pet emergency surgeryIt’s 3:00 a.m. and you wake to the unmistakable sounds of your dog vomiting… Again. You’re worried, but should you call the vet at this hour, or is best to wait until morning? It’s hard not to panic or second-guess yourself when your pet appears to be struggling, which is why it’s important to understand what constitutes a pet emergency.

Some illness and injuries are immediately obvious, but because pets have evolved to hide their pain, it can often be difficult to tell when to seek medical care for your furry loved one. Although there is certainly no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with a pet emergency, we have outlined many of the signs and symptoms that require immediate medical attention.

Recognizing A Pet Emergency

The following situations should be treated as a pet emergency, and you should call us or head into the pet hospital immediately:

    • Serious trauma, including being hit by a car, bitten by another animal, or broken bones
    • You have observed your pet ingesting a poisonous substance such as rodenticides, pesticides, medications, liquid nicotine, or Xylitol
    • Severe bleeding, or bleeding that does not stop within a few minutes
    • Bleeding from the mouth, rectum, ears, nose, or eyes
    • Coughing up blood
    • Eye injury
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Bloody urine or stool
    • Seizure or collapse
  • Unconsciousness

There are other, less obvious signs of a pet emergency, including:

    • Swollen or hard abdomen
    • Gagging, choking, or nonstop coughing
    • Not eating or drinking water for 24 hours
    • Extreme anxiety or disorientation
    • Lethargy or lameness
    • Limping or favoring one side
    • Diarrhea or vomiting that occurs more than twice in a 24 hour period
    • Localized swelling
  • Complications arising during the birthing process

Know Thy Pet

You know your pet better than anyone else. If you notice your pet looking, moving, or behaving strangely, or even if he or she just seems “off”, please give us a call to have your pet evaluated. Often, a slight change in behavior or appearance can be a subtle sign that a deeper problem lurks beneath the surface.

At Androscoggin Animal Hospital we are committed to giving your pet the best possible care, and our emergency patients are given top priority. If your pet needs assistance after business hours, please don’t hesitate to call one of the three fully staffed emergency clinics in our area.