It can be difficult to know whether your pet needs emergency veterinary assistance. Here, our Cincinnati vets discuss some signs that your pet needs immediate emergency care.
How to Tell If Your Pet Needs Emergency Care
An emergency situation can happen any time of the day or night, so you need to be prepared.
Our vets understand that it can be challenging for pet parents to know when their dog, cat, or other pet is in need of emergency vet care. We're here to highlight some signs and symptoms that indicate a trip to the emergency vet is necessary. If your pet is showing symptoms you are unsure about, contact your vet or emergency vet clinic for advice.
Signs That Your Pet May Be Experiencing a Pet Emergency
- Lameness or inability to walk
- Dilated pupils
- Severe injury (car accident, fall)
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Bloated, swollen, or painful abdomen
- Blood in diarrhea
- Staggering or stumbling
- Inflammation or injury to the eye
- Broken bones, open wounds
- Inability to urinate or defecate
- Ingestion of poisonous foods
- Sudden blindness
- Unable to deliver puppies or kittens
- Obvious pain
- Loss of balance
- Ingestion of foreign objects
- Difficulty breathing, extreme coughing or choking
Basic First Aid for Pet Parents
While it is important to know how to perform first aid on your pet, proper veterinary care is still required. At-home first aid should only be used to ensure your pet is stable enough to transport to the vet.
Help Stop Bleeding
You may need to muzzle your pet before starting because no matter how much they love you, they may be in a lot of pain and don't know that you're trying to help. To help stop the bleeding, place a clean gauze pad over the injury, and apply pressure with your hand for several minutes until blood clotting begins. A tourniquet of gauze with an elastic band to secure it will be required for severe leg bleeding. Bring your pet to the emergency veterinary clinic immediately for care.
What to Do If Your Pet Has a Seizure
If your animal is experiencing a seizure, do not attempt to restrain your pet. Remove any objects that may be in the way or may injure your pet during their episode. Once the seizure is over, keep your pet warm and phone your vet for advice. If your animal has several seizures in a row or a single seizure that lasts for more than 3 minutes urgent care is required. Contact your vet immediately.
Caring for a Pet With a Fractured or Broken Bone
Begin by muzzling your pet, then lay them on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. If at all possible, we suggest securing your animal to the stretcher, being sure to avoid putting pressure on the injured area.
What to Do If Your Pet is Choking
Your pet may bite out of panic, so it's important to be cautious while trying to help your animal. Open your pet's mouth and check for objects. If you spot something, gently try to remove it if possible. Be extremely careful because you do not want to push the object further into your pet's throat.
If removing the object is too difficult, don't waste precious time trying. Immediately transport your pet to the vet's office or emergency veterinary clinic for urgent assistance.
Being Prepared for Pet Emergencies
What You Should Know in Advance
You never know when an emergency might strike, but being prepared for a pet emergency may help you to provide your animal with the best possible care quickly. Our Cincinnati vets suggest keeping the following at hand in case of a veterinary emergency:
- Your vet's phone number
- The phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
- The Animal Poison Control Center's phone number
- Keep a muzzle that fits your dog handy, and know how to use it properly.
- Knowledge of basic pet CPR
- Basic knowledge of how to stop bleeding
- Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
Financial Responsibilities in a Pet Emergency
Pet emergencies often require a significant amount of veterinary care. Diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment for your pet in an emergency can quickly become expensive. A pet owner's responsibility is to ensure that they can financially care for their pets if an emergency strikes.
Prepare for unforeseeable circumstances by regularly putting money aside specifically to cover the cost of emergency care for your pet, or by signing up for a pet insurance plan. Delaying emergency veterinary care in order to avoid fees could put your pet's life at risk.