I am often asked what are the most common reasons for visits to our clinic. While the time of the year has some influence, the top all-around five are:
The list of possible causes for vomiting is extremely long. It includes everything from “I shouldn’t have eaten that but I did anyway,” infections, kidney disease, poisoning, to cancer. A simple rule of thumb for determining if your dog or cat needs to see a veterinarian: if they have vomited more than three times in a 24-hour period or for three days in a row, they need to see a veterinarian.
Again, there are a long list of possible causes. People often assume that diarrhea, while not fun to deal with, is not life-threatening. This is not always the case. We commonly see what we refer to as Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE). This is a condition in which the blood becomes thicker than normal due to rapid movement of fluid out of the vascular system, and can result in serious complications and even death in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Therefore, if in doubt, your pet should be seen by a vet—especially if your pet is also very lethargic or depressed.
Dogs will be dogs, and this means they will eat almost anything. Most common toxicities include chocolate, grapes/raisins, owner’s medications, sugar-free gum or products containing xylitol, and incorrectly applied/administered flea and tick products.
4. Lacerations & Bite Wounds
These emergencies are often more common during warmer months. Dogs hiking or camping and step on a stick, dogs unfortunately often get bitten by another dog at the dog park, or even an outdoor cat who wanders away from home sometimes comes home with a laceration or bite wound.
5. ADR (Ain’t Doing Right) Dogs and Cats
These are pets that aren’t acting normally, but whose owners cannot quite pin down what is going on. Most often, these pets are in pain. Possible causes include tickborne diseases (Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Erlichiosis), cancer, kidney disease, liver disease, or pancreatitis.
If you are concerned about your pet, contact your family veterinarian or local animal emergency hospital. Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota’s Oakdale and St. Paul ERs are both open 24/7, every day of the year.