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What Qualifies as a Pet Emergency?

Your furry friend can end up in an accident or situation that may require immediate help. Sometimes it may be something that may seem trivial but persistent. Instead of just staying at home and worrying, it is important to know what to look out for. This will help you make rational decisions when needed. If you are in doubt, please contact your vet for advice.


Here are some situations that qualify as pet emergencies:


Difficulty Breathing


If you realize that your pet is open-mouth breathing, wheezing, coughing, weak/shallow breathing, raspy breathing, or choking, you need to get your pet to the vet. Do not delay since breathing difficulties are severe and possibly life-threatening. 


In the process of seeking help for your pet, handle them with care. According to CDC, even the gentlest of animals can bite and scratch when injured due to fear. 




If you suspect that your pet has eaten something they should not, take them to the vet immediately. This will help the vet deal with it before the toxic substances have started being digested and absorbed into the pet’s body.


Some poisonings can happen without your knowledge. The signs to look out for are: seizures or collapse, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, or skin damage due to corrosive substances, among others.




This includes falls, bites, accidents, and gunshot wounds. Even if your pet seems fine, it may be hard to assess the extent of the internal damage. Wounds may also be deeper than they appear. Thus, you must get your pet to the vet as soon as possible after the trauma. Pain may also be caused by the trauma, which is another good reason to ensure that your pet is seen by the vet.


Difficulty Going to the Bathroom


If your pet is repeatedly straining to urinate or defecate, it is essential to take them to a vet and know why. Animals do not often show that they are in pain, so the issue can develop into a larger and potentially life-threatening one.


Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) and Bloating


GDV is probably one of the most serious non-traumatic emergencies for any dog. Bloating will cause swelling behind the rib cage from an enlarged stomach filled with gas. It then develops to GDV when the stomach twists upon itself, causing a volvulus that blocks the opening and exit of the stomach. In the early stages, your pet will appear restless after a large meal and try to vomit without success.


Eye Problems


If left unattended, this could lead to the loss of an eye or blindness. Signs include excessive tearing, redness of the eye, discharge, squinting, pawing at the eye, swelling, or closed eye. Even if it is just a foreign body, a scratch on the cornea could deteriorate vision.


Other Emergencies


Some of the situations that would warrant rushing your pet to the vet include:


  • Heatstroke

  • Pale gums

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Weak or rapid pulse

  • Change in body temperature

  • Seizures

  • Difficulty standing

  • Loss of consciousness


If your pet experiences any of the above symptoms or situations, call South Willamette Veterinary Clinic in Creswell, Oregon immediately. You can reach us at 541-313-3352 to schedule an appointment.

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