iStock_000021271015_MediumIt is a terrible feeling to be caught wondering whether you need to bring your pet in for immediate or emergency care, or if the problem can wait until normal business hours. When in doubt, always call us so we can advise you on the best course of action for your pet. Come in or call during regular business hours, or phone our emergency on-call Veterinarian after business hours.

It never hurts to be educated, though, especially when it comes to pet emergencies and what symptoms are the most serious.

What is a Pet Emergency?

Some things always need attention immediately. This does not mean the situation is life-threatening, but rather that it may be serious and should be evaluated by a veterinarian without delay so that any necessary actions can be taken. The following always should be seen as soon as possible and should not wait:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Fainting or collapse episodes
  • Seizures, especially if your pet has not be evaluated for them previously
  • Problems with the eye(s)
  • Trauma (such as a dogfight or car accident, even if there are no visible injuries)
  • Significant bleeding
  • Sudden changes in behavior or demeanor
  • Sudden lameness
  • Inability to urinate or defecate
  • Ingestion or exposure of a toxin
  • Vomiting or diarrhea that persists for more than one episode
  • Anything that has you concerned warrants further investigation, and we are always happy to discuss the symptoms or examine your pet if needed.

    What to Do in a Pet Emergency

    If you do have a pet emergency, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and don’t forget the following:

  • If you can, call us ahead of time so that we can prepare for your arrival.
  • If it is outside of our normal hospital hours, please call our emergency care line at (630) 337-3070.
  • During business hours, phone our regular business number: 630-665-1500, or simply bring your pet to our emergency center.
  • Step back and assess the situation. Does your pet need CPR started or to have any injuries stabilized? Or bleeding stopped? Consider keeping a small pet first-aid kit on hand.
  • Be careful when transporting a sick or injured pet.
  • Do not handle your pet more than necessary. If you must move or touch your pet, be sure to stay at a safe distance and use equipment such as a muzzle to be safe. Any pet may bite or scratch when hurting or scared. Never muzzle a vomiting pet or one that is having trouble breathing.
  • If your pet has been exposed to a suspected toxin, be sure to bring along any packaging you might have.
  • Avoid giving your pet any medications without direct veterinary supervision. Many medications can hinder our ability to diagnose and treat your pet, even if they have been prescribed for your pet at another time.
  • We hope that you never experience a pet emergency, but if you do it helps to be prepared. Sometimes it is obvious that your pet should be seen right away, but other times things aren’t so clear cut. Be rest assured that we are here for you no matter what your needs, day or night. If you ever need help determining how to best help your pet, we hope you won’t hesitate to call us. Your pet is our primary interest.