13 Animal Emergencies That Require Immediate Veterinary Care
- Severe bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t stop within 5 minutes
- Choking, difficulty breathing or nonstop coughing and gagging
- Bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, or blood in urine
- Inability to urinate or pass feces (stool), or obvious pain associated with urinating or passing stool
- Injuries to your pet’s eye(s)
- You suspect or know your pet has eaten something poisonous (such as antifreeze, xylitol, chocolate, rodent poison, etc.)
- Seizures and/or staggering
- Fractured bones, severe lameness or inability to move leg(s)
- Obvious signs of pain or extreme anxiety
- Heat stress or heatstroke
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea – more than 2 episodes in a 24-hour period, or either of these combined with obvious illness or any of the other problems listed here
- Refusal to drink for 24 hours or more
Emergency Contact Numbers
- Four Corners Veterinary Hospital 925-685-0512
- Sage Emergency Care 925-627-7243
- East Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Center 925-937-5001
Poison Control Hotlines
- ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 888-426-4435
- Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661
- In case of suspected poisoning, KEEP ALL PRINTED PACKAGING, and provide that information to the Animal Poison Control Center
Tips For Leaving Your Pet With A Caretaker
- Authorize someone you trust to act on your behalf
- Provide documentation that you allow the caretaker to make decisions about your pet if you cannot be reached and you will accept financial responsibility for their decisions
- Provide emergency contact information – including a copy of our Vacation Authorization Form
- Provide a brief summary of your pet’s relevant medical information, including medications (with clear instructions), major medical conditions, and vaccine history, especially their Rabies vaccines
- Clearly communicate your wishes to all authorized persons regarding your pet’s care
Questions to Consider:
- Does your animal have any health conditions that could result in emergency situations (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, severe arthritis, chronic colic, etc.)? If so, consider the possible emergencies that could occur and whether or not you should set limits for the extent of care or the cost of care of these problems.
- Are there certain tests, procedures or treatments that you would not authorize? If so, make sure that your authorized agent is aware of your preferences.
- Are there financial limitations? Be realistic and keep in mind that you will be financially responsible for the care and treatment provided.
- How will you arrange payment for emergency treatment? Do you expect your authorized agent to pay, and plan to reimburse them? Or will you provide a form of payment to be used in case of emergency?
- If your pet dies or has to be euthanized, what do you wish to be done with your animal’s remains?
Information To Include in a Stocked a First Aid Kit
- Four Corners Veterinary Hospital emergency phone number 925-685-0512
- The local emergency clinics’ phone numbers
- Directions to the local emergency clinics
- National Poison Control numbers 888-426-4435 or 855-764-7661
- How to stop bleeding/apply a basic pressure wrap
- How to muzzle your pet (to keep an injured pet from biting you)
- A signed and dated authorization to treat form if you are away
Remember that any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet’s life until it receives veterinary treatment. For additional information regarding first aid and assembling a first aid kit, please refer to the following links:
Knowing how to comfort an injured pet can help minimize your pet’s anxiety and also protect you and your family from injury.
Read our simple instructions for providing emergency first aid if your pet is suffering from poisoning, seizures, broken bones, bleeding, burns, shock, heatstroke, choking or other urgent medical problems. Print out a copy to keep with your pet emergency kit.
A few simple steps can better prepare you to help your pet in first aid situations while you are traveling. Remember: pet medical emergencies don’t just happen at home.
Whether confronted by natural disasters such as hurricanes, or unexpected catastrophes such as a house fire, you need to be prepared to take care of your animals. A pre-determined disaster plan will help you remain calm and think clearly.
Additional Pet First Aid Links
- American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)/Healthy Pet: Pet First Aid
- The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine: Basic First Aid for Your Pet
- American Red Cross: First Aid for Pets
- VeterinaryPartner.com: First Aid and Emergency Care