Educational Articles

Dogs + Emergency Situations

  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a term that refers to the heart's inability to pump adequate blood to the body. There are many causes of CHF in dogs. The two most common causes are mitral valve insufficiency (MVI), or a leaky mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and the let ventricle and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

  • The cornea is the transparent, shiny membrane that makes up the front of the eyeball. With a corneal ulcer, fluid is absorbed from the tears into the stroma, giving a cloudy appearance to the eye. The most common cause of a corneal ulcer is trauma. Less common causes of corneal ulcers include bacterial infections, viral infections, and other diseases.

  • When there is not enough oxygen being carried to the body by the red blood cells, the skin and mucous membranes can turn a bluish color. This is known as cyanosis.

  • This handout provides detailed information on insulin administration. Consistent treatment is a vital component of the proper management of the diabetic dog. Once you are coached on how to give them, you may be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is and how well your dog tolerates the injections.

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency that occurs when there is not enough insulin in the body to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. If left untreated, diabetic ketoacidosis is fatal.

  • Even though e-cigarettes may be safer for humans than using traditional tobacco products, they are certainly not safe for pets. The nicotine associated with e-cigarettes, even without the tobacco, poses a serious health threat for dogs and cats.

  • Eclampsia is hypocalcemia in a dog who has recently given birth. Breeds such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Toy Poodles, Miniature Pinscher, Shih Tzu, and other small breeds are at an increased risk. Eclampsia is considered an emergency and immediate medical attention should be sought. It can quickly progress from weakness to tremors, seizures, or paralysis. Treatment involves immediate intravenous injections of calcium and other drugs. Recovery from eclampsia is usually rapid and complete if treated early.

  • Emergencies arise unexpectedly and it is important to stay calm. After realizing what has occurred, it is important to contact your veterinarian for recommendations in order to provide the best chance for a successful outcome. Once you have received initial instructions, it is important to transport your dog to your veterinarian for a complete examination as soon as possible.

  • Epilepsy is a brain disorder characterized by recurrent seizures without a known cause or abnormal brain lesion (brain injury or disease). A seizure is a sudden surge in the electrical activity of the brain causing signs such as twitching, shaking, tremors, convulsions, and/or spasms. The exact cause of epilepsy is unknown, but a genetic basis is suspected in many breeds. Seizures can vary in appearance and can be focalized or generalized.

  • Ethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting, odorless liquid, is the active ingredient in antifreeze. Ethylene glycol can also be found, in lower concentrations, in some windshield de-icing agents, hydraulic brake fluid, motor oils, solvents, paints, film processing solutions, wood stains, inks, printer cartridges, etc.