Signs Your Exotic Pet Needs an Emergency Vet in Chicago, IL

When you live in Chicago, Illinois or the surrounding areas, you may find yourself wondering which situations might require you to take your exotic pet to an emergency vet. Exotic pets in this part of the United States may include any type of pet that is not a dog or a cat, such as rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and more.

Signs that your exotic pet needs an emergency vet in Chicago, IL

Problems That Mean Your Exotic Pet Needs an Emergency Vet in Chicago, IL

In this article, we will explore some of the most common problems that affect exotic pets that may need to be seen by an emergency vet in Chicago, IL. It is important to be aware of these potential issues when you have an exotic pet, as this will help you to be more prepared in an emergency situation.

Difficulty Breathing

Pets may develop difficulty breathing for a variety of reasons. Although some causes of breathing issues can be as benign as allergies, any issue with breathing should be assessed by a veterinarian immediately. Breathing issues can be a sign of pneumonia or heart disease, both of which require immediate treatment or can be fatal. 

If your pet is struggling to breathe at all or his gums or tongue have changed color, go to the emergency vet without waiting. This is an emergency.


Any pet, including exotics pets, who have become unresponsive will need to be taken to the emergency vet right away. Unresponsiveness is a sign of severe disease or trauma, but it does not necessarily mean that your pet is beyond help. Be sure and head to the closest veterinary ER immediately if you notice any change in consciousness to your pet. 

Prompt veterinary intervention is essential for the best outcome for your pet. Additionally, try to think of any information to give the veterinarian to help determine the underlying cause of this issue, such as any trauma, exposure to medications or toxins, or known health issues that your pet is dealing with.   

Traumatic Injury

If you know your pet has suffered a traumatic injury, it should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately. However, exotic pets can get into things and become injured without an owner seeing it happen. 

If you notice limping, inability to stand or grasp branches or perches, any wounds, or any other signs of injury, then your pet should be evaluated. Keep in mind that internal injuries may not have visible signs. 

If you are worried about any internal trauma, seek veterinary care immediately.


Any exotic pet who suffer from seizures should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately. If your pet has never had a history of seizures before, this can be a sign of toxicity, metabolic disease, or something primarily affecting the central nervous system. 

Uncontrolled seizures themselves can actually cause damage to the brain and internal organs, so regardless of the underlying cause, any animal who has a seizure should be evaluated immediately.

Exposure to Extreme Cold

As we all know, Chicago is a very cold place during the winter months. Many exotic pets require a higher temperature and higher humidity than we have in Chicago, so paying close attention to an animal’s specific requirements for its species is essential for a pet’s health. 

Because of our weather in Chicago, some pets may end up exposed to extreme cold temperatures for too long. This can cause frostbite, hypothermia, or negatively affect a pet’s metabolism.

If you are concerned that you pet has been exposed to excessive cold or your pet is acting abnormally at all, seek veterinary care.

Take Your Exotic Pet to the Emergency Vet in Chicago, IL for Any of These Signs

It is always important to research and locate a good quality exotic pet emergency vet before you need one. This way, if the time comes, you will be prepared when dealing with a crisis. 

VEG has a location in Lincoln Park with a reliable and highly skilled emergency veterinary team who can care for a variety of pet emergencies, including emergencies related to exotic pets. When you call our location, you will speak immediately to an emergency veterinarian who will be able to help you and give you advice on the next best steps for your pet.


Dr. Laura Kozlowski Medical Director, VEG Oak Brook

Washington and Lee University BS in Biology 2009;
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University 2015

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About VEG

VEG is a network of Emergency Veterinarians located across the country. We are dedicated to helping people and their pets when they need it most. If your pet is ever in an emergency situation, use the link below to find our nearest location so we can get your pet the help they need.