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Preston Animal Clinic

Emergencies & Urgent Care

Pet Emergencies

In any emergency situation, it is crucial to remain calm and seek immediate veterinary care. Contacting your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic as soon as possible is essential for the health and well-being of your pet.

If you are experiencing an emergency or are worried about your pet during regular business hours, please contact the clinic and we will advise you on how to best help your pet. We will help you determine whether your pet’s illness or injury requires immediate attention. When you bring your pet into our office, we will work on determining the cause of your pet’s symptoms and treating your pet. We will give your pet the best care possible and keep you updated on your pet’s condition.

If your pet is experiencing an emergency or are worried about them outside of regular business hours:

Emergency Vet Clinic of Waterloo Region

(Dog and Cats only)

405 Maple Grove Road #14

Cambridge, ON N3E 1B6

(519) 650-1617

Visit Website >

Campus Estates Animal Hospital


1460 Gordon St

Guelph, ON N1L 1C8

(519) 837-1212

Visit Website >

Conditions That Require Immediate Treatment

It’s always concerning when your pet gets sick or injured. Below are some examples of emergency conditions that require immediate care.

Dogs & cats

Emergencies for dogs and cats can range from sudden illnesses to accidents and injuries. Here are some common emergencies that pet owners should be aware of:

  1. Difficulty Breathing: Signs of difficulty breathing include open-mouthed breathing, wheezing, or gasping for air. This could indicate various issues such as choking, allergic reactions, or respiratory diseases.

  2. Trauma: Trauma can result from accidents like being hit by a car, falling from a height, or being attacked by another animal. Injuries may include broken bones, wounds, and internal bleeding.

  3. Seizures: Seizures can be caused by various factors including epilepsy, poisoning, or underlying health conditions. During a seizure, pets may lose consciousness, paddle their legs, drool excessively, or lose control of their bladder or bowels.

  4. Heatstroke: Dogs and cats can suffer from heatstroke if they are exposed to high temperatures for prolonged periods. Signs include excessive panting, drooling, rapid heartbeat, weakness, and collapse.

  5. Bloat: Gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), commonly known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition in which a dog's stomach fills with gas and twists on itself. Symptoms include a distended abdomen, restlessness, unsuccessful attempts to vomit, and weakness.

  6. Allergic Reactions: Dogs and cats can have allergic reactions to various substances including insect bites, certain foods, medications, or environmental allergens. Signs may include itching, swelling, hives, vomiting, or diarrhea.

  7. Eye Injuries: Eye injuries can occur due to trauma, foreign objects, or infections. Symptoms include redness, swelling, discharge, squinting, or pawing at the affected eye.

  8. Difficulty Urinating: Urinary blockages or obstructions can occur in both dogs and cats, especially in male cats. Signs include straining to urinate, frequent attempts to urinate, blood in the urine, and vocalization during urination.

  9. Poisoning: Pets can ingest various toxic substances such as household chemicals, human medications, certain plants, or foods like chocolate, grapes, and onions. Symptoms of poisoning can vary widely depending on the substance ingested.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.


Rabbits / Guinea Pigs / Small Mammals

Rabbits, guinea pigs and small mammals often do not show signs of illness immediately. It is important to monitor for eating, drinking and regular bowl movements.

  1. GI Stasis: This is a potentially life-threatening condition where a pet’s digestive system slows down or stops completely. Signs include decreased or absent fecal output, loss of appetite, lethargy, and abdominal discomfort.

  2. Respiratory Issues: Respiratory infections are common in rabbits and small mammals. Signs include sneezing, nasal discharge, labored breathing, and lethargy.

  3. Injuries: Pets can injure themselves through accidents or fights with other animals. Common injuries include broken bones, wounds, and bites.

  4. Poisoning: Rabbits and small mammals may ingest toxic substances such as certain plants, household chemicals, or medications. If you suspect poisoning, contact a veterinarian or a poison control hotline immediately.

  5. Urinary Issues: Urinary tract infections or blockages can occur in rabbits and small mammals, leading to discomfort and potentially life-threatening complications. Signs include straining to urinate, blood in the urine, and reduced or absent urine output.


Birds often do not show obvious signs of illness or distress. Fluffed appearance, not perching, less active behaviour are indications that they may need to be seen.

  1. Injury: Birds can get injured due to various reasons such as collisions with windows, predators, or accidents.

  2. Bleeding: Birds have a very small blood volume. Bleeding needs to addressed immediately.

  3. Egg Binding: Females may become unable to pass eggs, leading to complications such as infection or rupture of the oviduct

  4. Toxin Ingestion: Birds can accidentally ingest toxic substances such as toxic plants or household chemicals.

  5. Respiratory issues - Signs include open-mouth breathing, wheezing, or gasping for air.


Reptiles illness signs are often subtle and signs may change slowly over a period of time.

  1. Respiratory Distress: Difficulty breathing can be caused by respiratory infections, obstructions, or other underlying health issues. Signs include open-mouth breathing, wheezing, or gasping for air.

  2. Injuries: Traumatic injuries such as bites, wounds, fractures, or burns require prompt attention to prevent infection and aid in healing.

  3. Impaction: Reptiles may become impacted due to ingesting substrate or foreign objects. Signs include lack of defecation, distended abdomen, and lethargy.

  4. Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD): A common issue in reptiles, particularly those with inadequate UVB exposure or calcium deficiencies. Signs include softening or deformities of bones, lethargy, and difficulty moving.

  5. Egg Binding: Female reptiles may become unable to pass eggs, leading to complications such as infection or rupture of the oviduct.

  6. Dehydration: Reptiles are prone to dehydration, especially if their habitat lacks adequate humidity or water sources. Signs include sunken eyes, wrinkled skin, and lethargy.

  7. Heat Stress: Improper temperature regulation in the enclosure can lead to heat stress, which can be fatal if not addressed promptly.

  8. Toxicity: Ingestion of toxic plants, chemicals, or contaminated food items can lead to poisoning and require immediate treatment.

  9. Neurological Symptoms: Seizures, tremors, or other abnormal neurological signs may indicate a serious underlying condition.