There are many reasons that our dogs visit the vets and for the most part this is for a general checkup, but other times things can be a little more serious and it’s important to know why. In this short clip, Dr. Melissa Meehan talks us through the top reasons why our dogs pay a visit to the vet and shares her top tips on preventive measures to put in place and the best treatment for our pooches.
Dr. Melissa Meehan: Going to the vets is something most dogs don’t enjoy. Is it Harvey?
Whist some of the most common reasons for a vet visit can’t be avoided, others can be reduced with some preventative care. Let's start with the annual checkup.
Canine influenza and some other vaccination boosters are required annually, and as part of this visit your vet will perform a full examination on your pooch. Remember one year of your life is roughly equivalent to seven dogs years. That's a long time when it comes to early disease detection and treatment. So even missing one annual visit could have a major impact on your dog's future health.
Another common reason for a visit to the vets, particularly in spring and summer is for the treatment of skin and ear issues. Humidity mixed with wet skin from dips in the ocean, as well as plenty of allergens in the air can result in dermatitis and ear infections. Common symptoms include constant itching and licking at the skin and paws. It’s important to get this diagnosed early so any potential bacterial or fungal infections can be treated. If left untreated dermatitis can result in open, smelly and painful wounds, and not to mention and very unhappy and constantly itchy pet.
Determining the primary cause can take months of systematic trials and hard work, but it's definitely worth it in the end. Another common and rather unpleasant reason for vet visits are dogs anal glands. These glands are two sacks located about four and eight o’clock at the entrance of your dogs bottom. They secrete a special signature marker on stools when they are passed. As dogs communicate mostly with their nose, this signature scent acts to inform other dogs about their personal information, which is why they sniff each others bottoms when they meet. It's the equivalent of a little friendly handshake.
Anal glands can become overful and cause irritation to the dog, which causes the dog scooting around the floor or licking around the area. Some of the time the scooting effectively empties the glands, however if it doesn't and your dog is doing this frequently for more than a day or so, you need to visit your vet so that they gland material can be expressed manually. This helps to avoid impaction and painful abscess formation. In severe cases surgical removal of the glands can also be performed.
Another top reason for a visit to the vets is vomiting and diarrhea due to gastroenteritis. Dogs aren't the most discerning eaters, gobbling down old and rotten food they find at the park. Other times they may be fed overly fatty or rich leftovers from the dinner table. Mild cases may self-resolve, but if vomiting and diarrhea continue, dehydration is a real risk. So if symptoms persist beyond a day or your dog either young or elderly, take them straight to the vet for assessment. IV fluids and hospitalisation may well be required. Worst still pancreatitis may be the underlying cause and failure to treat this properly can lead to death. A quick in-house blood test can rule out this nasty decease at the first visit.
HIF pet insurance can help with some of the cost associated with vet visits. Isn't that right Harvey!
You can read Dr Melissa Meehan’s summary on this topic here as well as other health tips and advice on the Pooches at Play website.