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Should I take my pet to the emergency vet?

Should I take my pet to the emergency vet?

Our Albany vets understand that it can be challenging for pet parents to know if their animal requires urgent emergency care. Here are a few signs that could indicate that it's time to take your dog or cat to the emergency animal hospital. 

Animal Emergencies

Your pet could require emergency care anytime - day or night - so you'll need to be prepared.

That said, our Albany vets understand that it can be challenging to know when your dog, cat, or other pet is in need of emergency care. That's why knowing some of the signs and symptoms that indicate an emergency health issue is happening to your pet is helpful. If you still aren't sure, contact your vet or emergency vet clinic for advice.

Signs of a Pet Emergency

A pet emergency can take countless forms from accidents to ingestions, injuries to the sudden onset of disease. Below are some of the most common signs that it's time to head to the emergency vet:

  • Lameness or inability to walk
  • Bloated, swollen or painful abdomen
  • Dilated pupils
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Severe injury (car accidents, broken bones, gashes)
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Vomiting or blood in diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing, extreme coughing or choking
  • Inability to urinate or defecate
  • Ingestion of poisonous foods, substances, plants, or bones
  • Unable to deliver puppies or kittens
  • Obvious pain
  • Loss of balance
  • Sudden blindness, staggering or stumbling
  • Inflammation or injury to the eye

Basic First Aid for Pets

It's important to be aware that performing basic first aid on your pet is not intended to replace veterinary care, it is solely to stabilize your animal for a trip to your emergency vet.

Stop Bleeding

  • Muzzle your pet before beginning since even the most loving pet can become scared and may bite. To help stop the bleeding, place a clean gauze pad over the injury, applying pressure with your hand for several minutes until blood clotting begins. A tourniquet of gauze with an elastic band to secure it will be required for severe leg bleeding. Immediately bring your pet to the veterinary clinic. 

Coping With Seizures

  • Do not attempt to restrain your pet. Try to remove objects that may hurt your pet. After the seizure is over, keep your pet warm and phone your vet. 

Dealing With Fractures

  • Muzzle your pet, pain or fear could lead to an unexpected bite. Lay your pet on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. If possible, secure your animal to the stretcher, avoiding putting pressure on the injured area.

If Your Pet Is Choking

  • Again, remember that your pet may bite out of panic, so it's important to be cautious. Check your pet's mouth for objects and try to remove it if possible. Be careful to not accidentally push the object further into your animal's throat. If this is too difficult, don't waste precious time continuing to try. Immediately bring your pet to the vet's office or emergency veterinary clinic for care.

Being Prepared For a Veterinary Emergency

What You Should Know in Advance

Veterinary emergencies are always unexpected, being prepared for a pet emergency could help you to provide your animal with the best possible care as quickly as possible. Our Albany vets suggest keeping the following at hand in case of an emergency:

  • Your vet's phone number
  • The phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
  • The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center
  • A muzzle for your dog
  • Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
  • Knowledge of basic pet CPR
  • Knowledge of how to stop bleeding

Financial Responsibilities During A Pet Emergency

Due to the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment required, emergency veterinary care can be expensive. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that you can financially care for your pet in a time of crisis.

Prepare for unforeseeable circumstances by putting money aside specifically for emergencies, or by signing up for a pet insurance plan. Putting off veterinary care in order to avoid emergency fees could put your dog or cat's life at risk. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you experiencing a veterinary emergency? Our Albany vets provide emergency and urgent care for cats and dogs during our regular business hours, and 24/7 for life-threatening emergencies on weekends. Contact us to book an appointment for your canine companion.

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