Locally-Owned in Oakdale and St. Paul, Minnesota

Sudden Collapse in Pets Part II: What To Do if Your Pet Collapses

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If your pet suddenly collapses or cannot get up, these are considered “RED” – or true emergencies– on our Fast Track Triage system. We advise you seek immediate veterinary care. Please call ahead of your arrival so the veterinary team knows to expect you!


If you haven’t already, we encourage you to read Part I of this blog first to learn the potential underlying causes of why a pet may collapse.

If your pet collapses, it’s important for you to remain calm and take immediate action:

  1. Make sure your pet is safe and help prevent further injury. 
    • Example: If your pet is near the top of the stairs, set up a boundary like a gate to prevent your pet from falling down the stairs upon regaining consciousness.  
  2. Support their body if possible and attempt to rouse them.
    • When your pet rouses, slowly and safely get them in your car for transport to your family veterinarian or local animal emergency hospital. If able, bring a companion who can hold your pet. If no one is available, secure your pet in a crate or carrier. 
    • If your pet DOES NOT rouse within a few minutes, or stops breathing for any amount of time, get to the nearest animal emergency hospital as soon as possible. 
    • If your pet has been outside and there is a concern for heat stroke, wet your pet with cool (not cold) water and keep them wet with damp towels until you arrive at the animal ER.
  3. While you drive to the animal ER, have a companion call the facility so staff can prepare to take immediate action upon your arrival. 

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What to Expect at the Animal ER   

Depending on the current condition of your pet, the staff will likely bring your pet immediately to the treatment area to be triaged and stabilized. All treatment will be performed with your permission. Please know it may take a few minutes to a few hours to stabilize your pet, so be patient with the veterinary team. You will be updated as information become available. 

Once the veterinarian is able to speak with you, they will provide a detailed update on your pet’s condition, as well as discuss possible causes, a prognosis, and recommendations for further care and treatment.

sudden collapse, pet collapses, pet health, pet emergency, Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota

Prevention  

Unfortunately, most causes of collapse are not preventable. There are a few notable exceptions: 

  • Heat Stroke
    • Heat stroke can be prevented by keeping pets inside during peak heat hours on warmer days. In addition, on warmer days, do not leave your pet unattended in the car, nor heavily exercise them (I.e. jogging or running alongside you while you bike, rollerblade, etc.)  
  • Toxins
    • Keep toxic foods, poisons, and human medications out of your pet’s reach. 
  • Annual Vet Visits
    • Annual exams, vaccinations, and veterinarian-recommended preventive medications help prevent and identify diseases before they occur or worsen. 

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We hope you never have to experience this scary emergency with your pet, but if you do, we hope this article helps you take prompt action to help your pet and find immediate veterinary care. 

More Reading: 

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