Emergency pet care

Emergency pet care starts with trying to define what an emergency is in terms of pet health. This can be more difficult than one would expect because what constitutes an emergency is usually defined by the pet owner. The interpretation of an emergency therefore can vary widely depending on that person's previous experience, there knowledge of what is normal , and the extent of the human- animal bond.

Emergency pet care can usually be divided into 2 broad categories. The first is usually an obvious emergency e.g. Pet is run over by a car or bitten by a known poisonous snake . In these cases the pet has been fine up till the incident that triggers the emergency and the pet owner can often make good use of a first aid kit and, if necessary, CPR ,to help alleviate the situation until the pet can be got to a veterinarian

The second broad category is the "end stage" of a medical condition and for most people this is far more difficult to recognise as an emergency. In these cases the pet may not have been 100% healthy for a preceeding period of time, but this might not have been evident or the pets altered behaviour was deemed to be of no consequence. An example here would be a male cat with a blocked bladder. The signs might have been there for a few hours or days (e.g. spending long periods in the litter box) while the condition developed. However, once the urethra becomes totally blocked and the cat cannot pass any urine, the situation rapidly becomes a life threatening one.

From an emergency pet care point of view, there is probably very little you can do for the second broad category of emergency. The best thing you can do for a pet in this situation is to get the animal to a vet as fast as you can. Phone ahead if possible to alert the vet to the situation and try to write down as much as you can about the pets behaviour over the past few hours/days/weeks.

For most pet owners, pet emergencies are a traumatic experience usually undertaken in a blur of activity.

By writing everything down, you force yourself to slow down and think. Once at the vet the written notes decrease the chance of you forgetting to tell the vet something that might be of importance. Although you might be in an agitated state, remember that the vet will have to ask you a range of questions in order to focus the search for a diagnosis and then institute the appropriate treatment.

Category one emergencies such as open wounds, snake bites, heat stroke etc lend themselves more to first aid procedures. This does not mean you should delay getting to a vet as fast as possible as emergency pet care is only a stopgap, albeit a very useful one, that can be applied between the occurence of the emergency and getting professional help.

Other common emergencies

Other common emergencies include:
1) Poisoning
2) Drowning
3) Sudden sore abdomen
4) Stings

Electric shocks