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I'm not really sure how to go about this, but I thought it would be useful to have a sticky in General where it's easy to find that lists symptoms related to emergency conditions in our dogs. Things like snake bite, heat stroke, bloat and toxicity, and what to do in emergency situations like if your dog is choking or having a seizure etc.

I haven't lived through any emergencies, so I don't think I'm the one to contribute information! Maybe if folks who have got through emergencies or are better prepared than I am can share their plans and experiences to benefit others and we can ask Troy to make it a sticky?

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The most important emergency information people need is which vet does after hours service.

It amazes me how many people have no idea whether there vet does after hrs & if not the next best option .

This knowledge can make or break any emergency .

For example in Perth very few vets do after hours & you get sent to Murdoch, but our vet does after hrs plus we have other options (a must for our business)( we will use Murdoch if that is the clients wishes )

So people should have a printed card handy of all options,directions & numbers

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When to take your dog to the vet:

-rapid resting heart rate (normal is around 60-80 for large dogs, 80-120 for small dogs)

-rapid respiratory rate or difficulty breathing

- Significant hyperthermia or hypothermia. Rectal temp should be 37.8-39.2 degrees celcius. You can use a human thermometer, but use caution with mercury thermometers. Generally a temperature over 40 or under 37 can be serious.

- Pale mucous membranes or blue tinged mucous membranes. You can check this by looking at the colour of your dogs gums, or tongue if they have pigmented gums. Capillary refill time should be less than 2 seconds- when you press on their gum- it turns white but should turn pink within 2 seocnds.

- dry gums and increased skin tent indicates dehydration. You can check skin tent by pinching a fold of skin over the neck area. If it remains tented, this indicates dehydration

- abdominal pain and/or bloating, swollen abdomen

- dog looks very flat: is minimally responsive and lethargic

- tremors or convulsions

These conditions require veterinary attention asap.

A few hours can make a difference in your dogs condition and prognosis.

How to make a dog vomit:

If your dog has ingested a toxic substance or foreign body: You can use washing soda crystals to make them vomit. Salty water may also work. Please seek vet advice before doing this; some toxic substances and foreign bodies may cause more damage when they are vomited up, especially if they are sharp or acidic.

If you feel "something is not right" do not hesitate to take your dog to the vet. No-one knows your dog like you do!

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Bites and stings


From the Australian Venom Research Unit:

What are the signs of snake bite in dogs?

The main early signs in dogs in decreasing frequency are:

* Salivation (drooling)

* Enlarged pupils

* Vomiting

* Hind limb weakness

* Rapid breathing

* Depression

It should be noted that following a snake bite, the signs vary greatly depending on the dose of venom received. Dogs receiving low doses of snake venom may only show enlarged pupils and avoid bright sunlight for several days. Dogs receiving larger doses of venom may show drooling and vomiting within 2 hours, have enlarged pupils by 4 hours and develop muscle paralysis later. Dogs receiving massive doses of venom, as from multiple bites, may begin vomiting in 5-30 minutes, be paralysed and have enlarged pupils in 2-4 hours, and can die 2-5 hours after being bitten.

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Heat Stress

From Western Suburbs Vet Clinic

So long as they have plenty of fresh air and cool water, most reasonably fit/healthy dogs can manage hot weather without too much trouble at all. What they can’t cope with is a combination of excessive heat + excessive humidity. This is because humidity compromises the efficiency of their radiator system. On a humid day panting simply doesn’t work at all well. On a very humid day it doesn’t even have to be very hot and they can be in a lot of trouble if exercised or otherwise “heat stressed” in some other way. With continuing heat stress while the weather is hot-humid, a dog’s core body temperature just keeps going up and up until the unfortunate creature starts falling over and melting down.

Early stage heat stress signs include the obvious symptoms of:

* Panting hard

* Actively seeking shade/cool

* Excessive salivation and enlarging tongue

* Congesting (more red) mucous membranes

* Increasing heart rate

* Starting to show anxiety/distress

First aid

Up to a point, such signs are quite normal for a hot dog. These are the signals that a hot dog is thermoregulating (working to reduce its temperature) in a completely normal way. At this stage, you can help the dog thermoregulate by doing a number of simple and pretty obvious things:

* Resting

* Finding/providing shade

* Maintaining a breeze eg fanning

* Providing fresh cool water to drink

* Rinsing/dipping/wetting down.


Signs of a progressing/worsening/getting critical/potentially terminal stage heat stress (depending on the severity and duration of the hyperthermia) can include the following:

* Very rapid heart rate

* Failing circulation/tacky dry pale gums

* Trembling/fitting/falling down

* Respiratory distress

* Hemorrhagic vomiting

* Diarrhoea with blood

Such cases need intensive medical treatment. Even with such care, they may still die. Main thing is to be aware of the lethal potential of heat stress and to recognise the risk both for your pets and indeed for yourself.

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  • 3 years later...

I think bloat is something everyone with a deep chested breed should be aware of: source http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/gastric-volvulus-bloat-dogs


Bloat usually comes on very quickly. At first, your dog may show signs that his stomach hurts. He may:

Act restless


Have a swollen stomach

Look anxious

Look at his stomach


Try to vomit, but nothing comes up

As the condition gets worse, he may:


Have pale gums

Have a rapid heartbeat

Be short of breath

Feel weak

If you think your pet has bloat, get him to a clinic right away. If dogs don’t get treatment in time, the condition can kill them.

Below is a video of what bloat looks like - it is distressing to watch, but the dog was okay after its owners realised something was really wrong and called the vet.


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  • 2 years later...



from ABC



What are the symptoms to look out for?

It varies.

Perhaps the most obvious are drooling, shaking, and the colour of their gums.

"If you look at their gums in their mouth they're bright red, because the toad toxin is such an irritant," Dr Jacobs-Fohrman said.

"It really ranges form drooling, looking strange with bright gums, even up until seizures, abnormal heart rhythm, collapse, trouble breathing — and some dogs unfortunately die from this."

Dr Jacobs-Fohrman said while the onset of symptoms was quick, the toxin was slow to be absorbed.

"That's why first aid is really effective, even though you're seeing clinical signs straight away, the toxin can still be removed because it's so sticky," she said.

In the worst cases, it can lead to death.

"Death can occur in as little as 10 to 15 minutes if the dog has consumed the toad," Dr Jacobs-Fohrman said.

What are the steps for first aid?

  • Grab a damp cloth: "Use it to wipe the tongue and gums thoroughly and remove any residual venom. The venom is so sticky, you've got to rub firmly around all their mouth," Dr Jacobs-Fohrman said.
  • Rinse the cloth in-between wipes: "Because the venom will stick, we always tell people to rinse in the sink and then go back in and keep wiping. Continue that for at least 10 minutes or so."
  • Don't hose inside a pet's mouth: "They can choke on the water, but also they can accidentally drink way too much water and cause problems that way."
  • If in doubt, call your local vet: "Problems with the heart and neurological systems can progress rapidly."


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