1. Look for tell-tale signs that your pet's not OK
Common situations that require immediate attention from a vet include broken bones, severe wounds, poisoning, heat stroke, paralysis ticks, and reactions to other animal and insect bites or stings.1 You should never delay seeing a vet if you suspect that your pet is suffering from something serious.
A broken bone could be visible or not, and generally indicated by pain or lameness. A suspected break or fracture will need quick review from a vet.2 The same applies for wounds that won't stop bleeding,2 and severe pain or swelling. If you know that your pet has been hit by a car or attacked by another dog, and only appears to be in shock, a visit the vet to assess injuries that might not be obvious: internal bleeding, damage to organs, or the head.1 Some issues may not become apparent for 12 to 24 hours post the incident.1
Tell-tale symptoms of poisoning include:
- Blood in urine
If you suspect your dog has been exposed to common dog poisons or your cat has ingested something dangerous (including some plants and certain human foods),3 it's essential to seek assistance. Poisoning can pass with minimal consequences but it could also be fatal and it can be immediate or take several days to affect your pet. Taking some of the suspected material along with you to the vet could assist with diagnosis and treatment.4
Heat stroke might be noticeable by breathing distress, very red or very pale gums, drooling, seizures, agitation, collapsing, very low urine production, shaking, and vomiting, among other symptoms.5
Paralysis tick bite
If your pet is scratching, vomiting, showing signs of paralysis or muscle weakness, and/or a fever, you need to act immediately to prevent a paralysis tick bite becoming fatal.
Signs of a snake bite might include:
- Muscle twitching
- Loss of bladder/bowel control
- Dilated pupils
- Blood in urine6
If you can identify the snake, take note of the type but don’t try to catch the snake. Testing at the vet can take place to determine the correct anti-venom.6