Pet owners know that furry members of the family deserve the best care possible. We want to be sure our fur babies have nutritious food, plenty of exercise and medical attention when needed. While regular check-ups with your veterinarian are important, knowing when your pet needs emergency treatment is critical. Getting help before it’s too late can be the difference between losing your beloved pet and keeping him or her healthy for years to come.
At Butler Veterinary Associates and Emergency Center, doctors provide routine and emergency care.
“In our emergency care facility, we often see cats with blockages, dogs and cats that have eaten something toxic and pets that have been hit by vehicles,” Hospital Manager, Kris Taggart said. “In those situations, immediate surgery is often necessary.”
Emergency care is also necessary when a pet is demonstrating unusual behavior, especially if this occurs outside regular business hours.
“If a pet is demonstrating uncustomary behavior and no appointments are available or if it’s a weekend outside of regular hours, getting the pet evaluated through emergency is recommended,” said Taggart.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know what should be considered an emergency and what can wait for a routine appointment. Keeping a list of common emergencies helps pet owners make the right decision about what type of healthcare is needed. Here are a few common emergencies to note.
Severe Bleeding: Most pet owners believe first aid can be administered at home, but if bleeding is severe or lasts more than five minutes, your pet needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian. An animal’s fur may be hiding a bigger problem. For example, the cut may be deeper than it appears and need stitches. Or, if there’s internal bleeding, emergency surgery may be necessary.
Blood from Extremities: Bleeding should never be dismissed or taken lightly. This is especially true when blood is noted in the ears, eyes or mouth. Also urgent is blood in the animal’s excrement, sputum or vomit. Bleeding in any of these locations could be a sign of internal injury.
Breathing Difficulties and Choking: Not being able to breathe or choking is just as serious in a pet as it is in humans. It’s a good idea to learn animal CPR to aid in this situation but don’t attempt to clear the airway. Even if CPR helps alleviate the immediate issue, it’s a good idea to have the vet check out your pet to be certain there is no internal damage.
Eye Injuries: Take note if your pet is squinting or protecting its eye. Also, if the eye exhibits an abnormal appearance or if there was trauma to the eye, seek veterinary care immediately. Eyes are fragile, and waiting to obtain treatment may result in blindness.
Difficulty Urinating: Cats in particular are prone to Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) where the urethra becomes clogged by urinary crystals or stones creating a blockage. If not treated within 24 hours, this condition can be fatal.
Ingesting Toxins: Let’s face it, our animals will eat just about anything they find, and sometimes that means toxic substances. Items like antifreeze and pesticides are toxic to animals. And items like chocolate and multivitamins that are fine for humans are also toxic to pets. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet ingests any of these items.
Vomiting and Diarrhea: While these symptoms can stem from many sources for humans, the same is true for pets. Perhaps it’s a bacterial or viral infection. But it could be something even more severe such as pancreatitis or poisoning. Don’t take a chance with your pet’s health. Seek emergency veterinary care to get to the root of the problem.
Ideally, we would all prefer to use standard veterinary care to avoid the additional cost of emergency treatment. But sometimes there’s no way around it. With emergency care, price increases are used to offset the cost of the additional hours required of doctors and technicians as well as the extended use of facilities and all that goes into keeping those running. It’s unfortunate, but it’s something we see in both human healthcare and animal care. Our pets are worth it!