pet emergency

One of the worst fears for a pet owner is the thought of their pet suffering an accident or illness. While we certainly don’t want to alarm you, statistics show the majority of pet owners have to make at least one trip to an emergency clinic during the lifetime of their pet. Thankfully, many of these scenarios end favorably, with the pet expecting a full recovery.

The problem with a pet emergency is that it can sometimes be elusive. Does vomiting signal an emergency? What if your pet is bitten by another animal but seems OK on the surface? The fact is, many of us adopt the wait and see tactic or jump on Google to look up our pet’s symptoms.

Your friends at Parkside Animal Hospital want to diffuse some of the fear and confusion around what constitutes a pet emergency.

Danger, Danger: Definite Pet Emergencies

While a minor cough or single episode of vomiting may be upsetting, there are some situations that should never be ignored, such as:

  • Hit by an automobile
  • Fall from a height
  • Suspected fracture or internal injury
  • Animal attack (domestic or wild)
  • Ingested a known toxin
  • Difficult birth, more than 3 hours between kittens/puppies
  • Distention of the abdomen/abdominal swelling
  • Bleeding from the mouth, nose, or rectum

Causes for Concern

To a lesser extent, there are several injuries and illnesses that probably aren’t life-threatening but should be cause for concern. Please call us when you’re in doubt or if your pet experiences any of the following:

  • Continued vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Restlessness or likely pain
  • Visible signs of illness
  • Lethargy
  • No interest in play or exercise
  • Hiding or clinginess
  • Whining or vocalization

While some of these symptoms may be nothing to worry about, it’s a good idea to have your pet examined anyway. These signs can indicate an underlying illness that can be detected earlier rather than later (which is preferable!).

Creating a Pet Emergency Plan

While we’ve covered some of the more common pet emergencies, we want to end on a positive note by helping you create a pet emergency plan. Preparation can make a big difference in achieving a favorable outcome.  

First, it’s important to have a pet first aid kit that can be purchased online or at a pet supply store. You can also refer to the AVMA’s website for a list of pet first aid items to include in your kit. The kit itself is not a replacement for emergency care, but it can be useful as you prepare to get your pet to a veterinary clinic for help.

Also keep handy a list of pet emergency numbers, such as our hospital, local emergency clinics, and the Pet Poison Helpline. We recommend having a centrally located file with your pet’s medical and vaccination records, along with any current medications they may be using.

We hope our tips have been helpful and that you feel more prepared to handle a pet emergency should the need arise. If you’d like to learn more, please give us a call.