRA518 July 7th, 2004 10:36 AM

When Does Your Pet Need to go to the Vet?
OK - people often get chewed out here for posting a problem (some warranted albeit - but some people just don't know what is serious and what is not).... so - when do you need to take a pet to the vet and when can you wait and see?

I'm a pretty experienced pet owner - so I'm probably more familiar with what's serious and what is not than many owners and I know there are many very experienced pet owners and rescue helpers on this board that will have some great advise also... so when does your pet need to go to the vet?

This is mostly from one of those dog shows on TLC but it is basically what I go by:

Throwing up is not abnormal for a dog - so you don't need to run to the vet every time your dog vomits UNLESS: it happens more than 3 times in 2 hours - or more than 6 times in 12 hours or there is blood in the vomit - if that is the case - go to the vet.

If there is blood in the poo or urine - or your pet has difficulty pooping or urinating - go to the vet

A cut or scrap on your pet should follow the same lines as for yourself - if the cut were on you - if you would clean and bandage it yourself - you can likely do that for your pet - however anything large enough to require stitches or if you can't QUICKLY stop the bleeding - go to the vet.

If your pet is hit by a car, or otherwise suffers a big trauma - go to the vet ASAP - even if it appears nothing is wrong, internal injuries sometimes can't be detected - especially if the animal is in shock

For physical soreness/lameness... if is bad enough that the animal will not/can not walk - go to the vet. For a mild limp - check the limb/area thoroughly for thorns, cuts overly tender spots, if any are found deal with them if you can - if you can't - off to the vet... if you can't determine what is wrong and it is MILD - give it a day, if no improvement go to the vet.

If your pet has an eye problem - eyes closed/can't open - puss, excess running of the eye or a foreign object in the eye that you can't easily remove (like a hair you can get out wouldn't be a big deal) Go to the vet - eyes are not to be messed with.

If your pet in suddenly sick or physically hurt with no explanation - go to the vet

If you are unsure what is mild enough of a problem to deal with yourself - discuss it with your vet - not the message board - most vets will speak to you on the phone or call you back if something is going on that you are not sure how to deal with.

You should also have an after hours number for your vet - be that an emergency on call service from you regular vet, or one in your area, if those are not available in your area - find out where the nearest emergency 24 hour clinic is and have that number near your phone as well.

I've heard it said that you should take your pet to the vet if it was something you would go to the doctor for... this is not always good reasoning - pets are not humans, something what is not that big of a deal for you can be deadly for your pet, and they can't tell you how much or were it hurts - people can. I know that I have taken my pets to the vet for things I wouldn't not have gone to the Dr for - but then I never go to the Dr other than reg visits unless I'm in real pain - that's my choice - I don't think it's fair to force that on my pets.

I'd like to hear from other people on this too - any additions or revisions - or maybe breed or species specific issues that really require your vets help.

glasslass July 7th, 2004 11:13 AM

Great post!! :)

May I add one more?

Keep your dog's medical history and vet info in a convenient location and take it with you if you have to go to an emergency vet clinic. It may help the emergency vet, who may not be familiar with your pet, assess what the problem is and to be sure any medications don't have adverse effects when combined with any new medications or treatments.

MBRA518 July 28th, 2004 12:36 PM

Seems like we need this one again - so from the depths it rises

sammiec July 28th, 2004 12:52 PM

WOW MBRA!!! Fantastic post!! I just wish that this one won't be lost in the forever list of threads. Maybe we can have a Moderator (hint hint) keep this one as a special thread that is at the beginning of the forum!!!
You covered all the big ticket items! Nice work.

Please, if there is something that you are concerned about don't hesitate to call the clinic at least. They will help over the phone and direct you for further action!! :D

heidiho July 28th, 2004 12:57 PM

Can someone just explain to me,if it is of enough concern to sit here and ask someone that you dont even know on the internet for advice if something is wrong with your dog or cat,why cant you just call your vet?????????????????????????????????

Spoiled July 28th, 2004 01:11 PM

Great post! Heidi, it is usualy the money issue. :(

sammiec July 28th, 2004 01:18 PM

But Spoiled, it doesn't cost anything to pick up the phone and ask! :D That's what I have a hard with. I just don't understand that. :p

heidiho July 28th, 2004 01:22 PM

Thank you Sammiec,that is my point,i called my vet all the time with questions about damien............I understand the money issue believe me,but call your vet if they find it serious enough to be seen,then go from there................Any vet will have no problem with someone calling worried about there pet......

glasslass July 28th, 2004 10:09 PM

They seem to delay calling a vet until the problem becomes acute, usually after-hours. Then they think they have an excuse because it's after-hours and will cost more at emergency! :mad:

moontamara July 28th, 2004 11:21 PM

[COLOR=DarkGreen]Some people are afraid of bothering professionals for what may be an extremely trivial thing, but they still want advice. Of course, I'm not talking about collapsing heads, or anything, but less urgent things, like the cat with an itchy neck with some scabs on it. Yes, that cat does need to see a vet, but I can understand why the poster wasn't sure. Also, some vet clinics don't answer questions over the phone, like the one in my hometown. And don't forget about the people (myself included) who seek health care, but aren't 100% sure that what their vet is saying is true (turns out she was right in my case). In my opinion, the majority of people who ask questions here are trying to do the best they can for their pet. Some of them may be failing, but that's a reason to try to guide them, not to shame them away.[/COLOR]

Luba July 29th, 2004 12:54 AM

Funny thing is some people say it's money but it's more like they'd rather spend their money on something else rather then the pet.

moontamara July 29th, 2004 03:36 AM

[COLOR=DarkGreen]Don't you think it's natural not to want to spend a lot of money on vet bills [I]if it isn't necessary[/I]? Lots of people just don't know the difference, and some may want to spend the money on something else, like their electrical bill!

I know there are some ridiculous cases we've seen here where it's obvious that the pet owner is either too selfish to spend the money on a vet, too stupid to know they should go to a vet, or seriously don't have the money, and therefore probably shouldn't have the pet. But lots of people just don't know! Also, I think that sometimes people phrase things carelessly, and people here have a tendency to jump on what people write before asking more questions... I've seen that a few times, and now my posts always have a tendency to be quite long to ensure that I've said everything and explained every little detail to avoid getting jumped on!

But honestly, more than anything, I think the title of this section needs to be changed, as we've discussed in another thread. The disclaimers are easily ignored by someone who is desperately searching a vet to communicate with online. How about calling it "Health Issues" or something like that. Keep the disclaimer, but lose the terribly misleading "Ask the Vet."

I also think there is a reason it's called "Ask the Vet." In my case, that was the search line that brought me here, and I'm guessing it's like that for a lot of people... Hmmm. :rolleyes: [/COLOR]

stbeachy July 29th, 2004 10:29 AM

EXACTLY Moontamara! I think you hit the nail on the head in more cases than one with that post!

It is what brought me and happened to me too! Electic to eat! I agree with you.

Sometimes people get an animal and then circumstances change, and yes, they may not be able to offer that pet EVERYTHING, but can still responsibly take care of the pet with love. I would much rather see a pet getting love and attention than be given away because someone can't buy something that isn't necessarily a need in their circumstance, hence, the questions here. With some things, you never know if it is need or just something that will go my dog's rash...took her to the vet, and they didn't do anything that I couldn't have done, except charge me a $25 office visit. I am glad I took her and eased my concerns BUT...the money is a BIG issue for me. When she NEEDS to be at the vet, I will make it happen, but can't run her there for every little thing. Isn't that what the post is for? I too stumbled on this link from the same search...for a vet. Now, the extreme issues are a bit much, but hey? You have those everywhere you go!

I agree with you girl!

heidiho July 29th, 2004 10:31 AM

I am glad I took her and eased my concerns STBEACHY said that,and that is exactly my feeling about it,going to vet would ease my concern.......

sammiec July 29th, 2004 10:41 AM

I feel a 25 dollar vet visit to ensure your pets health and your sanity is worth it. That's a trip to the movies, a case of beer, or a half decent meal out, deciding not to buy that steak and potatoes from the grocery store. That's just my opinion. I am not trying to belittle other pet owners or argue that you are all horrible people. This thread is about opinions on when a pet should go to the vet. Hope my "passion" (or obsession) has not offended anyone.... :o :)

glasslass July 29th, 2004 10:50 AM

"Health Issues" - good suggestion!

moontamara July 29th, 2004 06:06 PM

[COLOR=DarkGreen]Sammiec, you're absolutely right -- if it isn't happening all the time. My little guy has had tons of problems (buying a dog in Korea? expect that, apparently!), and I could sacrifice a lot of things to pay for the vet visits. But at a certain point, there was nothing more to sacrifice!!! I never buy that much beer, have that many hair appointments, etc... If Casey hadn't been to the vet for a few months and suddenly he started scratching his rear end or something like that, I'd take him happily and hope it didn't cost more than $25. But right now, after being to the vet more days than not for the last 2 months ( :eek: ) I would get online first and try to learn how to take care of it myself, before breaking down and going to the vet.[/COLOR]

MBRA518 July 29th, 2004 08:45 PM

I'm thinking though that the more experianced you get with owning pets... the more you can handle yourself... for instance with the horses... it's rare that I call the vet for other than regular check-ups... but I know enough what I can handle and what I can't... and I probably handle more than the average horse owner. Same with the dog... although it doesn't help that Rosie is terrified of the vet and tences up - so it's usually much easier for me to try and figure it out then for the vet to try and figure out what's bothering a stressed out dog that whimpers when every they touch her (when she was a pup, my regular vet was busy when I took her in for her final shots, so the other vet came in - she was terrified of him from the time he opened the door - she hasn't been the same since)... like her hip and shoulder problems - I mean I mentioned to the vet what I was doing to be sure it was ok - but I looked after it myself (she gets people joint pills). We've had dogs all my life and I grew up on a hobby farm with not much money for the most part... that maybe ment you didn't go to the vet all that often, but it didn't mean that the animals suffered, just that you looked after it yourself... of course I look back at some of it and think OMG I would never do that now - but it all worked out back then.

I think that pet owners should be able to take a basic pet first aid course... and it should be manditory for people adopting from a shelter.

glasslass July 30th, 2004 12:36 AM

Nothing can substitute for the owner's personal knowledge of her pet. We know what is unusual behavior. When you think about it, the vet relies much on what you tell him has been happening. They use that information to zero in to confirm what may or may not be the problem. Blood tests and other tests help confirm and guide the diagnosis. We rely on the owner's description also when we are trying to offer suggestions.

aylith417 November 7th, 2006 10:25 PM

When to go to the vet
Everybody has made absolutely wonderful points, but we're kind of skirting away from the original poster's point: when should you go to the vet?

I look at it like this: your pet is essentially a small fuzzy child. If you don't want to foot expensive medical bills, because yes, vets are expensive (one of the reasons I'm in vet-med school right now :) ), then you probably shouldn't get a pet. Regardless, if it's a malady you would go to the doctor for (itchy sores, eye problems, limited mobility, whatever), then you should take the pet in. It might be an easy fix, but it's worth the bill if it means peace of mind. You can't really make a "defined" list, because there are just too many medical issues to cover. It really boils down to common sense. You know your pet, and you know their usual behavior (if it is a new pet, a puppy, or a kitten, any odd behavior should be immediately acknowledged just to be safe.) And as to calling the vet to ask, any good and caring vet, or vet tech, will answer your questions--I actually had to do this this week over my male kitties. I wanted to price vaccinations and castration surgeries to see who would give me the care I seeked for my pets as well as a reasonable price--I personally use 3 vets for my pets--one for emergency-only visits, one for regular check-ups, and one for surgeries. I have records on all my kitties, keep all three vets up to date, and they all know how I handle my kitties...I also have a LOT of experience with animals, so that does make a little difference as to why I operate in this way. The bottom line is this: if you are unsure as to what to do, then you should call your vet, discuss the issue, and go from there. Only your vet can give you the medical advice you need.

aylith417 November 7th, 2006 10:29 PM

animal first aid courses
[QUOTE=MBRA518;38010]I think that pet owners should be able to take a basic pet first aid course... and it should be manditory for people adopting from a shelter.[/QUOTE]

The American Red Cross is now offering animal CPR classes for those that are interested. I know this website is based in Canada, but I thought this might be useful for those interested.

jesse's mommy November 8th, 2006 05:18 AM

Ummm, you know this thread is over two years old right?

vfrohloff November 8th, 2006 07:43 AM

Just because a post is over 2 years old doesn't mean that valuable information can't be added to it or gained from it.

Prin November 8th, 2006 01:33 PM

Yeah, but sometimes it's better to start a new one to get your point across clearer.:shrug:

jesse's mommy November 8th, 2006 07:21 PM

Thanks Prin. :thumbs up

Prin November 8th, 2006 07:49 PM

It's ok. I agree. aylith417 has a good point, and I just don't want it to disappear because people come in here and say "Oh, this is an old one".:shrug: :o

spay&neuter February 11th, 2007 11:23 PM

[QUOTE=heidiho;37614]Thank you Sammiec,that is my point,i called my vet all the time with questions about damien............I understand the money issue believe me,but call your vet if they find it serious enough to be seen,then go from there................Any vet will have no problem with someone calling worried about there pet......[/QUOTE]

while they might be nice about it, few vets are going to feel comfortable diagnosing an animal they can't see. A lot of them are busy with patients who're there, and can't answer the phone. I'm sure they don't want to spend every evening after work returning calls from the people who don't want to spend money to bring their pet in.
They can't run tests over the phone, and can't always go by what we say it looks like. Most are likely to just tell you to bring your pet in. I think it's a mistake for them to make a blind guess at the seriousness unless it's something really obvious, or someone calls in to say "my puppy sneezed once today".

Vets are about a hundred times less likely to worry about being sued than human docs, but you'll never find a human doc (unless he/she is a close family friend...and even then) who will say anything other than "come in" if you call. I think most vets are going to do the same.

Prin February 11th, 2007 11:29 PM

That's why you have to go to the same vet. If I call my vet tomorrow morning with a problem, I'll get an answer and maybe not a diagnosis, but they will tell me if they think it's something that should be dealt with right away or something I can get checked when I've got free time to do it. But my vet sees my dogs at least twice a year, so he knows what state of health they are in. If you don't go to the vet at least once a year, then yes, you aren't likely going to get great service from a perfect stranger, but then again NOBODY knows your animal or any of their history, so what do you expect?

p.s. if your vet hasn't seen your animal in over a year, and you can't afford a regular, maintenance visit, then maybe it's time to rethink having animals. Sure, some costs are unexpected, but when it comes to regular stuff, like check ups and vaccines and all that, you should be ready or you shouldn't have a pet.

Sweetgrass February 12th, 2007 02:40 AM

my 2 cents...
I do believe some of the posts we see, (where we feel it is obvious a vet visit is in order), can be a pet owner trying to prepare themselves for what it could be, big or small, and hear from others who have gone through it so they are not alone and scared with the unknown.

Ofcourse there are those posts that are obtuse, but not all pet owners who post vet needed issues, are trying not to pay.


Prin February 12th, 2007 03:01 PM

That's true. Some people post to learn more so they know what is going on a bit more before and during a vet consult. :)

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