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Emergency Situations

  • If your dog limps, or licks at his pads, he may have a foot pad that is torn, punctured, or burned. Minor injuries may be treated at home, but deeper or complicated wounds require veterinary attention. Clean the wound and remove small debris if possible. If larger foreign or deeply seated objects are discovered, or if the wound is deep and does not stop bleeding after 10-15 minutes, seek immediate veterinary care. Control bleeding and apply gauze as a bandage, wrapping the affected paw including the ankle or wrist. Keep the wound clean and bandaged and if any changes are noticed, seek veterinary care. Avoid walks on hot sidewalks in the summer and protect your dog’s feet with boots during the winter. Try to avoid foot injuries in your dog by surveying the areas that your dog plays and walks.

  • Frostbite is the damage that is caused to the skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. The paws, ears and tail are the most common tissues to be affected. Diagnosis is usually based on the cat's medical history and physical examination. If you suspect your cat has frostbite, you should seek medical attention immediately. Mild cases of frostbite usually resolve with little permanent damage while more severe frostbite may result in permanent disfiguration or alteration of the affected tissues. In severe cases, some cats require surgical removal of the necrotic tissue or amputation.

  • Frostbite is the damage that is caused to the skin and other tissues due to extreme cold. The paws, ears, and tail are the most common tissues to be affected. Diagnosis is usually based on the dog's medical history and physical examination. If you suspect your dog has frostbite, you should seek medical attention immediately. Mild cases of frostbite usually resolve with little permanent damage, while more severe frostbite may result in permanent disfiguration or alteration of the affected tissues. In severe cases, some dogs require surgical removal of the necrotic tissue or amputation.

  • A gastropexy is a surgical procedure that is sometimes performed in large breed dogs to prevent gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat. A gastropexy may be performed prophylactically or may be done as part of the surgical management of GDV.

  • Glaucoma is a disease of the eye in which the pressure within the eye, called the intraocular pressure (IOP) is increased. Glaucoma is caused by inadequate drainage of aqueous fluid. It is classified as primary or secondary glaucoma. High intraocular pressure causes damage to occur in the retina and the optic nerve. Blindness can occur very quickly unless the increased IOP is reduced. Analgesics to control the pain and medications that decrease fluid production and promote drainage are often prescribed to treat glaucoma. The prognosis depends to a degree upon the underlying cause of the glaucoma.

  • Guinea pigs are generally hardy, healthy animals but are susceptible to certain diseases. They cannot make their own vitamin C and require supplementation or they may develop scurvy. Guinea pigs get various tumors, particularly skin and mammary tumors. Guinea pigs also get abscesses (accumulations of pus and bacteria) in lymph nodes, skin, muscles, teeth, bones, and internal organs. They are very prone to development of urinary calculi that form in the bladder, kidneys, or ureters which may become lodged, causing a life-threatening obstruction. In addition, guinea pigs often are affected by ringworm and can get fleas and lice. Barbering is a problem, usually associated with boredom, in which the guinea pig chews or barbers its own hair or the hair of its cage-mate. Pododermatitis, or bumblefoot, in which sores develop on the bottom of the feet from pressure, is common in overweight animals housed on wire-bottomed or dirty cages that abrade the feet.

  • Rodents commonly develop certain health problems. Rabies is very unlikely in pet rodents (especially those housed inside, away from other animals). Many rodents barber their own hair or the hair of a cagemate as a result of stress in the form of overcrowding, fighting, or boredom. Foot necrosis is caused by fine fiber or thread nesting material wrapping around toes or feet and cutting off circulation. Guinea pigs cannot make their own vitamin C, so they must receive it as a supplement in their diets. All pet rodents, but especially guinea pigs and chinchillas, are very susceptible to life-threatening heat stroke from high ambient temperatures (greater than 80°F or 27°C). Certain antibiotics should never be used in rodents, as they upset the normal bacteria that live in rodents’ gastrointestinal tracts and favor toxin-producing bacteria that can be fatal to rodents. Chromodacryorrhea is seen in mice, gerbils, and most often in rats Diarrhea can have several different causes in rodents including infections with different bacteria, parasites, or viruses. Rodents also commonly get fractured bones from mishandling or falls, bacterial skin infections (dermatitis) on their faces, and may also experience seizures.

  • Heatstroke is another term for hyperthermia. Dogs suffering from heatstroke can have varied signs from high respiratory rate to coma depending on how high their temperature is. Heat stroke is most often caused by a dog being left in a car without adequate ventilation; however, it can happen outside as well if the dog does not have access to shade or water. Dogs have difficulty with heat exchange as they only have a few sweat glands in their feet and mainly control heat exchange by panting. Because of this, brachycephalic dogs or muzzled dogs are at higher risk. Treatment for heat stroke requires controlled evaporative cooling with water and fans, intravenous fluids, sedation, and oxygen therapy. It is important to discontinue active cooling once the body temperature reaches 103°F or the dog can quickly become hypothermic. Prognosis depends on the extent and duration of temperature elevation. Some dogs recover normally but more severe cases will have permanent organ damage or may die from hyperthermia.

  • Hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver syndrome, is unique to cats and is one of the most common liver diseases seen in cats. Usually a cat with hepatic lipidosis has recently gone through a period of anorexia. When fat is broken down rapidly to supply energy and nutrients to the anorectic cat, it can overwhelm the ability of the liver to process and the fat becomes stored in and around the liver cells, further compromising liver function. Diagnosis of hepatic lipidosis is made from blood tests that demonstrate poor liver function and from a liver biopsy or aspirate. This disease is treatable with aggressive nutritional support until a normal appetite returns.

  • Urticaria or hives is a skin condition characterized by raised red skin welts and is caused by an allergic reaction. These swollen welts can appear anywhere on the body, including the face, lips, tongue, throat, and ears. Urticaria is generally caused by direct contact with a substance that causes an allergic reaction. Most cases of urticaria are self-limiting and cause no significant health threat to your pet. Antihistamines and corticosteroids by injection usually bring about a dramatic improvement, sometimes in as little as a few minutes.