Preparing for Pet Emergencies
Create a plan of action for a potential pet medical crisis.
If your pet becomes seriously ill or injured, do you have a plan of action in place? You should, because in an emergency situation, saving a few minutes and being prepared can literally mean the difference between life and death. Plus, putting a plan together now, when nothing is wrong, is far easier than panicking as you try to find all the necessary information you need to go to the emergency vet if a disaster occurs.
The first item of business is knowing what your emergency veterinary options are. Does your veterinary clinic have an after-hours facility it works with or recommends? Make note of your vet’s hours, the hours of any emergency clinic in the area, and figure out where you would prefer to take your pet in various situations.
“You also might consider having pet insurance or some back-up funding to be able to afford some of the life threatening injuries,” said Dr. Carsten Bandt, Assistant Professor of Critical Care & Emergency Medicine in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at University of Florida. “Many of our pets we could easily help are being euthanized because the owner does not have the financial means or it is a bad time of the year, like Christmas and all the money is spent.”
Now that you know where you would take your pet in an emergency, make sure you have all the appropriate information handy. “It’s ideal for you to have all medical records -- vaccinations, treatments, chronic medications, and history of disease, especially chronic kidney disease or heart disease. It’s very, very helpful,” said Bandt.
If your pet has ingested something and you know what it is, bring it (or as much information about it as possible) with you. In most cases, however, there’s no telling exactly what the pet got into, said Bandt, in which case it’s important to have a list of possible toxins, including any human medications and drugs used within the home.
“Know at all times who in the house takes what,” Bandt said, adding that honesty is incredibly important. If a child lies about the dog getting into his cookies, or a college student insists that there’s no way his cat ingested marijuana when that’s exactly what happened, much time and money can be wasted testing and treating for other toxins.
In the case of a trauma, providing as much information about what happened (dog fight, car accident, etc.) will be helpful, but other than that, bringing the animal in as quickly as possible is the best course of action. Some injuries, such as chest trauma, may not present with obvious symptoms immediately, but can become very serious if not caught and treated.
Have you ever taken your pet to an emergency vet? Were you prepared? Is there anything you would have done differently? Tell us below!
2 years ago
I was not prepared well I have neighbors that are in apartments next door to me most of the people who live there are either just bad news or not all there in the head so Skitters ended up getting a chicken bone caught in her throat from one of them feeding her and then got food piosoning from a half cooked chicken some one threw over the fence the food poisoning went away after 3 -4 days but the bone we had to take her to the vet and she had to be on a liquid diet for about a week or so before she could eat solid food again and the solid food was still medicated for about another week or so we also had Lady who the neighbors thought she was suffering when we let her out back so they would open the gate letting her loose and we would have to search the city for her so what I would have done diffrently that I am doing now is for one stricter supervision when a dog is outside stay with them and watch them until they are ready to go in also I think my gate that doesn't have a lock needs a lock the way it is made though a lock will not work so I would have to tear the gate down entirely and get a new one made that a lock can be put on the other 2 gates have locks but not the third one although one of the 2 that does lock is kinda broken and needs to be fixed. Also keep an eye on what your pets eat in the yard even if you let them eat stuff out of your garden or something in your yard that you planted it might not be what they are eating go up to them and check and make sure I know that birds can drop stuff also some people that are just bad news or not all there can throw further than you think they can sometimes there was alot of moldy bread that ended up in the middle of our yard that I had to clean up I have no idea how it got that far into the yard the only thing I can think is a raccoon,possum, squrriel or bird but it could have been a person.
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