Veterinarian listens to the heartbeat of an orange kitty

10 Signs It's Time to Take Your Pet to the Emergency Vet

If your cat, dog, or other small animal has any of the following conditions, you should try to get them to an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible. Veterinarians are crucial in treating your pets, and getting a pet to an animal doctor quickly may make or break the pet’s life.

  1. Severe or Sudden Trauma Wounds

    Any injuries sustained from severe falls or car accidents or any gunshot wounds may be critical and life threatening. These injuries may require surgery, so the sooner your pet sees a vet, the better.
  2. Difficulty Breathing

    Difficulty breathing indicates that foreign objects have entered into the throat or that your pet is suffering from an allergic reaction, heart disease, or pulmonary disease.
  3. Severe or Unusual Symptoms of Neurological Problems

    If you notice disorientation, incoordination, severe lethargy, or unresponsiveness, this could indicate problems with the brain and should be checked out immediately.
  4. Seizures

    Seizures are signs of severe neurological disorders. You may recognize it happening if your dog or cat starts shaking with tremors or has a sudden loss of consciousness.
  5. Exposure to Poisons

    If you know that your dog has been exposed to toxins or poisons, such as medication intended for humans or cleaning products, call your veterinarian or emergency vet line immediately, because your vet may instruct you to induce vomiting.
  6. Distended Abdomen

    Distended Abdomens are a sign of gastric dilation, which means that air has gotten trapped inside the stomach and has caused your animal’s stomach to twist and turn over. This happens often in large dog breeds and can be life threatening if not treated quickly.
  7. Collapsing

    If your dog or cat is lying down and unable to move, this may be a sign of internal bleeding, pericardial effusion, anaphylactic shock, poison, Addison’s disease, or organ failure.
  8. Repeated Vomiting or Diarrhea in a Short Time Span

    If your pet is losing liquids quickly, no matter which end it comes out, this can lead to severe dehydration. This may also indicate gastrointestinal problems that your vet can diagnose and treat.
  9. Urinary Straining

    If your dog or cat is trying to urinate but cannot, and this happens repeatedly, your pet may have a bladder infection. Bladder infections can be severe if not treated, and they are pretty painful for the pet.
  10. Severe Behavior Changes

    Any severe behavior changes should be discussed with your veterinarian. Whether change is due to neurological issues or severe diseases like rabies, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. When in doubt, call the vet. 
Last Updated: July 06, 2016