MSD Manual

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When to See a Veterinarian

When to See a Veterinarian

See a veterinarian immediately if you notice:

See a veterinarian within 24 hours if you notice:

Weak pulse or low or quiet heartbeat

Continuous sneezing or coughing

Bluish or white gums or tongue

Vomiting or diarrhea for more than 24 hours

Broken bones

Excessive water consumption

Puncture wounds to the abdomen or chest

Sudden change in behavior

Bite marks

Sleeping more than usual and unwillingness to play

Heavy bleeding

Cloudy eyes, squinting, or inability to see

Burns, frostbite, or a body temperature above 105°F (40.5°C)

A rash, excessive shedding, excessive head shaking, or persistent chewing or scratching of the body


A nosebleed for no apparent reason

Protruding rectum

Abnormal lumps that are not painful

Bloody, foul-smelling, or uncontrollable diarrhea

Lack of appetite but no other signs of illness

Thick, black stools

Soft stools not accompanied by pain, blood, foul smells, or straining

Straining but failing to defecate or urinate

Sudden weight gain or loss

Extreme lethargy



Lameness for more than 24 hours

Staggering or other problems walking

Swollen joints

Sudden, severe lameness

Moderate itching

Severe or constant pain

Discharge from the eyes, ears, or other body openings

Failure to eat or drink for 24 hours

Difficulty breathing or shallow breathing

Bloody urine, discomfort while urinating, or bleeding from the urinary or genital area