A pet emergency should be tended to by an emergency veterinarian right away. As a pet owner, it’s often hard to know if a problem is serious enough to warrant a trip to the emergency clinic. Pets are masters at hiding signs of pain and discomfort, even from their closest people. No matter when a pet emergency occurs, you need to know when it requires a trip to the vet. Knowing whether you should wait until the morning or leave immediately becomes even more important.

At Hampton Veterinary Hospital, we believe that pet owners should be able to recognize common signs of pet emergencies. Your quick action could save your pet’s life as long as you know what to look for and what to do. We’ve put together some tips to help you recognize the signs of a pet emergency and how to be prepared in case the situation ever happens.

You Know Your Pet Best

Keep in mind that you know your pet the best. If you’re worried, it may be worth it to make that 2 a.m. visit to the emergency center. Even if it turns out not to be an emergency, you’ll feel better knowing your pet is safe. Also keep in mind that the sooner a problem is diagnosed and treated, the less costly it tends to be.

If you have questions about what your pet is experiencing, please don’t hesitate to contact us or the local emergency clinic for help. Veterinary professionals are trained to help pet owners who are unsure about whether or not to come in for an emergency visit (however, we will usually err on the side of caution).

Go Now!

Sometimes, it’s obvious that your pet needs to be seen immediately. Here are some signs that indicate a true medical emergency that warrant a veterinarian visit right away:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Obvious broken bones
  • Eye injury, pain and/or significant irritation
  • Hunching as in pain, especially if abdomen is taut and distended
  • Constant coughing and inability to rest
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Extensive bleeding of any kind
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Pale, dark red, or jaundiced (yellow) gum color
  • Any trauma (fall, hit by a car)
  • Fever
  • Any poisoning or toxic ingestion
  • Dragging back legs or not able to walk
  • Crying out in pain
  • Vomiting more than 2-3 times
  • Straining to urinate, squatting without producing any urine
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Non productive retching
  • Birthing difficulties
  • Anything that makes you worried

This list is obviously not exhaustive, but provides general idea of what to look for.

Please give us a call if you see any of the signs on this list, or if you’re concerned for your pet for any reason. Time is of the essence in a pet emergency, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Be Prepared

Experiencing a pet emergency is frightening and stressful. Being prepared ahead of time can help keep you calmer, so that your pet gets the help they need quickly and efficiently. Here are a few ways to prepare yourself for a pet emergency:

  • Learn pet CPR and first aid
  • Program our phone number and the emergency clinic phone number into your smartphone
  • Do a practice drive to the emergency clinic and learn the route to get there
  • Have a pet first aid kit on hand

Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns. We’re here to help!