Emergency Vets

Is it an Emergency?

When minutes matter

The best there is, every time.

If you’re not sure whether your pet has a medical emergency, please call to speak with a member of the NSVECC pet emergency team. In our experience, if an attentive pet owner is concerned, there usually is a medical issue that requires the attention of a veterinarian team.

Signs of Emergency

Below is a list of signs or behaviours that may indicate an emergency condition.

The following list is not complete. If you’re concerned about your pets’ condition, please call us for immediate expert advice. In the event your pet may be suffering from poisoning, please take note of the poison, medication or toxin you suspect your pet has been exposed to and call us right away.


  • Non-productive retching
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Constant coughing
  • Restlessness
  • Pale gums
  • An elevated heart rate (> 160 beats per minute)
  • Crying out or showings signs of pain or distress
  • Inability to move
  • Extreme lethargy
  • A distended abdomen
  • Any significant bleeding
  • Any trauma
  • Refusing to or an inability to walk
  • Dragging of the back legs
  • Any toxin or poison intake
  • Disorientation, ataxia or staggering walk
  • Blood in urine or straining to urinate
  • Difficulties giving birth
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Severe diarrhoea
When Minutes Matter


  • Difficulty breathing
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Hiding (such as under the bed, in the closet)
  • Not moving
  • Dragging hind legs or sudden weakness in a limb
  • Straining or making multiple trips to the litter box
  • Profuse or repeated vomiting
  • Sitting over the water bowl and not moving
  • Seizures and twitching
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Any kind of trauma
  • Exposure to toxins (if you suspect your cat has eaten something it shouldn’t)
  • Any abnormal vocalizing
  • Signs of pain

Bunnies, Guinea Pigs and Birds

The evaluation of other species (small mammals, birds, reptiles etc) can be difficult, and sometimes what may seem like a small change can indicate a serious illness in such a small creature.

Generally speaking, any change in basic behaviour such as increased breathing effort, loss of appetite or lethargy and decreased movement should warrant a call to the emergency service to seek the advice of a professional veterinary team.

When in doubt it is always ‘better to be safe than sorry”. Many conditions are successfully treated when caught early.

Bunnies Emergency