BrightCare is proud to offer you the expertise of an emergency veterinarian here in Orange County. Because animals can’t talk to us with words, it can sometimes be challenging to determine what they need. It can also be difficult to determine if they need emergency veterinary care or wait for a regular vet appointment.
To help you make these calls as an informed pet owner, we wanted to put together a guide to some of the most common reasons pet owners need to seek emergency veterinary care for their animals and why emergency veterinary care is so important.
Being Prepared Before You Need An Emergency Veterinarian
Before anything else, you should be ready to face an emergency and stabilize your dog while you coordinate getting the professional veterinary help they need. Pet parents would do well to prepare an emergency kit to keep at hand when emergencies strike.
There are some basic items you need to face life-threatening scenarios. Still, keep in mind that when disaster strikes, your pet will require professional help. Trust the professionals and get to an emergency veterinarian care center as soon as possible.
Your emergency kit should include:
- Vaccination records and medical history
- List of medications
- Absorbent gauze pads
- Adhesive tape
- Disposable gloves
- Scissors with a blunt end
- OTC antibiotic ointment
- Alcohol wipes
Most of these supplies will come in handy if your pet suffers an accident. Still, keep in mind that your pet may only be safe in a hospital setting if the accident your pet suffered is too severe.
You could also visit this checklist put together by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Why You Need an Emergency Veterinarian
The severity of some situations will require specialized help if you want to save your pet’s life. Even minor issues can lead to additional complications if you don’t provide proper care.
Some cuts can be deeper than it seems, putting nerves and ligatures at risk. If you fear that your pet ingested something they shouldn’t and try to induce vomiting, you could complicate the problem if you act hastily.
Trust a professional in a veterinary clinic to help your pet get over their emergency and do their best to save their lives.
Which Situations Require Emergency Care?
Some medical emergencies are more common than others. We do not mean to say situations resulting from congenital conditions but instead, the problems resulting from seemingly ordinary accidents. Please pay attention to any behavioral change or signs of pain, so you know how to act and get the medical care your pet needs.
One of the most common reasons that an animal may need emergency attention is visible wounds or lacerations. These may result from scratches, bites from another animal, or an unfortunate run-in with a sharp object like a fence they’re trying to squeeze past. You’ll want to bring your pet in for emergency care to lower their risk of infection and ensure that the wounds do not go deeper than they look.
Carefully examine the area affected by the laceration and avoid applying pressure near the cut to avoid inducing any more pain on your pet. Try to clean the area as best as possible with running water and contact your trusted emergency services if the bleeding doesn’t stop.
Poison Exposure or Foreign Body Ingestion
Suppose your pet swallows or is exposed to poisonous substances such as rat poison, fertilizer, cleaning supplies, human medicine, or foods that are not safe for animals. In that case, you’ll want to call an emergency vet.
This is also true if your pet swallows an object they were not supposed to, such as a toy, poisonous plant, or household item. If you notice your pet has any difficulty breathing, you’d do well to inspect your dog’s mouth and get in touch with an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible.
If your pet experiences physical trauma such as a fall, a bad fight, wound, laceration, or a car accident, we recommend that you contact an emergency vet immediately. If your pet has broken bones or is experiencing internal bleeding, you may not be able to tell from just looking at them.
The emergency vet will be able to quickly assess your pet’s situation and perform any necessary tests and x-rays to determine the extent of the damage they’re sustained and make a treatment plan.
Such additional examinations are only possible at animal hospitals, meaning that if you want someone to fully assess the damage to your pet, you will need professional veterinary emergency care.
Paralysis or Seizure
BrightCare vets are also trained animal neurologists, so our emergency hospital is specially equipped to handle paralysis and seizures. Seizures are a widespread pet emergency and the most well-known animal neurological condition that pet owners deal with.
Dogs and cats have seizures similar to human seizures and occur when there is a disturbance in normal brain function. Seizures usually cause uncontrollable muscle activity.
If your pet is already receiving treatment for a chronic seizure condition, you may not need to seek emergency vet care every time. However, any seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes, or multiple seizures that occur within 24 hours of each other, is cause for emergency veterinarian care.
Vertigo, Limping, or Other Behavioral Changes
If your pet is experiencing vertigo (dizziness), demonstrates limping, or displays any other major physical or behavioral changes, we recommend that you seek immediate emergency vet care for them. Emergency vets, especially ones like ours, who are animal neurologists, will help determine what is causing this change and administer appropriately.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of reasons why your pet may need emergency medical attention. You know your pet best. If you think they may need emergency care, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at BrightCare Emergency Room in Mission Viejo.