In an emergency outside of normal working hours
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Do I Need to Call a Vet 

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Lameness

Drinking and Urinating a lot

Vomiting and Diarrhoea

Coughing

Lumps

 


Lameness:

Please be prepared to answer the following questions:

Which leg do you think your pet is lame on?

How long has he/she been lame for?

Over this period has the lameness got any better, any worse or stayed the same?

Did anything precipitate the lameness eg did he/she fall off the sofa, go for a long walk or go lame chasing a ball?

Is the lameness triggered by anything? Eg is it worse after getting up, or after exercise?

Is there any heat, swelling or discomfort on palpation evident?

Can you feel any asymmetry when comparing the right and left legs?

On a scale of 1-10 how lame is your pet:

1: Barely unlevel

3: noticeably lame

5: moderately lame

7: very lame

9: can just about toe touch to the floor

10: cannot put foot to floor at all

 

When is it appropriate to try treatment at home?

Lameness levels 1-6:

Check the foot for cuts, grazes, balled up hair between the toes, broken nails

Initial treatment could comprise 1-2 weeks of rest and restricted exercise.

Please call if you are unsure. We may request that you send us video footage. If we do then please ensure that the video is taken in good light, is in focus and shows your pet walking and trotting in both a straight line and a circle if possible. Cats should be seen walking and preferably turning.

 

When should you ring the vet?

Lameness levels 7-10:

Please call to arrange a telephone consultation. We may request that you send us video footage. If we do then please ensure that the video is taken in good light, is in focus and shows your pet walking and trotting in both a straight line and a circle if possible. Cats should be seen walking and preferably turning.

 

When should you be seen as an emergency?

Acute lameness following trauma such as a traffic collision

Excessive bleeding/soft tissue injury in conjunction with lameness.

When the limb is unable to bear weight at all

 


Drinking/urinating a lot:

 

Please be prepared to answer the following questions:

How heavy is your pet?

How much is he/she drinking a day (in litres)?

How long have you noticed the abnormal drinking/urinating?

Is he/she urinating more than usual (volume in a day) or just more frequently (lots of smaller toilet stops)?

Is there any blood noticeable in the urine?

Is he/she uncomfortable when urinating or licking his/her genitals?

 

We may ask you to bring in a urine sample. Please use a dry, clean container and clearly label it with your surname, address and animal’s name. if you are unable to bring it in straight away please pop it in a bag and put it in the fridge until you can drop it in. Where possible, we prefer to have a sample from first thing in the morning.

For cats, we can supply a kit with clean, non absorbable litter to put in a clean, dry litter tray, simply then pipette up the urine and put in the supplied pot.

 


Vomiting and diarrhoea:

Just like in humans, most of the time when a dog develops vomiting or diarrhoea this is due either to eating something inappropriate or to a tummy bug (this is also possible in cats, but less common). These symptoms are typically self-resolving so long as supportive treatment is given such as plenty of fluids and a bland diet. However, vomiting and diarrhoea can also be symptoms of something more serious. Furthermore, even if your pet only has a tummy bug, they can sometimes require hospitalisation and intravenous fluids if they are becoming very dehydrated.

 

The following is intended as a guide to help you decide whether you need to bring your pet to the vets, particularly if you are currently self-isolating during the outbreak. We have also provided some guidance on what supportive treatment you can provide at home.

 

When should I ring the vet?

  • If your pet is has not eaten for more than 24-48 hours or if they are not drinking very much
  • If they seem particularly uncomfortable, painful or lethargic
  • If they are vomiting back up most of what they eat or drink, or if they are vomiting more than 2-3 times a day, or if there is some blood in the vomit
  • If they have profuse diarrhoea, if there is blood in the diarrhoea (more than a few drops) or if the diarrhoea is very dark in colour (black / coffee ground colour)
  • If they have been vomiting for more than 2-3 days with no improvement or had diarrhoea for more than 4-5 days with no improvement

 

When should I be seen as an emergency (within a few hours)?

  • If your pet is extremely lethargic and unwell (not wanting to walk, not responding when you call them) or has other severe symptoms such as collapsing or seizuring
  • If your pet is particularly at risk from dehydration or lack of food intake (very young animal under 3-4 months, other underlying health issue such as diabetes, kidney disease)
  • If your animal’s vomit has a lot of blood in it or if it is dark (black or coffee ground colour)
  • If you have a suspicion that your pet may have a blockage (for example from eating a toy) or eaten something toxic such as antifreeze, rat poison, human medication or chocolate
  • If you animal has bloody diarrhoea and is not vaccinated
  • If your pet is a large or deep chested breed and is attempting to vomit but not producing anything.

 

When can I try providing symptomatic treatment at home?

For vomiting: if your animal is still reasonably bright, if they are only vomiting intermittently (less than 2-3 times a day), able to keep water down, and if the vomiting has been going on for less than 2-3 days.

In these cases, feed your animal a bland diet (boiled chicken / white fish, scrambled eggs, rice or pasta) in small amounts 4-5 times a day, don’t give any rich food and make sure they have plenty of access to water. Consider giving small amounts of water frequently rather than letting them drink a whole bowl.

For diarrhoea: if your animal is still reasonably bright and eating / drinking well, if there is no blood in the diarrhoea or only a small amount (less than a tablespoon) and if it has been going on for less than 4-5 days

In these cases, you should also feed a bland diet little and often and make sure they are drinking plenty. You can also pick up some probiotics from us over the counter (eg Yudigest or Canikur) to help restore their normal gut bacteria.

 


Coughing:

 

Please be prepared to answer the following questions:

How long has your pet been coughing for?

Is the cough getting worse?

How frequent is the cough?

How long do the bouts last for?

Is your pet recently wormed? What did you last use and when did you use it?

Are there any other problems with the breathing?

Is there a snotty nose? If so is it both sides or just one? Which one?

Is the cough associated with anything in particular eg exercising, excitement, lying down?

What is the nature of the cough (eg a hacking, throaty cough or a soft, chesty cough)

Is the cough productive? (ie does your pet cough anything up like mucus or froth)

Does your pet mix with other animals?

Do you have any other pets with similar symptoms?

Are there any problems with eating or swallowing?

Is there any change in bark or meow?

Is your pet off his/her food, depressed or unwell in his/herself.

 

When should I ring the vet?

If your animal is unwell, off his/her food or depressed

If the animal is well but the cough has persisted for over 5 days with no improvement

 

When should I be seen as an emergency?

If there is any difficulty breathing or concurrent choking

If there is concurrent collapse or seizuring

If the gums are any colour other than pale pink (be aware that does with lots of pigment often have large black patched on the gums which is normal)

 


Lumps:

 

Please be prepared to answer the following questions:

What size is the lump? (eg 1 inch diameter, or egg sized)

When did you first notice it? Has it changed since then?

Is there just one lump or multiple?

Where is the lump on the body (eg on the left hand side of the neck)

Where is the lump in the tissues (eg within the skin, underneath the skin)

What shape is the lump? (eg round, ovoid, linear)

Is it painful to squeeze?

Is your pet unwell?

Is there any discharge?

Is the surface bleeding/ulcerated?

Is the animal bothering with the lump eg licking at it?

 

When should I ring the vet?

 If the lump is in a position where it affects breathing, rapidly changing in size, discharging or painful please call to arrange a telephone consultation. We may request that you send us a photo. If we do then please ensure that it is taken in good light, clearly shows the area of interest and is in focus.

Bridgend Branch
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