When your pet encounters an emergency, it is important to know how to handle the situation to get your pet the care they need. Today, our Bellevue vets share some tips on how to tell if your pet is experiencing an emergency and the steps you should take.
Signs of a Veterinary Emergency
You can always call your local emergency vet for advice if you’re uncertain. If your pet has been in an accident, suffered a serious injury, or is experiencing any of these concerning symptoms, they will need emergency care immediately:
- Heat stress or heatstroke
- Severe or ongoing bleeding
- Definite signs of pain or extreme anxiety
- Limping, broken bones, or inability to move legs
- Breathing trouble, gagging, choking, or coughing
- Straining to urinate
- Seizures and/or staggering
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Pale, blue, yellow, or gray gums
- Ingestion of a toxic or poisonous substance
There is a long list of symptoms that need the care and attention of an emergency vet, but these are among the most serious.
Steps to Take in an Emergency
Finding yourself dealing with a suddenly sick or injured pet can be intensely distressing, but remaining calm and checking the following boxes will help you keep a cool head.
The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens, but accidents do occur. During a regular visit, ask your vet if they offer 24/7, after-hours emergency care or request a recommendation. You can also fill a first aid kit with essential items and have emergency phone numbers for your vet and emergency clinic or facility easily accessible.
Bonus: Make a test run to your emergency vet or facility so you know exactly where it is and how long it takes.
Google is also your friend. Google “Emergency vet near me” or “24-hour vet near me”. Bookmark the results.
Assess the Situation
Although your vet will have seen cases that could have waited until morning, it’s best to err on the side of caution if you're unsure. Take a deep breath and look for the symptoms noted above.
Make the Call
Google/call an emergency vet near you right away. Follow their instructions, administer any recommended first aid and advise them that you’re on your way.
Stabilize and Transport
Take care around your furry friend and approach them cautiously. When they are injured, anxious or in pain, they may react out of fear and cause you injury or harm. If they show aggression, back away and call for help. Otherwise, create a makeshift stretcher (for dogs) or use an open-topped box (for cats) to transport them, ensuring you support their head and neck.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.