Recognizing a Pet Emergency: What You Need To Know
There are some pet emergencies that are quite obvious like if your cat or dog has stopped breathing or is bleeding quite profusely. In cases like this, you will contact an emergency veterinarian. But what do you do in other cases and when you have other concerns? For instance, let’s say a rash develops suddenly or your animal falls and now has a slightly limp—do you rush your pet to the hospital?
According to the American Veterinary Hospital Association, you know your pet best. If you notice that your animal is acting unusual, contact a local veterinary clinic or hospital. After a few questions and answers, a veterinarian will be able to let you know whether your pet needs to be brought in or if it can wait until regular business hours. Your mind can be put at ease.
Emergency veterinary clinics/hospitals have a veterinarian on call 24 hours a day, so you don’t have to worry about bothering anyone. They are there to help you with any emergencies that you may have.
Be Familiar with the Signs of a Medical Emergency
Now, there are emergencies with your pet, but there are also issues that are able to wait until the following morning. However, any time that you have questions, you should get in touch with your veterinarian for some insight. Below is a brief list of some symptoms that you should be familiar with that are life-threatening if your pet does not receive immediate medical attention:
- Unable to Urinate – If your pet is unable to urinate, he or she is going to in discomfort and may begin to panic. This may mean that there is a blockage somewhere in your pet’s urinary tract and the animal needs to be seen immediately. Your animals’ inability to pass waste is an emergency—a life-threatening one.
- Changes in Respiration – If your cat or dog is gagging, tongue or mouth turning blue, has collapsed and can’t get back up, then he or she is unable to get an adequate amount of oxygen.
- Seizure – This is particularly true if your cat or dog does not come out of the seizure immediately.
- Loss of Balance – If your pet is unable to maintain balance, falling over, or can’t right him or herself, he or she needs to be seen as soon as possible.
- Penetrating wound to the chest – Deep lacerations of puncture to the chest require immediate medical attention.
- Ingestion of known poisons
- Bulging eyes, sudden blindness, or any other type of major eye trauma
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Uncontrolled vomiting or diarrhea
- Burns or injuries where a bone is exposed
- Profound lethargy
- Fever over 104
How to Transport an Injured Pet Safely
If you have an injured pet or one that is serious pain, he or she could act aggressively. First and foremost, you should protect yourself. Next, support your pet’s neck and back in the event that he or she has suffered a spinal injury.
The ASPCA explains that you should approach a dog calmly and slowly. Kneel down to your dog, saying his or her name. If there are signs of aggression, you should ask for help. If the dog is passion, then create a makeshift stretcher and gently lift your pet onto the stretcher. Take extra care in supporting your pet’s neck and base just in case of a potential spinal injury. For a cat, gently place a towel or blanket over his or her heat to avoid biting, and slowly lift the animal and place him or her into a box or open-topped carrier. Take extra care in supporting the animal’s head and avoid twisting his or her neck in the event that a spinal injury has occurred.
Once you are confident and feel safe to transport your cat or dog, take your pet to an emergency care clinic. Ask a family member or friend to call ahead so they know you are coming.
How Do Pet Medical Emergencies Occur?
Medical emergencies can happen due to an assortment of things, some of which are more preventable than others. For instance, chocolate is a well-known dog poison. For that reason, you will want to ensure that your dog is unable to reach any chocolate in the house. On the other hand, you may not be able to control a pet that likes to climb over, under, or around fences. This type of behavior puts your animal at risk of falls, fights, and being struck by a vehicle. Though you are unable to plan and prevent every single pet medical emergency, it is possible to pet-proof your house to minimize the overall dangers.
How to Plan Ahead
If you take the time to consider it, there are many steps that you can take to prepare for a pet medical emergency. First, you should be familiar with the name, phone number, and location of the closest 24-hour vet hospital. This contact information should be kept in an easily accessible location, such as on the refrigerator, in your cell phone contacts, etc., so it is handy when needed. You can also prepare a first aid kit, designed for pets, and take pet CPR classes.
Hopefully, the aforementioned information will help you in deciphering between a pet emergency and a non-pet emergency and preparing for an emergency in the event you encounter one. Do not hesitate to contact us at Huntsville Veterinary Specialists & Emergency if you have any questions.