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Emergencies: Keep Calm and Call Your Vet

You never want to think that it can happen to you. You come home to find all your Easter candy shredded to just the paper wrapping or you let Sugar out to go potty before you leave for work and she gets hit by a car.  Unfortunately, accidents and unforeseen events occur. You may not expect that it can happen to your beloved companion, but the most important thing to do during an emergency situation is to stay calm. Of course this is easier said than done, but below are tips on how to keep calm and get your pet on the road to recovery and how to avoid a potential emergency.

If you are a new pet owner or recently moved and shopping for a new veterinarian, find out what their policy is on emergencies.   Some veterinary clinics offer 24/7 care even after regular hours and will see you even if you are not a client. Other clinics have policies that only do emergencies until a certain time of the night or may only see clients that they have seen before. Of course,  there are always emergency clinics that stay open just strictly to see emergencies and will see your pet whether you are a client or not. Keep the number to reach your regular veterinarian or 24 hour emergency clinic number easily accessible.

After arriving to the clinic, the veterinarian will ask several questions regarding what happened or if there were any signs or symptoms that you noticed in the days leading up to the incident. This only allows them to put the pieces together to figure out what has caused your pets condition.  Allow the doctor and staff to do what they are trained to do, step away and allow them to assess the animal and begin the proper treatment.  Take a deep breath, your pet is in the right place.

Emergencies can be expensive.  There is pet insurance available, but most clients that I see do not have pet insurance. It is important to have a reasonable amount of money set aside just in case.

We all want our pets to be healthy and live a long life.  Here are some things you can do to prevent yourself from ending up at your veterinarian on a Saturday at 2:00 am.

1.)    Do NOT leave your dog or cat in a car when it is warm outside.  Cars get extremely hot very quickly, even in the Spring.  How would you like it if you were wearing a fur coat in the middle of summer and then left in car with the windows barely down?  Heat stroke can happen in dogs and cats and it is a terrible way to die.

2.)    Keep chocolate, insecticides, sharp objects etc.  in cabinets or high enough that your pets can’t reach. If your dog has been known to get things off the counter,  or if you have already had one experience of having a foreign body removed from his stomach, do yourself a favor and invest in a crate.

3.)    Get your dog and cat spayed and neutered.  Older, intact females are at risk of developing an infection in their uterus. This is called pyometra  and is an emergency procedure.  Having your pet spayed or neutered will decrease the likelihood it will roam trying to find a mate which can lead to dog fights and hit by cars. Listen to Bob Barker, he has been right all along, have your pet spayed or neutered.

4.)    If your dog or cat has been sick for 12 to 24 hours and it is not getting any better or if it gets worse, take them in to see your veterinarian.  Do not let it continue for days and then realize at midnight on a Friday that you need to call your veterinarian.


By: Dr. Hilary Carlisle

2 thoughts on “Emergencies: Keep Calm and Call Your Vet

  1. Laurie says:

    my 5 year old male Shih Tzu was in a dog fight in which the other dog had his right paw through a chain link fence and was pulling it. The problem is that he is raw like a road rash in arm pit area. we have washed it and tryed to cover it with some gauze and Bacitracin and also a 1/4 of tablet of tylenol. is there any thing else we can do?

    • Dr. Roger says:

      Laurie, FYI, these sections for blog comments are not for urgent medical advice, but for discussion. does have a veterinary advice service through the question box at the top of each page, but in case like this, real, hands on veterinary care is what is called for. Also FYI, Tylenol is highly toxic to dogs, as are ibuprophen and naproxin. I strongly advise against home treatment without the consent of a veterinarian. A lot of human OTCs are potentially toxic to animals.

      Hope all is well.

      Best regards,

      Dr. Roger Welton

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