Urgent Care for Canines

By Anne Black

Urgent Care for Canines

In an emergency situation, time is of the essence. But are you able to recognize a canine health crisis? Here are some common emergency scenarios. Choose the answers you think are most correct. For each question, more than one answer can be selected.

1. Your dog ate the pill you dropped. Which drugs could cause problems?

A. Birth-control pills
B. Tranquilizers
C. Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin)
D. Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Correct answer: None or all. A single dose of any of these drugs is unlikely to cause problems for most dogs, but for safety's sake, contact your veterinarian for his or her advice.

2. Your dog was hit by a car. The dog should be examined by a veterinarian if:

A. It can walk, but with a limp
B. You see no injuries
C. It seemed fine, but now is lethargic
D. It is panting

Correct answer: All. Internal injuries aren't immediately obvious, and even a dog that seems unhurt should be examined by a veterinarian. Breathing difficulties are especially critical.

3. Your dog is bleeding. Seek emergency help if:

A. The cut is deep, and still bleeding after 30 minutes
B. You over-clipped a toenail; your dog is yelping
C. Its gums are pale
D. You applied pressure and the bleeding stopped

Correct answer: A and C. Pale gums can indicate excessive blood loss. Any injury that bleeds for more than five minutes requires immediate medical attention. If a dog loses too much blood, the results can be fatal.
4. Your dog was playing in the backyard and injured itself trying to jump a fence. It is serious if:

A. Your dog avoids walking on one leg
B. Your canine walks with a limp
C. Your dog limped briefly, then the limp disappeared
D. One leg is now at a funny angle

Correct answers: A and D. A non-weight-bearing or abnormally positioned limb could be fractured or dislocated, and needs immediate medical care. A weight-bearing, but painful limb, may be able to wait until morning as long as your dog is not whining or showing other obvious signs of pain, such as not wanting to go outside to eliminate.

5. A friend gave your 10-pound dog some chocolate. It may be dangerous if it was:

A. Milk chocolate
B. Dark chocolate
C. Chocolate-covered almonds
D. Unsweetened baking chocolate

Correct answer: All or none. The rule: Darker chocolate is more dangerous. Some veterinarians recommend inducing vomiting immediately if your dog ingests chocolate. Ask your veterinarian ahead of time what to give your dog in this situation, and how much. Furthermore, many table foods, not just chocolate, can be dangerous to your pet. Teach your dog not to beg for table scraps.

6. You were playing catch with your dog. You should be concerned if:

A. The baseball hit your dog's head; your pooch yelped but continued playing
B. The rubber ball is stuck in the back of your dog's mouth
C. Your dog can catch better than you

Correct answer: B. Soft rubber balls are the perfect size to lodge in the upper airway of medium to large dogs. An obstructed airway is a true critical emergency; fortunately, it's highly uncommon. Dogs normally expel foreign bodies without help.

To be safe, post the telephone numbers for your regular veterinarian and your local after-hours emergency veterinary hospital on the fridge or in a place where you can find them quickly in case of a canine emergency.

Anne Black writes about dogs and other animals for national publications.

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Posted on September 27, 2007

Karen Holdridge says: My little dog started throwing up today and is very lethargic. She just pooped blood. Looking at her in her eyes I can tell she is hurting. I cannot afford a vet. Have any of you seen this? Could she have eaten a bone that cut her inside?

Posted on September 28, 2007

Aja says: hi...I noticed my 12 year old Jack Russell terrier's paw was bleeding at the park...after closely trying to inspect it, it seems he lost a toenail. I soaked it in water at the park at a water fountain but it didn't seem to bother him...he still wanted to catch a ball. I walked him home (he walked fine on it) and soaked it in Hydrogen peroxide/water. It seemed to stop bleeding. how extensive of an emergency is this and will he grow back a nail?

Posted on November 4, 2007

susan says: My dog been whinning last nite, he acts as if his balls hurt, I looked at him dont seen nothing on them..what can I give him or could be the problem?

Posted on December 18, 2007

thereas says: my sons 20 week old puppy ate about 250 mg of naproxen. he has been vomiting, but not any blood, only stomach acids. he weighs 30 to35 lb. we have a vet appt for him but not till later in the day. what can we do to help him?

Posted on December 30, 2007

Carol Topolski says: my 3 month old puppy ate a marinol pill. what should i do. It is a pill that my sister takes for MS.

Posted on January 31, 2008

jean says: My dog has lost another toenail, he lost one a little over a month ago. I took him to the vet the next morning because he was still bleeding. This time however he had hardly any blood and seemed fine. However today he has been limping. Do I need to take him to the vet again?

Posted on June 4, 2008

Kim says: My 3 year old starts to limp in May the last 2 years. Nothing seems wrong with his leg or paws and he had a blood test last year for valley fever and he did not have it. He is a lab/rottie mix. Why is he limping?

Posted on August 23, 2008

best savings accounts says: Coll blog, thanks.

Posted on September 27, 2008

Alice Kirby says: 3.5 yr/old mastiff, weak hind end/back pain, walks on tip toes if he walks, lost14 ibs in a month, fever104, eats meds only for 2 days. xrays, blood test, urine test normal, examine shows not joints what could it be? lymes negative also

Posted on October 8, 2008

nancy says: shitzu has had an ulcer for over a month and it is cloudy today .. what is up i am using the drops...

Posted on October 8, 2008

nancy says: shitzu has had an ulcer for over a month and it is cloudy today .. what is up i am using the drops...

Posted on April 29, 2009

kathaleen flowers says: my dog had surgery six years ago and was not performed correctly now she is bleeding as if she were in heat but shes not the bleeding has gradually gotten worse and now she bleeds in puddles i want to put her down and my husband refuses to im not sure what to do

Posted on May 25, 2009

laura says: my dog ate an advil today. i was so worried until i read your article indicating that a single dosage is unlikely to cause problems. thank you for sharing the information with us readers.

Posted on June 30, 2009

Debbi says: My 4 month old puppy was playing with my older dog when she fell off a 3 foot raised bed and yelped. She has been putting her weight on the leg but is limping.Appetite is fine and continues to play with older dog. Should I be concerned?

Posted on July 7, 2009

Teena says: Have a St. Bernard that is 5 years old and is walking as if he doesn't to step on front paws. Sort of a tip toeing in quick small steps. He does not want to climb stairs anymore, either. He does not whine or cry as if in pain and is still spunky and his mood is happy as usual, just walking strangely. His nails are clipped and his pads are clean with no hair or debris between them and no visible sore spots.

Posted on September 21, 2009

Jazmine says: I have a 6 week old puppy, who I think might have eaten one of my family memebers morphine pills, I was not notified for 4 hours and now she's whinning, tired, can barely stand up, is this going to kill my puppy? Sad and Confused

Posted on November 13, 2009

byron says: my dog was chsing a ball and lost his toenail and was having blood seep out of him wat should i do

Posted on April 11, 2010

alexa says: my 7 month old pup ate 5 morphine pills adding up to 500 mg of morphine. what should i do? is this going to hurt, kill, harm, or change my puppy in any way?

Posted on July 11, 2010

Dale says: My 6lb. poodle just ate one of our marinol pills. What should we do?

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