Dog in distress. Vet closed. What to do?
October 2, 2015 2:43 PM   Subscribe

My five year old labrador dog seems to be in pain. It's nearly 11pm. The local vet clinic is closed. Ought I wait until morning or call the vets’ emergency number? Details inside.

For the past few hours Paddy has been restless, with the occasional high-pitched whine of distress as though he’s in pain. He can’t seem to get settled comfortably for long. He had a couple of bouts of diarrhoea earlier today, the latter about nine hours ago (there was no vomiting). He’s alert, and his appetite seems fine - he’s been eating and drinking normally. He appears to be moving OK: we just took a short walk around the block and, despite moving a little slower than usual, there was no limping or other obvious sign of injury. The local vet is closed: they will be open tomorrow morning. They also have a (costly) 24-hour call-out service for emergencies. Should I call it or wait?
posted by misteraitch to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When I asked this question about my cat, someone on here said something to the effect of: If you are asking this question on metafilter, it's a good sign you are concerned enough that a vet is called for.

On the other hand, my cat was not eating or drinking and was in clear distress.
posted by janey47 at 2:50 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also, it may be free for you to call the 24-hour service, describe the symptoms, and ask them their opinion on whether you can wait.
posted by janey47 at 2:51 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Full disclosure - I don't have a dog, I have cats.

But everything you've described sounds as if you could wait until the morning.

Obviously, the 24 hour call out service will still be there in 3 hours if this situation gets worse.

Hoping for the best
posted by JenThePro at 2:52 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would definitely call. I'd probably take him in too, just to rule out bloat.
posted by purpleclover at 2:53 PM on October 2, 2015

Best answer: Take him.

It may be nothing. But take him.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:55 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I agree - you want to rule out bloat. That can't wait.
posted by handful of rain at 3:01 PM on October 2, 2015

Best answer: Dogs are terribly stoic when it comes to pain. If your sweet boy is making sounds of pain or distress, it's not something to mess around with. I would take him to the ER vet. The question I ask myself in situations like this is, could I live with myself if I didn't take him and something terrible happened that I could have prevented?

Bias: I am a mom to a very large, lovable golden retriever and if he were doing what yours is doing, I'd take him. Bloat and blockages are very scary, often fatal possibilities in large dogs.
posted by cecic at 3:01 PM on October 2, 2015 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Emergency vet, always.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:03 PM on October 2, 2015

Response by poster: OK - thank you all - I just called the emergency number and left a message. Hopefully the vet will call me back soon.
posted by misteraitch at 3:07 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Heading off to the vet now…
posted by misteraitch at 3:11 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

yikes. hope he's ok.
posted by andrewcooke at 3:12 PM on October 2, 2015

Response by poster: The vet didn’t think it was bloat. It may just have been discomfort from an apparently very full anal gland, now emptied. We’ll hope it was only £140 worth of anal issues, wait, & see! Thanks again for all your responses.
posted by misteraitch at 4:19 PM on October 2, 2015 [14 favorites]

Did you learn to express the gland yourself? Man, that is love.
Happy Paddy is well!
posted by TenaciousB at 4:31 PM on October 2, 2015

I'm so glad. I'm sorry about the expense. I don't know how you could get around it without making sure that your boy is okay. Maybe a vet can weigh in with a red light/green light scenario, but it sounds like life or death if a person gets it wrong, even overnight.

(I'm not usually this omgomgomg about AskMes and generally kind of hate it when people are.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:08 PM on October 2, 2015

Hope you post an update tomorrow. You did the right thing.
posted by mulcahy at 8:00 PM on October 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: It seems now that the anal gland was a red herring, or maybe a different-coloured herring: Paddy continued to show signs of discomfort through the night, but seemed somewhat better this morning. After a second examination a short time ago, the vet was confident that a pulled back/shoulder muscle was the problem, and prescribed an NSAID and a few days’ rest.

TenaciousB—re: the gland: the vet did all the expressing. That’s a skill I hope I don’t have to master.

cecic—After this and a vaguely similar incident last year, I’m beginning to wonder if Paddy may have a bit less than the usual quota of canine stoicism when it comes to muscle pain like this…
posted by misteraitch at 2:59 AM on October 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

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