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Dogs + Emergency Situations

  • Pleural effusion refers to the abnormal accumulation of fluid within the chest cavity. In pleural effusion, the fluid is not found within the lungs, but instead within the pleural sac. Pleural effusion can have a number of different causes, including diseases of the heart, lungs, or other systemic diseases. Dogs with pleural effusion often have rapid, shallow breathing and pet owners may notice increased respiratory effort. Dogs may develop open-mouthed breathing in an effort to increase air flow. Pleural effusion is typically diagnosed with radiographs. Determining the underlying cause typically requires thoracocentesis.

  • The definition of a pneumothorax is an accumulation of air outside the lungs, but inside the chest wall. The air outside the lung prevents the lungs from inflating normally, and can lead to lung collapse. There are several variations of pneumothorax.

  • Porcupines are not aggressive, but they happily defend themselves, their offspring, and their dens if needed. Porcupine quills can puncture the skin and move through muscle, ultimately penetrating into body cavities and internal organs.

  • Pulmonary means lung, and the word thromboembolism describes a blood clot that has moved through the blood vessels, lodged in one of the pulmonary arteries, and blocked blood flow into the portion of the lung served by that artery. This seems to be more common in medium to large-breed dogs, and generally in middle-aged to older dogs.

  • Pyometra is defined as an infection in the uterus. Pyometra is considered a serious and life threatening condition that must be treated quickly and aggressively. The preferred treatment is to surgically remove the infected uterus and ovaries. Another approach to treating pyometra is the administration of prostaglandins, although the success rate is highly variable.

  • Pyothorax occurs when pus or inflammatory fluids collect in the space around the lungs causing fever, anorexia, lethargy, and difficulty breathing. It is the result of infection around the lungs caused by wounds either internally or externally, migrating foreign bodies, or lung infection. It is diagnosed through history, physical exam, radiographs, and thoracocentesis. Treatment may involve repeated thoracocentesis or the placement of a chest drain, as well as antibiotics and supportive care. Prognosis is variable but good if the dog survives the critical early stages.

  • Warfarin rodenticide is an over-the-counter anticoagulant rodenticide used to kill mice, rats, and other pests. Warfarin rodenticide poisoning occurs when a dog ingests the rodenticide accidentally. Clinical signs of poisoning are hemorrhage (bleeding) which usually occurs about 2-3 days after consumption.

  • Sago Palms are pretty plants but beware—they pack a deadly punch for pets. The popular Sago Palm enhances outdoor landscapes in warmer areas of the U.S. and serves as indoor decor in many colder climates. All parts of the Sago Palm are poisonous, but the seeds (nuts) are the most toxic to pets. As with all poisoning cases, early detection and treatment increases the rate of success.

  • Smoke inhalation injuries are caused by a combination of heat and airborne toxins. Clinical signs of smoke inhalation vary, depending on the materials contained within the smoke and how much smoke the dog inhales. Common signs include coughing, shortness of breath, eye injuries, and burns. Neurologic signs can also occur, especially in cases of carbon monoxide inhalation. Treatment typically involves oxygen therapy and other supportive care measures.

  • The most common venomous species of snakes in North America include rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths, and coral snakes. The clinical signs associated with a venomous snakebite vary based on the species of snake. As a general rule, there is extensive swelling that often spreads rapidly. Venomous snakebites are medical emergencies requiring immediate attention. Copperhead, cottonmouth, and coral snake envenomization cases have a better prognosis for complete recovery than rattlesnake bites.