Respiratory distress is a very scary emergency in our pets. While hopefully this never happens to you, it is important for you to know what to do in this situation to get your pet to lifesaving care.

Signs of respiratory distress include:

  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Abdominal effort in breathing
  • Open-mouth breathing in cats
  • Purple to blue gums
  • Noisy breathing
  • Non-responsiveness or no apparent breathing

If you notice any of these signs:

  1. Get someone to call your nearest emergency clinic while you take your pet to the car. This allows us to prepare for your pet’s arrival so there is no delay in getting them immediate, life-saving care
  2. Turn on the air conditioner in the car and have someone sit with your pet to monitor them closely on the way to the clinic
  3. Announce that your pet is having difficulty breathing as soon as you reach the clinic. Staff members will immediately take your pet to the treatment area to receive life-saving care
  4. It is important that you stay at reception to give your pet’s details and explain what signs lead up to this event. This will be relayed to the veterinary team to help guide first aid
  5. One of the first questions you may be asked is about CPR. While this is a very confronting question, having a ready response to this question while help the veterinary team act quickly if the situation deteriorates and can be the difference between life and death
  6. A veterinarian will update you on the status of your pet as soon as they are stable. While the wait is stressful, please be patient as we are focusing our efforts on giving your pet life-saving treatment.