What Constitutes a Pet Emergency? - Polo Springs Veterinary Hospital

What Constitutes a Pet Emergency?

While the following is not a complete list of all pet emergencies, it gives you an idea of the most common ones. When in doubt, please call us at 719.264.8384. We would be happy to help you and your pet.


  • Your pet has a laceration or open wound
  • Your pet has been in a fight with another animal or been attacked by an animal
  • Your pet has been hit by a car or been hit by a blunt object
  • Your pet has had a significant fall
  • You pet has jumped out of a moving vehicle 

Respiratory Disease

  • Your pet is having respiratory distress (labored or difficulty breathing)
  • Your pet appears to be choking
  • Your pet is coughing up blood and/or pus 

Gastrointestinal Disease

  • Your pet has bloody or profuse vomiting
  • Your pet has a bloated (distended) abdomen and/or is experiencing non-productive gagging/retching
  • Your pet has ingested a foreign object
  • Your pet has ingested a toxin or poison
  • Your pet has ingested any kind of medication/supplement that was not prescribed to them or has overdosed on their own medication
  • Your pet has hemorrhagic (bloody) diarrhea
  • Your pet is straining to defecate
  • You notice blood in your pet’s feces 

Neurologic Disease

  • Your pet is having a seizure or is having multiple seizures
  • Your pet is unconscious or is difficult to rouse from sleep
  • Your pet cannot stand or seems dizzy and/or disoriented
  • Your pet is experiencing tremors
  • Your pet is paralyzed or cannot get up on its own 

Orthopedic Disease

  • You suspect your pet may have a broken limb
  • Your pet has a swollen foot or limb
  • Your pet is unable to bear weight on one or more limbs 

Environmental Crisis

  • Your pet has experienced smoke inhalation or drowning
  • Your pet is experiencing heat stroke or frost bite
  • Your pet has been bitten by a snake 

Generalized Illness

  • Your pet is straining to urinate
  • Your pet is bleeding from the nose, mouth or eyes
  • You notice blood in your pet’s urine
  • Your pet is showing signs of pain such as whining, shaking, and/or biting
  • Your pet is very lethargic
  • Your pet has a fever
  • Your pet’s gums are pale or yellow
  • Your pet’s eye(s), muzzle and/or face is swollen
  • Your pet has hives over their body 

Ophthalmic Disease

  • Your pet is having difficulty seeing (ie. bumping into things)
  • Your pet is squinting or holding one or both of their eyes closed
  • Your pet’s eye has become dislodged from its socket
  • The chamber inside you pet’s eye appears cloudy or contains blood

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