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When to Go to the Vet?

By: Sandy Bolan - Updated: 4 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Cuts Scrapes Ear Infection Eye Infection

Every year we take our dogs to the vet for an annual check-up. Most of the time, dogs come out of the exam with a clean bill of health, plus a couple of vaccinations. But for some dogs, this is the occasion when much-ignored health conditions are brought to the vet's attention. In some cases, the situation is still treatable, unfortunately for other conditions, it may be too late.

Upon seeing any of the symptoms listed below, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Bladder Infection

All dogs have accidents, especially when we leave them alone too long without a toilet break. However, there are times when accidents happen, even when a dog receives regular bathroom breaks. The cause is generally a bladder infection.

Other symptoms your canine companion may have a bladder infection include: he is going to the bathroom throughout the house for two or more days; he has a tough time going to bathroom, or the urine has a strong odour or is discoloured, including the presence of blood.

Difficulty urinating may also mean your dog may be suffering from a urinary tract infection. These generally clear up on their own, however the bacteria can move further into the body resulting in a kidney infection.

Cuts and Scrapes

Sometimes a dog does something while playing that causes it to suffer from more than a minor cut or scrape. Heavy and continual bleeding and/or a lot of pain accompanying major wounds, require immediate attention. The wound may become pussy, red and swollen if immediate medical attention is not provided.

Ear Infection

Anyone who owns a dog with floppy ears knows too well the symptoms of a yeast-based ear infection: the build up of a dark, creamy wax that smells like yeast, but looks like peanut butter.

Bacterial infections, on the other hand, cause redness in the ear canal, accompanied by a moist, yellow paste and strong fruity odour.

Another issue that all droopy and pointed eared dogs can suffer from is ear mites - this causes the dog to shake his head like crazy because he feels like he has jumping beans in his ears. Ear mites can be treated with over-the-counter remedies from the pet shop, however, if the situation flourishes into a rash or painful irritation, then vet treatment is absolutely required.

Eye Infection

Weepy eyes doesn't mean your dog misses you and has cried himself to sleep. It generally means there is a more serious situation occurring within the eye area that needs immediately attention. Failure to do so could lead to your dog going blind. However, most eye irritations are not that serious. Weepy or crusty eyes may simply be the result of allergies.

A dog with the opposite problem - dry eyes - may be suffering from a lack of tear duct production, which is normally inherited. However, it may also be keratonconjunctivitis sicca.

Joint Problems

Most dogs, especially the larger ones, who suffer from osteoarthritis will get it in the hip, elbow, back and neck areas. The cause? Wear and tear. There are numerous types of medication and therapies available to help these dogs live long and relatively pain-free lives.

Lumps and Bumps

Dogs love to play, some rougher than others, which can lead to bumps and bruises. However, there are times when a dog's bumps and lumps are more than the result of a play session. The vet is the only person who can truly determine whether the lump is serious or not. Therefore, do not hesitate to make an appointment with him. Catching tumours in their earliest stages gives the dog the best chance for a full recovery.


Wheezing, coughing, heavy breathing, fatigue - these are all signs of a respiratory infection, including asthma.

However, if your dog coughs a lot for more than one day and does not cough up a foreign object, he could be suffering from pneumonia, bronchitis, a collapsed windpipe or even a heart attack.

Coughing can also indicate that your dog has been exposed to kennel cough, which is a highly contagious virus that is easily passed between dogs. Kennel cough will often clear itself within 10 days, however, if it gets worse, it can lead to pneumonia. If you suspect your dog is suffering from kennel cough, do not hesitate to call the vet to ensure the infection does not progress.


Dogs can scratch themselves so vigorously they cause a secondary infection. Hot spots - a red rash on the skin, can also cause a dog to scratch himself. Hot spots can also be the result of an environmental allergic reaction.

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Thanks for your advice on my dogs very slightly weepy eyes. Yesterday he was cleared of his gruelling 3 month ulcer and was negative for dry eye. This may be due to going outside and or pollen. I will continue to gently wipe his inner corners of his eyes gently every day with cool boiled water and seperate pieces of cotton wool, wiping outwards to his nose and NOT inwards on my vets advice.
Ralfy - 9-Jun-11 @ 6:15 PM
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