Your dog ate a mushroom from the yard. Your perpetually active cat is lethargic. You notice blood in their stool. In situations like these, pet owners are faced with a dilemma: should you rush your pet to the vet, or wait and watch to see if your pet’s condition worsens?
Let’s preface the answer to that question with this word of warning: pet parents should never attempt to diagnose their pet’s affliction. The same symptom can manifest from a multitude of different conditions, and only a veterinarian is qualified to determine that symptom’s underlying cause. The safest course of action when any health issue arises with your pet is to call your vet right away.
Certain symptoms, however, can be indicative of a life-threatening condition. If your pet displays any of the following symptoms, don’t hesitate: seek immediate medical attention:
- Difficulty passing urine
- Difficulty breathing
- Bleeding from a wound or dark red blood in a pet’s stool
- Acting disoriented or confused
- Repeated vomiting or diarrhea lasting longer than 4 hours
- Vaginal discharge
- Difficulty giving birth
- Non-productive retching
- Trauma, such as a being hit by a car
Even if the pet appears unharmed, he or she could have internal bleeding. Emergency care is critical after a pet experiences any traumatic event or accident.
- A rabbit who stops eating
When a rabbit stops eating, its gut shuts down!
Each of the above afflictions should be treated as a veterinary emergency. Other symptoms, however, should not be ignored: if your pet isn’t eating, drinking, passing urine and feces, or generally acting normally, do consult with your vet. Call our office during regular business hours, (408) 377-4043, and our staff can advise as to the best course of action and schedule an appointment, if necessary. If your pet has consumed a foreign object or potentially toxic substance, you can also call the ASPCA’s 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435.