Is this an Emergency?

Healthy Pet/Happy Pet

Dr. Amanda Thomas

Sometimes a pet owner isn’t quite sure what constitutes an emergency when they see something is wrong with their pet – whether it is a dog, a cat, or a small mammal like a pocket pet.
Here are some symptoms that should prompt you to take your pet to the vet clinic or emergency hospital immediately…

Changes in your pet’s breathing, or any respiratory difficulty. This is definitely a life-threatening emergency. Taking your pet to the veterinarian’s office may mean the difference between life and death. Your pet could be suffering from a condition where fluid is accumulating in the lungs or around the lungs, they could be showing signs of heart failure, toxin or poison ingestion, or symptoms associated with pneumonia, heart failure or even cancer.

Traumatic injuries… If your pet has been bitten by another animal, has a bleeding wound or has suffered some other kind of traumatic event, an immediate trip to the veterinarian is needed. Being hit by a car, attacked by a dog, or falling from any elevation, are all reasons you should have him examined by a doctor.
Lung bruises, internal bleeding, hernias, and other life-threatening conditions can’t be seen by visual inspection of your pet. In many of these instances, it may look like your pet is ok on the outside, but their injuries can be internal and very serious.

Any wound your pet has incurred should be examined as soon as possible. If the wound is bleeding, keep it clean and apply pressure to the site if your pet will allow it. Do not apply any topical solutions like hydrogen peroxide as this can be damaging to the tissues. Many wounds, especially bite wounds from another animal may look like small punctures but are most often just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the underlying damage that you can’t see. These patients need pain management, wound care, and medications to treat the infection.

Any seizures or episodes of collapse are reasons to seek medical attention right away. These occurrences are never normal. Treatment for the initial problem is necessary, while testing is needed to diagnose the underlying problem. Your pet may have an underlying metabolic problem, a liver condition or may have ingested a toxin or poison that contributed to this type of incident. Heart disease and endocrine conditions can also cause these symptoms.

Eating something poisonous or getting into a human medication is a reason to take your pet to the veterinary clinic.
If your pet ate a poisonous plant, ingested a cleaning product or toxic substance, a human medication or any other liquid or solid that is a non-food item, it could lead to serious and significant health problems. Even pet toys can contain harmful substances. Depending on what may have been ingested, there is only a short period of time your veterinarian has to treat the pet and reverse any possible damage.

Vomiting and/or Diarrhea that lasts more than 12 hours, or that has evidence of blood in it, is an emergency. If your pet appears weak, lethargic or if their rectal temperature is above 103 degrees, it may mean that the condition is serious. Younger animals and pets that are small (less than 10 pounds) can become dehydrated and get sick very quickly, so a veterinary evaluation may be needed sooner for these little ones.

Any condition in your pet that causes you concern should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian. He or she is just a phone call away and the veterinary nursing staff should be very well trained on what constitutes an emergency. They will guide you to the right decision for all of your pet’s needs.

Hopefully, your pet will never experience any of the above conditions or symptoms and we will see you in the veterinary clinic for routine care only, but should the need arise, don’t hesitate to call your vet’s office for care at any time.

Have a safe and happy FALL!!