Explaining what an emergency is and when to rush to the veterinary hospital

In the second article in the series explaining what happens in the different departments of a veterinary hospital, we take a look at the emergency and critical care departments. This article discusses a few emergencies and what to look out for.


It’s an emergency!

Many pet owners often wonder what constitutes a veterinary emergency, and what steps to take if they suspect that their pet is in a critical condition outside of regular hours. The first thing to do is to always have a 24-hour vet on speed dial – just in case. Real emergencies require urgent veterinary attention.

Below are some conditions that may require emergency treatment, but where owners don’t necessarily see anything specific. Their pet may just be off colour, not eating, not as lively as normal, or maybe just a bit grumpy. In these instances, the vet relies on you knowing your pet and their usual behaviours well enough to know to spot if they are sick.

There are a number of serious diseases, such as parvovirus and babesia, that can start off looking innocuous but become life-threatening if left untreated. Remember, very young pets and elderly pets get sicker more quickly.

With dogs and cats, there are a number of things that are considered REAL emergencies.


Trauma cases

Trauma cases include pets hit by cars, bad fight wounds, near-drowning or falls from a height. In these cases, pets need to see a vet as soon as possible.


Signs to look for (this may include one or a combination of these)

  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness/less alert than usual
  • Deep or large wounds
  • Bleeding that does not stop quickly
  • Difficulty breathing or very fast respiration
  • Limbs at strange angles
  • Signs of pain, such as not wanting to move, vocalising, fast respiration or aggressive when usually placid


Would you like to read the rest of this informative article? Get the Winter #346 edition of Animaltalk magazine from retailers now or order a digital or printed version from www.coolmags.co.za.


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