It's late at night on the Sunday of a long weekend. Suddenly, you realize your pet seems unwell. Veterinary emergencies can happen at any time, but how do you know when you should take your cat or dog to the emergency vet clinic? Today, our St. Louis vets share some reasons your pet might need urgent veterinary care.
When should I bring my pet to the emergency vet?
Our furry friends can end up hurt or sick in countless circumstances. Whether your pet has eaten something it shouldn't have, gotten into a fight with another animal, or just falls inexplicably ill, it can be challenging to know when to head to the emergency vet clinic and when it's okay to wait for your regular vet's office to open.
If your pet is experiencing any of the following, it's time to head to your nearest emergency vet:
- Distended or bloated abdomen
- Unconscious or collapsed
- Clear signs of pain (crying, whimpering)
- Breathing difficulties
- Repeated spells of vomiting
- Recurring diarrhea
- Unable to move or walk normally
- Suspected broken bone
- Trauma (ie: hit by a car, dog fight, fall)
- Severe bleeding
- Gaping open wound
- Extremely lethargic
- Ingested object (ie: fabric, string, or toys)
- Difficulties urinating
- Painful or severely irritated eyes
- Isn't eating or drinking
- Frothing at the mouth or drooling
- Ingested toxin (ie: raisins, chocolate or batteries)
- Health rapidly becoming worse
- Bitten by snake
What steps should I take if I have a pet emergency?
If your pet has any of the symptoms or conditions listed above it's time to take immediate action. Here are the steps you should follow if you are experiencing a veterinary emergency.
- Call your emergency veterinary hospital right away. When possible, you should let your veterinarian know that you are on your way.
- Follow the instructions given to you by the veterinary professional on the phone. When you call, your vet may be able to give you specific instructions on how to make your pet more comfortable or how to apply first aid until you can get to the animal hospital.
- Remain calm and be extra cautious around your pet. When an animal is hurt or in pain they may react negatively even towards the people who are trying to help. Even if it's a pet that you've loved for many years, be extra cautious around your pet. A frightened or sick animal may bite.
- Calmly bring your pet to the emergency animal clinic. Do not put yourself at risk. Safely bring your pet to the emergency veterinary hospital.
- Be aware of the need to discuss the cost of your pet's emergency treatment. Your veterinarian will walk you through each step of diagnosis and treatment, then explain the fees associated with each aspect of your pet's care. Speak to your vet honestly about your financial limitations. There may be more affordable alternatives to the recommended treatment.
How can I plan ahead for a pet emergency?
While pet emergencies are never easy to deal with, planning ahead can help to make emergencies less stressful. Keep the phone number of your nearest emergency veterinary clinic on your phone and know how to get there if you need to.
Nobody wants to worry about emergency vet bills while their pet is unwell. Budgeting ahead of time for emergencies, or investing in pet insurance can help you when the unexpected happens.
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.