When Your Dog Needs Emergency Care

As a dog parent, it’s not always easy to determine if your four-legged companion’s injury or illness requires a late-night emergency care visit – or if it can wait until the next morning for your primary care veterinarian.

Most pet parents know that fainting, excessive bleeding, toxin ingestion, and breathing difficulties require immediate help, but unfortunately, certain life-threatening conditions do not show such visible signs.

That is why we are sharing the five most common canine illnesses and injuries we see in our emergency animal hospital, along with signs and symptoms for you to be aware of in your dog. 

Here are the most common canine emergencies treated at Burleson Animal Emergency Hospital:



Sue (L) and Madchen both successfully recovered from the parvo virus.

Parvo is a very contagious virus that spreads by direct contact with an infected dog or by indirectly coming in contact with a contaminated environment/object. There is no cure for Parvo, however, prompt medical attention, proper medications, and fluids can help puppies survive it. Vaccination is vital in preventing Parvo. Puppies starting at six weeks old should receive their three-four sets of Parvo vaccinations spaced out between three and four weeks, until about 16 weeks old to be completely vaccinated.

Signs and symptoms of parvo include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea (may contain blood), lack of appetite, weakness, weight loss, depression, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, usually in smaller patients).

Aspiration Pneumonia

Aspiration Pneumonia

Hulk (L) and Boozer (R) both received oxygen therapy for aspiration pneumonia and made a successful recovery.

Aspiration pneumonia is a condition in which a dog’s lungs become inflamed due (most often) to the inhalation of foreign matter, from vomiting, receiving any liquid by mouth, or from regurgitation gastric acid contents. Bacteria present in the inhaled foreign matter may also bring about infection.

Brachycephalic (short snout) dogs like English bulldogs, French bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and pugs are especially susceptible after vomiting. It is essential to closely monitor these breeds if they have recently vomited.

This form of pneumonia can also happen to any breed while bottle feeding puppies or kittens. It is recommended that owners obtain proper training on how to bottle feed if it is absolutely necessary.

Signs and symptoms of aspiration pneumonia include coughing, respiratory distress, head/neck extending upwards, fever, lack of appetite, lethargy, swallowing difficulties, a bluish tinge to the skin (cyanosis), and/or discharge coming from the nose.


Pyometra in dogs

Our pet patient, Scarlett enjoyed some sunshine during her recovery from a pyometra.

Pyometra is an infection of the uterus and usually occurs in an intact (non-spayed) female cat/dog. However, rare cases have occurred in spayed females. Pyometra can happen at any time but typically presents itself about one month after a female canine’s heat cycle. 

Signs and symptoms of pyometra include lethargy, lack of appetite, distended abdomen, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, discharge from the vulva, and licking the vulva more than usual.

Heat Stroke

Dogs in parked cars can easily suffer heat strokes

Don’t ever leave your dog in a parked car – even in shade, a pet could still suffer a heat stroke.

Heat stroke, or hyperthermia, is an elevation in body temperature above the normal range, usually over 104° F. This is often caused by the animal being exposed to extreme heat (left outside or in a parked car). Heat stroke can lead to multiple organ dysfunction or failure or even death.

A heat stroke’s signs and symptoms include panting, fever, warm to touch, dehydration, excessive drooling, rapid heart rate, red gum color, muscle tremors, vomiting blood, and may lie down and not want to rise up again.

Lacerations, Snakebites and Dog Fights

One of our sweet canine patients had an extremely swollen face after suffering from a snake bite. Through uick and urgent medical attention. our team was able to help him recover.

Traumatic wounds, including lacerations, snakebites, and dog fight wounds, must be attended to immediately by a veterinary professional. Dog fight wounds and snakebites are critical due to the bacteria inside of another animal’s mouth. With any laceration, they need to be cleaned with an antibacterial solution and appropriately evaluated to determine the appropriate wound care procedure required, including bandages, stitches, or possible surgery.

Signs and symptoms of traumatic wounds include bleeding, severe pain, limping, puncture wound, broken skin/bone, swelling, redness, and possible nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea from venomous snake bites.

If your dog is experiencing any of the above symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately. Also, it is critical to have a pet first aid kit with you at home and in the car. However, any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for seeing a veterinarian, but it may save your pet’s life until it receives professional treatment.

Transporting Your Sick or Injured Dog to an Animal Emergency Hospital

When a canine is injured or sick, they may become aggressive – even to the ones they love most.
It’s essential to approach your dog slowly and calmly – then kneel down and say their name. If they show aggression, call for help. If they are passive, fashion a makeshift stretcher and gently lift them onto it. Make sure to support their neck and back in case they have suffered any spinal injuries. While driving to the animal hospital, try to keep your furry friend calm, still, and comfortable. 

Burleson Animal Emergency Hospital is Open 24/7/365

At Burleson Animal Emergency Hospital, our experienced team of emergency veterinarians and technicians are available to provide comprehensive and compassionate care for your dog – and cat – any time day or night.

If you believe your pet is having a medical emergency and requires emergency veterinary care, please contact our team immediately at (817) 900-2000. We will prepare for your arrival and discuss our current safety protocols.

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