Problems urinating

Have you noticed that your dog continually wants to go outside or your cat won’t leave the litter box?  Or they continue to just sits and strain, but do not produce any urine?  This is considered a medical emergency.  These signs may indicate that your pet is unable to urinate, which can be caused by a stone or something else resulting in a blockage.  This is especially common in male cats.  If your pet is obstructed and left untreated it can progress to very serious medical issues including kidney damage, heart arrhythmias, long term bladder issues and even death.

Prolonged vomiting

If your pet has been vomiting continually or numerous times in a few days a trip to the vet is highly recommended.  Continual vomiting is most often due to diet related problems, but can be secondary to something more serious.  Other concerning causes include a foreign body obstruction, pancreatitis, metabolic disturbances, or can be a sign of something more serious going on internally (like liver or kidney issues).  Prolonged vomiting can also make your pet dehydrated and cause electrolyte imbalances.  

Anorexia greater than 24 hours

Have you noticed that your pet has progressively had a decrease in appetite or has been completely refusing food for greater than 24 hours?  This can be a sign of something more serious going on and should not be taken lightly.  There are numerous causes for a lack of appetite so a prompt evaluation and further discussion with your veterinarian is highly recommended to help determine what the cause could be.  Prolonged anorexia in cats can result in liver disease secondary to an abnormal amount of fat being broken down for energy use.  This condition is very serious and often requires hospitalization for supportive care and sometimes even placement of a feeding tube. 


If your pet has gotten into a fight with another animal or cut itself on something it should be seen immediately.  Open wounds often have pocketing underneath the skin that cannot be seen.  If the pocket is not taken care of appropriately then infected material can get trapped underneath the skin and result in a serious infection or even skin dying off.   Also, if a wound need to be sutured closed, the longer you wait the harder it will be to close since the tissue won’t be fresh.  It is important for an evaluation with a veterinarian to see if repair is needed or if your pet just needs to be started on appropriate medications. 

Toxin ingestion

Some common toxins include chocolate, grapes/raisins, human medications, marijuana and xylitol.  If your pet has gotten into any of these they should be seen immediately.  Chocolate can cause heart arrhythmia, grapes/raisins can cause kidney damage, marijuana can cause severe depression and even seizures and xylitol can cause low glucose levels and liver disease.  All of these toxins require hospitalization for detoxification and close monitoring for any further signs and appropriate treatments. 

Eye issues

If you notice that your pets eye is red, bulging, or blue colored theses are considering an emergency.  Anything involving the eye can progress quickly to something serious and could even result if rapid loss of vision.  A veterinarian will be able to perform further testing to help determine the cause.  Sometimes it is a simple eye infection, but it is best to be better safe than sorry.


Have you noticed that your pet has been breathing faster or heavier than normal?  Has he or she been coughing a lot?  Is their tongue hanging out and looking blue?  These could be signs of a severe respiratory issues and may require immediate care. Common causes can be heart disease, a severe lung or throat issue.  

Allergic reaction

If you notice that the area around your pets eyes and face is swollen or they have hives these are signs of an allergic reaction.  Allergic reactions can be caused by recent vaccines or something in the environment.  Allergic reactions are generally treated with a Benadryl injection and sometimes a steroid.  Signs generally improve quickly, but sometimes can progress to anaphylaxis which can cause problems with their breathing, collapse or severe vomiting and diarrhea so prompt treatment is recommended. 


If your pet recently fell down or you noticed that they’re unable to use their back legs this warrants an immediate trip to the vet.  In dogs a common cause for the inability to use their hind legs can indicate spinal trauma and sometimes emergency surgery is needed to help correct the issue.  Cats can sometimes have clots that become lodged and disrupt the blood flow to the back legs, resulting in severe pain and paralysis.  A veterinarian can help to determine the cause and best treatment plan.