Doggy Diagnosis – Five Ways to Know if Your Pup Needs to See the Vet

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Gut instinct is the single most valuable tool for pet owners when determining whether a pet needs to visit the veterinarian. It’s often immediately apparent when a pet is in pain or is simply acting in a way that demands cause for concern. While some injuries and illnesses can be treated right at home, there are those that require medical intervention from a qualified veterinarian. Here’s a handy guide of just the symptoms to watch for in your pet.

Labored Breathing
If your pet is struggling for air, this requires immediate medical attention. Difficulty breathing is a symptom of several life-threatening conditions. For example, dogs can have allergic reactions to things just as people do and that can manifest in respiratory distress. A dog may also be choking on a foreign object, manifesting heart problems or exhibiting pulmonary issues. Owners should not delay in seeking medical advice. This is not an area where owners should try to manage the pet themselves. Trying to extract a foreign object from a pet’s throat may just drive it deeper into the esophagus, cutting off airflow altogether.

Seizures
Dogs can experience seizures for a variety of reasons, although the most common is epilepsy. Symptoms of a seizure are unmistakable, with pets exhibiting shaking and spasming in addition to a loss of consciousness and even aggressive behavior. While the diagnosis might be epilepsy, it could also be indicative of some other neurological disorder and a veterinarian will need to rule out any alternatives and prescribe medication to lessen the incidence of the seizures.

Abdominal Pain
A distended stomach and vomiting or diarrhea are cause for concern. If a pet has been in a traumatic accident, it might not be apparent that the spleen has ruptured. The abdomen will be tender to the touch and it distends as it fills with blood. Medical attention is necessary immediately. Dogs that experience vomiting or diarrhea for longer than a day may have a condition that requires veterinary care.

Accidents
Any accident involving a pet is reason to visit a vet immediately. While pets may appear fine, they might be experiencing an injury that is slow in manifesting. A car accident involving a pet might show no outward injuries but could result in internal bleeding or fractures that require veterinary intervention.

Eye Problems
These can manifest innocently enough, with just a little crust around the eye or a slight swelling. Eye problems in dogs have a tendency to escalate in severity, however, resulting in a dog losing sight if the problem worsens without medical attention. Don’t discount an eye issue just because Sparky seems “fine.”

People tend to know their own pets better than anyone. If a pet is acting strangely, this could be an indication that they are unwell enough to visit the vet. Pawing at their ears, whining, outward distress, are just some of the symptoms that can tip an owner off that further attention is required. Don’t question your instincts; if your pet seems to be in trouble, it’s better to visit the vet immediately.

This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write about business, women’s interests, or home and family. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband, three daughters, and a spunky Jack Russel Terrier who makes life interesting! Information for this article was provided by the Carter Veterinary Medical Center, who provide pet surgery and other medical services to household pets.

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