Have you used Vet Help Direct to help you decide what to do about your poorly pet? If so, we would love to hear from you! Every month we will be featuring a pet on this page so if you'd like your pet to star on screen please tell us your story.

Ci, a 3 year old male dog
Ci the dog

Lesley, owner of Ci

Why were you worried about your pet?
Ci started drinking and peeing much more than normal, even peeing in the house, which is not at all like him as he is normally very clean and fastidious.
What advice did Vet Help Direct give you?
I'd previously asked for help with Ci's coprophagia and had been in the process of changing foodstuffs as advised in a bid to help with that. Vet Help Direct were able to tell me that unless I had changed from wet to dry food, I should seek urgent veterinary advice for my dog, given his symptoms.
Did you administer any first aid care?
None was appropriate
Did you go to the vets? If so, what happened?
I took Ci to the vets this morning, armed with a jamjar of pee, as advised by Vet Help Direct. Tests showed sugar in the urine, but not in a subsequent blood test. My vet is slightly baffled, says it is rare, but has started Ci on a course of anti-biotics and vitamins, including calcium and Vit D, after which he wants a fasting blood test and will possible do a kidney biopsy.
How is your pet now?
Tired! Ci is a rescue dog who is nervous and gets stressed easily. I'm delighted I took Vet Help Direct's advice and went for an early appointment, which has at least ruled out the probability of diabetes. I might have waited a few more days without that advice, thinking the change in behaviour was related to the change in diet.

If your dog is drinking more than usual it could be a sign of serious illness, the earlier treatment is given the better the chance of a good outcome. Problems such as diabetes, cushings or kidney problems can all cause dogs to drink more than usual, use the Dog symptom guide to find out what you should do

Gussie, the ex-battery hen from Crossford in Fife

Frances, owner of Gussie

Why were you worried about your pet?
Gussie, was very listless and hiding under a bush. Her comb had a slight blue tinge. I lifted her to her water dish where she had a wee drink then regurgitated the water. As it was out of surgery hours I had to decide whether it was an emergency or if a visit to the vet could wait till the morning.
What advice did Vet Help Direct give you?
By using Vet Help Direct I discovered that her symptoms were urgent and got an immediate emergency appointment with my vet. There were plenty of symptoms to choose from in the Backyard Poultry Section, and as two directly applied to her (blue tinge on comb and regurgitation) and that she fell into the listless category, the result came up as urgent and vet treatment was required quickly.
Did you administer any first aid care?
I followed the instructions recommended by your site in terms of transporting Gussie – by keeping her warm and placing a towel around the cat-carrier I use for the chooks. There was no other specific first-aid I could give her in this situation – it was, as your site showed, a case of getting her to the vet as quickly as possible. And that was the most important thing I found about Vet Help Direct in this situation – it gave clear and specific advice to seek professional treatment asap, rather than me waiting to see how she was in the morning.
Did you go to the vets? If so, what happened?
This quick action was confirmed to be the right thing to do by Megan, as Gussie would have been much worse (if she made it) if she’d had to wait till the next day for treatment. Gussie’s crop was being blocked by grit, and Megan flushed out the blockage. After this procedure Gussie perked up immediately! Gussie was also medicated with Maxolon, Norocarp and Baytril, and is now on a four-day course of Baytril (administered at home).
How is your pet now?
Gussie was well enough to come home after her emergency treatment and spent the night in her carrier in the kitchen to recuperate. Gussie was allowed to have soft food when she got home which she ate with no problems. The next morning Gussie went for a check up at the vets and was doing so well that she didn’t require any further treatment. When we got home Gussie was able to go into the garden and chill with her chicky pal, JoJo. She was a little more quiet than usual in the morning but by the afternoon she was back to her usual perky self. Gussie’s now complaining about getting her two doses of Baytril a day, but reckons it’s worth it for the grape treat that follows!

Megan Connell, the vet at Inglis Vets, Dunfermline:

How was Gussie when she presented?
When Gussie presented she was lethargic, dull, and very quiet, with occasions of regurgitation.
Would the treatment have been more complicated if he hadn’t been brought in so early?
If Gussie hadnt been brought in when Frances brought her she would have continued to go downhill overnight, and been much more poorly the next day.
Was the recovery quicker because he was brought in so early?
Gussie recovered pretty much overnight after having her crop flushed, all the fermenting food and liquid removed, and being started on treatment.
What would have happened if Gussie hadn’t received treatment so early?
There is the possibility that Gussie may have died without treatment.
Frances used Vet Help Direct, do you think that Gussie was presented a bit earlier than most hens that you see with a sour crop?
she definately presented earlier then many cases of sour crop.Gussie strarted out as a battery hen, as you may know, a client of ours had to have her rehomed and Frances took her on. Since then Gussie (and her companions), have been the most pampered hens ever!

If your hen has a blue tinged comb or is regurgitating it could be an emergency, use the Chicken symptom guide to find out what you should do

Maggie 1 year old cat from Eastleigh, Hampshire
Maggie the cat

Emma owner of Maggie

Why were you worried about your pet?
Maggie was acting totally out of character and using the toilet very often. She was visably unhappy and we hated not knowing what was wrong with her. When she went to the toilet, we could tell she was uncomfortable and it hurt her. We thought she may have cystitis, but weren't sure if cats could get that, so we turned to VHD for advice and to use the symptom checker.
What advice did Vet Help Direct give you?
VHD confirmed out thoughts about Maggie having cystitis, which was a relief in itself - knowing what is most likely wrong. We found out how different the situation could've been if we had a male cat, and that even though it's easier to treat in females, we still needed to get Maggie to the vet asap to get her some medicine and check the seriousness of the condition. VHD were full of helpful, practical information and gave us all information we needed without frightening us, which sounds silly but we were already worried about our girl and didn't want to be scared by information on the website saying the worst could happen. VHD were informative and promted us to take action without inducing panic.
Did you administer any first aid care?
There wasn't much we could do apart from taking Maggie to the vet as soon as we could get an appointment. We just kept her litter tray clean and fresh and made sure she had plenty of drinks around the house. We also just gave her wet food and put some extra water in it so she was getting lots of fluids.
Did you go to the vets? If so, what happened?
We have a wonderful vet and they managed to see us first thing the next day. They checked Maggie over (much to her disgust!) and said her bladder felt inflammed and would be sore. They took her temperature - which she was most unhappy about - and gave her an injection of painkillers and antibiotics. We were offered tablet antibiotics, but Maggie is feisty enough without trying to get pills down her! So we opted for the injection instead. The vet told us to come back if the infection hadn't cleared within a couple of days.
How is your pet now?
She hasn't had a bout of cystitis for around 4 months now. Considering how young she is (1y 3m), poor Maggie has had cystitis 3 times. The last time being the worst yet - it lasted much longer that before and we kept going back to the vet for more antibiotics and painkillers. Since then, we have invested in Feliway difusers to calm her down, as the vet thought her hyperacivity and stress levels may be the cause of the cystitis. They've certainly done the trick so far. Maggie is much calmer and relaxed, and much less loopy! We now give her wet food and Purina biscuits, as they promote healthy urinary tracts. And we also give her cranberry cat treats from the local pet store and put a few in her biscuits each day.

If your cat is uncomfortable going to the toilet it could be an emergency, use the Cat symptom guide to find out what you should do

Caprica 7 months old Rabbit from Exeter

Sara owner of Caprica

Why were you worried about your pet?
Loss of appetite
What advice did Vet Help Direct give you?
Advised that she would need to be seen by a vet within 12 hours.
Did you administer any first aid care?
Did you go to the vets? If so, what happened?
No because she started eating normally again.
How is your pet now?
She is perfect now, a very happy bunny.

If your rabbit is not eating it could be an emergency, use the Rabbit symptom guide to find out what you should do

Bucket Rennoldson 5 year old MN cat from Nottingham.
Bucket and Sarah Bucket

Sarah, owner of Bucket:

How did you first notice that Bucket was not well?
‘He was very quiet, not sleeping on my lap as normal, off his food and when he did eat he vomited.  He kept hiding in odd places around the house and keeping himself to himself.  Also for a cat that normally loves his food, not eating was very odd.  About two months earlier he had been on antibiotics for cystitis but at that time he was straining in the litter tray.  This time he didn't seem to be going at all so initially I didn't link the two.’
The advice that Vet Help Direct gave you?
‘I used Vet Help Direct It suggested I contacted the vets immediately.  This was really helpful because it was a Friday night close to the vet’s closing time and we were wondering whether to see how he went over the weekend and then contact the vets early on Monday if there was no change.  Thankfully after looking at the website I called the vets who asked us to bring him straight down.’
What happened when you got to the vets?
‘The vet diagnosed a blockage and kept him in with a catheter over the weekend.  They said that it was very good that we hadn't waited till Monday as I was planning given how quickly cats can go downhill with a blockage.’
Did he have any other treatment?
I'm not sure what other medication he had in addition to the catheter - I think antibiotics but he then went onto a regular series of injections and tablets.  He still has the tablets every day and the injections about once every 3 months.
How he is doing now?
Perfectly - you wouldn't know there had been a problem - he is back to lying around on my lap and eating lots!

Jaqui, the vet at Bill Bowler Veterinary Surgery, Nottingham:

How was Bucket when he presented on Friday?
His bladder was uncomfortable but not over full.
Would the treatment have been more complicated if he hadn’t been brought in so early?
Yes, for sure. If she hadn’t brought him in so rapidly he could have gone into renal failure and could have developed metabolic disturbances.
Was the recovery quicker because he was brought in so early?
Yes I’m sure it was. He wouldn’t have done so well post op if he had been left longer.
What would have happened if Bucket hadn’t received treatment so early?
It can be a pretty serious thing, its so painful, it’s a really nasty thing for them to have. He would have been really really sore, and left untreated a blocked bladder can cause renal failure and death.
Sarah used Vet Help Direct, do you think that Bucket was presented a bit earlier than most cats that you see with a blocked bladder?
Yes he was presented very early as his bladder was only slightly full and uncomfortable.

If your cat is straining and nothing is coming out it could be an emergency, use the Cat symptom guide to find out what you should do

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