Even though your pet means the world to you, rushing to the vet every time your dog or cat seems under the weather could quickly break the bank. Fortunately, animals are resilient and can overcome many minor health issues with rest and TLC.
However, some signs really are emergencies and getting immediate medical attention for your pet could mean the difference between life and death. Here are eight conditions that you should never ignore:
1. Trouble Breathing
Many dangerous conditions can cause a dog or cat to have difficulty breathing, which is different from shortness of breath. Some of the more serious symptoms to watch for include constant panting or open-mouthed breathing; coughing; blue-tinged gums; and froth or foam coming from the mouth.
2. Blood in Vomit, Stool or Urine
Just as it can in humans, blood in your cat or dog’s urine, feces or vomit can signify a serious internal problem. Causes may range from ulcers, urinary tract infections or colitis to parasites, foreign bodies or tumors. Some conditions are much easier to treat than others, but they all require medical attention.
Convulsions definitely warrant a visit to the vet. While you don’t need to rush to the emergency clinic unless the seizure lasts more than a few minutes or your pet has several seizures in a row, it’s important to determine the cause. It could be epilepsy, an infection or a brain tumor, among other conditions.
4. Loss of Balance
If your pet suddenly seems to be bumping into things or seems noticeably less coordinated, you should call your vet’s office. It may be an ear infection but serious issues can also cause a loss of balance, such as a stroke, injury, poisoning or neurological disorders.
5. Unable to Stand
Should your dog or cat suddenly lose the ability to stand without help, you should contact your vet immediately. Your pet could be suffering from low blood sugar, a fracture, internal bleeding or several other life-threatening conditions.
6. Inability to Urinate
The inability to pass urine is life-threatening for dogs or cats. Severe conditions such as bladder stones, a mucus plug or tumors can make it impossible for pets to pee, which can quickly lead to kidney failure as well as heart problems.
7. Ingested Something Harmful
Our pets often eat items that they shouldn’t. Sometimes they’ll pass it without a problem. But if your dog or cat has eaten something a poisonous substance, a toy or food that is harmful to pets, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. Immediate help could save your precious pet’s life.
8. Swollen Belly
Gastric dilatation-volvulus, commonly referred to as bloat, is a grave condition requiring emergency medical treatment. Basically it means that your pet’s stomach has distended so big from food or liquid that it’s suppressing other organs. Along with a distended tummy, symptoms may include drooling, pacing and retching without vomiting.
We don’t mean to alarm you. However, keeping our pet safe and healthy is high on your list of priorities and knowing whether a symptom is serious or not can be a challenge. If you are concerned about these or any other signs of illness your dog or cat is exhibiting, don’t hesitate to give your vet a quick call.