In my role as an emergency veterinarian I treat some very sick cats. And I also meet some cat owners who feel very guilty. They ponder whether their cats may not have gotten so sick in the event that they had recognized earlier that an issue was developing. Although some cat emergencies come on suddenly and are anything but subtle, it’s true that many other cat emergencies start with vague symptoms.
It’s definitely true that early recognition of subtle cat emergencies will improve the probabilities of a great consequence. But owners mustn’t feel guilty in the event that they fail to acknowledge these subtleties — cats don’t include warning labels, and a one that doesn’t know the symptoms can’t be expected to acknowledge them (and, by definition, subtle symptoms are hard to acknowledge). As an illustration, I owned cats — including males — for 25 years before I knew that any urinary irregularity in any respect in a male cat may very well be an emergency.
One strategy to determine if it’s a medical emergency or not? Examine your cat’s gums. Photography by annadarzy/Thinkstock.
Some helpful hints for determining cat emergencies that need your vet’s attention ASAP
The next list is designed to enable you to recognize cat emergencies that at all times warrant an instantaneous trip to the vet. Nonetheless, it is just not exhaustive, and you could end up in an ambiguous situation not covered on the list. For those who are wondering whether it is advisable to get out of your pajamas and head to the emergency cat vet in such a situation, there are some guidelines you possibly can follow.
One useful indicator of cat health is the colour of the gums. Lift your cat’s lip and take a look at his gums now. They ought to be pink and moist. Check them recurrently, and also you’ll get a way of what they give the impression of being like normally. For those who suspect your cat is sick and the gums are pale, grey, blue or shiny red, then your cat most certainly is in trouble (although you need to be aware that your cat might still be in trouble even when the gums are their normal pink color).
Remember as well that you just are at all times free to call your cat vet or your local emergency clinic to speak about any ambiguous situation. The staff should give you the option to supply guidance.
Finally, keep in mind that when unsure it’s at all times safest to have a vet evaluate your cat. A physical exam that reveals nothing improper causes no harm; doing nothing a few critical situation can result in a fatal consequence.
Now let’s list a few of the commonest and serious cat emergencies:
Difficulty respiratory is generally a medical emergency in cats. Photography by Valery Kudryavtsev/Thinkstock.
1. Difficulty respiratory
That is essentially the most urgent emergency any individual — cat, dog or human— can face. Death occurs after three minutes without respiratory, so cats with respiratory difficulties are on the sting of disaster. Respiratory problems in cats might be hard to acknowledge at first. Symptoms to observe out for are heaving sides, respiratory with the mouth open, coughing, wheezing, abnormal respiratory noises, and the catch-all appearance of “respiratory funny.”
2. Abnormal urination in male cats
This has the potential to be a symptom of one of the crucial serious cat emergencies any feline faces: urinary obstruction. This condition, which is fatal if not treated, occurs when cats are unable to urinate. For anatomical reasons, it occurs almost exclusively in males.
Cats with the condition suffer agonizing pain, after which rapid progression to kidney failure, potentially bladder rupture, and high blood-potassium levels that cause cardiac arrest. Initial symptoms could also be subtle: Affected cats may urinate outside the litter box, strain but produce only small quantities of urine, vocalize, or groom their genitals excessively.
Subsequently, any male cat with any urinary irregularity in any respect ought to be checked by a vet immediately. Bear in mind that female cats with urinary irregularities also needs to see the vet. They should not more likely to die from the issue, but they’re more likely to be affected by discomfort that warrants treatment.
3. Signs of severe pain or obvious distress
Bring your kitty to an emergency vet immediately in case you notice this one. Pain itself at all times warrants treatment, however it also generally is a sign of more serious problems resembling urinary obstruction (see above) or aortic thromboembolism (see below). Symptoms of pain and distress include vocalizing (howling), panting, hiding and overreacting to contact with a painful area.
4. Sudden paralysis of the hind end
While we’re with reference to pain, that is one of the crucial truly painful cat emergencies: aortic thromboembolism, or ATE. ATE is a complication of heart disease in cats by which a blood clot lodges within the rear (normally) legs. It causes sudden paralysis of the hind end. Affected cats normally will pant, vocalize and show other signs of distress. It requires immediate veterinary attention.
Have a cat that won’t eat? It may be time to see the vet. Photography by aleg baranau / Shutterstock.
5. Stopping eating and/or drinking
A cat who won’t eat often means serious trouble. It is just not normal for any individual to go a full day without eating when food is obtainable, and never eating generally is a symptom (kidney failure, complications of diabetes and intestinal obstruction) and a reason for (fatty liver) major health problems.
6. Protracted vomiting and/or diarrhea
That is among the many cat emergencies that require immediate veterinary attention, especially when blood is present. Just about all cats occasionally yak or have soft stools, and such incidents normally aren’t emergencies. But cats who vomit repeatedly or have blowout diarrhea should see the vet immediately.
7. Known ingestion of poisons
Ingestion of toxics resembling lily or antifreeze ought to be treated immediately. Rapid motion can dramatically improve outcomes in many differing types of toxicities.
8. Profound lethargy or collapse
That is among the many cat emergencies that ought to trigger an urgent trip to the vet. Profound lethargy often manifests as “not moving,” hiding in a single room for a protracted period, and never reacting to stimuli (resembling the can opener or the dog) in a standard fashion.
Although a solitary seizure is just not more likely to be life threatening, owners ought to be aware that seizures often are available in clusters that worsen over the course of several hours. Additionally they generally is a symptom of exposure to toxins resembling mold or low-quality flea control products. Cats that suffer a seizure should go straight to the vet.
10. Major trauma
This could at all times trigger a veterinary visit. Owners of cats with gaping wounds or massive hemorrhage normally know this intuitively. Nonetheless, sometimes cats who’ve fallen from height, been hit by cars, struck by garage doors or attacked by large dogs can have major internal injuries yet appear unharmed after the incident. Any time you’re aware of such an occurrence, your cat ought to be checked out.
11. Fights with other cats
Cats who’ve been in fights with other cats should see the vet sooner reasonably than later. Cat fight wounds are relatively easy to treat with antibiotics in the event that they are caught early. If a delay occurs, an abscess may develop that requires anesthesia and surgery.
The underside line on cat emergencies that need immediate vet attention
Cat owners should keep in mind that the above list is just not exhaustive; it is just not possible to list (and even imagine) all cat emergencies. I want to reiterate that in case you are unsure, it’s best to call a vet, or just go to the vet.
This piece was originally published in 2016.
Thumbnail: Photography by DoraZett/Thinkstock.
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