When to Get Vet Help

When a pet seems sick or is acting unusual, it is sometimes hard to know when to get vet help.

When to Take a Pet to the Vet ASAP

If there has been an accident that involves your pet and a larger object (like a car) or animal, it is advised to take him to an emergency animal hospital. Major trauma like broken bones, or deep cuts that bleed for more than 5 minutes, should always be treated right away.

Emergency medical attention should always be sought when a pet:

  • Bleeds excessively
  • Suddenly collapses
  • Has dilated pupils
  • Has a seizure
  • Demonstrates pain when being touched
  • Show signs of shock or toxicity
  • Is unconscious

When an animal has difficulty breathing under normal circumstances (the tongue may turn blue or the animal gasps for air) or has an unusually fast heart rate while resting, he or she needs to visit a vet as soon as possible.

If a pet has blood in his or her stool and/or urine, medical attention should be sought. Repeated vomiting should also receive attention.

Watchful Waiting: When to Schedule an Appointment

Sometimes symptoms pets have don't seem urgent enough to take him to the vet's immediately. If a pet's behavior suddenly changes or symptoms persist, an appointment should be made.

A rapid increase or decrease in a pet's weight, eating habits and energy level should be examined if this has gone on for at least 48 hours. For diarrhea or excessive thirst that lasts for 48 hours, call a vet.

A pet that has a cough that does not go away, has hair loss or an unhealthy looking coat, is constantly itching, or occasionally vomits for more than 48 hours should be seen by a vet so a diagnosis can be made. Pets that have bad breath that lasts for more than a couple of days, even after a good teeth-brushing, should also be checked out.

When a pet is limping, disoriented, or shows signs of pain and aches, schedule a time to for him to see the vet. An animal should also be examined if he has difficulty passing bowels or urinating, or if these actions seem painful.

If the eyes of an animal look yellow, puffy, milky or cloudy, have an excessive amount of discharge, or tear up a lot, seek treatment. The same goes for the ears of a pet when they look waxy, swollen, have a foul-smelling discharge or the pet shakes his head a lot or paws at the ears.

When you're at the veterinary clinic or just calling for some advice, a list of veterinary questions will be asked. Therefore, it's important to keep tabs on your pet's symptoms and their duration. If you're ever unsure if an animal should be seen by a veterinarian, you shouldn't hesitate to call the clinic to ask.