It is impossible to know when your pet will experience an emergency, but pet owners must be prepared when it occurs. Today, our Vancouver vets explain when you should seek emergency pet care and the steps to take in these situations.
When to Bring Your Pet to an Emergency Veterinarian
There are countless ways for our furry friends to wind up injured or sick. Whether your pet fights with another animal, eats something it shouldn't, or just becomes inexplicably ill, it's challenging to know when to head to the emergency vet clinic, and when it's ok to wait for your regular veterinary office to open.
If your pet is experiencing any of the following, it's time to head to your nearest emergency vet:
- Distended or bloated abdomen
- Unconscious or collapsed
- Clear signs of pain (crying, whimpering)
- Breathing difficulties
- Repeated spells of vomiting
- Recurring diarrhea
- Unable to move or walk normally
- Suspected broken bone
- Trauma (ie: hit by a car, dog fight, fall)
- Severe bleeding
- Gaping open wound
- Extremely lethargic
- Ingested object (ie: fabric, string, or toys)
- Difficulties urinating
- Painful or severely irritated eyes
- Isn't eating or drinking
- Frothing at the mouth or drooling
- Ingested toxin (ie: raisins, chocolate, or batteries)
- Health rapidly becoming worse
- Bitten by a snake
Steps to Take in a Veterinary Emergency
If your pet has any of the symptoms or conditions listed above it's time to take immediate action. Here are the steps you should follow if you are experiencing a veterinary emergency.
- Call an emergency veterinary hospital right away. When possible, you should let your veterinarian know that you are on your way.
- Follow the instructions given to you by the veterinary professional on the phone. When you call, your vet may be able to give you specific instructions on how to make your pet more comfortable or how to apply first aid until you can get to the animal hospital.
- Remain calm and be extra cautious around your pet. When an animal is hurt or in pain, they may react negatively even toward the people who are trying to help. Even if it's a pet that you've loved for many years, be extra cautious around your pet. A frightened or sick animal may bite.
- Calmly bring your pet to the emergency animal clinic. Do not put yourself at risk. Safely bring your pet to the emergency veterinary hospital.
- Be aware of the need to discuss the cost of your pet's emergency treatment. Your veterinarian will walk you through each step of diagnosis and treatment, and then explain the fees associated with each aspect of your pet's care. Speak to your vet honestly about your financial limitations. There may be more affordable alternatives to the recommended treatment.
Planning for an Emergency
While pet emergencies are never easy to deal with, planning ahead can help to make emergencies less stressful. Keep the phone number of your nearest emergency veterinary clinic on your phone and know how to get there if you need to.
Nobody wants to worry about emergency vet bills while their pet is unwell. Budgeting ahead of time for emergencies, or investing in pet insurance can help you when the unexpected happens.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.