It’s a fact of life that medical emergencies can happen to any pet, and as such, it is important for you as a pet owner to have a good understanding of how some of the more common emergencies present themselves, and what to look out for. If you see any of these symptoms in your pets, take them to your vet immediately.
Acute hypersensitivity or a severe allergic reaction in your pet is often identified by sudden collapse and difficulties in breathing. Look out for swelling around your pet’s muzzle or face, and the presence of hives or wheals, vomiting or diarrhoea, and often restlessness.
Fight and bite wounds
These wounds are serious if a large volume of blood was lost, or if there is continuous, persistent bleeding from the site. Be especially aware of eye, head, throat or nose wounds, or injuries that have penetrated the groin, stomach or any other site on the abdomen.
Look out for pumping blood, or blood that drips out fast enough to pool on a surface, or soak through a bandage in minutes. Be careful of wounds from the ears, feet, torn nails, tongue, and nose.
Bloody diarrhoea (Haemorrhagic gastroenteritis)
The presence of bloody diarrhoea or vomit is an immediate cause for concern, and should be monitored closely, and if any weakness in your pet is seen, seek medical assistance immediately.
A pet’s fur will often hide burn and scald sites. Any event of burning and or scalding should be seen to by a medical professional.
Vomiting and or diarrhoea
If the vomiting and or diarrhoea is persistent, it can indicate various medical problems, ranging from poisoning to infection. Dehydration is also a concern, especially for small and young dogs.
Seek medical attention if the vomiting or diarrhoea takes place for longer than 24 hours, or if your pets seem generally reluctant to move, doesn’t have an appetite, or is trying to vomit, but is unable to do so successfully.
Contact a medical professional before administering any medication on your own.
Convulsions and seizures
If your pet is experiencing convulsions or seizures (violent and uncontrolled spasms) that are longer than five minutes, it is extremely serious.
Look out for these symptoms to identify a seizure:
- Violent tremors
- Champing of the mouth
- Disorientation after the seizure passes
Also, be aware that more than three seizures in a 24-hour period, or disorientation that lasts after 15minutes of the seizure passing, is serious, and a vet should be consulted immediately.
Eclampsia (Hypocalcaemia, Milk Fever, or Puerperal Tetany)
This condition takes place in the later stages of pregnancy or in nursing females. Signs are not always easy to spot, but include panting, increased salivation, restlessness and stiffness when the animal is moving. If symptoms progress to twitching, spasms and high fever, consult a vet immediately.
If your pet collapses after exercise or heightened excitement, or you see them experiencing couching, especially during the night, breathing difficulties or a blueish discolouration of their tongue, they might be at risk of heart failure.
This condition presents as lethargic and distressed behaviour with excessive panting. This can take place at any time during hot and humid weather.
If you suspect that your pet has come into contact with any poisonous materials, and see excessive salivation, diarrhoea, vomiting, collapse, and even skin damage, seek help.
Unconsciousness and collapse
Regardless of the underlying cause, if your pet collapses or becomes unconscious, it should be regarded as a serious concern and you should seek help immediately.
The seriousness of the snake bite varies. Try to get clear identification of the snake, and make sure to get your pet to the vet immediately.
- Unevenly dilated or dilated pupils
- Unsteady walking, collapse and paralysis
- Urine that is brown or dark red
- A loss of appetite and reluctance to move
Bloat (Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus)
A condition that affects deep-chested, large dog breeds. Look for a stomach and abdomen that appears swollen and if the dog is trying to vomit, is salivating excessively or is agitated.
If you identify these symptoms, seek immediate veterinary help.