Should one rush their dog to the vet at the slightest sign of not feeling well?
There are times when things are best left to resolve on their own and there are times where not treating is the better strategy. Particularly when treatment equals drugs, such as antibiotics, steroids and the like.
The body does have the tools to heal itself in many cases.
So when does one ought to do something and when does one ought to wait it out?
I admit that I do take our guys to the vet even with things I feel they should be able to overcome. I want to make sure I am not missing something. And our vet was always happy to examine, evaluate and when he felt that we best not treat, he'd say that.
Find out for sure has always been my policy.
Particularly when it happened just before the weekend. Last thing I wanted was a situation blowing up on me during the weekend.
The important thing is to know your dog and to be able to assess how serious the problem might be.
But no matter how much experience we think we have, things can take unexpected turn.
Picture your dog playing with a rubber squeaky toy. Long lost toy gets its time in the spotlight. Sooner or later it becomes too much and you go to take the toy away to get some quiet.
You notice your dog's belly looks distended and when you touch it it feels like a drum.
Panic might come over you. Distended abdomen is a sign of bloat!
But your dog is a Dachshund, they are not prone to this stuff, are they?
You call your vet and they ask you if your dog's stomach is still gurgling away (when the stomach rotates on itself, it wouldn't).
Your dog is not trying to throw up and doesn't look to be in major distress.
The vet asks you to measure and monitor circumference of the abdomen. The belly doesn't get any bigger and by next morning it's a normal size. That's a big relief.
Things go back to normal until a few months later.
As if out of the blue, you find your dog's stomach distended yet again. Nothing unusual happened prior.
Because this is the second time, you go through the same steps as before. You measure the belly and monitor. And yet again, things return to normal on their own.
All remains well until it happens again.
Having it happen once, fine. Twice? But three times? This is neither normal or an odd fluke any more. Something isn't right. This time you decide to take your dog to the emergency clinic after all.
After a long exam and x-rays it turns out that your dog indeed does have bloat!
Not the really scary one with the stomach twist (Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus), but bloat nonetheless. From a bloated stomach to a twisted one isn't far to go, though.
How the heck did your dog get bloat?
The vets induce vomiting to see what they can find in the stomach. Some food stuffs that match what your dog had for dinner. Some lettuce and grass, yes you dropped some and your dog does like to graze on fresh grass.
Rubbery white chunks ... where did those come from?
The vet insists they look like chunks of rawhide. But you never give your dog any! Ever! The vet is also certain your dog has gotten into something you didn't know about.
You have to leave your dog at the hospital for the night and return home with lot's to think about.
Fortunately, the next day your dog is released to go home and doing well.
However, the cause of her bloating remains unknown.
After a discussion with your family vet you determine that she might have bloated because she got her paws on a loaf of moldy bread. It was in the garbage, behind a fence, but the landscapers didn't close it properly and it did look like "something" got into the garbage.
If that's what it was, your dog should be fine in the future.
But it is scary and dangerous stuff and thank goodness it's over and all is well. Bad things can happen to good dogs and sometimes one just cannot have eyes everywhere and prevent everything.
I Am NOT A Bad Dog Mom! (Gretel’s First Visit to the Doggie ER)
Gretel Comes Home and Emerald City Emergency Clinic Sucks
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (Bloat): RIP Barbie
Gastric Dilatation And Volvulus (GDV): What Did The Latest Study Reveal?
Dog Stomach Swelling: Causes and Treatment
Bloat - The Mother of All Emergencies