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Pet Emergencies: What Can Wait & What Can’t

All pet owners are likely to face pet illnesses and emergencies at some point during their pet’s life. Not all pet health issues are emergencies, however, and many can be evaluated and treated by your regular veterinarian. Therefore, you should be aware of the warning signs of a pet emergency, how to prevent them, and what to do if one occurs. 

What is Considered a Pet Emergency?

A pet emergency is any health or safety issue that requires immediate intervention from a medical professional, like a veterinarian or emergency veterinarian. Without that intervention, your pet may become severely ill or injured or die. The most common veterinary emergencies in pets are:

  • Trauma, broken bones, and bleeding.
  • Poisoning.
  • Bloat.
  • Heat stroke.
  • Seizures.
  • Choking.
  • Breathing difficulty. 
  • Allergic reactions.
  • Obstetric emergencies.
  • Eye injuries.
  • Urinary, airway, or intestinal obstructions.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Inability to pee or poop.
  • Inability to walk.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Parasites and infections.
  • Attacks or illnesses from other animals.
  • Bee stings or other insect stings.

When to Take Your Pet to the Veterinarian

You should take your pet to the veterinarian at least once a year for a routine checkup. If your pet has a minor illness, separation anxiety, change in appetite, weight gain or weight loss, changes in mood or behavior, or a mild allergic reaction, your regular veterinarian can handle treatment and care. 

When to Take Your Pet to an Emergency Veterinary Hospital

For more major illnesses and injuries, you should take your pet to the closest emergency veterinary hospital:

  • Trouble breathing, eating, peeing, or pooping.
  • Unconscious, having seizures, is unable to walk, or seems disoriented. 
  • Vomiting or has diarrhea more than twice in a 24-hour period
  • Showing symptoms of heat stroke or dehydration
  • Refusing to eat or drink water.
  • Bleeding or has suffered a trauma or injury, has an infection, or is showing signs of extreme pain.

Knowing what to do in the event of a pet emergency can save your pet’s life. Keep the phone number and address of the closest emergency veterinarian on hand at all times.



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