What are Common Pet Emergencies?

Part of being a responsible pet parent is ensuring that your furry friend is happy and healthy. No one likes to see their pet suffering. It can be especially frightening if you do not know whether the situation is an emergency. If you are in doubt, contact your veterinarian immediately. Prompt action can help save the life of your pet. 

Symptoms of Pain

Many animals may try to hide their suffering. However, some signs can indicate that your pet is in pain. They include agitation, excessive panting, restlessness, a rapid heart rate, and aggression. It can be hard to determine the cause or location of the pain. If your pet exhibits abnormal behavior, it could be due to pain. If you notice signs of distress, your pet may require emergency care. 

Difficulty Breathing

When the airway is compromised, it can lead to respiratory problems. Your pet may find it difficult to breathe, and it can be due to issues such as allergic reactions, trauma, toxins, and heart failure. 

Difficulty breathing can also be due to infectious agents or air leakage and is considered a severe problem. Immediate evaluation is necessary to determine the cause, and it needs emergency care. A radiograph can help evaluate the airways and lungs. 


Seizures can indicate abnormal brain activity and can be triggered by intracranial or extracranial problems. Intracranial issues include brain tumors, swelling, and epilepsy, while extracranial problems may be due to low blood sugar. 

Seizures can be life-threatening regardless of the cause and can happen singly or in clusters. If your pet experiences a seizure, contact your vet immediately. They may occur at any frequency and time and require emergency care.  

Toxin Ingestion

Pets are curious about their surroundings and often try to eat or play with anything they find. It can lead to poisoning, which can occur through ingestion, skin absorption, or inhalation. Plants, insecticides, medications, cleaners, antifreeze, batteries, chocolate, and paint are common toxins around the home. If you suspect your pet may have been exposed to a toxic substance, you need emergency care. 

Injury or Blunt Force Trauma


Many pets suffer injury or blunt force trauma at some point in their life. The pet’s outward appearance after the injury can be deceptive. A fall or minor bump can result in internal injuries that can take a long to manifest. Contact the vet immediately if your pet falls, is hit by a car, or experiences blunt-force trauma. Internal injuries can be life-threatening and require emergency care. 

Other pet emergencies include difficulty urinating, choking, and coughing; others include vomiting, diarrhea, and allergic reactions. Contact the vet immediately if your pet suffers bite wounds after a fight. The bite can result in severe damage to the underlying tissues and can be more extensive than is apparent. 

Emergency vet care can help prevent severe infections and serious health issues. If your vet does not provide services after working hours, contact a vet clinic or hospital that provides round-the-clock care. 

For more on common pet emergencies, visit Kankakee Animal Hospital at our office in Kankakee, Illinois. Call (815) 332-0600 to book an appointment today.

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