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Pet emergency clinic Tips: When should I take my dog or cat to the ER?

Pet emergency clinic

A pet emergency clinic can save your pet’s life in an emergency situation. Our cats and dogs are valuable parts of our families. They all have their own personalities, and we love them, even when they cause us to lose sleep, or they misbehave. We wouldn’t be without them. 

That is why, when it comes to a health scare in our beloved furry friends, we can get very anxious. Nobody wants to think about their cats or dogs getting sick or injured. When that happens, our parental instincts kick in, and we want to make sure that our fur babies get medical attention as quickly as possible. 

But when it comes to your cat or dog getting injured or sick, how can you tell if it is an emergency that requires an immediate visit to the ER? Without knowing how much pain or discomfort your pet is in, it can be hard to tell how significant the problem is. With some issues being quite minor, and some being more severe, what should you be looking out for in your pets, and what type of problem should not be left to chance? 

Breathing Problems

Problems with your pet’s breathing can be quite scary. If they are struggling to breathe, then this can be due to lots of different reasons. They may have an infection, or another condition could cause it. 

Many breeds of cats and dogs, such as Persian cats and pugs, are brachycephalic. This means that they have a wide flat face that may cause them issues with their breathing. While there are operations that can open their airways, many of these animals just suffer breathing problems.

Not Going To The Toilet

If your pet has not gone to the toilet for more than a day and a half, then they may have an infection that needs to be addressed. Check for signs of urine in your cat’s litter tray and monitor your dog when you take them out to the toilet to see if they can produce urine. 

Going To The Toilet Too Much 

Going to the toilet too much can also be a sign or an infection that needs addressing. If your cat or dog is repeatedly going potty over a period of time, you may well want to get this checked out.


Seizures could be a symptom of a neurological condition and should be assessed by a vet as soon as possible. There could be several different diseases or conditions that could cause seizures, including epilepsy. Getting your pet checked out is vital so that diagnoses can be made quickly before your pet’s condition worsens.

Excessive Vomiting 

Pets vomit occasionally. We all know that dogs like to eat most things that they find, and cats will often have hairballs inside them. It’s not abnormal for your pet to be sick once in a while, and this is generally nothing to worry about. However, if your cat or dog is vomiting excessively, then it could be due to an illness, or that they have eaten something poisonous to them. Getting your pet to a vet as quickly as possible will help work out what the cause is so that if the animal needs treatment, they can get it as soon as possible. 


If you find that your cat is hiding a lot and it is not in their nature to do this, it generally means that something has changed. Cats quite often find corners to hide away when they are giving birth, and then in later life, when they are dying, they quite often take themselves off somewhere else away from others. There are other reasons in between that may cause a cat to distance itself, it could be due to stress, illness, pain, or even because they have fleas. If your cat’s behavior has changed, and they have started hiding, pay attention as you may need to take them to a pet emergency clinic


If your cat or dog has had a severe accident such as being struck by a car, or attacked by another animal, then you should take them in to see the vet straight away. Even if you cannot physically see the signs of damage, there could be hidden trauma to their bodies, and a vet can give them a full check-up.


There are many things that cats and dogs cannot eat. For example, chocolate is something that you should never give to your pets, but if you find they have gotten into chocolate behind your back, you need to get them to the ER as soon as you can.

Similarly, if your animal has ingested any type of household cleaner or even the antifreeze that may have leaked from a car, this could be very poisonous, and your pet will need immediate attention. 

We are BrightCare Veterinary Group, we hope that you found this blog about going to a pet emergency clinic helpful. Caring for your pet and making sure that they get to the ER in emergency situations is going to help save their lives. If you have any questions or you are unsure if your pet needs to go to the ER, please do not hesitate to give us a call. If you would like to bring in your pet for an appointment, you can make one on our website.

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COVID-19 Alert

BrightCare Veterinary Group takes the safety of our staff and clients very seriously. We continue to monitor the changes related to COVID-19.

BrightCare has enacted specific protocols as recommended by the CDC in order to stay open as an essential business for our community.

• Only essential staff are allowed in the building as our lobby is closed to clients.
• Our facility has enacted curbside check in and check out. Please call 949-716-9270 upon arrival. Inform the staff of the make, model, and color of your vehicle.
• Wait in your vehicle as a staff member will be out to come get your pet. Continue to stay in your vehicle until you are instructed further.
• All persons entering our facility are required to wear a face covering.
• Maintain social distancing guidelines of 6 feet when able.
• If you are sick, we request that another individual bring your pet for you. Our staff members can communicate with you via phone and email.

Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time.