Having a veterinary emergency is every pet parent’s worst nightmare. Your four-legged companion got himself in a pickle, and now he’s walking with a limp. They’re mysteriously listless and have no appetite. Unfortunately, when you have a veterinary emergency, you aren’t able to ask the patient where it hurts or what happened. You don’t know if your suspicion that you’re dealing with an all-out veterinary emergency is valid, or if you’re just being a little over-anxious.
We know your furry friend is part of the family and you want to take the best care of them that you possibly can, so we’ve put together a quick reference guide for when visiting an animal hospital is a good idea.
Four Things Every Pet Owner Needs to Know Before Experiencing a Veterinary Emergency
- It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
No matter what the circumstances are, you should never shy away from contacting a veterinarian if you are unsure of the well-being of your animal. Veterinarians who provide emergency vet services are familiar with the shenanigans that animals get themselves into. They aren’t going to judge you or think you’re silly for calling. And almost all veterinary emergency rooms are open or on-call 24 hours a day; you don’t have to worry that you’re going to disturb the veterinarian or that no one will get back to you until morning.
- Trust your gut.
Maybe the circumstances you’re dealing with are not a textbook emergency. In these cases, it’s difficult to know if you need to get your animal to an animal medical center or if you can wait and watch.
Even though you don’t have a degree in veterinary medicine, you are an expert in your animal. You know better than anyone else if something just doesn’t seem right. Sometimes the most serious ailments begin with only slight signs that something is unusual. If you catch it early, you pet has the best chances of recovery. And if it turns out that the issue isn’t serious, having the peace of mind that your baby isn’t facing a life or death scenario will leave you better off anyways.
- Make yourself familiar with the signs of a pet emergency.
Sometimes however, you should not waste any time calling the vet and see if you should bring your animal in for care. If you are facing a serious pet emergency, those first few minutes could be critical in getting your animal life-saving treatment. If your pet has experienced any of the following circumstances, you should take them to an animal hospital immediately:
- Your pet has sustained trauma, such as getting hit by a car or falling from a tall height.
- You can’t pick up vital signs from your animal, such as their heartbeat or breath.
- Your pet is non-responsive.
- Your animal can’t hold anything down or has diarrhea for over 24 hours, or if there is blood in their output.
- The injury your animal sustained makes you suspect they’ve incurred a broken bone.
- Your animal experiences the signs of a seizure.
- You believe your animal ate something poisonous, such as cleaning products, pesticides, or medication that are prescribed for them.
- Your animal is straining to urinate, but cannot release anything.
- Your animal is displaying signs of being in extreme pain.
- Your animal is unable to support their own weight, or suddenly collapses.
- Your animal displays signs of being disoriented, such as bumping into objects while they walk.
- Your animal’s belly area is distended and swollen, and they gag and try to vomit.
- Your animal is giving birth and more than three or four hours have gone by since the last puppy or kitten was born, and they cannot birth the rest.
- Be prepared for handling an emergency.
If your pet is experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, you need to get them help right away. Call your veterinarian right away. If they are not available, you should not leave a voicemail and wait for a callback. If you can’t get in to your own vet, you should get them to the nearest animal hospital that is available right away. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your local pet hospitals so you know where to take them in an emergency.
Do you have any other questions or comments? Please share in the comment section below.