Animal emergencies can arise from numerous causes. The most important thing to note: If it concerns you, then it concerns us. Please call with any questions or concerns you have about your pets' health, but seek immediate veterinary attention especially if your animal shows any of the following signs:
- Trauma/Impact Injury. Even when there is little or no evidence of external injuries like scratches or bleeding, trauma such as a fall or hit by car can result in serious internal injuries that are not always immediately visible. Any pet that has sustained a traumatic injury should be evaluated by a veterinarian right away.
- Bite wounds. Like other traumatic injuries, bite wounds from other domestic or wild animals are often more severe than they appear initially. Much of the damage lies beneath the surface and can be the source of serious infection and sepsis if not evaluated and treated by a veterinarian quickly.
- Snake bites. With several species of poisonous snakes in the region, snake bites are a common occurrance in the warmer months. If your pet has been bitten by a snake, immediate veterinary assistance should be sought-even if you are unsure of the species.
- Difficulty breathing. Increased respiratory or breathing rate, increased breathing effort, wheezing and/or pale/bluish gums are signs of respiratory distress and can seriously impact the delivery of oxygen to vital organs, like the brain.
- Unproductive retching. Retching is when an animal repeatedly attempts to vomit, yet nothing comes up. You may also notice a more bloated abdomen/stomach than usual. These signs can indicate Gastric Dilatation and Volvulous (GDV) or twisted stomach. This is a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate veterinary evaluation.
- Repeated vomiting &/or diarrhea. Vomiting & diarrhea can result from numerous causes, some more serious than others like foreign body obstructions. Regardless of the cause, frequent vomiting &/or can also lead to dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities that need to be evaluated and corrected by a veterinarian before an underlying cause can be discovered.
- Toxin exposure. Toxins can be ingested by animals, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. Some of the most common ingested toxins in small animals are rat baits/poisons, chocolate, snake and spider bites, both human and pet anti-inflammatory medications, human prescription drugs, and other plants, fruits, and vegetables. If you are unsure if the substance your pet came in contact with is toxic, please seek veterinary assistance or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435.
- Unable/Straining to urinate (unproductive).
- Difficulty delivering puppies/kittens
Once again, this is not an exhaustive list, only a short list of some of the more common pet emergencies. If you have any concerns about your pet's health or behavior, seek immediate veterinary assistance. You know your pet better than anyone, and if you are concerned, then it is an emergency.