Here is a basic overview of pet emergencies and how to protect Fido or Fifi from them.
The Most Common “Pet Emergencies”
The first thing you can do to protect your precious pet is to simply be aware of what to expect. You should note the major pet emergencies that are most likely to occur at some point during the lifetime of your dog or cat.
- Sudden, unexplained pain. Oftentimes, you won’t be sure what the cause of the pain is but will notice by your pet’s actions and demeanor that he or she is definitely in serious pain. It may be an internal (and serious) problem that can’t wait for a scheduled veterinarian appointment – time to take your pet to the ER!
- Difficulty breathing or abnormal breathing. There are numerous reasons why your pet may suddenly display respiratory irregularities, such as choking, allergic reactions, or cardiac arrest.
- Vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. If your pet has been in the garbage can and eaten something it shouldn’t have, has come down with a dangerous disease, or is simply badly dehydrated, gastric and intestinal reactions may lead to vomiting and/or diarrhea.
- Violent coughing and/or choking. Pets often swallow random objects that get stuck in their throat. Fluid building up in the lungs can also lead to choking. And viral, bacterial, or fungal infections may be behind it all in some cases.
- Poisoning. Pets live in environments where potentially toxic substances can be gotten into and ingested. Rat poison, household cleaners, medicines, battery acid, antifreeze, paints, poison plant life, fertilizers or insecticides in the garden, and more can be the cause of pet poisoning. Waste no time in getting your pet to the ER if you suspect he or she has been poisoned.
- Pet seizures. Not only heart troubles but nervous systems and brain issues can trigger pets, just like people, to have sudden seizures. This is obviously a major emergency and you can’t waste any time getting help for your pet.
- Difficulty Urinating. Yes, UTI exists in the animal world as well. “Bladder stones,” over-stressing, or blood clots can also make it difficult or painful for your pet to urinate.
- Bite wounds. Dogs, and more rarely cats, get into fights with other animals and don’t always “come out on top.” Bite and claw marks may run much deeper and be far more serious than they appear.
- Blunt-force injuries. Vehicles may strike your pet without you knowing. Or it may suffer from a bad fall or otherwise get struck with an object. Limping and abnormal movements give it away that something has happened even if there are no outward, obvious marks.
- Allergic reactions. A swollen face, excessive itching, and unexplained lethargy can all signal that your pet is having an allergic reaction. These can sometimes be life-threatening, so don’t assume it’s no big deal.
Symptoms & Signs Your Pet May Be in Trouble
What are the symptoms of a pet emergency? Some of the symptoms are obvious or were mentioned above in the run-down of the most common types of pet-emergencies. But here is a convenient list of what to look for:
- Rapid or uneven breathing.
- Unusual panting.
- Pacing about and general restlessness.
- Inability to stand up or to walk normally.
- Inability to move – apparent paralysis.
- Your pet is unconscious (but not sleeping).
- An abnormally fast or slow pulse rate.
- Sudden, excessive changes in body temperature.
- Paleness of the gums.
- Seizure-like shaking or trembling.
- Your pet is agitated and may be getting aggressive.
What To Do If Your Pet Is Suddenly Sick or Injured
Buying pet insurance before you have to worry about a pet emergency will give you a lot of peace of mind. And being aware of the types of emergencies to expect and the symptoms to look for can help you identify the crisis. But what do you actually do during the emergency?
Step One: take care to protect yourself, your children, and others from an injured or distraught pet. Injured pets can often become aggressive and dangerous. Make no sudden moves. Be very careful.
Step Two: Call the pet ER or veterinary care center. Decide on whether you will transport your pet to them or a “pet ambulance” will need to come pick up your dog or cat.
Step Three: Put a warm blanket around your pet. Use a stretcher (or make one from poles and cloth for the occasion) to transport your pet to the vehicle. If moving the pet, avoid touching the injured area or putting pressure on it. Support the neck well while carrying him.
Step Four: Drive your pet to the care center or meet it there if an ambulance took your pet there ahead of you. Talk to the vet to ensure you have the insurance and funds to pay for any necessary care. Be prepared to give any and all information about your pet to the vet.
How Buying Pet Insurance Can Help!
Why should you buy pet insurance? Will it really help when it matters most? Indeed, it will. Exact coverage will vary based on the insurer and the policy, but you should be aware of the basic coverage that most pet insurance offers.
You can typically get coverage for ER visits, accidental injuries, illnesses, pet hospital stays, recovery therapy, behavioral therapy, medicines prescribed to your pet, chronic conditions, spaying/neutering, preventive care, and more.
Pet surgeries will also be covered if they become necessary due to an accidental injury or any covered event or condition.
However, pre existing conditions are not covered by pet insurance. There are also exclusions for certain congenital diseases. Ordinary vet visits may or may not be covered – it depends on your policy. A basic policy won’t have as high of premiums as a comprehensive plan, but of course, the latter will cover far more.
Usually, with pet insurance, you pay the veterinarian bill upfront and then get reimbursed. But this also depends on the requirements of each specific insurer. There may be caps – annual or lifetime, general or for specific types of claims, and there are typically deductibles and/or copays. Pet insurance works much like “human insurance” in most ways.
To learn more about how pet insurance works and how it can help protect you from the often-high costs of pet emergency care, talk to the pet insurance experts at Flagler County Insurance Agency today!
We can explain to you your options and help you customize your policy. Contact us today for a free consultation and accurate quote.