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How To Know If Your Pet Requires Emergency Care

May 15 2024

Being a pet owner is truly a wonderful and fulfilling experience, one that is filled with countless moments of joy and laughter. However, there is a significant amount of responsibility that comes with it. When you choose to bring a pet into your home, you are assuming responsibility for every aspect of their well-being. It is important to be vigilant and observant when it comes to your pets’ well-being, as they are unable to communicate any illness or discomfort directly. This article from a local Ardmore, OK vet highlights several warning signs to watch out for.

What Are Some Signs That A Pet Requires Veterinary Attention?

It’s important to remember that our beloved pets rely on us to take care of their healthcare needs. It’s crucial to remain vigilant for any indications of potential issues.

And now, here are some of the major ones:

Reduced Enthusiasm for Play

Pets are incredibly enjoyable to have around due to their playful nature. However, if your furry pal is feeling under the weather, they may not be as enthusiastic about their favorite toys or activities as usual.

Lack Of Energy

To be fair, some of our patients have made lethargy their life goals. It’s likely that some of you have lazy pets lounging on your couch right now. That being said, even pets who tend to be less active should still remain attentive and aware of their surroundings, and should at least show enthusiasm for things like mealtime and playtime. If your pet appears to lack energy to the point of being listless and weak, contact your vet.

Loss of Appetite

Whenever an animal loses its appetite, it’s almost always a cause for concern. Healthy animals generally have robust appetites. (In reality, it’s quite an understatement: a lot of our patients have a tendency to devour anything they can get their paws on.) Take care not to mistake fussiness for illness. Cats, for instance, are known for their selective nature. However, a fussy feline will often vocalize its desire for a change. If a kitty shows no interest in food, it could be a sign of illness.

Increased Thirst

It is completely natural for pets to feel thirstier in hot weather or after engaging in vigorous activities. However, if your pet consistently displays signs of excessive thirst, there may be an underlying issue to consider.


It’s important to distinguish between restlessness and zoomies in this case. Our furry companions are known for their playful and energetic nature. That’s why they’re so much fun! It’s normal for Fluffy and Fido to be active and full of energy, especially when they are young. What you should be searching for is a clear indication of uneasiness. One example would be if your dog constantly changes positions, as if he is unable to find a comfortable spot. Pacing might also be a warning sign.

Respiratory Distress

It’s completely normal for Fido to pant after a fun round of Tag, Fetch, or Catch That Squirrel. Dogs pant to regulate their body temperature in hot weather. However, if you’re unable to determine the reason behind your dog’s panting, or if your furry friend is panting excessively, there might be a health problem.

Other indications that something may be amiss include shallow breathing, wheezing, gasping, and coughing.


Staggering and stumbling can be a sign of medical conditions, all of which require immediate attention. These vary from severe allergic reactions to neurological problems and everything in between. This is a clear sign that your pet requires urgent emergency care.

Vomiting And Diarrhea

Like people, it’s not uncommon for pets to experience occasional digestive issues. Cats are also susceptible to hairballs, which wouldn’t constitute an emergency visit. However, while occasional vomiting or diarrhea may just signify an upset stomach, persistent, severe, or copious vomiting or diarrhea are unquestionably indications that something is wrong, as is vomit that is bloody or frothy.

Weight Fluctuations

Maintaining a healthy weight for your pet is crucial for their overall well-being. Of course, you won’t have to wonder why Fido is getting fat if you know that everyone in the house has been giving him treats all day. Fluffy also has a knack for persuading people to feed her whenever she wants. That said, if you observe any sudden changes in your pet’s weight and are unsure of the cause, it is best to reach out to your veterinarian for assistance.

Changes in Behavior

This can differ in appearance from one pet to another. Anything that seems out of the ordinary for your pet could be a red flag. Of course, the better you know your pet, the easier it will be to spot these issues. It is important to give your furry bestie the attention they deserve and make sure to spend quality time with them on a daily basis. As you become more familiar with Fido and Fluffy, you’ll find it easier to identify any changes that could indicate potential medical problems.

Here are some examples

  • A calm and composed pet that unexpectedly becomes quite vocal
  • A pet that goes from being vocal to becoming quiet
  • Withdrawal, particularly in amiable pets
  • Unexpectedly irritable demeanor
  • Pets that are normally shy or distant seeking attention
  • Changes  in the sound of your pet’s vocalizations

Untidy Fur

If you’re not feeling your best, your usual beauty or self-care routine might likely be affected. This is also applicable to cats. Fluffy consistently maintains her fur in a soft and clean condition. However, if she’s not feeling well, she may not be up to it. Her fur will quickly lose its luster and become disheveled.

It’s important to mention that this is not necessarily a cause for concern with older cats. Elderly cats often appear a little untidy. That’s because it’s more challenging for them to bend and stretch to groom themselves effectively. If your feline companion is in her golden years, you may need to help her by gently brushing her coat. Consult your Ardmore, OK veterinarian for further details.

How Can I Tell If My Pet Requires Immediate Attention?

There are certain indicators that would always require immediate veterinary care for your pet.

Here is the list:

  • Fever
  • Elevated/Erratic Heartbeat
  • Gums that have changed color
  • Collapse
  • Dry Heaving
  • Confusion
  • Trouble Urinating
  • Potential Poison Consumption
  • Abnormal Body Temperature Levels
  • Coughing Up Foamy or Pink Froth
  • Visible Injuries, Bite Marks, or Wounds
  • Swelling 
  • Seizures
  • Bleeding
  • Bloating
  • Limping
  • Breathing Trouble
  • Eye swelling/redness/watering
  • Bloody, ongoing, or excessive diarrhea
  • Trouble delivering 
  • Unconsciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of energy

Pets also need emergency care after any Incidents involving potential injury, trauma, or poisoning. 

If you come across any of these warning signs, your immediate action should be to contact the clinic. You may need to bring your pet in immediately. Speak with Ardmore, OK animal clinic and adhere to their guidance on this matter.

What Are Some Signs Of Non-Critical Issues In Pets?

Not all health concerns in pets necessitate immediate attention. Although there are some minor issues that should be addressed, there are also several matters that can be resolved with an appointment rather than a visit to the emergency room. That would cover issues such as torn toenails, tartar buildup on teeth, minor scratches, and skin irritation. If you aren’t sure whether your pet needs emergency care, err on the side of caution and contact your animal clinic immediately.

Are you seeking information about your pet’s health or care? Get in touch with us, your Ardmore, OK animal clinic, today!

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