Thursday, January 10, 2013

In Case of Emergency

Unfortunately, emergencies sometimes happen with our pets. Some of the more common emergency situations we see at VACC include: lacerations, ingestion of objects likely to cause intestinal obstruction, ingestion of toxic substances, bites or wounds from other animals, bladder obstructions, automobile accidents, heat stroke, and even fish hook punctures. Other conditions may also require immediate care as well.
If your pet develops any of the following symptoms they should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible:

  • Suddenly unable to stand or walk
  • Straining to urinate, defecate, or vomit
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale gums
  • Excsessive bleeding
  • Neurological symptoms such as seizures, excessive drooling, or staggering
  • Sudden and extreme lethargy or unconsciousness 
  • Dehydration due to excessive vomiting or diarrhea 

Here are some tips to help you be prepared in case of an emergency:
  • Don't panic! If you remain calm, your pet will feel more at ease. If you are very upset, you may want to find someone to drive you and your pet to the veterinary clinic.
  • Call when you are on your way. Keep the numbers of your regular veterinarian, as well as the closest 24 hour vet hospital, in your phone and make sure you know where they are located. You won't want to be searching for a phone number or address when you are worried about your pet. Also, if we know we have an emergency patient on the way, we can be prepared to begin treatment immediately.
  • If your pet is having a seizure, do not try to put anything in their mouth. You should not try to restrain larger dogs during a seizure, as you may be injured, but you can move nearby objects to prevent injury.
  • If your pet is being attacked by another animal, do not try to break up the fight unless you can use the leashes of both animals to control them. 
  • If your pet is hit by a car they should be seen by a veterinarian immediately, even if there are no visible wounds. There may be internal bleeding, so a veterinary exam is necessary.
  • If your pet is bleeding, try to apply steady pressure to the wound. Ear wounds bleed a lot! Luckily, they are not usually life threatening. One very clever VACC client cut the sleeve off of his t-shirt and slipped it over his dog's head to help slow the bleeding of her ear laceration.