Need Veterinary Advice for Your Labrador?

Your dog has been refusing food and vomiting for two days. Your cat seems to be choking on something, but you can’t see or feel anything in its throat. Your ferret just isn’t its usual playful self, preferring to lie lethargically in a corner of its cage. What’s wrong? You’ve tried some home remedies, but nothing seems to work. It’s time to seek veterinary advice.

Since our pets can’t tell us what is troubling them, we can only observe their behavior and decide if we want to “wait it out” or if we need timely veterinary advice. Many times, advice is not what our pets need – it’s emergency medical care! Severe injuries, inability to breathe, sunstroke, coma, and many other conditions require the quickest possible trip to the vet’s office. Other times, we’re not so sure of what to do. This is when veterinary advice is called for.

How and When to Seek Veterinary Advice

In the past, if we had questions about our pet’s behavior, we would usually be advised by the receptionist answering the phone to bring the animal into the office. But now, most up-to-date animal clinics employ certified veterinary technicians who can provide advice on the telephone. After listening closely to your pet’s symptoms, these trained technicians can recognize when it’s best to continue a home remedy with lots of rest for the animal, and when it’s necessary to bring your pet into the clinic immediately.

This is solid, dependable veterinary advice; you don’t have to wait until the DVM is finished with his/her “patient” to speak with you; lost time could mean the preventable death of your pet. The technician who is giving veterinary advice should always err on the side of caution. If he/she is uneasy about your pet’s symptoms, you’ll be advised to bring your pet to the clinic as soon as possible. Since the advent of cell phones, if you find your pet severely ill or injured, you can pack it up in the car and head for the emergency clinic while calling and letting them know you’re on your way, and why. You can receive life support instruction via your cell phone.

Of course, the best person to dispense veterinary advice is your veterinarian. He/she can advise you of possible diagnoses of your pet, tests that should be performed, medications or surgical interventions, and the possibility of humane euthanasia. Of course it is very difficult to lose a beloved pet, but your practitioner will give the best veterinary advice on the nature of the pet’s illness and prognosis, even to the point of kindly and gently suggesting that perhaps it is in your pet’s best interests to relieve it from its suffering.

Sometimes even the sharpest DVM needs veterinary advice! Just like “people doctors,” DVMs are not reluctant to seek second opinions from other vets. This is especially true if your pet is presenting with symptoms unfamiliar to him/her, or if you have an exotic pet that your regular vet has little expertise in treating. Obtaining a second opinion is not the mark of an unqualified DVM; it’s the mark of one who knows his/her limitations as seeks appropriate veterinary advice from others who just might have the answers for the health of your pet.

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