Cat at the vetFor many owners, a pet emergency is the worst thing imaginable. Unfortunately, our fears are not unfounded; it’s estimated that 60-80% of all pets will experience an incident, condition, or illness that qualifies as a pet emergency.

What complicates matters is that our fur friends are unable to directly communicate with us when something is wrong. It’s up to us to recognize the signs and symptoms of a pet emergency.

Recognizing a Pet Emergency

Although we might think emergency situations are obvious, there are some instances when the signs can be subtle and are overlooked. The effects of poisoning, for example, may emerge over several hours and produce symptoms that are seemingly temporary (e.g., vomiting).

Situations can also seem harmful at first but are later dismissed because no external health issues are apparent. However, some accidents can result in internal injuries or other less overt symptoms.

To be safe, it’s important to seek veterinary care in the following scenarios:

  • Car accident
  • Bite
  • Accident causing fracture, wound, etc.
  • Wild animal encounter
  • Fall from a height
  • Heatstroke
  • Complications with delivering puppies/kittens
  • Ingestion of a toxic substance or plant

The following symptoms are also cause for urgent concern:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours
  • Sudden lameness
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizure
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Restlessness

As a loving owner, you know your pet better than anyone. Responding to anything that seems unusual can make a big difference during a potential pet emergency.

Be Prepared

Although it’s difficult to think about your pet experiencing a life-threatening situation, emergency preparedness can help alleviate helplessness. Learning what to do and how to access the proper tools is essential during a pet emergency.

One way to be prepared is to assemble an emergency kit, and store it in a place that’s easily accessible. Your kit may include medical records, a crate/carrier, leash, collar, ID tags, and a pet first aid kit. Having these items at the ready can save valuable time during a pet emergency.

It’s also a good idea to save the contact information for nearby emergency veterinary clinics. At Maywood Veterinary Clinic, we offer late night appointments and are open 7 days a week.

Sometimes, the unthinkable occurs. If you are prepared and know how to respond, your companion is more likely to survive a pet emergency. For more information and tips for handling a crisis situation, please contact us.