Like people, pets can sometimes experience conditions that need immediate emergency intervention. Our vets in Orlando list some situations that will require emergency care and what to do if this happens.
Contact your veterinarian or emergency vet clinic immediately
if your pet is having an emergency.
How do I know if my pet needs emergency care?
Circumstances that require emergency care can happen at any time, day or night, and you'll need to be prepared for if - or when - one happens to your pet.
It's not always apparent when your pet is in need of emergency care, so you'll need to know some signs and symptoms that mean you'll need to bring your pet in to see the vet immediately. If you have any doubt, contact your vet or closest emergency vet clinic for help.
Signs of a Pet Emergency
- Dilated pupils
- Inability to walk or lameness
- Vomiting or blood in diarrhea
- Loss of balance
- Swollen, bloated or painful abdomen
- Inflammation or injury to the eye
- Unable to deliver kittens or puppies
- Sudden stumbling, staggering or blindness
- Difficulty breathing, choking or extreme coughing
- Ingestion of poisonous substances, foods, bones or plants
- Inability to urinate or defecate
- Obvious pain
Basic First Aid
Keep in mind that attempting first aid for your pet is not intended to replace veterinary care. It is solely to stabilize your pet during the ride to your vet or emergency clinic.
Be cautious as your pet might bite if they are panicking. Examine their mouth for objects and try to remove it if possible, but be careful to not accidentally push the object further into the throat. If this proves difficult, don't waste time, as you don't want to lose precious minutes. Bring your pet to the vet immediately.
Start with muzzling your pet. Place a clean gauze pad over the injury, applying pressure with your hand until blood clotting begins (usually several minutes). Severe leg bleeding requires a tourniquet of gauze and an elastic band to secure it, bring your pet to the vet immediately.
Remove objects that may hurt your pet. Do not attempt to restrain them. Keep your pet warm after the seizure is over and phone your vet.
Muzzle your pet. Lay them on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. Secure them to the stretcher if possible, avoiding the injured area.
What You Should Know in Advance
Our vets recommend preparing and having the following available in case of an emergency:
- The phone number for your vet's office
- The phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
- The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center
- Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
- Knowledge of basic CPR for pets
- Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
- How to muzzle your dog when he's in pain so he doesn't bite others
Emergency care for your pet can be expensive due to the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment necessary. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure you can financially care for your pet in a time of crisis.
It might be easier to plan ahead for unforeseeable circumstances with savings set aside for emergencies, or pet insurance plans. Delays in care to avoid emergency fees may put your pet's life at risk, so it's important to take this into consideration when becoming a pet owner.