Pet 911: When is it a Pet Emergency?
Most pet owners are prepared for wellness visits and preventive care, but we also know our adventurous pets can sometimes be involved in accidents or become ill. Sometimes, these situations require emergency care and, in extreme cases, surgery. The key to successful recovery is often how quickly your pet is brought in for evaluation and treatment.
Sometimes, however, it’s hard to recognize when a pet emergency is happening. To give you a quick guide to pet emergencies, including those that might require surgery, the team at AFVCC put together a list of problems that require an immediate trip to the pet emergency room.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Before we begin, please know that it’s never wrong to call or visit the pet emergency clinic if you’re worried. You know your pet better than anyone, so you may pick up on subtle signs that something is really wrong. Veterinarians are trained to deal with emergencies and to guide and assist you, whether it’s an emergency or not. With a few questions over the phone, we can usually determine whether your pet needs to be seen right away or if you can wait for a regular visit the next day. Keep in mind, though, that if you’re worried enough to call us, you might want the peace of mind that a visit during emergency hours can bring. Either way, please don’t ever feel embarrassed or second guess your gut instinct to seek help.
A True Pet Emergency
There are other times you won’t wonder if it’s an emergency. Please bring your pet in to the emergency clinic right away if you witness any of the following situations:
- Your pet has experienced trauma (being hit by a car or falling more than a few feet).
- Your pet isn’t breathing and/or you can’t feel a heartbeat.
- Your pet is unconscious.
- Your pet has been attacked by another animal.
- Your pet has ingested a foreign object, such as a toy, ribbon, string, etc.
- Your pet has been vomiting or has had diarrhea for more than 24 hours.
- Your pet collapses.
- You suspect your pet has a broken bone.
- Your pet is having trouble breathing or has something stuck in their throat.
- Your pet has had or is having a seizure.
- Your pet is bleeding or has blood in their stool or urine.
- You think your pet has ingested something toxic, such as rat poison, antifreeze, chocolate, or any medication that hasn’t been prescribed.
- Your pet (particularly your male cat) is straining to urinate or can’t urinate.
- You can see injury or irritation around your pet’s eyes or they suddenly become blind.
- Your pet’s abdomen is hard, distended, and/or they’re gagging and struggling to vomit.
- You see symptoms of heat stroke.
- Your pregnant dog or cat has gone more than 3 hours between delivering puppies or kittens.
In these situations, don’t wait. Get your pet directly to the veterinarian, especially when emergency surgery may be required.
The best way to prepare for a pet emergency is to be prepared. In addition to knowing what could happen, it’s smart to talk to your veterinarian about where you should take your pet if and when an emergency occurs, both during regular business hours and after hours/weekends and holidays. Have the phone number for an emergency veterinary clinic handy at home and on the go, and know how to get there.
Above all, trust your own instincts. We’re here for you, so never hesitate to call us if you think something is wrong.