It may be surprising, but it isn't always obvious when your pet is in need of urgent emergency care. Today, our Sharpsburg vets share some of the signs that could indicate that it's time to head to the 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 indications that it's time to visit the 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 begin, muzzle your pet. Place a clean gauze pad over the injury and apply pressure with your hand for several minutes until blood clotting begins. For severe leg bleeding, a gauze tourniquet with an elastic band will be required. Bring your pet to the veterinary clinic 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
Your pet should be muzzled. To transport your pet to the vet, place them on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher. Secure your animal to the stretcher as much as possible without putting pressure on the injured area.
If Your Pet Is Choking
Because your pet may bite in fear, you must exercise caution. Check your pet's mouth for foreign objects and remove them if possible. Take care not to push the object further down your animal's throat. If this is too difficult, don't waste your time trying again. Bring your pet to the vet'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 strike, but being prepared for a pet emergency can help you provide the best possible care to your animal as quickly as possible. Our Sharpsburg veterinarians recommend keeping the following items on hand in case of an emergency:
- 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.
Prepare for unforeseeable events by setting aside money for emergencies or enrolling in a pet insurance plan. Putting off veterinary care to avoid emergency fees could endanger 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.