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Is My Pet Having an Emergency?

Pets can behave in unusual ways at times, so it may not always be easy to determine if they’re experiencing an urgent situation or not. For your information, the Animal Emergency Center has compiled a list of common conditions that can indicate an emergency. Click on the headers below for some of the common symptoms of each condition. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, please call our clinic immediately at (570) 742-7400.

Signs of a Pet Emergency: Chihuahuas in an Exam Room
Respiratory problems
  • Excessive coughing
  • Labored breathing
  • Noisy or increased breathing rate or effort
  • Blue tongue or gums
Excessive bleeding
  • Bleeding from any body part or orifice (mouth, eyes, ears, etc.)
Bloated or distended abdomen
  • Swollen stomach
  • Inability to eat or drink
  • Dry heaving
  • Excessive drooling
Urinary retention
  • Ineffective, frequent attempts to urinate
  • Weak urine stream
  • Abdominal distension
  • Infrequent or lack of defecation
  • Straining to defecate with little or no fecal volume
  • Hard or dry bowel movement
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Heavy panting
  • Weakness
  • Rectal temperature higher than 104°F
Uterine inertia (inability to deliver)
  • Inability to deliver by end of normal gestation period
  • Going more than 1-2 hours after delivery of one fetus (puppy or kitten) with other fetuses remaining in uterus
  • Going more than 15 minutes with membranes protruding
Trauma or injury
  • Falls or collisions with an object (vehicle, motorcycle, etc.)
  • Limping
  • Pain
  • Whimpering
  • Bleeding
Penetrating wounds
  • Punctured skin, chest, or abdomen
  • Bleeding
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dilated pupils
Allergic reaction
  • Hives
  • Red eyes or lips
  • Swelling around facial area
  • Whining/whimpering/yelping
  • Pacing
  • Trembling
  • Unwillingness to move
  • Aggressive behavior when moved
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Limb pain
  • Abnormal posture
Neurological abnormalities
  • Collapsing
  • Walking off balance
  • Tilting of the head
  • Seizures (more than one in a 24-hour period)
  • Circling
  • Visual deficiencies
Slow Heart Rate
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Excessively slow breathing
Rapid heart rate
  • Pale mucous membrane
  • Weakness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea

*Common toxic substances include antifreeze, rodenticides, lawn fertilizers, chocolate, human medication, and household cleaners.

Eye problems
  • Squinting one or both eyes
  • Discharge
  • Closed eye(s)
  • Cloudiness in eyes
  • Change in eye color
Swollen paws (dogs)
  • Inflamed paw
  • Limping
  • Constant licking of the paw

If your pet exhibits symptoms not outlined above or if you have any questions, please call us at (570) 742-7400.


Animal Emergency Center

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