Pets are family, and when they’re sick or hurt, it’s natural to want to do anything possible to help them feel better. But sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you must bring them to an animal medical emergency center, or if their condition can wait for a regular vet appointment during business hours.
When Should You Take Your Pet to an Emergency Vet?
Below are general guidelines to help you determine if your pet needs to be seen by a veterinarian right away.
- Severe bleeding. If your pet is bleeding so much that you can’t apply pressure to the wound to stop it, or if the blood is spurting, this is a true emergency. This may be due to a broken bone, or a car accident.
- Severe injuries. If your pet has suffered a severe burn, been hit by a car, or sustained some other type of major trauma, they need to be seen by a vet right away. The vet may require diagnostic tests, such as x-rays, and may need to give your pet pain medication or start them on IV fluids. Visit this page to know more.
- Trouble breathing. If your pet is having difficulty breathing, is gasping for air, or their gums are pale or blue, they’re not getting enough oxygen and need to see a vet immediately.
- Non-stop vomiting or diarrhea. If your pet is vomiting more than once or has diarrhea for more than a day, especially if they’re also acting lethargic, this could indicate a serious problem. Sometimes, this may be due to deadly diseases, such as parvovirus and distemper. Make sure that you keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date to help prevent these diseases. See https://www.torranceanimalhospital.com/site/veterinary-services/cat-dog-vaccinations-parasite-prevention to learn more about pet vaccinations.
- Ingestion of toxins. If you know or suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, such as chocolate, rat poison, or a household cleaner, call your vet right away. They will likely need to be seen by a vet and may require induced vomiting or other treatment.
- Severe pain. If your pet is whimpering, crying, or foaming at the mouth, they could be in severe pain and need immediate medical attention. Your vet may require diagnostic tests, including x-rays, to determine the cause of the pain. Make sure that the animal facility you go to has these services.
- Inability to urinate or defecate. This could be an infection sign, blockage, or other serious health problems.
- Sudden paralysis or weakness in the legs. This may be indicative of a serious neurological problem, such as a stroke, and requires immediate medical attention.
- Eye problems. If your pet’s eyes are bulging, have discharge, are bloodshot, or are otherwise abnormal, they need to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Changes in behavior. If your pet is unusually lethargic, aggressive, or restless, this could be a sign of a medical condition.
- Seizures. If it’s their first time to have a seizure, or if the seizure lasts for more than five minutes, take your pet to the vet right away. This could be due to some conditions, such as epilepsy, low blood sugar, or poisoning.
- Not eating or drinking. If your pet hasn’t eaten or had anything to drink for more than 24 hours, this could indicate a serious medical condition, such as liver disease.
Home Remedies if You Can’t Get to a Vet Right Away
If you’re unable to get your pet to the vet right away, some home remedies you can try. However, keep in mind that these are only temporary solutions and your pet will still need to see a vet right away.
- If your pet is bleeding, you can try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.
- If your pet is having difficulty breathing, you can try to open their airway by gently pulling their tongue forward and clearing any mucus or vomit from their mouth.
- If your pet has vomited more than once, you can try giving them small amounts of water or ice cubes to lick. If your pet has diarrhea, you can let them fast for 12 to 24 hours then try giving them small amounts of water or a bland diet.
- If your pet has seizures, you can try to protect them from injuring themselves by placing something soft under their head and removing any sharp objects from the area. Do not try to hold them down or put anything in their mouth.
- If your pet is in pain, call your vet and see if they can give you any pain medication to administer at home. Do not give your pet human pain medication as this could be toxic to them.
- If your pet has been exposed to toxins, such as cleaning products, plants, or chemicals, call your local animal poison control center or the emergency vet to give you instructions on what to do.
- If your pet is choking, you can try to dislodge the object by gently pulling it out with your fingers. Do not try to stick anything down their throat, such as straw or your fingers, as this could push the object further down. If you’re unable to remove the object, take your pet to the vet immediately.
- If your pet has heatstroke, move them to a cool area and apply cool, wet towels to their body. Do not use ice as this could cause further damage. Call your vet for instructions and take them to the vet immediately if their temperature does not start to go down.
- If your pet has been bitten by a snake, try to keep them calm and still. Do not try to suck the venom out or cut the wound as this could cause further damage. Call your vet or take them to the emergency vet immediately.
If you think your pet is sick or injured, take them to the vet as soon as possible. However, if you’re unable to get to a vet right away, there are some home remedies you can try. Remember, these are only temporary solutions and your pet will still need to see a vet right away.