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Deciding When's Best to Call a Veterinarian

29 August 2014

US - Though our pets may pet may dread the veterinarian, there are many instances when a trip to the local animal hospital or clinic is essential to their health. Since animals can’t express to you in words when they are not feeling well, there are many symptoms you can look out for to help determine if it’s time for a vet visit.

“It is most important to remember that everything should be taken within the context of the other signs,” said Dr Jean Rubanick, veterinary resident instructor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM).

“Basically, if there are multiple signs, then taking a pet to the vet is indicated.”

Some common signs of irregularity may include extreme lethargy, increased respiratory rate, profuse vomiting or diarrhea, anorexia, or increased drinking and urinating. While these are most widely recognised as indicators for veterinary attention, some symptoms may be more unique and less recognisable.

“Abnormal circling (not to be confused with the occasional circling of an excited dog), head pressing, seizures, inability to rise, weakness, respiratory distress, changes in the gum color, and bubbles coming from the nose are some other sign to look out for,” said Dr Rubanick.

If your pet ingests something that poses toxic to animals, whether it is a plant or food, consultation with your veterinarian is vital to the animal’s health and safety.

“Eating sago palm, chocolate, lilies, people medication, or anything else unusual should also prompt a call to the veterinarian,” said Dr Rubanick.

Although stomach abnormalities such as vomiting and diarrhea may be signs of sickness or ingestion of toxins, it is also possible your pet has merely scarfed down his dinner too quickly. Depending on the pet and their usual behavior, a brief upset stomach may not be much cause for concern.

“Vomiting once or one bout of diarrhea is probably nothing to worry about, as long as the pet is otherwise acting normally,” said Dr Rubanick.

“Likewise, a pet that eats too quickly or drinks a lot of water and then vomits but continues to act normally afterwards is probably fine.”

In general, you should always contact your veterinarian if you notice any symptoms or behavior abnormal for your pet.

From there, your vet will be able tell you if something does not need to be urgently addressed or if you should make an appointment right away. Whether Fido is just having an off day or he ingested something poisonous, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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