Monday, May 30, 2011

Do you need to go to the emergency vet or can you wait to see your regular vet?

Contributed by a CP Volunteer

the following article actually covers some topics that we've had questions about


Most emergency situations are obvious: trauma from being hit by a car, bleeding, collapse, bloat, inability to urinate, seizures, vomiting blood, etc. But there are numerous situations that you can either treat at home or wait until the following business day when you can make an appointment with your vet. However, if the situation changes or if the pet develops more signs or worsens, it is time to go to the ER.

Here are some of those non-emergency situations:

Lumps and bumps - If you are petting your dog and feel a lump that you haven't noticed before, you don't need to immediately go to the veterinarian. If it isn't bothering the pet, you can wait and see if it gets larger. Contact your vet the following day so it can be noted in your dog's record. If the lump grows or changes, diagnosis may require bloodwork, biopsy and/or x-rays. If the lump turns out to be benign costs can range around $300 to $500. If it is not benign, treatment can be over $1,000.

Breath smells bad and some teeth are loose or falling out - As long as your dog is still eating and drinking, you can wait to contact your veterinarian to make an appointment to have his mouth examined and get his teeth cleaned. If you don't have pet insurance, be prepared. Dental cleaning, anesthesia, x-rays and medication can be around $500.

Small tongue or mouth laceration - Most people notice this when the saliva looks pink tinged or the water in their dog's water bowl is pink. The majority of wounds in the mouth heal quickly. If there is no active bleeding and your dog can eat and drink, you can wait. Put some ice cubes in the water. Cold can help constrict blood vessels therefore reduce bleeding.

Dirty, smelly ears - Typically this can wait. Even if your dog is shaking his head a little. Clean the outside part of the ear with a cotton ball or Q-tip but do not insert a Q-tip into the ear. If there is an infection, Q-tips can hurt. Avoid using any medication until you speak to your veterinarian. Treatment for ear problems typically costs $200 to $250 for ear swabs, cultures, cleaning and medication.

Toenail torn or bleeding - If your dog will let you, try to examine the nail closely. Sometimes the nail tip has fallen off or just needs to be slightly pulled. Place a bandage around the foot, covering the nail and contact your veterinarian the following day.

Hopefully, this information can help you to make the decision about what to do for your dog.

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