Is it an emergency?

Examples of emergencies

Examples of emergencies where the veterinarian should be contacted:

Collision/accident: Be alert for tightness of the chest or lethargy. Even if nothing seems wrong, your animal should be seen by a doctor. There may be internal injuries, which do not always immediately result in symptoms.

(Severe) shortness of breath: breathing with open mouth, with much noise, gasping for breath, the tongue may turn blue, increased or decreased respiration rate. Always contact the veterinarian.

Bleeding: Press the bleeding closed with your fingers, a clean cloth or bandage. In case of arterial bleeding, the blood really squirts out of the wound in regular waves, then the blood vessels in the armpit or groin have to be closed. You can apply a tourniquet with a belt, scarf or shoelace. Important: briefly relieve the pressure every 15 minutes so that the tissues are not completely deprived of blood. Try to place the bleeding body part higher than the trunk. First take measures to stem the bleeding, then contact the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Injuries: Cover the wound with a clean cloth, do not remove any penetrating foreign bodies. In case of bite wounds, antibiotics are almost always necessary because of the bacteria found in animals' mouths. No matter how small the wound appears to be, it should be checked by the veterinarian.

Rapidly distended belly (gastric torsion): vomiting is empty, the dog continues to vomit without anything coming out (at most some mucus), and the belly swells behind the ribs. Occurs mainly in large breeds. Is absolutely urgent, because it can have a deadly outcome! Contact us directly!

Allergic reaction: After intake of a poisonous substance (medicine/insect bite/poisonous flowers or plants etc), swelling on the head and/or all over the body may occur. There may also be respiratory problems, diarrhoea, itching or redness of the skin.

Poisons: Depending on the substance ingested, numerous symptoms are possible. When calling, please have the package (if any) at hand, estimate the amount ingested and if not known to the vet, state the weight of the dog. For each poisoning, it will be necessary to determine whether the ingested substance is harmful, requires action or requires treatment. Chocolate, for example, can be very toxic. The seriousness of the situation after ingestion of chocolate strongly depends on the weight of the dog, the quantity and the type of chocolate. Always contact your dog after ingestion of chocolate to find out whether any action is necessary.
If unconscious after ingestion of a poison, place the head lower than the trunk to prevent vomit from entering the lungs. Pull the tongue out a little.

Ingestion of foreign bodies: Dogs, but also cats, can eat the strangest things. Contrary to what many people think, this does not always pass easily through the gastrointestinal tract, after which it can be excreted. Objects can clot or harden under the influence of digestive juices, causing them to get stuck halfway. Contact us as soon as possible after ingestion.

Inability to urinate/poop: The animal is constantly pushing (sometimes also inside the house), but hardly anything comes out. Inability to urinate, especially in male animals, is a real emergency. The narrow urethra may be obstructed by e.g. cystitis or inflammation. The bladder becomes overcrowded, resulting in kidney damage. This can be fatal. It is particularly common in males. Contact the vet as soon as possible, especially in males!

Birth problems: When pushing for more than half an hour without result or when the mother has stopped pushing due to exhaustion or in case of extreme blood loss, contact the veterinarian.

Eye problems: In case of serious injury or luxation (bulging) of the eye. The latter may occur especially in short-snouted pedigree dogs. Keep the eye moist with for example salad oil and cover it with a clean cloth. Make sure the animal cannot damage the eye further by scratching it or shaking its head. If you have a collar in the house, put it on.

Bone fractures: Cover external injuries with a clean cloth. Try to stabilise the animal so that the fractures cannot be aggravated by unexpected movements.

Acute paralysis: The sudden inability to move one of the body parts and/or dragging of the legs.

Vomiting/diarrhoea: Vomiting and/or diarrhoea is not always an emergency. But if the symptoms are continuous, if there is blood in the vomit or the faeces, if the condition is deteriorating and/or the animal is very lethargic, it becomes serious. Especially in young animals, this can be very dangerous. If an animal vomits faeces, it is absolutely urgent!
With mild symptoms you can give your animal small portions of easily digestible food. And make sure the animal drinks enough.

Burns: Cool immediately with lukewarm water and contact the doctor. Do not use ice!

Hypothermia: Help your animal to warm up by rubbing and with blankets and hot water bottles (never put a hot water bottle directly on an animal, always wrap a cloth around it).

Overheating: For example, after being in a car in the sun. Symptoms are panting/rumbling, pale mucous membranes, drooling, or even unconsciousness. Take the animal to a cool place and cool with water and/or wet rags, but beware of hypothermia. Do not use ice! Let the animal drink water. Remove the collar and/or harness. In case of overheating an animal must always be seen by a veterinarian and will be given infusions.

Seizures (epilepsy):  For short-lived seizures, note the time and frequency and inform the veterinarian if necessary. In case of a persistent seizure lasting more than five to ten minutes, contact the veterinarian immediately. Do not transport the animal during a seizure unless the veterinarian wants you to come immediately.
During a seizure the animal may have the following symptoms: dilated pupils, reduced reaction capacity, trembling or stiff muscles and convulsions. The animal may also salivate or defecate.
Seizures look scary but are usually not life-threatening. Make sure your animal lies quietly in a stable position, avoid stimuli from the environment (turn off the radio/tv). If possible, you can film the attack. If it happens often, these images can give the vet useful information. Avoid going near the mouth, the animal can (unintentionally) bite you!

Severe itching/skin irritation: If an animal is constantly itching and scratching/biting/licking at a particular spot, the size of the affected area can increase explosively in a short time (a so-called hot spot).

Vaginal discharge: A female cat or bitch who has not been spayed and has discharge from the vagina could have a uterine infection. Other symptoms may include sluggishness, heavy drinking, frequent urination and fever.

Rabbit not eating: If a rabbit (or guinea pig) does not eat for a day, the intestines can shut down. This can even be fatal. Rabbits and rodents that show signs of illness are often sicker than their owners suspect. Because they are by nature prey animals, they will not easily show that they are ill.

Extreme lethargy or unconsciousness: the causes are manifold, contact us as soon as possible.
Hypo (in an animal with diabetes): A diabetic with a hypo has a blood sugar level that is too low, e.g. because too much insulin was given and/or because the cat had eaten too little before the insulin was given. Symptoms range from trembling, being hungry, staggering, uncoordinated movements, restlessness, convulsions to falling over and going into shock or even coma. Feed the animal immediately if it can still eat itself, preferably tinned food as this is absorbed more quickly. If the animal can no longer eat, apply dextrose, honey or syrup to the inside of the cheeks/under the tongue or on the gums. Afterwards, contact the veterinarian immediately.

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