Educational Articles

Dogs + Emergency Situations

  • AIHA or IMHA is a life-threatening condition which may occur as a primary condition or secondary to another disease. Most dogs with AIHA have severe anemia, their gums will be very pale, they will be listless and tire more easily, be anorexic and will have increased heart and respiration rates. Diagnosis involves CBC, biochemical profiles, urinalysis, and X-rays or ultrasound of the abdomen and chest. Treatment may involve blood transfusions and other medications over a prolonged course of time. The prognosis may be better if an underlying cause can be identified.

  • Bite wounds are a common injury veterinarians see. If left alone, wounds have the potential to become more complicated, as they are likely infected and delaying treatment only makes it worse. Antibiotics, pain medications, and stitches may all be involved in the post-bite wound care.

  • Bladder stones are rock-like formations of minerals that develop in the urinary bladder. The most common signs that a dog has bladder stones are hematuria and dysuria. Bladder stones can develop within a few weeks or they may take months to form. Most bladder stones are visible on radiographs or an ultrasonic bladder examination. There are three main treatment options for bladder stones: 1) surgical removal; 2) non-surgical removal by urohydropropulsion, or 3) dietary dissolution. Prevention is possible in some cases, depending on the chemical composition of the stones.

  • Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) is a life threatening disorder most commonly seen in large, deep-chested dogs. In its early stage, the stomach fills with gas, causing a simple gastric dilatation or bloat. Sometimes, the condition progresses no further than a bloat.

  • A transfusion reaction is a medical reaction that occurs in response to a blood transfusion. Many transfusion reactions occur acutely, within seconds of starting the transfusion up to 48 hours post-transfusion. In other cases, however, transfusion reactions may be delayed. In many cases, a transfusion reaction can be diagnosed based on clinical signs alone. Your veterinarian will then administer medications specific to the type of reaction that your dog is experiencing.

  • Brain injuries are devastating and, unfortunately, often fatal. There are both primary brain injuries that are the result of a direct insult to the brain, and secondary brain injuries that occur following the primary brain injury. Secondary brain injuries may include bleeding from a brain blood vessel or swelling of brain tissue.

  • A burn is a type of skin injury, commonly caused by heat, fire, or chemicals. Burns are classified based on how many layers of skin are affected; this classification scheme can help predict prognosis. Treatment of burns varies, depending on the severity of the burn and how much of the body is affected. Superficial burns may heal without treatment, while more severe burns may require hospitalization and possible skin grafts.

  • A caesarean section, or C-section, is major surgery performed to remove puppies from the uterus. This is most commonly performed as an emergency procedure when there is difficulty with natural birth.

  • One of the more common uroliths in the dog is composed of calcium oxalate crystals. Current research indicates that urine high in calcium, citrates, or oxalates and is acidic predisposes a pet to developing calcium oxalate urinary crystals and stones. The most common signs that a dog has bladder stones are hematuria and dysuria. The only way to be sure that a bladder stone is made of calcium oxalate is to have the stone analyzed at a veterinary referral laboratory. Unfortunately, calcium oxalate stones have a somewhat high rate of recurrence, despite careful attention to diet and lifestyle.

  • While cannabis use is not new, its use for recreational purposes is more recent. As with any other medication, the increased accessibility to the drug has led to an increase in accidental exposure in pets. A small amount of cannabis is all it takes to cause toxicity in pets. Many of the clinical effects of intoxication are neurological. Pets become wobbly and uncoordinated. They may be hyperactive, disoriented, and very vocal. Their pupils dilate giving them a wild-eyed appearance and they may drool excessively or vomit. They may also exhibit urinary incontinence. In severe cases tremors, seizures, and coma can result. Activated charcoal may be administered every 6-8 hours to neutralize the toxin. Enemas are also used to reduce toxin absorption from the GI tract. Medications and supportive care to regulate the pet's heart rate, respiration, and body temperature are used if needed. Since the pet may be lethargic with no desire to eat or drink, IV fluids can prevent dehydration and maintain organ function. Anti-anxiety medications can minimize agitation.