5 Pointers That May Keep Your Pet Out Of The ER
Being an emergency veterinarian for 8 years, I have seen many cases walk through my doors. Despite loving my job, understandably, nobody is really happy to see me! ER visitors are commonly frustrated with the situation itself, the emotions involved and finances.
How many of these emergencies were preventable? Good question! Hind sight is always 20:20, and accidents do happen; but, can we be smarter than the dog?
Here are my recommendations:
1-Visit your family veterinarian regularly for wellness exams
Yearly veterinary visits are vital in maintaining your pet’s health! There are endless reasons, but here are a few examples why:
- A routine physical exam and blood work may identify and allow treatment of abnormalities early, before complications arise.
- Your vet will keep your pet current on their vaccinations and heartworm prevention. I see “kennel cough” and the deadly parvovirus commonly on emergency.
- See your veterinarian for routine toe nail trims to prevent torn, painful and bleeding toenails
- Your veterinarian can express the anal glands to prevent abscesses, pain and infections
- Routine dental cleanings and exams may treat and prevent any tooth abscess, fracture or pain
2-Spay and Neuter Your Pets
- Intact female dogs are at risk of unplanned pregnancy. With pregnancy carries the risk of difficult birthing, which may result in a visit to the ER. Complications could require a C-section (surgical removal of the puppies) and even death of puppies or mother.
- Eclampsia (low calcium causing severe tremors and even death) can occur after whelping (having puppies), requiring emergency hospitalization and treatment.
- Intact females are at risk of pyometra (an infected uterus). This can be a surgical emergency and puts her at risk of life threatening complications, including death.
- Intact males are at higher risk of roaming away from home, placing them at risk for trauma or toxin ingestion.
3-Pet-Proof Your Home
The most common toxins are often abundant in and around your home!
- Keep ALL human and pet medications in a secure location, where your pet cannot access them. Many medications are TOXIC to pets, even in small amounts! Both prescription and over-the-counter medications should be locked away.
- Keep all human and pet food in a secure location. They can be sneaky and eat things you would never expect! Common toxic examples are:
-Raisins and Grapes
-Products sweetened with xylitol
-Secure your trash and old/moldy food. Ingesting these may be dangerous and deadly for your pet.
-Check the plants in your yard and in the house. Are they toxic to pets? Common examples are:
-Many random household items are potentially dangerous. Some examples are:
-Ribbons and tinsel
Visit www.aspca.org/ under “Pet Care” and click “Animal Poison Control Center” for more tips and information on pet poison prevention.
4-Secure Your Yard
- Walk the yard routinely to check for any material that is toxic, could cause choking or trauma.
- Keep your yard free of debris that may be a hiding place for dangerous animals such as snakes.
- Animal poisons for pests in your yard are toxic to your pets, too! Be careful when attempting to remove snails, slugs, flies, roaches, ants, moles, and rats/mice!
- Check for any lose wires that could cause electric shock.
- If you have a pool, be certain your pet is not able to access this when you are unavailable for direct supervision. Accidental drowning is possible, even in the most experienced swimming pet, when they are unable to escape!
- Check the fence for damages that could allow escape. Free roaming pets are in danger of toxins and trauma!
- If you utilize invisible fence, be certain the collar battery is charged.
- Don’t let your pet roam freely. Supervision is the key!
5-Socialize and Play Safely
- Should your pet be interacting at the dog park? Are they socialized and friendly? Be smart when exposing your pet to others! Often they are protective of their toys and may need to be exercised alone!
- Maintain your pet on a secure leash while on a walk. Even when you are present, your pet may unexpectedly react in an aggressive manner toward other pets. Dog bites may be minor to severe and life threatening.
- Is your pet food or bone aggressive? Prevent injuries to other pets and humans. Be smart and separate them as needed!
- Does your pet love to swim and chase the toy in the water? Be smart. Monitor for excessive panting and allow them to rest. They want to please you, and will push themselves too far! If they are exhausted and continue swimming, this places them at risk of aspirating water and causing life threatening pneumonia.
- How is the weather? In the hot and humid summer months, please exercise your pet in the early morning and evening hours in attempt to prevent heat stroke! Be certain they have access to plenty of fresh water and shade! Are they acclimated to the weather? Heat strokes are deadly!
Dr. Carrie Davis is an emergency veterinarian at Veterinary Specialty Care located at 985 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464. Phone 843-216-7554. She can be reached via her facebook account, www.facebook.com/drcarriedavis or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org