It may come as a surprise, but your pet's need for immediate emergency care isn't always obvious. Today, our Beacon veterinarians discuss some of the signs that it's time to visit an emergency animal hospital.
How do I know if my pet needs Emergency Care?
A situation requiring emergency veterinary care could occur at any time - day or night - and you'll need to be prepared.
But it can be challenging for even the most attentive pet parents to know when their dog, cat, or other pet is in need of emergency care. That's why knowing some of the signs and symptoms that indicate an emergency health issue is happening to your pet is helpful. If you still aren't sure, contact your vet or emergency vet clinic for advice.
Signs That Your Animal is Experiencing a Health Emergency
Accidents, ingestions, injuries, and the sudden onset of disease are all examples of pet emergencies. The following are some of the most common indicators that it's time to visit an emergency veterinarian:
- Lameness or inability to walk
- Bloated, swollen, or painful abdomen
- Dilated pupils
- Severe injury (car accidents, broken bones, gashes)
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Vomiting or blood in diarrhea
- Difficulty breathing, extreme coughing or choking
- Inability to urinate or defecate
- Ingestion of poisonous foods, substances, plants, or bones
- Unable to deliver puppies or kittens
- Obvious pain
- Loss of balance
- Sudden blindness, staggering or stumbling
- Inflammation or injury to the eye
Basic First Aid for Animals
Please note that performing basic first aid on your pet is not intended to replace veterinary care, it is solely to stabilize your animal for a trip to your emergency vet.
Before you start, make sure your pet is muzzled. Place a clean gauze pad over the injury and apply pressure with your hand for several minutes until blood clotting begins to help stop the bleeding. Severe leg bleeding will necessitate the use of a gauze tourniquet secured by an elastic band. Bring your pet to the veterinarian right away.
Coping With Seizures
Do not attempt to restrain your pet. Try to remove objects that may hurt your pet. After the seizure is over, keep your pet warm and phone your vet.
Dealing With Fractures
Put a muzzle on your pet. To transport your pet to the veterinarian, place them on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher. Secure your animal to the stretcher as much as possible to avoid putting pressure on the injured area.
If Your Pet Is Choking
It's important to be cautious because your pet may bite out of fear. Check your pet's mouth for foreign objects and remove them if possible. Make sure you don't push the object any further down your animal's throat. If this is too difficult, don't waste time attempting it again. Bring your pet to the veterinarian's office or an emergency veterinary clinic right away.
Be Prepared For a Veterinary Emergency
What You Should Know in Advance
You never know when an emergency will occur, but being prepared for one can help you provide your pet with the best possible care as quickly as possible. In case of an emergency, our Beacon veterinarians recommend having the following items on hand:
- The phone number for your vet's office
- The phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
- The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center
- How to muzzle your dog when he's in pain so he doesn't bite others
- Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
- Knowledge of basic pet CPR
- Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
Due to the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment required, emergency veterinary care can be expensive. It is a pet owner's responsibility to ensure that they can financially care for your pet in a time of crisis.
Put money aside specifically for emergencies or sign up for a pet insurance plan to be prepared for the unexpected. Putting off veterinary care to avoid paying emergency fees could jeopardize your pet's life.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.