a labrador at the vet.

When our pets are injured or seriously ill, it seems like nothing else matters. But sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between pet emergencies and other health conditions that can wait for a scheduled appointment. Certain situations indicate true pet emergencies, and our team at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital has put together a list of 10 to keep in mind.

  1. Traumatic Injuries

Perhaps the most obvious of pet emergencies, traumatic injuries, including obvious broken bones or severe bleeding, require emergency treatment.

  1. Loss of Consciousness

When an animal faints—usually due to a sudden drop in blood pressure—it can indicate that a pet has eaten something toxic or has a heart condition. 

  1. Difficulty Breathing

Respiratory distress can take several forms, including open mouth breathing (in cats), rapid breathing, incessant coughing, or struggling to take air in. 

  1. Seizures

Symptoms of seizures include muscle spasms or twitching, drooling, loss of consciousness, and unusual eye movements. Seek immediate attention the first time you recognize a seizure in your pet

  1. Persistent Vomiting or Diarrhea 

When vomiting and diarrhea are accompanied by loss of appetite and lethargy, it could signal a serious pet health condition, such as the ingestion of something toxic, an intestinal obstruction, or food allergies.

  1. Heatstroke

Practice diligent pet safety when enjoying a hot summer day outdoors with your pet by providing plenty of water and shade. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting and drooling, loss of coordination, and collapse.

  1. Inability to Urinate

Urinary obstructions occur more frequently in neutered cats and require immediate veterinary attention. 

  1. Bowel Obstruction

Chronic constipation or the ingestion of a foreign body can create a full blown bowel obstruction that may require emergency surgery. If your cat or dog is struggling to go potty, seek medical assistance.

  1. Anaphylaxis/Severe Allergic Reactions

Although rare, pets can experience acute reactions to foods or other things in their environment. Signs of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, vomiting or diarrhea, and loss of consciousness.

  1. Ingestion of Toxins

Symptoms of pet poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, lethargy, convulsions, and wobbly legs. 

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you think your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us or the nearest emergency hospital for further instructions. We can help you determine if your pet’s symptoms warrant a veterinary appointment, urgent pet care, or emergency services.

Pet First Aid 

Providing immediate pet first aid in an emergency could prevent your pet from further trauma. Some things that can help: learn pet CPR; assemble a pet first-aid kit; and keep emergency numbers, including the number for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, close by. 

Make Pet Health a Top Priority

Don’t wait for pet emergencies to call the veterinarian. Schedule routine wellness visits to protect your pet against illnesses that can progress to pet emergencies. 

Contact us for more pet health and pet safety tips or to schedule an appointment.