These types of emergencies tend to be a little more clear-cut, but all can be time sensitive and possibly life-threatening. Seek emergency veterinary care as soon as possible. Depending upon the severity of the condition, and time of day, you might be able to seek care through either an urgent care veterinary clinic, or an emergency hospital. We recommend that you don’t wait to make a decision.
Understanding and diagnosing an animal is complicated. Veterinarians and veterinary technicians cannot ask the patient what it is feeling, or where it hurts. In that way providing veterinary care can be very similar to providing pediatric care to babies, if babies got into the types of scraps a dog or cat can get into while your back is turned. It helps our medical team to understand what led up to the event that caused the symptoms you are seeing.
In order to understand the cause of the symptoms emergency medical teams conduct diagnostic and exploratory tests and examinations.
Veterinarians start with the least invasive or the most informative test, and work outwards from there. Depending on the nature of the emergency, different diagnostic tests will be ordered, they may range from a blood test, to x-rays, to an ultrasound, video scoping, a CT-scan or MRI. Our goal is always to alleviate pain and suffering and treat the cause or the symptoms as quickly as possible.
Before heading to an emergency or veterinary urgent care center, please ensure your pet has a leash and collar (or harness), or is safely secured in a pet carrier. If your pet has eaten something toxic, please bring the wrapper and/or any leftovers with you to the ER.
Your Pet Needs Care as Soon as Possible
a 24-hour emergency hospital is your best bet in most of the cases below:
Heatstroke: Heat induced injury (overheating or heatstroke, not burns) is common in the summer months. Common causes can include leaving your pet in a car or yard without appropriate cooling, or even exercise during the warmer hours of the day – Don’t leave your pet unattended in a car even with the windows down, and always ensure there is easy access to water and shade on warm days. Patients with heat exhaustion can show signs of muscle cramping, weakness, tremors and seizures, vomiting or diarrhea and difficulty breathing. As the body’s temperature rises, these signs will worsen and may become fatal. If you are concerned your pet has been overheated, seek immediate veterinary help. Cooling measures, include wetting your animal down with cool (not ice cold) water, a wet towel, and applying a fan, can be instituted to help slow or minimize the effects of heat induced injury while en route to a veterinarian.
Labor & Delivery: While delivery of new puppies and kittens sounds wonderful, complications can arise during labor and birth. Once active labor (visible abdominal contraction) begins, a puppy or kitten should be produced approximately every 30 minutes. If active pushing is not successful at producing a newborn within 1-2 hours, this is considered an abnormal delivery (dystocia) and veterinary evaluation should be sought. On occasion simple repositioning of the newborn can be successful in resolving the complication, but sometimes surgery (a cesarean section) is needed to remove the newborns. Prolonged dystocia can be fatal to the mother and newborns. Seek veterinary care or call for advice if you have concerns regarding your pregnant animal.
Eye Emergencies: The eye is a very sensitive organ with the unique function of providing vision. Common symptoms that may indicate an issue with your pet’s eyes include redness, discharge or squinting (indicating pain). This may be caused by trauma, foreign material in the eye, cataracts, glaucoma, immune mediated diseases and infections. Due to the eye’s important job of providing sight, it is very important to seek immediate evaluation and treatment for eye problems.
Bite Wounds: Animal bites and wounds are common occurrences as our pets interact with their world at home and beyond. Depending on the extent of trauma, location of the injury (involvement of blood vessels and internal organs) and the degree of contamination of the wound, prognosis can vary. It is important to keep in mind that small puncture wounds, which often seem minor, can hide much more extensive damage to underlying tissues. If addressed in a timely and aggressive fashion, pets will almost invariably recover well. When treating bite wounds, consideration must also be given to a pet’s vaccine status as some infectious diseases including rabies and FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) can be transmitted via bites. If a bite or attack has occurred, please seek evaluation as soon as possible.
Snake Bites: Snake bite envenomation is a very serious condition. Snake venom has many different components that can affect the body in several ways. Most commonly, pets will have profound swelling and pain at the site of the bite. Later effects can involve bleeding tendencies, death of tissues affected by the bite, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart and brain abnormalities. In severe cases snake bites can be fatal. If your pet has been bitten by a snake, do not try to extract the poison. The only truly effective treatment for a snake bite is administration of antivenin- an antidote that neutralizes the venom preventing injury to the body.
Trauma (Hard Fall, Hit by Car): Traumatic injuries are often caused by falls, bite wounds, lacerations and being struck by a car. In many patients the degree of trauma is not readily apparent and the severity of injury can progress rapidly or over time (internal bleeding, lung puncture, severe trauma or bruising under the skin, or infection). Medical evaluation is vitally important in determining the extent of trauma and starting a treatment plan to prevent or minimize complications following the injury. Because the true extent of injury may be unclear, it is important to use extreme caution when approaching or handling an injured animal and to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.