Signs to Bring Your Pet to the Vet Immediately

By Dr. Robyn Johnson, Veterinarian

The hardest part of being a pet owner is deciding when it’s time to pack up and head to the vet’s office immediately. After all, our furry and furless friends don’t speak with words, so it’s important for pet parents to read their actions to determine when they are in distress. Here are a few tips on when to bring your pet to the vet.

Many emergencies are not subtle — collapse, paralysis, and bloody diarrhea come to mind. However, some life-threatening problems, such as bloat, can start with symptoms that don’t seem like a big deal at first.

The first place to check is your pet’s gums. The gums normally should be pink and moist; when pressed gently with a finger, the pressed-upon portion should flash white and then turn pink within a second or two. Pale, blue, grey, or red gums signal trouble. It is best to check your pet’s gums regularly when they are not in distress, so that you can know what they normally look like. If your pet seems unwell and you discover a difference in gum coloration, then they should receive treatment.

Remember that a situation doesn’t have to be life-threatening to warrant veterinary attention. Broken toenails, ear infections, bladder infections, and hot spots are all survivable, but they are also painful and are best treated sooner rather than later if possible.

If you notice your pet displaying any of the following troubling symptoms, you should take them to the veterinarian immediately:

  1. Difficulty breathing
  2. Restlessness, attempting to vomit but not productive and/or panting and not being able to get comfortable
  3. Seizures
  4. Collapse or profound weakness
  5. Profuse hemorrhaging
  6. Major known trauma
  7. Repeated vomiting or diarrhea
  8. Struggling to urinate
  9. Not eating or drinking
  10. Coughing
  11. Loss of use of rear legs
  12. Severe pain
  13. Known exposure to toxins

If you’re ever in doubt, the safest course of action is to seek veterinary attention. It is always better to eer on the side of caution when it comes to your pet’s health. Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital offers 24/7/365 veterinary care, so don’t hesitate to call or visit us day or night.

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