Is it an emergency?

One of the most frightening things that can happen for a pet owner is to find their pet sick or injured unexpectedly. If it is a weekend or after business hours when your local vet can’t be reached, it can be even more upsetting. Knowing when you need to contact an emergency vet, and when you can wait it out until your local vet opens can sometimes mean life or death for your pet.

The following instructions and tips are directly from the vets at Animal Care Clinic and other sources they trust. These instructions can help you determine the best course of action for your pet when you discover injury or illness.

If you have an emergency:

Monday-Saturday before 9 PM

Call Dr. Molly Buckley DVM: 513.523.5272

Current clients will receive a credit for this cost.

After 9 PM or on Sundays:

Call Care Center 24 hour Emergency Hospital: 513.530.0911

6995 East Kemper Road

Cincinnati, Ohio 45249


Immediate emergencies

If any of the following symptoms apply to your pet, please call an emergency vet clinic IMMEDIATELY:

  • Small or young dogs that are under 5 pounds or elderly animals are more delicate and symptoms should be taken seriously.
  • Vomiting/diarrhea after vaccination
  • Facial swelling after vaccination
  • Labored breathing, difficulty breathing, no breathing
  • Belly movements that resemble breathing
  • Eye injury
  • Trying to pee but can’t- may look like constipation
  • Vomiting/dry heaving- that does not stop when you take food and water away
  • Extreme pain- panting, vocalization, dilated pupils, complete lameness etc
  • Seizure that last longer than 5 minutes or more than 2 in an hour
  • Abdominal pain or wound or distention
  • Chest puncture wound
  • Severely swollen limb, broken limb
  • Collapse without a recovery or unable to rise
  • Birthing problems
  • Car Accidents
  • Clothes-dryer accidents
  • Drowning
  • Electric shock
  • Head injuries
  • Heatstroke
  • Smoke inhalation

A Vet Call– see the vet within 24 hours

If any of the following symptoms apply to your pet, an immediate emergency clinic call is not required, however a vet call needs to be made within 24 hours.

If the cat allows you to you can flush it with sterile saline. It is a good idea to have these wounds attended so the vet can determine if the cat is running a fever or if the infection needs antibiotics.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


  • Frank red blood in stool- small amounts and the pet is normal otherwise

Bright red flecks on the outside of stool is not an immediate emergency. At home, withhold food in otherwise normal pets for 12 hours (unless a very small animal) then feed boiled rice in small meals until a vet can be seen.

Black tarry stool or lots of bright red blood or associated vomiting is an emergency.

  • Diarrhea or Vomiting that stops when food is withheld

Diarrhea is the frequent evacuation of watery stools. Vomiting is the forceful expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth.

What to Do:

    • Remove all food and water.
    • Check for signs of dehydration.
    • If the diarrhea and/or vomiting continues or the pet acts ill, seek veterinary attention. Diarrhea and vomiting can quickly lead to serious fluid loss and electrolyte imbalance, especially in very young and very old animals.
    • If no vomiting occurs for 6 to 8 hours, begin to frequently give small amounts of clear liquids (water, Gatorade, Pedialyte, or other electrolyte solution). A rule of thumb is to give 1 teaspoon per pound of body weight every 2 or 3 hours throughout the day and night. If your pet does not vomit the fluid, the following day offer small frequent meals of boiled hamburger and rice or boiled chicken and rice. If your pet does not want to eat, starts to vomit, or continues to have diarrhea, go to the veterinarian for medical care.
    • Isolate the sick pet from other pets.

What NOT to Do:

    • Do not administer any over-the-counter or prescription medications to your pet without talking to a veterinarian first.
    • Do not allow the pet to eat or drink anything until there has been no vomiting for 6 to 8 hours.

Vomiting and diarrhea are associated with a host of problems that are referred to collectively as gastroenteritis. Some cases are quite severe (e.g., poisoning), and some are not (e.g., dietary indiscretion). If fever is present, infection may be a cause. Most infections that cause diarrhea and vomiting are contagious, so it is wise to assume that other pets might be vulnerable if they are exposed.

If your pet is not feeling well and has vomiting and/or diarrhea, see a veterinarian.

  • Cut or Wound

Clean with sterile saline and apply pressure, wrapping the ear next to the head and applying a bandage is the best way to protect your house from splatter.

An ear infection is an emergency when your pet is in pain, you cannot touch or look in your dog’s ear, the ear is red and swollen, and/or your dog has a head tilt. All ear infections should be examined and treated by a veterinarian.

  • Red eye that does not involve an injury and does not show a lot of squinting

The eye ball is healthy and clear, just around the eye is red and maybe a little swollen. Try rinsing with sterile saline. If the redness continues or the pet is pawing at the eye, squinting or there is a cloudiness to the eye ball, seek veterinary attention.

  • Nail damage

Is not an emergency unless you feel you pet is overly painful.

Other ailments that may require a vet visit within 24 hours:

  • Swelling on the body or face that does not involve a limb
  • Collapse with sudden recovery
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation that is not difficulty urinating
  • Skin Infection

First aid: a one-time emergency treatment that gets your pet over the life threatening event long enough to get the necessary medical help.