Every condition which requires immediate and intensive veterinary care can be designated as an “emergency”. This is a condition which develops fast and any delay in its treatment can lead to serious complications and even death.
Unfortunately in our practice we are faced far too often with clinical cases in which the animal caregivers have underestimated the condition of their pet and have postponed the seeking for professional veterinary care. Sometimes it can be a matter of hours or even minutes!
Below you’ll find a brief description of the medical conditions which require immediate medical attention!
1.Profuse bleeding (arterial)
The patient is losing large amounts of blood, often because of damage to a large blood vessel. Besides the first aid (compressing bandage) you should be seeking veterinary attention immediately!
2. GDV (Gastric Dilatation and Volvolus)
This condition affects most commonly large and giant breeds of dogs, especially the deep-chested ones. It usually starts with retching, non-productive vomiting, rapid deterioration of the mental status – the patient may collapse due to the development of shock. The abdomen quickly becomes bigger and balloted. Emergency care is required. If you observe some of the aforementioned signs in your pet in the evening- don’t wait until the morning- it can be too late.
3. Anaphylaxis (allergic hypersensitivity)
This can be a life-threatening allergic reaction. It develops in a matter of minutes. The symptoms include: restlessness, sudden diarrhea, vomiting, shock (the patient collapses, can have seizures). The causes for this condition are often insect bites or drug reactions.
4. Laborious breathing (dyspnea)
If such a symptom persists for more than a few minutes and is not associated with strenuous exercise – don’t lose time, but seek veterinary attention as soon as possible, especially if your pet’s tongue has a bluish tinge or he or she breaths with open mouth (open-mouthed breathing is never normal in a cat!)
5. Traumatic event
In the urban area this are most often cats, which had fallen from a hight (The so-called High-rise syndrome in cats), gunshot wounds, vehicular trauma etc.
The patient quickly develops traumatic shock and has to be brought to a veterinary clinic promptly. Serious conditions may arise such as- traumatic brain injury (TBI- the pet might be comatose or semi-comatose), pneumothorax (accumulation of air in the pleural cavity), hemothorax (accumulation of blood in the pleural cavity), pulmonary contusion (hemorrhage in the lungs), hemoabdomen (intra-abdominal accumulation of blood), uroabdomen (accumulation of urine due to a rupture along the urinary tract or the bladder), wounds of different types, open fractures, paresis or paralysis due to trauma to the spinal cord or the head. Early detection and treatment can be invaluable and life-saving!
6. Inability of your pet to urinate
All to often this condition affects male cats and is incorporated in the term FLUTD (Feline lower urinary tract disease).
Symptoms: The tomcat spends prolonged periods of time in the litter trying to urinate. There can be some drops of bloody urine. The appetite of your pet is gone, there may be vomiting. The patient may show signs of abdominal pain, restlessness. All too often owners mistakenly think the cat has constipation! In 24h the obstruction leads to uremia, which is a condition leading to fatalities. In dogs the reason may often be a urinary stone, wedged in the urethra.
7. Severe neurological symptoms – comatose condition or seizures
With a seizure there is an increase in the motor activity- the limbs move involuntary, there may be froth on the muzzle of your pet (increased salivation), loss of consciousness. Seizure continuing over 30 minutes can lead to brain edema. In the cat the seizure can be atypical- weird behavior, increased salivation , vocalization, aggression.
Every seizure or seizure-like activity is not to be underestimated! Every single seizure no matter how short leads to brain damage!
If you have any doubt that your pet might have ingested poison or some kind of medication- bring him/her immediately! Therapy for intoxication is most effective in the first hour or two.
9. Difficulties giving birth
The animal is having hard time delivering a puppy or a kitten, contractions for over 30 min., without a birth, lack of contractions for over 2 hours, after the previous puppy or kitten, vaginal discharge (esp. yellow or greenish in color, bloody, foul-smelling), deterioration in the general condition of the mother (weakness)- these are all indications for you to seek professional medical care!
10. Heat stroke
Often comes as a result of leaving the pet in a car in the warm seasons with windows closed. It takes only several minutes for the temperature inside to reach over 60 degrees Celsius. The brachycephalic breeds can develop signs of heatstroke even after a few minutes of exercise in warmer weather. The reason for this is their decreased capability to cool themselves, associated with their anatomical differences. The symptoms for this condition are neurological. (Look at Number 7)
11. Continuous repetitive vomiting
When combined with signs of general malaise it can be a sign of a serious condition such as Sepsis, poisoning, pancreatitis, peritonitis etc. Don’t wait until tomorrow!
12. Watery and/or bloody diarrhea
This symptom is not to be underestimated. It can develop due to a number of infectious, immunological, endocrine and surgical diseases! It’s wrong to assume that food is the only culprit!
13. Ophthalmic emergencies
These conditions do not pose an immediate risk for the life of your pet, but nevertheless their timely treatment can save the vision of your beloved companion.
Any trauma to the head can lead to perforation of the cornea, hemorrhages etc., which require immediate attention.
If your pet has glaucoma diagnosed, this can lead to rapid deterioration, hemorrhages in the retina and loss of vision.