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How to Handle a Trip to the Emergency Vet

Caring-For-Critters2-200Today I’m participating in the Caring for Critters Health Issues Round Robin hosted by Heart Like a Dog. All month long, pet bloggers are sharing the health issues their pets have faced, and their personal experiences in dealing with them. From allergies, to dental health, to caring for senior dogs – a plethora of information is accumulating on a wide variety of topics. If you’re facing a health challenge with your pet, we hope you’ll find this helpful.

We have been extremely blessed with our dogs. Ty and Buster are both on medication – Ty for hypothyroidism and Buster for seizures – but neither has suffered any complications and, other than their daily pills, their conditions have not required additional treatment for years.

Of course, when you have dogs – even healthy dogs – the occasional trip to the vet is inevitable. We’ve made a few in our time! Just this year Ty suffered an unexplained fever, and last year an episode of gastrointestinal issues had me concerned that Buster may have swallowed something that was causing a blockage. Luckily, both illnesses were short-lived and the dogs bounced back quickly. But traveling full-time means that when issues pop up, we’re far, far away from the boys’ regular vet. We’ve learned some helpful steps for handling a trip to the emergency vet and, while we hope you never need them, they may be useful if you do:

1. Keep a good first aid kit handy. If your pet gets injured, you’ll have everything you need to deal with minor cuts and bumps until you can get to the veterinarian. Take some time to become familiar with the contents of your kit and with basic first aid procedures before you need to use them. There are classes, books and videos on pet first aid that walk you through the steps to help your pet in the most common emergency situations.

2. Know where the emergency veterinary hospital is located. You probably know where you’d take your dog in an emergency when you’re at home, but what about when you’re traveling? When planning a trip with your pets, make sure to research the area’s veterinary hospitals and take note of their location and hours. If you’re using the Road Trip Planner, it’s easy to locate veterinarians along your route.

GoPetFriendly Road Trip Planner

3. Take you pet’s entire medical file. When Ty and Buster are sick, my brain turns to mush. Remembering my name, much less the details of the boys’ medical history, is a challenge. If the same thing happens to you, be sure you take all of their medical records with you to the vet. Having the names, dosages, and times you give their medications and supplements written down is also helpful. When you travel, consider scanning their medical records and storing them on a USB drive. It’s easy to pack, and the attending veterinarian will be able to access the information they’ll need with no problem.

4. Include your veterinarian’s contact information and fax number. The attending veterinarian may want to call your vet with questions or fax reports and follow up instructions. Being able to provide them with the contact information will allow them to focus their attention on your pet’s care.

5. Pack a muzzle and acclimate your pet to wearing it. Some emergency veterinary hospitals will not allow you to accompany your pet into the exam area. Some dogs, when they’re in pain, in an unfamiliar setting, and surrounded by strangers, may react and “defend” themselves. If it’s necessary to apply a muzzle for the safety of the staff, it will be less stressful for your pet if you acclimate him to wearing it in advance.

6. Ask about visiting your pet. Though veterinary hospitals are unlikely to be able to accommodate you in the trauma area, they may allow you to sit with your pet once he’s stabilized. When Ty spent the night at the emergency vet earlier this year, they allowed me to visit with him in his kennel any time they weren’t treating another emergency case.

Ty in Hospital

The emotions and stress of an emergency often make it difficult to think clearly. Putting a plan in place in advance will ensure you’re able to give your pets the best care possible. And, we hope it’s like an umbrella on a day with a chance of showers – if you have it, you won’t need it for sure!

Thank you to Jodi for inviting me to participate in this valuable blogging event! Tomorrow’s post will be on lick Granulomas, so be sure to check in at Heart Like a Dog to learn more!

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