When to Seek Help for Your Pet from an Emergency Vet

Veterinary Specialists of the Rockies emergency veterinarians know that providing 24/7 vet care can save a pet’s life when moments count. For pet owners, it can be tough to know when a pet health issue requires an emergency vet visit, and it is more difficult to tell in some pets than in others.  If your pet’s condition involves:

  • Poison
  • Obvious trauma
  • Puncture wounds
  • Not breathing
  • Injury and a steady flow of blood

…then seeking emergency vet care is urgently needed. We are here at our Castle Rock 24/7 veterinary hospital to provide compassionate emergency and specialty care for your pets, 365 days a year. Call us at 303.660.1027 or just come right to the hospital with your pet emergency.

It can help to pre-plan your driving route to our veterinary hospital in case of emergency. We suggest that you save our address in your phone under something easy to find, like a contact entry under your pet’s name. Our emergency vet hospital is located at 774 Maleta Lane, Castle Rock, CO, 80108, one block north of Founders Parkway, just off I25.  

The ASPCA Poison Control Hotline number is 1.888.426.4435 — fees may apply. If you suspect that your pet has consumed something poisonous, either chemically, from a plant or food (see a list of things that are unsafe for pets to eat in our top 7 things to keep away from pets blog post) call the hotline, contact us, or bring your pet in immediately.

Is it Time for an Emergency Vet Visit?

Some types of life-threatening injuries that require emergency vet care can be more difficult to recognize. Our Castle Rock emergency vet care facility is staffed around the clock to help in case of dog emergencies or very sick cats.

Your pet is your best friend or a much-loved member of your family. Knowing just how important your pet is to you (we feel the same way about our pets!) we are here to help you learn to spot the pet health crisis situations when your fluffy buddy or fur baby needs emergency vet care right away.

A way to think about seeking emergency vet care is that it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are experiencing what you think is a pet emergency, don’t wait. Call or come right to our 24/7 vet hospital and we can help.

Signs that Your Pet Needs Emergency Veterinary Care

Knowing your pet’s regular schedule and behavior can help in knowing what to look for when they start acting strangely to understand if your dog or cat could need emergency care. Some signs that your pet may have a life-threatening illness (like heat stroke or poisoning) or injury (like from an accident) include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Excessive vomiting or diarrhea (more than two to three times in an hour)
  • Eye injury (no matter how mild)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty standing
  • Apparent paralysis
  • Pale gums
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Change in body temperature
  • Hunched-up appearance (especially if the belly seems tight)

Specific Times Your Pet Needs Emergency Vet Care

There are several specific indications of the need for emergency vet care:

  • Abnormal breathing patterns: If your pet seems to be gasping for air, with fast and shallow breaths even when they are resting, or if it seems that they are using their abdominal muscles to breathe, and there is no known reason that this should be happening, please bring your pet in. This is also indicated by any kind of rapid breathing of more than 40 breaths per minute when sleeping or resting without any obvious reason, like just coming back from a run.  
  • Painful urination: If your pet cat has trouble urinating, they may go in and out of their litter box frequently or vocalize their pain while doing so. Please bring them in if you’re noticing this behavior. Further, if your cat or your dog seems to be straining to urinate or defecate, this is a sign of a potential health emergency, so please call or bring them in.

Getting Your Pet to the Emergency Vet

If your dog or your cat is experiencing a painful event that calls for emergency vet care, they may be in great pain and even act unusually or aggressively toward you. Knowing this, while you prepare to handle or transport your pet to our 24-hour pet hospital please protect yourself. To safely get pets to an animal emergency center:

  • For a cat in need of medical attention, gently place a towel over its head to prevent them from biting you. Then slowly lift your cat and transfer them to a carrier and then into your vehicle.
  • For a dog in distress, try to remain calm and approach your dog slowly. Say their name as you approach, and if they don’t show aggressive behavior, gently place them into a carrier or on a leash and into your vehicle. However, if the hairs on their back are raised, or if they are showing their teeth and growling, or if they display any other signs of aggression toward you, call us or another professional for assistance.

Learn Pet First Aid Basics

We suggest that you learn enough pet first aid to be able to give your fur friend and family member a better chance of surviving a pet medical emergency. A few pet first aid skills and a little knowledge can help you if the worst happens and you have an injured dog or sick cat who needs immediate care. It may make the difference between getting your pet to our emergency vet clinic alive or losing them on the way here.

You may want to start with an introduction to pet first aid via the approximately 35-minute Cat and Dog First Aid Online Training course for $25 from the Red Cross. It will teach you how to check your pet’s vital signs and care for them in critical emergency situations until they can be examined by a veterinary professional. Though it is designed for dog and cat owners, some of the skills you learn may be transferable to the care of other animals.

This is not a substitute for emergency veterinary care but can help you to keep your pet alive until you’re able to have them evaluated by a professional.

What is Your Pet Health Emergency Plan?

By thinking ahead and mentally preparing for a pet emergency, you’ll be able to respond more quickly and effectively to your friend’s needs. This means knowing where first aid supplies are in the case of a traumatic event (such as a cut paw). Additionally, it means having the phone number of your local veterinarian, as well as a 24-hour emergency pet hospital, easily accessible.

Though you might know the way to your family veterinarian by memory, it is a good idea to double-check how to get to our 24/7 vet hospital or your nearest 24-hour pet hospital before there is an emergency.

Conclusion: Getting Emergency Pet Care

Though some emergency pet care situations will be more evident than others, paying close attention to your pet will help you to identify more subtle but just as life-threatening situations, such as poisoning, accidents, or heat stroke.

A way to think about seeking emergency vet care is that it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are experiencing what you think is a pet emergency, don’t wait. Call or come right to our 24/7 vet hospital and we can help.

By identifying anything strange with your friend, from breathing patterns to painful urination, you’ll be able to take the best care of your pet, keeping them healthy, and giving you both the chance to live a longer life together.

MORE ARTICLES AND INFORMATION FOR HEALTHY PETS

Pet Safety Tips for the Holidays

Are Easter Lilies Poisonous to Cats?

Introduction to Dog ACL Surgery

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