What Constitutes an Emergency: Healthy Pet/Happy Pet 16

By: Dr. Amanda Thomas

When a family member is ill or injured, it can quickly become a frightening situation. When your pet is sick it can be even more difficult to determine the severity of the situation because your pet can’t tell you what’s happening. In order to determine whether or not an animal is experiencing a health crisis that requires immediate veterinary attention, here is some advice:

If your pet is weak, wobbly or unable to stand or walk normally, check his mucous membrane color by looking in his mouth. Pink is the normal color of healthy gums. If his gums are white, grey, brick red or blue, take him to the nearest veterinary emergency clinic. These symptoms could mean that he is having heart trouble, has been exposed to something toxic or could be bleeding internally.

Any respiratory problem or change in your pet’s normal breathing is considered a veterinary emergency. Patients with heart failure or other organ system diseases can deteriorate quickly and should be seen by your veterinary team as soon as possible.

A dog or cat that is having difficulty urinating, straining to urinate or is unable to pass urine will need to go to the emergency clinic. Pets can experience a blockage to their lower urinary tract which requires immediate intervention and resolution. Urinary problems can easily become life or death situations.

If you see that your dog has a bloated abdomen, is restless, trying to vomit or acting anxious, he may have a twisted stomach. Large breed dogs are especially susceptible to this condition and are only able to be helped if they are seen by a veterinarian right away. This should be diagnosed and treated almost immediately for a good outcome.

Heat stroke is an emergency that needs to be treated in a veterinary hospital. Dogs that are exercised on warm summer days or left outdoors without adequate shade and water will suffer heat stroke. Never leave dogs in cars unattended, no matter what time of year it is, but particularly in the summer months. Always provide your pet with shade and water, or leave him indoors. Dogs simply cannot regulate their body temperature adequately in the summertime, so it is up to you to make sure they have a cool place to be.

Facial swelling indicates the need for immediate veterinary care. Your pet may have an abscessed tooth, may have been struck by a venomous creature like a snake or spider, or maybe having a systemic allergic reaction that could affect their ability to breathe. Have your pet checked out by your vet right away if you see this.

Other veterinary emergencies include bleeding, open wounds, bite wounds, burns, ingestion of toxic substances like mole and rat bait, pesticides and fertilizers, traumatic injuries, unexplained swellings, chronic conditions that become acute, or anything else that concerns you enough to make you question whether or not your pet should be seen by your veterinarian. We are here to help you in all situations concerning your animals and want them to have the best chance at a long, healthy life with you and your family.

Reach out to us and ask questions……