There are not many occasions when a pet has to be treated as an emergency but certain situations do necessitate quick and correct action on the part of the owner to try and save the life of the pet.
Trauma usually occurs as a result of bite wounds, motor vehicle accidents or other types of penetrating wounds. Here the first action should be to stem any severe bleeding and then immediately transport your pet to a veterinary facility. To stem the bleeding a temporary tourniquet or local pressure can be applied on the wound using something like a towel.
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Poisoning is becoming less frequent but any signs of convulsions or seizures should be treated as possible poisoning. In these cases prompt action is of utmost importance so do not waste time trying to self-treat by administering things such as milk. Bleeding from body cavities may indicate that rat poison was ingested. If rat poison, snail bait or insecticides have been ingested, try to bring the poison container with you so that the vet can administer the correct antidote.
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Acute haemorrhage (bleeding) may be caused by trauma but is also commonly
caused by rupture of large vessels and tumours such as splenic tumours. In these
cases the animal goes into terminal shock very quickly and will collapse and go into a
coma. Unfortunately the prognosis in these cases is very poor and even if rushed to the
vet the pet may succumb.
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Gastric torsion or torsion of other abdominal organs usually manifest very acutely with
pain, discomfort and vomiting. These conditions often arise after pets are fed a
large meal and are more common in big dogs. If the pet is transported to a vet as soon
as possible medical and surgical treatment can be successful. Unfortunately the outcome
of this condition is also often fatal.
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Severe dehydration due to vomiting and/or diarrhoea. This is most common where
dogs are not vaccinated and contract Parvo infections. The younger the pup and smaller
in size the more severe the signs are. The condition is especially severe where the
stools are bloody and very watery. In these cases the pet must be hospitalised as soon as
possible and put on a drip.
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Insect bites or stings may cause acute swelling of affected areas as well as possible
breathing problems. If near a veterinary facility injections of antihistamines are usually
very effective. Where owners are far from a vet they may administer oral antihistamines.
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Snake bites. These depend on the type of snake involved, so always try and identify the species. The type of snake will determine the treatment as well as the prognosis. The smaller the pet bitten the worse is the effect of the snake bite. Heat stroke. Where animals are exposed to extreme temperatures, such as in closed vehicles, heat stroke often arises. If suspected put the aircon of the car on full and wet the pet thoroughly before driving as soon as possible to the animal hospital. This condition also arises when pets are exercised during very hot weather.
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In all cases where owners suspect that the condition of their pet is critical, it is very important for them to convey this information – in as much detail as possible – to the reception staff when they arrive at the vet. The staff can then prioritise their pet’s treatment with the vet and other staff on duty. The history supplied to the vet and the staff by the client must be as accurate as possible, even though the client may be under emotional stress at the time. It is also advisable to phone the vet to warn them that you are bringing an emergency in.