What does a pet emergency look like, what steps should you take in such a situation, and who should you call? Today, our Staten Island vets share examples of pet emergencies and which actions to take.
What is a Pet Emergency?
Every pet owner dreads the day they wake up to their four-legged friend appearing seriously ill, getting injured, or experiencing some other emergency that requires them to be rushed to a vet for an emergency appointment and treatment.
You can, however, plan ahead of time. Today, we'll go over some steps you can take to recognize emergency signs, prevent an emergency from occurring in the first place, and take action to keep your pet and yourself safe during a stressful time.
All of these qualify as emergencies and will necessitate a visit to a Staten Island pet emergency clinic for immediate care:
- Choking, difficulty breathing, or continuous coughing or gagging
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea (2 or more episodes in 24 hours)
- Eye injuries
- Abnormal behavior, signs of extreme pain or anxiety
- Severe bleeding or bleeding that doesn't stop
- Refusal to eat or drink for 24 hours or more
- Bleeding from the mouth, nose, rectum, or blood in the urine
- Fractured bones or severe lameness
- Staggering and/or seizures
- Inability to pass feces or urinate, or pain associated with passing feces or urinating
How to Prepare for a Pet Emergency
By their nature, veterinary emergencies can happen at the most inconvenient of times, in seconds. That's why we recommend always being prepared by keeping these tips in mind:
- Keep your vet's phone number and the phone number of a nearby emergency animal hospital in your cell phone and on your refrigerator.
- Schedule regular vet checkups for your pet.
- Create a pet emergency kit with medical and vaccination records, leashes, blankets, microchip numbers, a list of your pet's current medications, etc.
- Prevent your pet from coming into contact with toxic substances and foods such as grapes, raisins, chocolate, household plants, and antifreeze.
- Closely supervise your pet and keep them on a leash during walks to prevent fights with other animals or road accidents.
- Keep a pet-specific first aid kit with cotton swabs, tweezers, gauze pads and bandages, an ice pack, a digital thermometer, towels, and other supplies.
Who to Call in a Pet Emergency
It's critical to know who you should call if your pet is experiencing an emergency. Keep these phone numbers on hand and use them if your cat or dog is exhibiting signs of distress:
Your Regular Veterinary Clinic
If your pet experiences an emergency during your veterinarian's regular office hours, they should be first on your list to call. At our Staten Island animal hospital, we provide emergency and urgent veterinary care for cats and dogs during our regular hours.
A Local Emergency Pet Hospital
If your pet has an emergency when your regular veterinarian is closed (for example, late at night or on a weekend), contact your nearest Staten Island emergency vet clinic (ideally, this pet hospital will be within 30 to 60-minute drive).
Pet Poison Control Hotline
Has your cat or dog ingested a suspected or known toxin? You might consider calling a pet poison help, such as ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 888-426-4435.
Veterinary toxicologists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on this hotline. They can tell you whether your pet ate enough of a poisonous substance to require emergency veterinary care for a small consultation fee.
These experts can also give advice on any at-home treatments or whether you should take your pet to an emergency vet clinic.
Steps to Take in a Pet Emergency
There are some steps you can take in any pet emergency to increase the likelihood of a better outcome for your pet and to keep you and your canine or kitty companion safe. These include:
1. Stay Calm
It can be difficult to maintain perspective and keep a cool head when your pet is very sick or severely injured. However, if you remain level-headed, you'll be in a better position to help your pet.
Our pets are extremely adept at reading our emotions. That is why it is critical to remain calm in the face of a pet emergency; your pet will likely become more fearful if they see you panicking.
You may also pay less attention to important details and d opportunities to save your pet's life if you are panicking.
2. Assess the Problem
Examine your pet carefully to see if there are any injuries, such as a broken bone or bleeding. Pay attention to any unusual behavior or symptoms so you can inform the veterinarian. However, don't spend too much time on this step before taking action.
3. If Possible, Call Ahead
If your pet has an emergency during our regular daytime business hours, please contact us right away. After hours, contact one of the veterinary hospitals listed on our Emergency Care page as soon as possible.
4. Follow Any Instructions You're Provided
You may receive instructions from the staff at an emergency pet hospital to help you apply first aid or make your pet more comfortable. Follow these instructions carefully.
5. Bring Your Pet in For Care
Without putting your own safety at risk, safely bring your pet to our Staten Island emergency clinic or to an after-hours emergency vet.