When your pet has a medical emergency and your veterinarian’s office is closed, it can be a stressful situation. At Central Maui Animal Clinic, we always have a doctor and technician on call if your pet is experiencing a life threatening emergency after all Maui Vet Clinics are closed.
In an emergency situation, try to take a deep breath, be calm, and analyze the situation. Pets are similar to children, so you can utilize a lot of the same common sense decision making that you would for whether or not to go to the emergency room.
When in doubt, it is always okay to call the vet and talk through the problem. Try to have the following information available before calling: age and approximate weight of your pet, previous or ongoing medications, when the signs started, and the name and strength of any accidental toxin ingestion.
What are some common emergency conditions?
Below are some common emergency situations for pets, including some specific to our wonderful island.
- Difficulty breathing, swallowing, standing, or walking, including prolonged or frequent panting, staggering or an uncoordinated or clumsy gait. Cats will rarely pant due to heat hence a panting cat is almost always concerning.
- Straining or crying in the litter box, especially during urination. Some cats naturally make a big production out of using the box or even make sounds while digging, eliminating or burying. You'll have to determine what's normal for your cat, but if you have any doubts, call us.
- Convulsion, electrocution, or drowning.
- Blunt trauma, including high falls, being hit by a car, or getting caught in doors or machinery, even if there is no apparent serious injury. These kinds of accidents may cause internal bleeding or injuries only a veterinary exam can detect.
- Swelling or bloating of the abdomen, especially if accompanied with retching, pacing, or weakness.
- Vomiting for more then 12-24 hours or if vomiting accompanied with blood, weakness or severe abdominal pain.
- Ingesting a toxin such as anti-freeze, human medication, chocolate, etc. In Hawaii, we have toxic toads that, if eaten or licked, can cause severe foaming and drooling and can even lead to seizures, muscle problems and death. (Blog post on leaping into action if your dog bites or swallows a toad coming soon!)
- Profuse bleeding, including any open wound or bleeding from the nose, mouth, ears or any other body opening.
- Fractures or dislocations. If you suspect a broken bone, don't try to find the break or set it yourself.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Heat stroke.
- Trouble giving birth.
If your pet is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, help is just a phone call away! For urgent care during business hours (Monday to Sunday 8 am to 5 pm), please call 808.893.2380. And, after hours, call 808.893.2467.
~ Dr. Benjamin Benander, DVM