When Things Go Awry: Recognizing a Pet Emergency
We are proud to offer a full menu of veterinary services, but when minutes matter in the life of a suffering animal, emergency care becomes very important. It can definitely be argued that routine wellness checks, dental exams, and disease prevention greatly reduce health risks, but a pet emergency can seemingly erupt out of the blue. Accidental injury or exposure to toxins happen quickly; other incidents requiring urgent care can develop undetected for some time.
Whatever the case may be, pet owners want to be in the know.
Because life with a pet is often unpredictable, we recommend having a first aid kit, just in case. Keeping one stashed next to the pet kennel is better than the alternative, and should include the following key components:
- Antiseptic spray or wipes
- Antibiotic ointment
- Adhesive tape
- Rectal thermometer and lubricant
- Gel ice pack
- Cloth strips
- Hydrogen peroxide
Dealing with a pet emergency can be daunting. Even if you have all the supplies, it’s critical to know how to apply first aid to your pet. We can help you brush up on these skills, or you can also check out the American Red Cross Pet First Aid app.
Other Ways to Help
It’s important that our contact information is stored in your phone, or at least written on your pet’s travel kennel. Because it can often be confusing to know what exactly constitutes a pet emergency, we urge you to call us for guidance or advice. Also, having access to your pet’s medical records is always a good idea.
What a Pet Emergency Looks Like
If you notice your pet has any of the following symptoms, please seek help immediately:
- Hiding or inability to move
- Mobility difficulties
- Rapid or labored breathing
- Fast or slow pulse
- Pale gums
- Change in body temperature
- Significant lethargy
In a pet emergency, every passing moment counts toward the best possible outcome.
Choking on a foreign object is not uncommon for pets. If you cannot dislodge the object with your fingers, give a sharp rap to the chest. CPR can be applied to a choking pet by:
- Laying your pet on the side
- Closing the jaws and blowing into the nostrils once every 3 seconds
- Applying cardiac massage if you don’t feel a heartbeat (3 chest compressions for every breath)
Pet poisonings also result in emergency care. The ASPCA has a poison control center that can be reached 24 hours a day at (888) 426-4435, but it is not a free service. They can tell you, however, how to proceed based on what your pet consumed.
If you can get someone to help you transport your pet to our hospital that is always preferred (barring any injuries to the spine that make handling dangerous). A bleeding pet needs constant pressure on a wound, as well as elevation, and other sick or injured pets benefit from close contact with owners while under stress.
A pet emergency can also be dangerous to you. Sick or injured pets can become aggressive, so it’s important to be careful of bites or scratches.