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When to take your cat or dog to the emergency vet

It may be surprising, but it isn't always obvious when your pet is in need of urgent emergency care. Today, our Stuart vets share some of the signs that could indicate that it's time to head to the emergency animal hospital. 

How do I know if my pet needs emergency care?

A situation requiring emergency veterinary care could occur at any time - day or night - and you'll need to be prepared.

But it can be challenging for even the most attentive pet parents to know when their 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.

When to Visit an Emergency Vet

Pet emergencies include things like injuries, ingestions, accidents, and the sudden onset of illness. Some of the most typical signals that it's time to see the emergency veterinarian include the ones listed below:

  • 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 Animals

Please note 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

Pets should be muzzled before you start. For several minutes, apply pressure to the wound with your hand and a clean piece of gauze to encourage blood clotting. An elastic band and gauze tourniquet are needed to stop severe leg bleeding. As soon as possible, take your animal to the vet's office.

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

Put a muzzle on your animal. Pets should be placed on a flat, stretcher-like surface for transportation to the veterinarian. Without applying pressure to the injured area, secure your animal to the stretcher as much as possible.

If Your Pet Is Choking

You must be cautious because your pet may bite out of fear. Examine your pet's mouth for foreign objects and, if possible, remove them. Take care not to push the object down your animal's throat any further. If this is too difficult, don't bother trying again. Bring your pet to the veterinarian's office or an emergency veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

Be Prepared For a Veterinary Emergency

What You Should Know in Advance

You never know when an emergency will occur, but being prepared for one can help you provide the best care to your animal as soon as possible. In case of an emergency, our Stuart veterinarians recommend keeping the following items on hand:

  • The phone number for your vet's office
  • The phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
  • The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center
  • How to muzzle your dog when he's in pain so he doesn't bite others
  • Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic
  • Knowledge of basic pet CPR
  • Knowledge of how to stop bleeding

How much does an emergency vet cost?

Emergency veterinary care can be costly due to the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring, and treatment that is required. It is the responsibility of the pet owner to ensure that they can financially care for their pet in a crisis.

Prepare for unforeseeable events by setting aside money for emergencies or enrolling in a pet insurance plan. Putting off veterinary care to avoid emergency fees could endanger your pet's life.

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.

If you believe your dog or cat is suffering a medical emergency, contact our Stuart vets right away.

Welcoming New Patients

Our Stuart vets can't wait to meet you! Our welcoming and accommodating team is passionate about the needs of your pets. Reach out to us today to book your pet's first appointment.

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