What to do if Your Pet Needs Veterinary Urgent Care
Nobody wants to go to the emergency room, but the fact is that most people (and their pets) will face an emergency at some point. Bringing your pet to the urgent care or ER is bound to be stressful, but you can reduce your anxiety by knowing when your pet needs to go to the ER, what will happen when you get there, and exactly where you'll go in an emergency situation. Keep in mind that same-day urgent care is a great alternative to the veterinary ER, so don’t wait until evening to get your pet the help they need.
When is Veterinary Urgent Care Required?
One of the hardest choices most pet owners make in their pet's lifetime is whether to take their pet to the ER or not. It can be hard to tell whether something is an emergency or if it can wait for an appointment. After all, going to the veterinary ER is stressful and scary, and it can be expensive too.
OKC Vet Campus, the best emergency vet OKC Central, charges reasonable prices for veterinary urgent care, but if the emergency happens after hours, an ER visit may be required. Here are a few situations in which veterinary urgent care it is likely necessary:
Hit by Car
Unfortunately, dogs and cats being hit by cars is extremely common. Cats often sleep on or near vehicles. Dogs who escape their leash or house frequently seem to have little awareness of vehicles or roads.
Being hit by a car is often serious, but not always. Many times, dogs and cats do just fine without any veterinary intervention after a collision with a vehicle. However, it can be next to impossible to tell whether your dog or cat needs immediate medical attention or not.
Animals are often in a state of shock after being hit by a vehicle, so they may not appear to be in pain or stressed although they are. Collisions with vehicles can result in internal injuries that may not be immediately obvious but can be deadly. If your pet has been hit by a car, it's best to bring them to the urgent care or ER, whether or not they appear to be injured.
Attacked by Another Animal
It's normal for dogs and cats to get into scuffles. Cats may not return home for a couple days, and when they do return, they may have wounds from a fight with another animal. Dogs get into scuffles with other dogs in the household or the neighborhood.
Sometimes injuries are very slight, perhaps just a scrape or a couple of cuts. Other times, the damage can be extensive. If your pet has been severely attacked by an animal, it will probably be obvious that it needs veterinary care.
However, even if your pet has only a few scratches, it may be best to bring them into urgent care, especially if you don't know what animal attacked them. Animal scratches and bites become infected easily. If the attacking animal was carrying a virus or bacteria in their saliva, your pet may need to be tested and vaccinated for it.
Persistently Not Bearing Weight
Dogs and cats get twisted ankles and pulled muscles just like people do. Often, all that's needed is a little bit of time and rest for them to begin bearing weight on the affected limb again. However, if a couple of days have gone by and your pet still isn't puting weight on a limb, or if your pet isn't bearing weight and appears to be extremely painful or has any other symptoms, a trip to urgent care is in order.
Your pet could have broken a bone or they may be suffering from a degenerative issue like luxating patella or hip dysplasia. None of these conditions will resolve on their own, and they can be very painful.
Poisoning or Allergic Reaction
There are all kinds of toxins in your pet's environment, many of which are completely innocuous to you. Raisins and grapes, artificial sugar in gum or peanut butter, and household plants can all be poisonous to your pet.
Allergic reactions are also very common. Some pets have an allergic reaction to a vaccine or medication, while others are acutely allergic to a bee sting or a food.
Recognizing an allergic reaction or poisoning can be challenging. Vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy are common symptoms, but these may also just be indicative of your pet having eaten something they shouldn't.
If vomiting and diarrhea are extreme or go on for any amount of time, or if you see other symptoms like instability or seizures, swelling, or hives, it's best to go to the emergency vet. Allergic reactions and reactions to poison can intensify quickly, and there's often only a limited window of time in which to treat them.
Difficulty Breathing, Urinating, or Defecating
If your pet can't breathe or pass urine or feces normally, it's an emergency. An inability to urinate or defecate results from an issue that needs to be resolved, like a blockage, tumor, or stone. However, regardless of what the underlying cause is, simply being unable to pass urine or feces will quickly result in an emergency situation for your pet. The underlying cause needs to be addressed, and things need to get moving again quickly.
A little bit of difficulty breathing as a result of a mild cold or allergies isn't anything to worry about, but if your pet is gasping for breath, persistently coughing, or seems unable to keep enough oxygen in their lungs, it may be resulting from heart failure, a blockage, or something else that needs immediate treatment. A vet can put your pet on oxygen to ease their discomfort while the cause is diagnosed.
What Will Happen if I Seek Out Veterinary Urgent Care Near Me?
If you've never been to cat or dog emergency care before, it can be intimidating to bring your best friend there. However, you'll likely find that your anxiety is relieved, not increased, by veterinary urgent care.
A veterinary technician or doctor will come out to meet you right away and triage your pet. They may bring out a stretcher or carrier, depending on your pet’s needs. Once your pet has been seen by a veterinarian, you’ll be updated on what testing and treatment options you have.
Once you decide on a course of testing or treatment, you’ll be kept updated about how your pet is doing, whether you stay at the hospital or go home.
Choose OKC Vet Campus for Veterinary Urgent Care
If your pet needs veterinary urgent care, don't hesitate to call OKC Vet Campus today. We offer same-day urgent care so you can avoid the expenses and stress of the veterinary ER without waiting for an appointment. If you’d like a professional to keep an eye on your pet while they're not feeling their best, we also offer emergency medical boarding.
1. Are there options for paying for veterinary urgent care?
It can be hard to budget for medical emergencies, for anyone in your family, human or animal. Thankfully, there are options when it comes to paying for veterinary urgent care. Pet insurance like Pumpkin typically covers most emergency care expenses.
OKC Vet Campus takes Care Credit, which is an excellent option to give you time to pay your bill. Depending on the estimate, you may be able to have over six months to pay back your bill without accruing interest.
2. Will my pet need a follow-up visit?
Sometimes, it's advisable to have a follow-up or see your regular vet after veterinary urgent care, but other times, the emergency visit and a few follow up phone calls is sufficient. Talk to your emergency veterinarian about whether a follow-up visit is recommended.
3. Are pets less likely to need veterinary urgent care if they have regular veterinary visits?
Emergencies like being hit by a car, having an unexpected allergic reaction, etc. could happen to any pet, regardless of whether they go to the vet regularly. However, regular vet visits can catch many problems that are developing before they become an emergency.
4. Could my pet be hiding symptoms?
Many animals appear to go out of their way to prevent their caretakers from knowing when they are hurt or sick. Cats are particularly good at this, but it's common in dogs too. Some species, like rabbits, almost never let you know when they're hurting. If you see any symptoms in your pet, it's a good idea to assume that there may be more going on under the surface.
5. Can't I treat my pet at home?
There are lots of things you can do for your pet at home under the guidance of a veterinarian, but urgent care isn’t one of them. If you'd rather handle more of your pet’s ongoing care at home, let your veterinarian know. However, diagnosing and prescribing treatments is something best left to the professionals.