Some pet problems, like vomiting, can either be indicative of something serious or totally innocuous. Most pet health symptoms fall in the gray area between "definitely problematic" and "wait-and-see." Which, though, are always an emergency? If your pet is displaying any of these 5 symptoms, rush him to an emergency veterinary clinic as soon as possible.
1. Trouble Breathing/Nonstop Coughing
If your pet is having trouble catching his breath it means he's not getting enough oxygen to his brain. Labored breathing can quickly turn into no breathing at all. During this time, he'll likely be showing other signs of distress such as rasping, wheezing, coughing, drooling, or even loss of consciousness. If you suspect your pet's having respiratory trouble no matter the reason, get him to the closest veterinary clinic immediately.
2. Staggering or Loss of Balance
Motor coordination is one of the first things to go if your pet is having a medical emergency. Many neurological conditions such as stroke or seizure start with loss of coordination. The inability to stand could also mean your pet's suffering from acute toxicity, in cardiac distress, or be having an internal hemorrhage. A sudden lack of strength or coordination is always something you should take seriously.
3. Straining to Urinate
Your pet's urination and defecation habits are some of the best windows into his overall health. A pet that suddenly can't urinate - especially a male - could be suffering from a severe blockage within his urinary tract. Not only is this incredibly painful, it can quickly become deadly. If your pet can't urinate, his body can't rid itself of dangerous toxins that will poison him from the inside. Blood in urine can also be a sign of a partial urinary blockage; reach out to an emergency vet in either case.
4. Refusal to Drink
If a pet refuses to drink for more than 24 hours, something is wrong. His body is sending him signs that it can't or doesn't want to process water which is indicative of an underlying health issue such as disease, acute pain, an episodic event. Once a pet has gone more than 24 hours without water, he'll quickly become dangerously dehydrated...his body will start shutting down after just 36-48 hours without water. Dehydration should always be treated as quickly as possible to minimize long-term effects.
5. Eye or Gum Discoloration
The white part of your pet's eyes can tell you a lot about what's going on inside his body. Redness of the eyes could point to a serious infection or even acute glaucoma. Yellow or brownish eyes may mean there's a buildup of toxicity inside your pet's body. Likewise, his gums are a good indicator of how much oxygen is circulating through his system. Purple, blue, white, or yellow gums should always be treated as an emergency. If you suspect your pet may be in the middle of a medical emergency, don't hesitate. You'll never regret heading to an emergency clinic even if it turns out to be nothing, but you'll always regret it if the situation is reversed.
Is your pet experiencing a non-emergency issue?