Veterinary Medical Association of Bexar County
Veterinarians in San Antonio and Bexar County

Home -- Emergencies

HYPERTHERMIA - Overheating in animals can be life threatening.  This is much more common in dogs than in cats.  The goal is to return the body temperature to normal.
 The easiest way to cool down dogs is to use the garden hose.  Be sure to allow the water to run until cool before applying to the dog.  The dog can be immersed in the bathtub.  It is best not to use ice water as this may cool them too rapidly and cause  shock.  Since internal organs may be damaged by overheating you should take your pet to your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

VOMITING AND DIARRHEA - Most over-the-counter medications for humans do not work well for pets and dosing is difficult.  It is best to withhold food and give small amounts of water at a time.  Call your veterinarian if there is more than one episode of vomiting or diarrhea and if it persists for more than a few hours.

HIT BY A CAR - Any animal that has been hit by a car needs to be seen by a veterinarian as many internal injuries are not obvious without a thorough medical examination and observation.
 Always be careful with animals that are injured as they may bite or scratch when handled.  Covering the pet with a blanket or towel can help protect you from injury. 

EYE INJURY -  Signs include different pupil size, squinting, tearing, redness and swelling.  If you know it was caused by chemical or fine dirt, flush with sterile saline or clean water for 5 to 10 minutes.

BITES FROM INSECTS OR SNAKES -  Signs of an allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, hives, swellen face, puffiness around eyes, vomiting, diarrhea and scratching.  Try to see what the insect or snake looks like.  If the pet is havind swelling or difficulty breathing go to the veterinary hospital immeadiately.  

 SOME COMMON POISONS TO PETS - alcohol, apple seeds, apricots, avocados, cherry seeds, garlic, grapes, macadmia nuts,onions, raisins,rhubarb,spinach,tomatoes, red or green, stems or leaves chocolate, coffee, peach pits, xylitol.
In the yard - aloe vera, azalea, crocus bulbs,elephant ears, geranium, holly, lilies, mistletoe berries,mushrooms, oak eaves nd acorns, poinsettia, sago palm and tulip bulbs. 

 In case of an emergency, be prepared to help your pet until you can reach the veterinarian?

A pet first aid kit should include items that you will be comfortable using and will cause no harm to your pet.  For most people, the following list comprises an adequate first aid kit:

  • Rolls of 2- and 3-inch gauze
  • Gauze pads in a variety of sizes
  • Self-clinging wrap like saran wrap can work like tape
  • Sterile water
  • Alcohol and alcohol wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Towel
  •   Diphenhydramine-containing antihistamine—only given at your veterinarian's recommendation
  •   Eye wash or sterile water
  •   Eyedropper
  •   Cotton balls
  •   Paper towels
  •   Plastic garbage bags
  •    Muzzle

First aid kit items should be stored in an easy-to-open, transportable box with a handle. A plastic tackle or toolbox works well. They have compartments or trays that can help organize the items. Clearly label the box "Pet First Aid Kit" and store it in an accessible area. If you often drive with your pet, prepare a duplicate kit to keep in your car.

Mark the expiration date of first aid kit items that have a shelf life with a permanent pen and replace them before they expire. Marking them will serve as a reminder to check the date, as well as make them easy to spot.

If an emergency should occur where there's more than one person on site, let the person most trained in first aid handle injuries. This is especially true if the pet's owner is too emotional to make decisions.

Always be prepared to use the muzzle to avoid injury to yourself and the pet.  Injured animals often bite out of fear and/or pain.   If possible call the veterinary clinic to let them know you are on your way.

Updated Friday, 23rd March, 2018

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