Jan 22 2013

An Easy Solution to a Sticky Situation

I’d like to extend a Happy New Year greeting to you and yours from all of us at Green Acres Animal Hospital.   I have a New Year’s gift for you.  This article may seem a bit silly – but I am confident that there are a number of you who will find it useful, and just might save you some anxiety and some money.  This is a How-To article on how to avoid a trip to the veterinarian.  First, a disclaimer:  if this sounds familiar, and you feel embarrassed or even angry that I am talking about you publicly, please rest assured that this is not the case.  There are LOTS of “you” out there.  We see this particular type of non-emergency regularly…and we really don’t need to.  These cases require no extra education, no special diagnostic skills, and no expertise.  Don’t get me wrong – as veterinary health providers, we offer a great deal.  This is one instance, however, where a little extra maintenance and vigilance on your behalf can save you time and money while saving your pet a great deal of discomfort. 

So what is this non-emergency, you ask?  Well, it is what we here at Green Acres like to refer to as the “Poop Stuck on Bum Emergency”.  We refer to it facetiously as an emergency because it almost always presents that way.  We receive a phone call from a well-meaning, concerned owner – or they just rush on in, which is fine too! – saying that their small, fluffy-coated dog can’t defecate, seems constipated, and is very anxious.  They might even be turning in circles (the dog, not the owner).    These owners are not wrong – these are definitely symptoms that could warrant prompt medical attention.  However, a quick check under the tail at home would reveal a large clump of poop stuck to the long hairs around the dog’s back end, effectively plugging the pipe.  A quick bath and couple passes with a clipper and, voila! – problem solved!  This can be prevented altogether by ensuring your dog is kept groomed and bathed, with his or her hind end inspected regularly for long, poop-trapping hairs. 

I hope this article is interpreted in the light-hearted manner in which it is intended – it is not my aim to shame or embarrass, simply to help even one or two pet owners avoid an unnecessary expense and anxiety.  Of course, if this tidbit of information does not rectify your dog’s symptoms, please don’t hesitate to contact your veterinary health team.  Happy New Year, everyone!

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