When Is It A Veterinary Emergency? Your Carmel Veterinary Clinic Responds


All of the sudden your pet starts acting very sick.  So how do you decide if your pet is truly having an emergency and should be taken immediately to your Carmel veterinary clinic?  Here are some common emergencies every pet owner should know about:

1.  Allergic reaction or anaphylaxis is an acute reaction that usually starts with swelling around the face or muzzle and progress to itchy bumpy hives all over the skin.  Some dogs progress to vomiting, restlessness, and difficulty breathing.  Many of these cases are mild, but you cannot predict which ones are going to progress so they should always be seen quickly.

2.  Breathing Difficulty of any kind is always an emergency.  The loss of airway is not consistent with life, so if your cat is panting and using a lot of abdominal effort to breathe, take him/her to the pet hospital right away.

3.  Bleeding and Trauma is not always an emergency, but here a few guidelines.  If your dogs get into a fight and have puncture wounds they should be treated to help prevent infection.  If there is enough blood to pool on the floor or any bleeding that won’t stop, your pet should be seen by the vet.  A wound that has penetrated the chest or abdomen is very serious.  And any serious trauma like a hit by car should seek veterinary care immediately.

4.  Bloat is a life-threatening condition in dogs where the stomach dilates and twists on itself cutting off the blood supply to the stomach.  Dogs with bloat will go into shock and die without medical intervention.  Bloat most commonly occurs in deep-chested dogs who play vigorously after eating a large meal.  Signs of bloat include:  panting and restlessness followed by non-productive retching, drooling, progressive abdominal distension, weakness and collapse.  Go to your Carmel veterinary clinic immediately.

5.  Seizures are an emergency if they last more than 5 minutes of if several seizures occur in a row.  If your pet has not been diagnosed with epilepsy before, a workup should be performed to rule out any underlying condition that could cause the seizure, but this does not have to be performed right away.

6.  Heat stroke can happen to any dog in hot humid weather but especially for dogs that are left in a car with no ventilation.  Heat stroke is recognized by excessive panting, lethargy, and distress.  If you are worried about heat stroke, soak your dog in cold water and head to your Carmel veterinary clinic.

7.  Acute Neurological Dysfunction caused by spinal cord trauma from a bulging disk is a common emergency in dogs that have a long back such as Dachshunds and Corgis.  The first sign is pain and reluctance to move, followed by uncoordinated, wobbly walking with knuckling over of the paws, and eventually paralysis of the back legs.  Consult with a veterinarian right away as timing is critical.

8.  Poisoning is also an emergency where timing is critical.  Most poisonings occur without you witnessing anything, but if you see your pet ingest a suspicious substance, call your veterinarian.  Signs of pet poisoning are dependent on the substance but can include:  salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, collapse, skin damage, etc…  Take the package or bottle of the potential toxic material with you to the Carmel veterinary clinic if possible.

If you think your pet is having one of these emergencies, call your Carmel veterinary clinic right away.  Keep calm and try not to panic.  If you are thinking clearly, you can give a more detailed history which is vital in an emergency.  Knowing what to watch for is crucial and could even save your pet’s life.  For more information on our Caring Hands Compassionate Hearts, click on this link to your Carmel Veterinary Clinic.

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