Most pet owners understand the value of preventive care and prioritize annual wellness visits, vaccinations, and parasite prevention. Unfortunately, taking these precautions don’t entirely eliminate the threat of accidental illness or injury.

Recognizing a pet emergency and getting your pet the help they need quickly is often the key to a successful outcome. Pets are hardwired to hide signs of pain, which can make it difficult to tell when they need medical attention.

The team at Shiloh Veterinary Hospital has put together a quick guide on the most common problems that require immediate attention.

Warning Signs of a Pet Emergency

Certain situations are always considered a pet emergency, such as:

  • Breathing problems – This includes any type of breathing difficulty, such as choking or coughing uncontrollably.
  • Wounds – Bring your pet in if they have a wound that doesn’t stop bleeding within 5 minutes or if they have any bleeding from the nose, mouth, or anus.
  • Eye injuries – All eye injuries are considered pet emergencies. Bring your pet in if you notice bleeding, swelling, or discharge in or around the eye.
  • Elimination difficulties – Straining or inability to defecate or urinate for more than 12 hours can signal a dangerous intestinal blockage or other medical emergency.
  • Pain – Signs of pain in pets include limping, favoring one side, hunched posture, difficulty standing or walking, extreme anxiety, sudden aggression, or disorientation.
  • Severe vomiting/diarrhea – A pet who’s vomiting or has diarrhea several times a day should be seen by a veterinarian, especially if accompanied by fever or lethargy.
  • Trauma – Your pet should receive medical attention after any trauma, such as falling from a great height, being struck by a vehicle, or fighting with another animal  – even if there are no visible injuries.
  • Fever – Your pet should be seen by a veterinarian if they have a rectal temperature greater than 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Refusal to eat/drink – Not eating or drinking for 24 hours or more is considered a pet emergency.
  • Difficulties during labor – Seek medical attention if a laboring pet has gone several hours without delivering a puppy or kitten.

The Next Steps

Time is of the essence when it comes to a pet emergency. Know the names of nearby veterinary emergency hospitals, and program their contact information into your phone.

Always use caution when transporting a sick or injured pet – even the gentlest animal may bite or scratch out of fear or pain. A box or crate is the safest way to get them to a veterinarian without compromising your own safety.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our staff for more information. We’re always here for you!