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five pet health conditions to never ignore

  • Dr. Kim
  • Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on
    Staff Veterinarian and Pet Health Writer of Petplan

Some illnesses are more urgent than others, and often the severity of these cases are obvious – uncontrolled vomiting or visibly broken bones. Still, other conditions may be seen as borderline, and pet owners can find themselves wondering whether they should hightail it to the emergency room or wait it out.


This, of course, is one reason dog insurance and cat insurance can be so important – when faced with a decision that could drastically impact your pet’s health, protecting your pet with Petplan pet insurance can help you feel secure that your wallet and your pet will come out alright.


Here are five conditions that should never be ignored:


1)  Broken bones: Pets who can’t bear weight on a limb or suddenly begin limping may have broken a bone, and should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Even minor fractures can become big problems if they’re allowed to worsen. Your pet’s limb will need to be stabilized, but more importantly, your veterinarian can provide much-needed pain medication for your pet immediately.


2)  Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, or bloat: This veterinary emergency, which most often affects large or deep-chested dogs, can quickly escalate and turn fatal. If you notice painful abdominal distention along with retching and/or vomiting, bloat could be the cause. If you have the slightest suspicion, get to the vet immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment could mean the difference between life and death for your dog.


3)  Intervertebral disc disease: Common in long-bodied dogs like Dachshunds, hind limb paralysis can be caused by intervertebral disc disease. When bulging discs put pressure on the spinal column, hind limb weakness and paralysis ensue. Time is of the essence in these cases – dogs who have been “down in the rear” for over 24 hours have much lower chance of returning to normal function. In the best cases, corrective surgery is performed within the magic 24-hour window.


4)  Anorexia: In veterinary medicine, the term “anorexic” is used to describe any pet who won’t eat or has a significantly reduced appetite. Skipping a meal here or there isn’t generally a cause for concern, but if your pet has quit eating entirely for 48 hours or so, usually there is an underlying cause. This is especially concerning in overweight cats, who are prone to a condition called hepatic lipidosis.


5)  Eye injuries: Eye abnormalities need to be seen right away. Not only are some of them extremely painful, but early intervention can prevent blindness. Watch for any of the following and have your pet seen immediately if you notice them:

Squinting; obvious trauma/bleeding; redness of the whites of the eyes; any abnormal appearance of the eye (cloudiness, swelling, etc); and sudden blindness.

When it comes down to it, if you’re ever in doubt about whether your pet’s health is in danger, err on the side of caution and give your vet a call. 

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Posted by Teresa M Gutman
on July 23 2015 05:26

I had a Shitzu named Bailey that was attacked by another dog. He had bite wounds to the torso of his body, a few broken ribs and a leaking lung. The emergency vet hospital was great at patching him up, and the vets on duty the first three nights said to keep him in for another night. When I went to visit him 8 hours later, the new Vet on duty told me not to be paranoid and to take him home and free up the space for an animal who needs it. Against my gut, I did what he said; Bailey's wounds became infected within 30 hours and he died in the emergency hospital that sent him home. The day Bailey died is the day I promised myself I would always have pet insurance and Care Credit, and never listen to any "expert" if it went against my gut. If there is one thing I could say to every pet owner is to follow your gut and take your pet to a vet when you first think something is wrong - it could save his/her life.

Posted by Tammy Franklin
on June 05 2014 06:13

My nephew is a police officer with a K-9 Bloodhound who was just hospitalized this week with bloat and nearly died! Luckily my nephew recognized the signs and took Maizy lights and siren to the emergency vet who met him at the door. Had he wasted any time in seeking treatment Maizy might not have made it.

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