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.