Animals display signs of illness or injury in a variety of ways. Likewise, sometimes a pet exhibits dangerous symptoms only for them to clear up within a couple of hours. As a responsible pet owner, how do you know whether to “wait it out” or to seek help for a pet emergency? Although it can be a little daunting trying to figure out, things are made clearer when you know what to look for and have a plan.

Speaking of Priorities

Although we do our best, not every pet owner will be able to avoid a pet emergency situation. Unfortunately, the perceived costs related to emergency veterinary care can sometimes deter people from seeking help. However, there are various pet insurance plans available to healthy pets and their families that reimburse covered medical expenses. Some owners also set aside money every month to help pay for any future pet emergency care.

When to Seek Help

A vomiting animal is always worrisome, but sometimes, it’s simply a hairball or indigestion. If you ever have any doubt, please contact us.

Vomiting and/or diarrhea are the most common symptoms associated with a pet emergency. These signs can resolve themselves, but they can also point to a whole host of possible problems, such as poisoning, heat stroke, and more.

If either or both of these persist for longer than 24 hours or your pet has a pre-existing health condition (like diabetes), it’s time to seek emergency help. Also, blood or foreign looking substances found in samples must be addressed promptly.

Other Signs of a Pet Emergency

If a pet cannot hold down water or is clearly not passing urine (which is more common among males), be sure to get immediate help. Additional reasons pet owners seek emergency care include:

  • Trauma resulting from traffic accidents, fights with other animals, falls, etc. Some injuries won’t be obvious at first, but complications can develop if an exam or treatment is delayed.
  • Respiratory distress, like choking, wheezing, shallow breathing, or persistent coughing
  • Collapse or reluctance to move can signal a variety of health issues, such as neurological, cardiovascular, or respiratory diseases, toxicity, or internal bleeding.
  • Seizures or uncontrollable shaking or tremors can lead to loss of consciousness, indicating underlying health issues.
  • Any eye problems, such as redness, bleeding, discharge, squinting, excessive tearing, swelling, or constant pawing at the eye
  • Pain can manifest for many reasons but should never be ignored. For instance, a dog suffering from bloat or abdominal pain should be seen immediately.
  • Laboring mothers can experience dangerous complications. Seek care if it’s been 2 hours between babies, the mother has a high temperature, or there’s any unusual discharge or blood.
  • Stings, bites, swelling, itchy skin, or other allergic-type reactions
  • Behavioral changes can be related to poisoning, foreign body ingestion, or other illness. If your usually bright, alert, social pet suddenly becomes withdrawn, lethargic, or weak, please seek pet emergency care ASAP.

Animal Medical Hospital is open 24 hours a day to serve all pets in need of urgent care. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.