Having a pet can be an extremely rewarding experience. However, it’s not without its difficulties. One of the most challenging parts of pet ownership is learning how to recognize when your pet is dealing with an emergency and when she can wait to see her regular vet.

Many pet owners worry that they won’t respond quickly enough to pet emergencies and will cause their pets to suffer or even die. On the other hand, pet owners also worry that they might take their pets to the emergency vet too quickly when the problem could have just waited for a regular vet appointment.

Finding the right balance between these concerns can be difficult, but with the right information and some practice, you can learn to recognize emergencies in your pet’s life.

Go to the Emergency Vet if Your Pet is Having Trouble Breathing

Trouble breathing can be an indicator of wide variety of health problems. Your pet might have a respiratory infection or could have inhaled or swallowed something that is blocking her airways. She could be having an anaphylactic reaction to a snake or insect bite, or she might be dealing with a severe asthma attack.

All of these situations can potentially be emergencies. Take your pet to the emergency vet right away if you notice she is struggling to breathe and especially if she cannot breathe at all.

Go to the Emergency Vet if Your Pet Has Been Injured

Injuries may not look serious from the outside, but there’s always a risk your pet could be bleeding internally or could have a broken bone that isn’t visible to you. For this reason, it’s important to take your pet the emergency vet if she has been injured, even if it doesn’t look too bad.

Injuries may include vehicle accidents, stings or bites from insects or snakes, attacks from other domestic or wild animals, falls, and more. By taking your pet to the emergency vet in these situations, you can help her recover faster.

Go to the Emergency Vet if Your Pet’s Known Condition is Getting Worse

If your pet has been diagnosed with a known health problem such as heart disease or liver failure, you must learn to live with a new normal in your furry friend’s life. However, if that normal suddenly grows worse than it has been so far, this can be an indicator that you should go to the emergency vet.

Recognize, however, that going to the emergency vet during a crisis in a situation like this can sometimes signify the end of your pet’s life. The emergency vet will work with you to make the right decision about your pet in these difficult circumstances.

Go to the Emergency Vet if You Can’t Wake Up Your Pet

If your pet has become so sick or injured that she will not wake up for any reason, this is a serious problem and needs to be handled by an emergency vet immediately. An inability to rouse may be an indicator that your pet has a neurological condition or brain injury, or it could be a sign of a very high fever or some other serious problem.

In any of these situations, the emergency vet will run a variety of tests to make it easier to determine the cause of your pet’s inability to rouse.

Go to the Emergency Vet if Your Pet is Having Seizures

Finally, if your pet is having seizures, this may be a good time to go to the emergency vet. Take your pet to the emergency vet if she’s never had a seizure before and this is her first one, or if she has a history of seizures but is having several within an hour or so.

Additionally, if your pet has a seizure that lasts longer than two minutes, this is another time to take her to the emergency vet. Seizures that last this long are very serious and dangerous. If your pet has a known seizure condition and has one seizure that isn’t longer than two minutes, however, you can skip the emergency vet.

Are You Still Unsure?

When it’s time to make a call about taking your pet to the emergency vet, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. If you’re unsure or still undecided, you should probably go ahead and take her to the emergency vet. Indecision means the situation isn’t clear enough to appear fine, so vet care is never a bad idea in these circumstances.

If you have any further questions or concerns, be sure to contact Windy Hill Veterinary Hospital at (770) 333-9030 or the emergency vet right away. If you decide that it’s better to wait until your regular vet is available, remember that it can be difficult for animal hospitals to see patients for same day are in some instances.