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Emergencies always seem to happen when your family veterinary office is
closed, don't they? Suddenly your pet seems ill.
Is your pet sick enough for a trip to the emergency veterinarian?
Anything is worth at least a phone call if you're not sure what's wrong, while
some things require immediate attention by a veterinarian.
How to tell the difference? Here are some signs that should have you
heading for a veterinarian, day or night:
• Seizure, fainting or collapse.
• Eye injury, no matter how mild.
• Vomiting or diarrhea -- anything more than two or three times within
an hour or so. Also, a dog who's trying to vomit (or may be vomiting
foam, licking lips), has a drum-tight abdomen and a "roached-back"
appearance indicative of abdominal pain.
• Allergic reactions, such as swelling around the face, or hives, most
easily seen on the belly.
• Any suspected poisoning, including antifreeze, rodent or snail bait, or
human medication. Cats are especially sensitive to insecticides (such
as flea-control medication for dogs) or any petroleum-based product.
• Snake or venomous spider bites.
• Thermal stress -- from being either too cold or too hot -- even if the
pet seems to have recovered. (The internal story could be quite
• Any wound or laceration that's open and bleeding, or any animal bite.
• Trauma, such as being hit by a car, even if the pet seems fine. (Again,
the situation could be quite different on the inside.)
• Any respiratory problem: chronic coughing, trouble breathing or near
• Straining to urinate or defecate.
Although some other problems may not be life-threatening, they may be
causing your pet pain and should be taken care of without delay. Signs of
pain can include panting, labored breathing, increased body temperature,
lethargy, restlessness, crying out, aggression and loss of appetite. Some
pets seek company when suffering, while others will withdraw.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution, always. Better to be wrong
about a minor medical problem than to have a pet who becomes critically ill because you
guessed wrong about a major one.
Call Waldorf Emergency Care if you have any questions. Our staff is here