When to See an Emergency Vet in Oakland, CA

Something has gone wrong with your beloved pet. Everything was fine a little while ago, but now they are hurt, sick, or clearly not functioning the way they are supposed to in some way. It’s the middle of the night, or a weekend, or a holiday, and your regular veterinarian is unavailable. So what do you do? Is it time to rush off to the emergency vet, or should you wait a little while and see if the problem clears up? Would you be overreacting to take your pet to an animal ER, or would you regret it if you choose not to?

Unfortunately, when unexpected problems arise in the health and well-being of your pet, these are just some of the questions you have to answer. Often those answers must be made in a snap before things get even worse. Preparing yourself for the possibility of going to an emergency vet in Oakland before the need arises can help you better understand when it’s time to look up ER vet care and when your pet can wait for your regular vet to be back in the office again. If you have any questions, feel free to call Broadway Pet Hospital at (510) 6530212.

Symptoms that Need Emergency Treatment

This list includes some of the most common symptoms that usually require emergency vet care. These problems may exist on their own, or they may come in groups. Most of these symptoms are related to much more serious underlying problems, some of which you may already be aware of in your pet.

Keep in mind that this list does not include every situation in which you should take your pet to the emergency vet. It is intended to give you a frame of reference and make it easier for you to make the decision for yourself.

Acute serious injury

If your pet has suffered a sudden and obvious serious injury, then it’s time to get to the vet right away. Examples include a broken bone, damage to the eye, deep lacerations, and other similar injuries.

Worsening of a known condition

If your pet has a known chronic or terminal illness or condition that suddenly becomes worse, you may need to get to the emergency vet. This depends largely on what the condition is and how far along your pet has progressed on their journey with the condition, too.

Very high heart rate

If your pet’s heart rate is above 160 beats per minute, then this is a very dangerous situation. You should take them to the emergency vet immediately and make note of any other symptoms you notice as well.

Gums that are not the right color

Your pet’s gums should be a healthy pink. Pale gums may mean your pet is bleeding somewhere internally. Blue gums mean your pet is unable to breathe well enough, and yellow gums mean they are suffering from a problem related to her kidney or liver.

Severe bloating

Even pets have a little gas sometimes, but if your pet’s stomach is very severely bloated or distended, this is a sign of a serious condition and needs immediate emergency vet attention.

Inability to rouse

If your pet is very lethargic or collapses and you can’t get them to wake up or become very alert, this is a major concern. This could be a sign of many very serious problems and needs to be treated immediately.

Coughing up blood

Coughing up blood means something is bleeding that shouldn’t be, and your pet should be seen by an emergency vet if this happens. Take note of anything strange your pet may have eaten and let the vet know this at the appointment.

Dragging the back legs

If your pet can’t stand up or walk or if they drag their back legs, they may have suffered a stroke. There may be other underlying problems going on as well, and they all require emergency vet care.

Ingestion of a toxin

If you see your pet eat a toxic substance or ingest a poison, don’t wait—take them to the emergency vet immediately. If you have a strong suspicion that they ate something like this, you should still get to the vet. The same is true of ingesting any item that could cause a blockage in her intestines or digestive tract.

Several bouts of vomiting in a row

If your pet vomits two or three times in a row, this may be indicative of a stomach bug or a wide variety of other issues. They may have even just eaten food that didn’t sit well with them. However, if they vomit more than three times in a row or continues vomiting frequently over the course of several hours, they need to go to the emergency vet.

Seizures, in some instances

If your pet has known seizures, always measure the amount of time it takes for their seizures to end. If a seizure lasts more than 3 minutes, go to the emergency vet. If your pet has seizures more than twice in 24 hours, they also need to go to the emergency vet. Finally, if your pet has a seizure for the first time and never has before, this is probably also a good time to get to the vet.

Breathing changes

If your pet is showing signs of difficulty breathing, makes a lot of noise when breathing (and doesn’t normally do this), or moves their abdomen up and down a lot while breathing, they may need vet care right away.


Do you feel like you’ve learned a little bit about when to take your pet to the emergency vet? There are many situations that warrant a trip to the animal ER, and only you can make that call for your pet yourself. However, by understanding what emergency vets are for and what they usually do, you can determine whether or not your pet is in need of emergency vet care.

With this information, it should be easier to figure out when it’s time to make the call to the emergency vet and when it may be time to try other options for treating your favorite furry family member, too. If you’re still not sure if your pet needs to see an emergency vet, we offer an after-hours calling service through GuardianVets. Call us at (510) 6530212, and we will help you decide if your pet should go to the ER or wait to be seen at our clinic.