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Certain dog symptoms indicate potentially deadly problems that require immediate attention. Our emergency veterinarian can diagnose and treat your dog overnight, weekends and holidays, so do not hesitate to call us if you notice these problems because every moment counts.
Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (GDV) or “bloat” is a condition in which a dog’s stomach contorts out of its normal position, twisting and trapping gas and food inside. No food can enter the system, and nothing can be passed out the other end. Although it is more common in large, deep-chested dogs, smaller breeds can suffer from it as well. If not treated quickly, GDV can be fatal.
If your regular Austin veterinarian is not in the office at the time, call our emergency veterinarian if you notice dog symptoms such as dry heaves (your dog trying to vomit, but nothing coming out but a little froth), a bloated, painful abdomen, salivation, pale gums, rapid pulse, weakness and difficulty standing up. GDV requires prompt diagnosis and surgery. Although the condition is unpredictable, its incidence can be lessened by feeding susceptible dogs smaller, more frequent meals, not letting them exercise for at least 30 minutes after eating and never suddenly changing their diets.
Gastrointestinal obstructions from foreign bodies are also potentially deadly for dogs. When a dog swallows non-food material, it might pass through, but if it doesn’t, it can lodge within the stomach or intestines and interrupt the normal digestive processes. Depending on the obstruction, it can also cause internal lacerations, severe infections and other deadly complications if not surgically removed. If your dog is depressed, vomiting, refusing to eat, struggles to defecate (constipation), and has a painful, swollen abdomen, he or she needs to see our emergency veterinarian right away.
Pyometra is a severe infection of the uterus, and is a condition exclusive to older, non-spayed female dogs that have gone through several heat cycles in the course of their lives. In fact, nearly a quarter of these dogs will suffer from pyometra. Symptoms include pus, mucus or blood vaginal discharge. Many dogs will clean this up before owners notice, so other symptoms include lethargy, drinking lots of water, vomiting and loss of appetite.
If your female dog has not been spayed and shows these symptoms, a dangerous infection may be under way that requires pet surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries before they rupture and cause widespread infection inside the abdominal cavity. This is a much more complicated and delicate surgery than a typical spay because of the widespread infection involved. We recommend that pet owners avoid this condition in the first place by having their pets spayed before their first heat cycle.
Of course, if your pet ever has difficulty breathing, is unresponsive, has severe bleeding, vomiting, diarrhea or seizures, contact us right away.