Animal emergencies can arise from a number of causes.

When in doubt, if it concerns you then it concerns us. Please call with any questions or concerns you may have about the health of your pets, but if your furry friend shows any of the following signs, please seek immediate veterinary attention:

Trauma or impact injury.

Even when there is little or no evidence of external injuries like scratches or bleeding, trauma from falls or being hit by a car can result in serious internal injuries that are not always immediately visible. Any pet that has sustained a traumatic injury should be evaluated by a veterinarian right away.

Bite wounds.

Like other traumatic injuries, bite wounds from both domestic and wild animals are often more severe than they initially appear. Much of the damage lies beneath the surface and can be the source of serious infection and sepsis if not quickly evaluated and treated by a veterinarian.

Difficulty breathing.

Increased respiratory or breathing rate, increased breathing effort, wheezing, and pale/bluish gums are all signs of respiratory distress and can seriously impact the delivery of oxygen to vital organs, like the brain.

Unproductive retching.

Retching is when an animal repeatedly attempts to vomit, yet nothing comes up. You may also notice a more bloated abdomen/stomach than usual. These signs can indicate Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) or twisted stomach. This is a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate veterinary evaluation.

Repeated vomiting.

Vomiting can result from numerous causes, some- like foreign body obstructions- more serious than others. Regardless of the cause, frequent vomiting can also lead to dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities that need to be evaluated and corrected by a veterinarian before an underlying cause can be discovered.

Toxin exposure.

Toxins can be ingested, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. Some of the most common toxins in small animals include pest bait or poisons, chocolate, snake and spider bites, human or pet anti-inflammatory medications, human prescription drugs, and other plants, fruits, and vegetables. If you are unsure if the substance your pet came into contact with is toxic, please seek veterinary assistance or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435.

Straining to urinate.

Straining to urinate, particularly if your pet shows signs of pain or vomiting, often indicates a serious medical emergency, requiring prompt treatment by a veterinarian.

Bleeding and wounds

Even minor wounds should be treated promptly, but seek veterinary care particularly if your pet shows signs of injuries that fully penetrate the skin, large or sensitive wounds, or injuries that produce pus, appear puffy and red, or show other signs of infection.


Seizures in dogs take on many different forms, but they may include collapse, chomping, stiffness, profuse salivation, sudden defecation or urination, “paddling” of the legs, and vocalizations.

Difficulty delivering puppies or kittens.

Complications from delivering puppies or kittens can significantly threaten the health of both the mother and their offspring.  Seek immediate veterinary attention if your pet shows any sign of difficulty in giving birth.

You know your pet.

The list above only represents some of the more common pet emergencies, and is not an exhaustive list. If you have any concerns about your pet’s health or behavior, seek immediate veterinary assistance.  You know your pet better than anyone, and if you are concerned, then we are too.