Pet Emergencies Frequently Asked Questions

Many things are routine and a normal appointment can be made, but a few things are more serious and need urgent attention. This list is a guide only if you are unsure it is safer to phone the clinic.


Breathing difficulties – if your pet is experiencing difficulty breathing, including open mouth breathing in cats, check for a foreign object lodged in their mouth, remove if possible, keep them calm and phone for an urgent appointment.

Urination – male cats especially are prone to blocked bladders. If your pet is trying to pass urine frequently then please contact us urgently. 

Collapse or severe lethargy – if your pet is struggling to stand, or extremely quiet we should see the patient quickly.

Excessive bleeding– a little blood goes a long way, but if you cannot get it to stop despite applying pressure for several minutes, or it is spurting, then cover the wound, apply pressure and call us

Pale/white gums – may indicate internal bleeding or shock.

Bloat (GDV) – usually affects large deep chested dogs but can affect others. Symptoms are enlarged abdomen, retching without producing any vomit and restlessness leading to collapse. This is an urgent emergency and should be seen immediately

Road traffic accidents – if your pet has been knocked by a car they may be suffering from internal injuries, as well as ones that you may be able to see so it is always worth getting a vet to check them. 

Visible injury – broken bone or non-weight bearing on a limb, penetrating or puncture injury, large wound or swelling, inability to retract penis, please call for advice.

Seizures – if an animal fits turn lights and music/televisions off and keep voices to a minimum. Make sure the animal is in a safe place and do not hold them. Check the time (most last two minutes but feel much longer) and call us. 

Poisoning – the most common toxins we see are anti-freeze, xylitol, chocolate, grapes/raisins and owner medication. If your animal has eaten anything that may be poisonous please call us straight away and we will advise whether you need to take action. 

Difficulty whelping/kittening – if you have a flat faced breed such as a French bulldog they are very likely to need assistance to pass puppies, but if any animal is straining for more than half an hour without producing pups or kittens they need to be seen by a vet.

Severe mastitis – if your pet has a litter and develops swollen, hard and painful mammary glands and is reluctant to feed the pups/kittens then they may have mastitis and need to be seen  

Prolapse – if your pet has any tissue protruding from their anus or has an eye dislodged from the socket then phone for advice and we need to see them quickly.

Heat stroke – If your pet is panting excessively, vomiting and has bright red gums they may have heat stroke. Please phone us immediately.