top of page

Which does my pet need?

As a pet owner, it is crucial to distinguish between urgent and emergency situations to ensure your pet receives the appropriate care promptly. Misjudging the severity of a situation can result in delayed medical attention or unnecessary distress. Please refer to the guide below to help assess your situation accurately.

Chart showing differences between emergency versus urgent situations

Emergency Situations

Emergencies are critical situations where immediate medical intervention is needed. Failing to address these promptly can lead to severe complications or even be fatal.

  • Difficulty Breathing: Wheezing, choking, or continuous coughing.

  • Trauma: Hit by a car, falling from a significant height, or any major accident.

  • Seizures: Especially if they are prolonged or clustered.

  • Loss of Consciousness: If your pet faints or cannot be roused.

  • Toxin Ingestion: Consumption of poisonous substances, chocolate, grapes, certain plants, or chemicals.

  • Severe Vomiting or Diarrhea: More than 2-3 times in a short period or if blood is present.

  • Uncontrolled Bleeding: From any part of the body.

  • Swollen or Hard Abdomen: Accompanied by signs of distress.

  • Inability to Urinate or Defecate: Especially if accompanied by straining or vocalizing pain.

  • Eye Injuries: Punctures, excessive tearing, or sudden blindness.

  • Major Fractures: Obvious broken bones or dislocations.

If your pet exhibits any of the above symptoms or behaviors, you should seek emergency care immediately.

Urgent Situations

Urgent situations, while not immediately life-threatening, require medical attention sooner rather than later. If left untreated, these can escalate. Some examples of urgent situations include:

  • Minor Cuts and Lacerations: Not actively bleeding but need cleaning and possibly sutures.

  • Limping: Mild lameness or favoring a leg without obvious fractures.

  • Mild Vomiting or Diarrhea: Occasional episodes without blood.

  • Ear Infections: Signs include scratching at ears, shaking head, or mild discharge.

  • Itchy Skin or Minor Rashes: Without immediate distress or respiratory issues.

  • Foreign Body Ingestion: Such as eating toys, socks, etc., where the pet isn't in immediate distress.

  • Dental Issues: Broken tooth or mild gum infection.

For urgent situations, you should contact your veterinarian to schedule a visit within the next 24 hours or as advised.

Recognizing the difference between urgent and emergency situations is vital for every pet owner. Always trust your instincts. If you're ever in doubt, it's better to err on the side of caution and seek veterinary advice or attention. Remember, it's essential to have the contact information for both your regular veterinarian and an emergency veterinary clinic handy at all times. If you need help, please reach out to our clinics

bottom of page