How to Know When to Call the Vet

| May/June 2007


Shaggy Dog Jose Vasconcelos Soares

“Doc, I think my dog Chico is hurt. Can you come over?”


I reluctantly rolled out from under the steamy covers and collected my thoughts. Probably Chico was fine, maybe he had a sprain or strain, or was suffering from the beginnings of arthritis. “Give him an aspirin and call me in the morning,” I fantasized replying on the phone. “I’ll be right over,” I actually said. I warmed up my truck, slugged down a caffeinated drink, loaded up my vet boxes and headed over.


It is not always easy to know when your dog is sick. Farm dogs especially, with their partiality toward dead animals, horse manure and cow pies, are prone to bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, but it can be hard to sort out when a visit to or from the vet is necessary.


This list of warning signs, when combined with good, down-home common sense, can act as a guideline as to when your dog requires medical attention. While most dogs will get through most bouts of ill health without a lot of intervention, other times an immediate response can save a pet’s life.


Warning Signs of Serious Disease in Dogs


1. Protracted vomiting and diarrhea


There are at least 63 causes of vomiting in dogs, but the most common cause is simply known as dietary indiscretion. Dogs who get into the trash, eat animal carcasses or drink pond water all can end up with very dicey gastrointestinal tracts.

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