Fast Facts and Warning Signs

Animal - Illness

Allergic Reaction

Signs:
Fever, vomiting/diarrhoea, hives, scratching, chewing at feet, swollen face or puffiness around eyes, trouble breathing.
Actions:
Call a veterinarian immediately. Allergic reactions should be treated as soon as possible to prevent shock. An exam by a veterinarian should still be performed on your pet, even if the reaction gets better.

Abdominal Pain

Signs:
Whining, listless/restless, lethargic, arching back, unable to get comfortable, vomiting/ diarrhoea, bloated or distended abdomen.
Actions:
DO NOT give your pet food or water — this may induce vomiting and make the condition worse. Abdominal pain can be very serious and is often life threatening if not addressed. Limit the activity of your pet, carry them if possible. You can put small pets in a box or carrier. Call a veterinarian immediately and seek professional help as soon as possible.

Cardiac Emergencies

Signs:
Collapse, weakness bluish or gray gum colour, rapid/slow heart rate.
Actions:
Call and seek veterinary care immediately. Such emergencies should not be taken lightly as they are often life threatening. Limit your pet’s activity, carry them if possible. If your pet stops breathing or loses consciousness, view the pet CPR section below.

Diarrhoea

Signs:
A few episodes of diarrhoea can be due to stress or change in the animal’s diet. Make sure that your pet continues to drink water and substitute a bland diet for 12-24 hours. If the diarrhoea persists for more than 24 hours, seek veterinary care immediately. If your pet is showing other signs of illness (vomiting/lethargy/weakness) do not wait 12 to 24 hours, seek veterinary care as soon as possible. If there appears to be blood in your pet’s diarrhoea, seek veterinary attention right away. Diarrhoea can often be a symptom of more serious illness or disease.

Ear Emergencies

Signs:
Scratching at ears, shaking head, whining, head tilting, swollen/puffy ear flap, strange odour or discharge from ear(s).
Actions:
See or call your regular veterinarian within 24 to discuss your pet’s particular symptoms.

Eye Emergencies

Signs:
Squinting, discharge/tearing, redness, swelling, bleeding, different pupil size.
Actions:
If there is an obvious laceration or foreign object in or around the eye, seek veterinary care immediately. DO NOT try to bandage the laceration or remove the object. If the source of the irritation is known to be chemical or fine debris/dirt, flush the eye(s) with sterile saline (or clean water) immediately for 5 to 10 minutes and then seek veterinary care. Eye injuries and infections can get worse very quickly, IMMEDIATE diagnosis and treatment is critical in the preservation of your pet’s eyesight.

Heat Emergencies and Dehydration

Signs:
Panting (excessive), lethargic, unable to stand, uncoordinated movements, vomiting or diarrhoea.
Actions:
Move your pet to a cool area as soon as possible, seek shade or the indoors. Keep them calm and still, DO NOT try to get them to stop panting, this is how your pet expels heat. If water is nearby, encourage your pet to stand or lay down in cool water. Put small amounts of water on the tongue, or offer them ice cubes to eat. If not vomiting, your pet should respond rapidly (10 to 15 minutes). If your pet does not seem to respond to the cooling therapy, if they lose consciousness or have great difficulty breathing, or the skin on the back of their neck does not spring back to normal position immediately when pulled, seek veterinary care immediately. Light coloured animals can get sunburned just like people. Encourage them to stay in the shade and ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on sun blocks for your pet.

Neurological Emergencies

Signs:
Inability to use limb(s), unable to stand, circling, seizures, head tilt, abnormal behaviour.
Actions:
Seek veterinary care as soon as possible, neurologic disease is difficult to treat and is often very serious. If your pet is unable to walk, carry them to the car. If they are too big to carry, use a towel (under the abdomen, in front of rear legs) to support the hind end or use a heavy blanket as a stretcher to carry them to the car. Professional diagnosis and treatment is recommended as soon as possible.

Respiratory Emergencies

Signs:
Collapse, weakness, bluish or gray gum colour, rapid or shallow breathing.
Actions:
Call and seek veterinary care immediately. Such emergencies should not be taken lightly as they are often life threatening. Look in your pet’s mouth, look for any foreign object that may be obstructing the airway. ONLY try to remove the object (with tweezers or pliers) if it is COMPLETELY stopping your pet from breathing. If they can still pass some air (wheezing) get them to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible. Limit your pet’s activity, carry them if possible. If your pet stops breathing or loses consciousness, view the pet CPR section.

Seizures

Signs:
Shaking (uncontrollably), tremors, strange facial movements, unable to stand, paddling (swimming action) with paws, loss of bowel or urinary control.
Actions:
DO NOT try to restrain your pet during an episode. Move objects away that may cause injury during the seizure and, if possible, place the animal onto a soft surface, such as carpeting. CALL a veterinarian immediately. Try to get your pet to the veterinary hospital as soon as possible.

Urinary Emergencies

Signs:
Frequent urination or straining, blood in urine, difficulty urinating, vomiting.
Actions:
Animals can develop urinary blockage and infections just like people. Once you have detected the signs of a problem, CALL your veterinarian and take your pet in as soon as possible. The problem most likely has been going on longer than you realized. DO NOT wait and observe the pet to see how they do.

Vomiting

Signs:
Look for signs of foreign material or strange food in the vomit. When you call the veterinarian, let them know of any recent history of your pet eating foreign objects or new foods (trash). Rest the stomach for 4-6 hours by offering no food and water. Then try small amounts of water and bland food every two hours. If there is no further vomiting, you can return your pet to a normal diet. If the vomiting persists, or if your pet shows other signs of illness, seek veterinary care immediately. If your pet has unproductive vomiting(nothing comes out), see your veterinarian immediately.
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