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
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
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.