Having a pet gives you immense happiness. But if your pet is hurt or unwell, it becomes a tragic scenario because he cannot communicate where he is hurting. Sometimes the wound will be visible, but sometimes you cannot see why he is acting miserable. It is therefore, your responsibility to understand when your pet needs medical attention and arrange help as soon as possible.
Here are some situations that require immediate help:
Seizure: Seizures are common in dogs and yet can be difficult to identify. No two dogs act the same during a seizure. However, common symptoms include falling to the side and moving paws like he is treading water. There might be excessive drooling, jerking, stiffening, and no control over poop or pee; there can be a series of unnatural movements. There are various reasons why seizures happen – liver diseases, poisoning, abnormal blood pressure, head injury, anemia, brain cancer, and more. If the seizure continues beyond two minutes, it’s an emergency. Keep the dog cool and in a dark place, away from disturbance until help arrives.
Change in body temperature: Hypothermia occurs when the dog’s body temperature falls below normal. There are three stages: mild (between 32 - 35°C/90 - 99°F), moderate (between 28 - 32°C/82 - 90°F), and severe (less than 28°C/82°F). Symptoms differ with stages. While a mild hypothermia manifests itself in weakness, low mental alertness, and shivering, the moderate stage has muscle stiffness, stupor, and shallowness in breathing. During severe hypothermia, three will be dilated pupils, difficult breathing, inaudible heartbeat, or even coma. Hypothermia has a chance of occurring in infants, old pets, and smaller breeds because they tend to lose heat rapidly through their skin. It may also be due to disease in the hypothalamus.
On the other hand, your dog might have fever if his temperature runs above 101 and 102.5 F, the normal body temperature for dogs. Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, shivering, vomiting, coughing, nasal discharge, and depressed mood. Fever happens due to hot weather or surroundings. It may also be due to infections, vaccination, or ingesting toxins. There are times when there is a “fever of unknown origin” or FUO which is generally due to immune system disorders, bone marrow issues, or cancer.
You must never leave your dog inside the car even on a cold day with pleasant sun outside because the temperature inside cars gets quickly unbearable. It might even cause death.
When you acquire a pet, one of the first things that you should do is to collect information about the nearest emergency centre. You must keep a written record of the age, breed, vaccinations administered, past illnesses, allergies and similar details so that in the time of emergency, you can easily provide the vet with information and help him get accurate treatment quickly.
Singapore has a well-maintained emergency pet clinic where after-hours medical care is also available. Click here to know more about it.