Not sure if it's an emergency?
There are many conditions that may not appear to you as an emergency but that require URGENT veterinary attention. Many owners wrongly believe that unless their cat is collapsed, gasping or has obvious trauma like a broken leg or blood loss then they do not need urgent attention. The truth is that many of today's emergencies are last week's less urgent problems - either owners have neglected to notice their cat is unwell or they've simply been hoping it will sort itself out - even the most minor conditions can become an emergency if left for long enough!
Tell tale signs of an emergency
If you are not sure whether it is a true emergency, find out if the symptoms your cat is showing warrant further emergency advice with the interactive online symptom checker.
I have outlined some common emergencies on a separate page.
If in doubt, contact your nearest vet/emergency centre directly or follow the link for more information.
Feel free to contact me by phone during office hours if you are unsure. If I am available, I will always endeavour to guide you as to the best course of action. When I am out doing my rounds I may dip in and out of mobile phone reception and will inevitably be away from my phone at times. I have guided instructions on my voicemail to assist should this occur.
The last thing I would want would be to delay the speedy treatment of your cat in an emergency, so for this reason my website contact form and email are not designed for emergency queries. If you are in any doubt and I am not available by phone, then please use the emergency contact details above.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE PLEASE READ:
Always make contact with a veterinary practice if your cat has had
a noticeable reduction in appetite for longer than 24 hours!
A commonly overlooked potential emergency is a reduction in appetite. Many cat owners do not understand how life threatening this could be. In many instances this can often the only warning sign that your cat is sick/injured and should never be overlooked.
If cats do not eat regularly they can develop a severe illness called hepatic lipidosis often within just a couple of days and actually overweight cats actually suffer more severely with this condition. If all your efforts to get your cat to eat are not working within 24 hours, then it is vital that you see a vet to prevent this potentially fatal condition.
One of the most frustrating things as a vet is being presented with a very sad, completely inappetant, dehydrated and very ill cat and then finding out their owner has been watching the cat's appetite steadily deteriorate over the course of a week or more because they seemed ok in themselves. Hopefully you wouldn't ignore inappetance in other members of your family or your children so please do not wait until your cat is eating nothing at all before seeking help! Early intervention is key - starvation on top of the underlying reason your cat is off its food is a recipe for disaster and it causes unnecessary suffering and will inevitably be more expensive to treat.
Without adequate nutrition you cat will be lacking the energy and vitamins/minerals it's body needs to get better. In particular blood levels of a salt called potassium can become depleted and lead to a marked weakness and heart problems. Syringing/force feeding your cat should never be attempted as an alternative to veterinary care. This will never meet your cat's nutritional needs on its own and is unpleasant and stressful for your cat. Without knowing why your cat is off its food you will simply be prolonging the time before they get the veterinary help they need.
Download a PDF version of this here
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