It can be scary when your pet needs emergency care, but staying calm and knowing what to do can make the situation easier. Today, our Tracy vets discuss symptoms that require emergency care and some basic first aid steps you can take on your way to the vet.
Situations that require emergency care can occur at any time, day or night. If you're prepared for a pet emergency, it will make it much easier on you and your pet should something happen that requires a trip to the emergency vet.
Below are some of the signs that could indicate a cat or dog emergency situation. If you're ever in doubt about your pet's health, it is best to bring your pet to the nearest emergency vet.
Signs of a Pet Emergency
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Vomiting or blood in diarrhea
- Lameness or inability to walk
- Bloated, swollen or painful abdomen
- Dilated pupils
- Severe injury (falls, car accidents, broken bones, open wounds)
- Unable to deliver puppies or kittens
- Obvious pain
- Loss of balance
- Sudden blindness, staggering or stumbling
- Inflammation or injury to the eye
- Difficulty breathing, extreme coughing or choking
- Inability to urinate or defecate
- Ingestion of poisonous foods, substances, plants, or bones
Basic First Aid
Please be aware that attempting first aid on your pet is not intended to replace veterinary care, it is solely to stabilize your pet for a trip to your vet or emergency clinic.
Start with muzzling your pet. Place a clean gauze pad over the injury, applying pressure with your hand until blood clotting begins (usually several minutes). Severe leg bleeding requires a tourniquet of gauze and an elastic band to secure it, bring your pet to the vet immediately.
Remove objects that may hurt your pet. Do not attempt to restrain them. Keep your pet warm after the seizure is over and phone your vet.
Muzzle your pet. Lay them on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. Secure them to the stretcher if possible, avoiding the injured area.
Be cautious, your pet may bite out of panic. Look for any objects in their mouth and try to remove it if possible, but be careful to not accidentally push the object further into the throat. Don't waste time on this if it's difficult, you could be losing precious time. Bring your pet to the vet immediately.
Cool your pet down by taking them out of the sun or hot environment and placing cool (not cold) wet towels onto their stomach and back. On your way to the emergency vet, drive with the air conditioning on or windows down if air conditioning is not available.
What You Should Know in Advance
Our vets recommend preparing and having the following available in case of an emergency:
- The phone number for your vet's office
- The phone number & directions to the closest ER for pets
- The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center
- Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
- Knowledge of basic CPR for pets
- Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
- How to muzzle your dog when he's in pain so he doesn't bite others
Emergency care for your pet can be expensive due to the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment necessary. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure you can financially care for your pet in a time of crisis.
It might be easier to plan ahead for unforeseeable circumstances with savings set aside for emergencies, or pet insurance plans. Delays in care to avoid emergency fees may put your pet's life at risk, so it's important to take this into consideration when becoming a pet owner.
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.