WebMD has an appropriate disclaimer on the Pet Health Community website. It says, “The Pet Health Community and Pet Health Center are NOT substitutes for a vet visit. Contact a vet in an emergency!”, but readers and WebMD staff still remind community members to seek the attention of a veterinarian. I wonder if pet owners are unsure as to what constitutes a pet emergency emergency. Here are my top ten reasons to go to the emergency room, listed in no particular order.
1. Vomiting or diarrhea — not the run of the mill variety, but more than 2 or 3 times in an hour or if it is bloody. If the retching is unproductive in a dog with a distended abdomen, worry about bloat.
2. Red eye, runny eye or an eye injury. The littlest eye injury can quickly turn into a big problem.
3. Ingestion of a possible toxin, such as antifreeze (ethelene glycol), rat poison, human medications or a toxic plant.
4. Difficulty breathing or excessive coughing. Your dog might hold her head and neck extended to get more air or your cat might start breathing through his mouth.
5. Traumatic event such as being hit by a car or falling from a window. On the outside your pet might look fine, but internally may have suffered a serious injury.
6. Straining to urinate, especially if no urine is being produced.
7. Collapse, loss of consciousness or a possible seizure. Early intervention could prevent another one of these frightening episodes.
8. Bleeding from anywhere: a cut, a torn toenail or serious bruising under the skin.
9. An acute allergic reaction, especially if it involves swelling of the face and could compromise breathing.
10. Just to show the ER doctors how much better your pet is feeling and to thank them!
For more great pet safety and wellness information, please join the Animal Medical Center‘s Junior Committee for PAW Day 2011: Pet and Wellness Fun, a health fair for families and their pets! Sunday May 15, 2011, 9am –12 noon, featuring AMC veterinarians, information on preventative care, children’s area with Spot the dog, pet safety information, and much more! For more information or to make a contribution, please call 212.329.8660 or visit www.amcny.org.