Emergencies are not always obvious. In many cases, it is correct to call your vet or the emergency clinic in your area for advice. There are occasions, however, when you should not call (or go on line) first but rather immediately bring your pet to the closest veterinarian.

In the case of severe traumas, such as falling from elevated places, getting hit by a car, being crushed under a heavy object and other similar incidents, get to the vet immediately! Your pet needs to be thoroughly examined and placed under observation even if there are no apparent problems. Often there are internal injuries such as lung lacerations, bladder and other internal organ ruptures, or concussions and hemorrhages, that result in fatalities over several hours. It is a good idea to immobilize the injured pet over a stretcher, a board or in a blanket. Animals which are in pain bite and need to be muzzled prior to handling.

If your pet collapses, it is indicative of such a severe problem that the pet cannot walk or move. It may indicate an advanced phase of many emergency situations, such as brain damage, heart failure, shock of any origin and multi-system failure. Just make sure your pet is breathing and get to the vet ASAP.

Red is the color of blood. When you see blood, go to the vet! Any bleeding, unless from a little scratch, should be seen immediately. Bloody vomiting and diarrhea are often signs of serious problems such as foreign bodies, parasites, severe infections, tumors and toxicities. Bloody urine indicates urinary infections, stones or bleeding disorders. Nose and oral bleeding may result from tumors, serious tooth problems, foreign bodies, traumas and blood clotting disorders. Apart from traumas, rat poison and autoimmune platelet deficiency are common causes of bleeding.  Traumatic external bleeding can be managed with pressure application and ice packs on the way to the vet.

Air is a primary necessity. Therefore, any respiratory difficulty is a serious emergency. Non-breathing, diminished or rapid breathing, noisy breathing and a visible effort to inhale or exhale, accompanied by anxiety, are obvious signs of respiratory emergencies.  

Respiratory trauma, airway occlusion, heart dysfunction, severe blood loss, systemic toxicities, inhalation of toxic gas, fumes and smoke, and respiratory diseases are some of the causes.  

Animals with respiratory distress must be handled with extreme caution. Make sure that the airways are not covered or occluded and that ventilating air is adequate on your way to the emergency clinic.

Shape and posture alteration accompanied by distress or abnormal behavior indicates immediate emergencies.  

Sudden abdominal distension, retching and restlessness are typical signs of bloat- a common emergency. Head tilted to one side, circling, vomiting and disorientation are signs of inner ear disease or a brain problem (stroke, trauma). Deformed, painful and dysfunctional legs, jaws or other parts may indicate broken bones, tumors or soft tissue injuries. Immobilize and get to the vet.  

Make sure you are ready for emergencies by having a first aid kit and emergency veterinary contact information readily available and accessible.

Copyright © 2004 - 2013
Yuval Nir
Naperville University Commons Animal Clinic-
1827 Wehrli rd
Naperville , IL , 60565
(630) 544-3333
Veterinarians, Animal hospital