Posts Tagged ‘pet emergency’

Cough, Gasp, Blurp – Causes of Vomiting in Dogs and Cats

White and tan English Bulldog on black rug

Did your best friend get sick on the carpet again? Let’s talk about it! [Photo by Pixabay via Pexels]

By Morris Animal Foundation

Who hasn’t woken up in the middle of the night to the sounds of a pet leaving a gift on the carpet/bed/laundry? If you own a dog or cat (or both), chances are you’ve had to clean up something your pet has brought up.

Although many pets experience an occasional episode of vomiting, it also can be a sign of many serious diseases. In addition, regurgitation can be mistaken for vomiting. The two are not synonymous and point toward different underlying problems. It’s important for owners to know the difference, and to know the various causes of vomiting and regurgitation to determine when a trip to the veterinarian is needed and when it isn’t.

The difference between these two activities all boils down to the problem’s anatomic location; esophagus for regurgitation and abdomen for vomiting.

The esophagus is a long tube stretching from the neck through the chest, emptying into the stomach. No digestion takes place in the esophagus, but it’s considered part of the digestive tract. The oral cavity also is part of the digestive system, but most diseases in this area don’t cause either regurgitation or vomiting.

The main business parts of the digestive tract are contained in the abdomen and include the stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, cecum and anus. Problems in any of these areas can result in vomiting.

Knowing the anatomy helps understand the signs typically seen when problems occur in a specific area of the digestive tract.

Signs of regurgitation include:
*Passive expulsion of material – usually a pet lowers their head and material comes out
*No signs of nausea such as lip smacking or salivation
*Undigested food or other ingested material is common
*Occasionally frothy, foamy material is noted

Signs of vomiting include:
*Retching
*Nausea and salivation
*Contents can range from undigested to partially digested food, to liquid
*Expulsion is active and contents are often propelled with force
*Presence of bile

While taking a video of your pet can be helpful in guiding your veterinarian toward the best diagnostic tests, owners usually can’t respond quickly enough to catch the pet in the moment (while they are trying to get their pet off the carpet) or the owner isn’t present.

Unfortunately, most pet owners just find a pile of something on the floor and don’t witness the event itself. However gross, it’s important to note the characteristics of the material. This includes:

*The color of the material, paying special attention to the presence of red blood, dried blood (which looks like coffee grounds), bile (which is yellow), or brown, foul smelling material
*The presence or absence of food and if it’s digested or undigested
*The presence or absence of foreign material
*The presence or absence of lots of saliva or foam

Before we move on, we need to make a quick detour and talk about esophageal foreign bodies. As many of us know, dogs often don’t chew things 100 times as our grandmothers suggested – they often swallow food, toys and other objects after just a few bites. Occasionally, items are simply too large to pass through the esophagus into the stomach. Dogs with esophageal foreign bodies will salivate a lot, gag, paw at their mouth and retch – they can look a lot like a nauseous dog but their problem is esophageal.

This brings us to one of the most common questions heard by veterinarians and their staff – when is vomiting an emergency and when can a pet owner wait and watch?

As mentioned above, esophageal foreign bodies are an emergency. The vast majority of owners either witness their dog (cats rarely eat something too big!) eat something and then start gagging, or their dog is so clearly distressed they immediately seek veterinary care.

Other times, owners should seek veterinary care, is if there is blood in the vomitus; if a pet is vomiting and seems depressed, lethargic or has stopped eating; if vomiting/gagging/regurgitating is prolonged and severe; or if vomiting is intermittent but lasts longer than one week. A pet that vomits once or twice and seems bright and alert is one the owner can monitor closely.


Registered client? Contact Us with questions about your pet.


Morris Animal Foundation has funded a large list of studies looking for answers to the diverse diseases associated with vomiting in dogs and cats, including viral infections such as parvovirus in both dogs and cats, kidney disease and cancer. But there are still many unanswered questions. We need your help to find better ways to help our dogs and cats have better, healthier lives. Learn more about the scope of the studies we fund as well as our history and commitment to advancing animal health.

Original article can be found here.

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November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Tips From the American Veterinary Medical Association

It’s a sobering reality: Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs and while it’s not as prominent in cats, it’s often a more aggressive form of cancer.

You can be your pet’s advocate when it comes to treating cancer early on by spotting the telltale signs.

Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat displays any of these signs of possible cancer. Remember, early detection is critical in the fight against pet cancer.

*Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow.
*S
ores that do not heal.
*Weight loss.
*Loss of appetite.
*Bleeding or discharge from any body opening.
*Offensive odor.
*Difficulty eating or swallowing.
*Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina.
*Persistent lameness or stiffness.
*Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating.

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, adds that cancer in pets can mimic other diseases and disorders, so it’s important to perform tests that can tell the difference.
In Hampton Roads, we refer to oncologists who diagnose and treat cancer in pets.

Contact Us to schedule an appointment for your pet. 

Pet cancer infographic

Double-click to enlarge

Article and infographic courtesy of Nationwide Pet Insurance.

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If your dog or cat has an emergency,
will you know what to do before you
take your pet to the veterinary hospital?

 

You can learn CPR and First Aid for cats and dogs at a class held November 24th in Williamsburg, VA (details and link below).

WHAT: Pet Emergency Education presents Canine and Feline CPR and First Aid Certification Class

WHEN: Sunday, November 24, 2019 from 1:30 – 4:30 PM

WHERE: James City County Library, 7770 Croaker Rd., Cosby Room, Williamsburg

COST: $69.95 up to $138.95, depending on level of registration

“Pre-registration required and ends 7 days prior to the class”

REGISTER HERE and learn details of the subjects covered in class

Note from Pet Emergency Education: “Although emergency first aid can improve the outcome of an animal that is experiencing a medical emergency, our company and our instructors will recommend that owners/caregivers seek veterinary care in all instances.”

Disclaimer: This post is provided for informational purposes. Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or its staff are associated with this event and, as such, do not offer any guarantee or warranty on this class, its contents, or any outcomes as a result of attending this class.

Always check the event status for cancellations or rescheduling. 

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Little Creek Veterinary Clinic will be closed on Friday, September 6th, due to expected hurricane conditions.

As soon as we are able to safely return to the office, we will inspect the building and contents, and determine when to re-open. Much of the decision is dependent, also, on whether or not there is a power outage in our area. 

At this time, it is unknown if we will be open Saturday, Sept. 7th or closed for the weekend.

We will update our website and Facebook page as more information becomes available.

Clients with appointments scheduled for Saturday will be notified of our status, directly, when possible.

Emergencies, call 757-499-5463.

Stay safe!

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If you or any member of your household is using 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) cream, it is important that the medication is never within reach of your pets.

5-fluorouracil is typically prescribed to treat skin cancers and other skin disorders in people. Its mode of action, which causes cell death, can be fatal to pets that ingest the cream. 

And according to the FDA, a pet may be exposed: 

  • by chewing through the medication packaging (often a tube)
  • when licking their owner who has applied the cream on themselves
  • by coming in contact with 5-FU residue on hands, clothing, carpets, furniture
  • by ingesting residue in cloths or medication applicators
  • when grooming itself after contact with a person who uses 5-FU (more likely in cats).

Time is not on your side:

Within 30 minutes of ingestion, a pet may begin vomiting and exhibiting tremors, ataxia (loss of muscle coordination, trouble walking), and seizures. Death can occur within six hours after exposure.

Treatment may not be available or effective:

Unfortunately, “there is no defined effective treatment for 5-FU toxicosis in dogs and cats,” according to a report in Vetted™ magazine, a professional veterinary publication. Exposure to even a small amount of 5-fluorouracil can be fatal to pets, even with aggressive emergency care.

If you believe your pet has been exposed to any medication intended for humans, immediately contact an animal poison control hotline, such as

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435*    or

Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661*

*A fee will be applied to your credit card.

And be sure you know the location of the nearest pet emergency hospital. In Hampton Roads, we recommend Bay Beach and BluePearl.

Your best bet is prevention:

If you or someone in your household uses 5-fluorouracil [it may also be packaged as Carac, Efudex, or Fluoroplex], take special care to prevent your pet from any contact, no matter how small, with the drug. When discarding spent tubes, applicators, or anything that has contacted the medication, place the trash bag in an area that is inaccessible by your pets. Laundry that may contain traces of the medication should also be placed out of reach.

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Information for this article is condensed from Vetted™, August 2019, Volume 114, Number 8

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Holiday schedule

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If you want to carry your pet’s records while you’re on-the-go, Pawprint has an app that allows you 24/7 access to your pet’s medical information.

When you download the app, Pawprint* contacts your pet’s veterinarian to request records, then uploads them to your account.

Click to enlarge.

Then you’ll be able to set reminders for vaccine boosters, flea and heartworm treatments, even daily walks.

You can add other people to the account, so your go-to pet-sitter can access your pet’s records if you have to go out of town and your pet needs medical care.

You’ll have proof of your pet’s vaccination, as close as your smartphone — which can come in handy at the groomer’s, dog park, or even the veterinary emergency hospital.

If you are a client at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, you can request that we share your pet’s records with Pawprint, or any other pet record app of your choice.

*Other similar apps may be available. 

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Note: Neither Dr. Miele nor Little Creek Veterinary Clinic or staff warranty or guarantee the service provided by Pawprint, nor are the above-named responsible for any costs incurred or damage to your electronic device as a result of downloading the app.
Always use discretion when downloading any app to your electronic device. Some software can cause harm to your device; some software incurs a fee for usage. Always research an app before you download, as you assume liability for any damage or costs incurred.

 

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With daily high temperatures in the 80s and 90s,
it’s time for a reminder on how to prevent deadly heat stroke in pets.

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

For long-time readers of this blog, this post on heat stroke looks familiar. Why? Because I’ve been posting it nearly every year since 2010. Every year, pets suffer heat stroke, but it doesn’t have to be that way. So I’ll keep repeating this column until heat stroke in pets is a thing of the past.

Heat Stroke in Pets

Do you know how to protect your pets from heat stroke during the muggy days of summer? This goes beyond the usual caveat of “never leave your pet in a car while you go shopping, babysit, attend a sporting event, spy on your ex, etc. Here are some tips to keep your pet safe in the yard or out and about:

  • Keep pets indoors as much as possible, especially if they are sluggish or panting soon after going outdoors.
  • Limit exercise to brief walks in the coolest parts of the day. Keep in mind that hot pavement and sand can burn pets’ paws.
  • Provide plenty of cool water. Check water throughout the day, as it can become hot if left outdoors. 
  • Kennels and pens should have good ventilation and air circulation and should be kept in shaded areas.

Warning Signs of Heat Stroke or Heat Stress

Your pet may need emergency assistance if it exhibits any of the following signs:

  • Excessive panting and drooling
  • Bright red gums
  • Balance problems
  • Lethargy
  • Staring or anxious expression
  • Labored breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Failure to respond to commands
  • High fever
  • Collapse

What To Do

Lower your pet’s body temperature by easing him into a cool (not freezing) bath. Water from the outdoor hose may be hot, so that may not be your best option.  

Bring your pet indoors and place him in a tub, taking care to keep his mouth and nose above water [we use stacks of towels to accomplish this.] 

Apply ice packs to his head and neck. 

Call your veterinarian for further instructions. In most cases, your pet will be hospitalized for treatment and observation. By necessity, this sort of care may take place at a veterinary emergency hospital.

Who Is At Risk of Heat Stroke?

Any pet can have heat stroke, but some are more susceptible than others. All pets need to be protected on hot days. However, these pets are more likely than others to have a problem:

  • Very young and older pets
  • Short-nosed/pug-nosed breeds
  • Overweight pets
  • Pets with cardiovascular or respiratory disorders
  • Pets with a previous history of heat stress

Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency. If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, we recommend taking him to the nearest veterinary emergency hospital for comprehensive care.

[Information borrowed from “Summer Pet Tips” by Ralston Purina Company and “Summer Safety Tips” by Firstline magazine.]

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This article was originally published on July 28, 2010.

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National Poison Prevention Week is March 17 – 23, 2019 — but we’re getting an early start.

Today’s topic: What you need to know about essential oils and your pets

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center [ASPCA APCC] warns pet owners to use caution when using essential oils in the home — especially when the oils are highly concentrated – because of the risk of creating or exacerbating health problems in pets.

According to the APCC, “Essential oils have long been used for maladies such as nasal congestion, anxiety, sore muscles and more. And with the popularity of oil diffusers—an easy way to release oils into the air—there is more alarm about how oils may affect animals.”

  • It is best not to give or apply highly concentrated oils to pets.
  • If a pet has an underlying health problem, particularly a respiratory issue, it may be best to avoid use of essential oil diffusers in the household.
  • Do not use an essential oil diffuser in the house if there are birds present. Birds are more likely than other animals to suffer respiratory effects from a diffuser due to their specialized respiratory system.
  • If using a diffuser or warmer make sure they are out of reach of pets and that pets can leave the area if the smell is getting too strong for them.
  • Don’t keep a diffuser in the same room (or use a strong concentration) for animals who groom themselves. Pets that groom themselves include [but are not limited to] dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and birds.
  • Pets that have respiratory problems or broken skin, or other health issues, are at higher risk of toxic exposure.

Pets that have been exposed to a toxic level of essential oil may show the following signs, according to ASPCA APCC:

  • ataxia (stumbling, incoordination)
  • muscle weakness
  • depression
  • behavior changes
  • hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature)
  • collapse
  • seizures
  • pneumonia

If you suspect your pet is having a reaction to essential oil exposure, contact an animal poison control center such as ASPCA APCC. Their number is 1-888-426-4435. A $65 fee may be charged to your credit card. Information will be provided to you and, if medical attention is recommended, to the veterinary hospital of your choice.

In the case of suspected poisoning or toxin exposure, we recommend contacting BluePearl at 757-499-5463 for 24/7 emergency veterinary care.

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Protect your pet

It’s safe to say that most, if not all, households have a supply of medications on hand, for the human residents of the house. Many of these homes also feature pets — and to a curious dog or cat, your medication could look like a delicious treat.

Dr. Justine Lee, a veterinarian who is board-certified in toxicology [a science dealing with poisons], has 3 recommendations that everyone can follow to reduce the chance that their pet will become a victim of accidental medication poisoning.

  1. If you use pill boxes, put them out of your pet’s reach. Cats and some dogs can climb onto the counter and grab hold of whatever they find there, so remove the temptation.
  2. Hang up backpacks, purses, and briefcases because they often contain basic (but dangerous) items like pills, Tylenol, xylitol gum and candy, coins, and cellphones with batteries.
  3. Ask house guests to keep medications in sturdy containers, out of the pet’s reach. “It’s really easy for dogs to chew into [plastic bags and suitcases],” warns Dr. Lee.

And if you suspect your pet has gotten into your medication? Take action right away by calling the Pet Poison Helpline — there is a fee for service, but the information they provide can help save your pet’s life.

Pet Poison Helpline 
Call 1-855-764-7661
Open 24/7
$59 incident fee applies 

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