It can be quite frightening to see your pet suffering, especially if you are unsure if the situation should be considered an emergency. When in doubt, always contact your veterinarian or the nearest animal hospital. But to hopefully better prepare you, here are 6 of the most common pet emergencies found in emergency veterinary hospitals around the country.

Poisoning

Certain foods and substances are poisonous to dogs and cats, including chocolate; grapes/raisins; human medications; rat and slug poisons. Many plants are also toxic to dogs and cats. With immediate treatment, recovery is possible. However, once the poison is digested and absorbed, the situation becomes a life- threatening pet emergency.

Trauma

Bites, falls, gunshot wounds and road traffic accidents. Your pet could have internal damage, even if he seems ok. Signs of a ruptured lung or internal bleeding can be slow to surface. A wound can be deeper than it appears and an infection can develop.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

GDV (a dog’s stomach becomes twisted) commonly affects large dog breeds. Early indication: a restless dog trying to vomit after a large meal. As GDV progresses, the abdomen bloats. The dog continues trying to vomit, but usually only brings up a white froth. Odds of recovery decrease the longer treatment is delayed. This is one of the most urgent conditions in small animal practices.

Neurological Problems and Collapse

A neurological pet emergency can manifest itself in various ways: coma, disorientation, incoordination, severe lethargy, unresponsiveness, walking in circles. If your pet suddenly collapses and is unable to rise, possible causes include: anemia, hemorrhage, heart disease, vascular disease, musculoskeletal problems, neurological disease, respiratory disease, toxicity, adverse drug reaction. Many of these are life-threatening.

Stings/Bites/Allergic Reactions

Signs: face swelling and hives (look at the belly). Severe allergic reactions lead to breathing difficulty (swelling of the airway), extensive bodily swelling, diarrhea and shock.

Eye Problems

Eye problems can deteriorate quickly and result in blindness or loss of the eye. Signs: discharge, excessive tearing, redness, squinting/closed eye, swelling, constant pawing at the eye. If your pet have any of listed symptoms than veterinary examination is highly recommended.

Prevent What You Can – and Be Prepared for the Worst

While I love to see pets and their owners, I’d rather see them in wellness exams. Some disasters we cannot prevented, but at least some can be avoided or risk of happening can be minimized. (Like poisoning, overheating, car accidents, fights…)

The final part of prevention is being prepared. That means making your pet part of your family’s disaster plans, and it means knowing what to do if you’re looking at a veterinary emergency.

Click here to read part one of ‘Common Pet Emergencies’