Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

When to Visit an Emergency Vet

Life - and our pets - can be unpredictable. Veterinary emergencies can happen at any time, and it can be difficult to know when to visit an emergency veterinary clinic. Our Central Illinois vets are here to explain what situations require emergency care and what to do next.

Contact an emergency vet clinic immediately
if your pet is having an emergency.


How do I know if my pet needs Emergency Care?

Situations in which your pet will need urgent or emergency care can happen at any time - and quite unexpectedly. That's why it's wise to prepare yourself for it to happen to your pet. 

While knowing when to take your cat or dog to the emergency veterinary hospital near you isn't always obvious, you'll need to watch for some signs and symptoms that indicate a trip to the emergency vet is necessary. If you're in doubt, contact an emergency vet clinic for help and ask for advice.

Signs of a Pet Emergency

  • Sudden blindness, stumbling or staggering
  • Dilated pupils
  • Inflammation or injury to the eye
  • Bloated, swollen or painful abdomen
  • Vomiting or blood in diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing, extreme coughing or choking
  • Loss of balance
  • Severe injury (falls, car accidents, broken bones, open wounds)
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Obvious pain
  • Unable to deliver puppies or kittens
  • Inability to urinate or defecate
  • Lameness or inability to walk
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Ingestion of poisonous foods, substances, plants, or bones

Basic First Aid

Please remember that administering first aid to your pet does not replace the need for veterinary care. This is simply a way to stabilize temporarily for transportation to the emergency vet. 


Begin by muzzling your pet. Place a clean gauze pad over the injury, applying pressure with your hand until the blood starts to clot (this typically takes several minutes). Severe bleeding from the leg will require a gauze tourniquet and an elastic band to secure it. After doing this, bring your pet to the vet immediately. 


Remove objects that may hurt your pet. Do not attempt to restrain them. Keep your pet warm after the seizure is over and phone your vet.


Muzzle your pet. Lay them on a flat surface that can be used as a stretcher to transport them to the vet. Secure them to the stretcher if possible, avoiding the injured area.


Be cautious, your pet may bite out of panic. Look for objects in their mouth and try to remove it if possible, but be careful to not accidentally push the object further into the throat. Don't waste time on this if it's difficult, you could be losing precious time. Bring your pet to the vet immediately.

Being Prepared

What You Should Know in Advance

Our vets recommend preparing and having the following available in case of an emergency:

  • The phone number for your vet's office
  • Directions to the Emergency Vet Clinic or ER for pets
  • The phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center
  • The phone number for the closest Emergency Vet Clinic
  • Knowledge of basic CPR for pets
  • Knowledge of how to stop bleeding
  • How to muzzle your dog when he's in pain so he doesn't bite others

How much does an emergency vet visit cost?

Emergency care for pets can be expensive due to the immediate nature of the situation and the amount of diagnostic testing, monitoring and treatment necessary. As a pet owner, you have a responsibility to ensure you can financially care for your pet in a time of crisis. 

While it's impossible to predict how much a specific veterinary medical emergency will cost to treat as each situation will be unique, you may want to consider planning ahead for unforeseeable circumstances by setting savings aside for emergencies or pet insurance plans.

For example, owners of dogs or cats who will soon give birth may wonder how much an emergency veterinary visit for a C-section will cost if their canine or feline friend should need help delivering their puppies and kittens. Costs for this procedure may vary. 

In any emergency situation, delaying care to avoid emergency fees may put your pet's life at risk, so it's important to take this into consideration when taking on the responsibility of a pet. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your pet exhibiting any signs of a veterinary emergency? Contact an emergency animal hospital near Central Illinois.

Caring for Pets in Central Illinois

Pekin Veterinary Clinic is welcoming new clients to our clinic. Contact our team to book your pet's appointment.

Contact Us

Contact (309) 346-1375