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Is It an Emergency?

Some emergencies are obvious. When your pet has been hit by a car, been badly burned, is bleeding uncontrollably from a wound, or has obviously broken a bone, you know that immediate care is needed.

However, not all emergencies are as obvious. When your pet is in distress, it's hard to know how serious the situation is. Is immediate care really necessary? Should you wait to seek help until your family veterinarian opens in the morning? These are perfectly normal questions to ask, and we encourage you to contact us immediately if you are having any concerns about the severity of your pet's condition.

In an effort to help you understand what may be happening with your pet, Animal Emergency Hospital of Central Connecticut has compiled a list of common symptoms your pet may experience in an emergency situation:

  • Major trauma—including car accidents, bite wounds, severe burns, broken bones, etc.
  • Breathing difficulties—such as distressed panting and irregular breathing
  • Serious bleeding—including lacerations, bite wounds, or bleeding that will not clot
  • Heatstroke or hypothermia
  • Collapse, seizures, or loss of consciousness
  • Poisoning
  • Prolonged vomiting or diarrhea
  • Infected wounds or areas
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Eye redness, tearing, or spasms
  • Known ingestion of a poison or questionable foreign object

This list is not intended to diagnose your pet and should not be considered as a substitution for a professional veterinary evaluation. However, we do hope it will be useful in determining your next steps in caring for your pet. And again, if your pet is showing any of these symptoms, please contact us for help or bring in your pet immediately.


A common cause of veterinary emergencies comes from animals ingesting poisonous substances, such as human foods, toxic plants, or household products. If you believe your pet has ingested any of the following, please call us, or call the ASPCA Poison Control Center  at (888) 426–4435 immediately:

  • Antifreeze
  • Prescription or over-the-counter drugs (both human and animal)
  • Household plants—including hops (fresh and spent), lilies, azaleas, kalanchoe, rhododendron, chrysanthemum, English ivy, and poinsettia
  • Insecticides, pesticides, and rodenticides
  • Household products—including bleach, detergents, disinfectants, and scouring products
  • Human foods—including (but not limited to) avocado, chocolate, coffee, onions, raisins or grapes, macadamia nuts, garlic, salt, yeast, and products sweetened with xylitol

To learn more about potential poisons for pets and what to do if you believe a curious cat or dog has ingested something toxic, please visit the ASPCA's Pet Poison Control Center or contact Animal Emergency Hospital of Central Connecticut.

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"Thank you for all your kindness and all the attention you gave us. You are a wonderful and compassionate group of dedicated people."
"Dr. Jason Haviar and Sarah were wonderful. Thank you so much for helping Abby feel better!"
"The Animal ER techs helped me and Bailey through his seizure. Thank you."
"Dear Dr. Haviar...you helped us when another hospital could not. Cooper's leg is healing nicely!!!"
"To the staff of the Animal ER Hospital of Central CT...Smokey is recuperating after surgery. The rubber bands you took out of his stomach, don't seem to have slowed him down much. He's been hunting on my dresser for more!"

The materials offered on this website are intended for educational purposes only. Animal Emergency Hospital of Central CT does not provide veterinary medical services or guidance via the internet. Please consult your pet's veterinarian in matters regarding the care of your animals.

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