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Posted on 03-01-2013

An emergency that involves your pet is very scary for the pet owner. Preparing for an emergency is always best accomplished before an event takes place. It is important to know the "What" and the "What Not" to do if an emergency does arise with your pet. Listed below are some common emergencies that can occur and the steps to follow to keep your pet safe and alive.emergency.png

Bee Stings/Insect Bites - Can cause problems for our pets such as: facial swelling, redness, and itching. Some may even have an allergic reaction that can result in hives, vomiting , fever, difficulty breathing or even collapse.

What to do:

  • Remove stinger if still present which carries the venom
  • Apply cool compress to affected area(s)
  • Apply a mix of baking soda/water (to make a paste) which can help neutralize the venom
  • You should seek veterinary care for further or immediate treatment

What not to do:

  • Do not administer any medications to your pet without first consulting with one of our veterinarians or an emergency vet hospital.

Hemorrhage/Bleeding - Blood loss can occur from trauma, cuts, or lacerations. Overt bleeding occurs with cuts and lacerations, but there may be internal bleeding caused by trauma which is not visible to the naked eye. But, you may notice bruising on your pets underside. If bleeding is severe, it can cause shock, which results in a high heart rate and low blood pressure.

External Bleeding:

  • Apply direct gentle pressure with a clean cloth over area to allow blood to be absorbed as well as clot.
  • Elevation of a severely bleeding foot/limb combined with direct pressure is an effective way to stop bleeding (by making sure the wound is above the heart).
  • Tourniquets can be potentially dangerous and should only be used in severe life threatening bleeding and used as a last resort.

Internal Bleeding is life threatening and is typically not obvious to the naked eye. It can be cause by trauma or other disease.

Signs to look for:

  • pale gums (white/gray)
  • cool legs, ears, tail
  • coughing up blood
  • pet is very weak
  • bruising on the belly

What to do:

  • Seek veterinary care immediately!!!

What not to do:

  • Do NOT wait!!!

Respiratory distress/Difficulty breathing is also called "Dyspnea" and is a medical emergency

Signs include: Increased effort to breathe, noisy breathing, bluish tongue, cats can do an open mouth breathing (like their panting)

What to do:iStock_000002380797XSmall.jpg

  • Keep the pet and yourself calm
  • If pet is not breathing due to choking, finger sweep the mouth for any potential foreign object
  • If pet is over heated, moisten feet and ears with COOL water (not cold)

What not to do:

  • Do not upset the pet, this can make things worse
  • Do not give them anything by mouth

Eye Injury: Can be mild to severe. The eyes are quite fragile, and a few minutes can mean the difference between sight and blindness. If you notice any of the following symptoms: squinting or protecting of the eye(s), excessive redness, the 3rd eyelid covering the eyeball, or suspected trauma, it may be an emergency.

What to do:

  • Flush eye with mater or contact lens saline (if an irritating chemical or product has gotten into the eye)
  • If eye has dislocated from socket, keep it moist with contact lens saline, moist compress or KY jelly
  • Seek veterinary care immediately

What not to do:

  • Never attempt to treat the eye or remove a foreign object yourself
  • Do not try to push a dislocated eye back into the socket, this must be done under sedation

Seizures: A seizure is any sudden and uncontrolled movement of the animal's body (normally caused by abnormal brain activity). Seizure can be mild to severe. You may notice stiffening of all limbs, clenching of jaws/ teeth, trembling/ shaking or drooling. Pets may lose control of their bladder and bowels. They can be conscious but unresponsive of you calling or saying their name.

What to do:

  • Protect your pet from injury to themselves during the seizure, keep them from falling.
  • Remove other pets from room/ area
  • Protect yourself from being bitten
  • Seek veterinary care immediately

What not to do:

  • Do not place your hands in or near the pet's mouth, they will not swallow their tongues.
  • Do not slap, throw water on, or startle your pet out of the seizure. The seizure will end when it ends.
  • Do not wait to seek veterinary care.

If your pet is experiencing an emergency, please call our office: Eagle Animal Hospital at (610) 458-8789. If it is after hours, please refer to our website: eagleanimalvet.com for recommended local emergency facilities. We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding areas.

Written by Vicki Guy, veterinary technician

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