Our hospital offers emergency care. If you suspect your pet may be having a medical crisis, err on the side of caution and seek medical attention immediately. Our experienced team of veterinarians, technicians and assistants are here to assist your pet when it is needed most.

Any of the following situations can be considered an emergency:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Ingestion of a foreign object, drug, poison or unknown substance*
  • Bleeding or unexplained bruising
  • Blood in vomit, feces, and/or urine
  • Severe vomiting, retching, and/or diarrhea
  • Swollen, hard, or painful abdomen or unproductive retching
  • Serious wound
  • Broken limb(s)
  • Any injury to the eyes
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Inability to move or sudden weakness
  • Unusual or erratic behavior
  • Signs of extreme pain
  • Straining to urinate (especially a male cat)
  • Labor that does not progress
  • Prolonged heat exposure, overheating, or heat stroke
  • Snake bite
  • Trauma (hit by car, fall)
  • Allergic reaction (facial swelling, difficulty breathing)
  • Any signs of respiratory difficulty (increased respiratory effort, coughing, wheezing)

When en route to our hospital, it is very helpful to contact us while in transit with your estimated time of arrival (ETA). By calling ahead, the hospital’s emergency team may also be able to give helpful advice for your pet, including techniques for controlling bleeding, covering and protecting wounds, slowly cooling a heatstroke victim and safely transporting an injured animal.

*If your pet has ingested a possible or known toxin, please bring the packaging of the toxic substance with you.

How Can I Avoid An Emergency Situation With My Pet?

It goes without saying that the best way to avoid an emergency is to prevent it in the first place. To reduce the chances that you will experience an emergency situation during the lifetime of your pet, consider the following tips:  

Follow your veterinarian's advice regarding all relevant wellness care, including vaccinations, age appropriate health screenings, and parasite prevention.

Prevent traumatic injury by keeping pets under your control at all times. Keep cats indoors and dogs fenced. When pets venture outdoors, keep them leashed at all times. If you do allow them off leash, limit this privilege to large enclosed areas away from traffic, other potentially aggressive pets, and wildlife.

Invest the time in training your pet to obey simple commands, such as Come, Sit, Down, Stay, and No.

Never leave your pet alone or unattended in a car, even with the windows open.

Pet proof your home, removing all potential hazards from your pet's reach, much the same as you would do with an infant or toddler.

Supervise your pet as much as possible. Puppies and kittens, just like human babies, like to explore with their mouths. Supervising them during playtime can prevent their ingesting poisonous substances or choking hazards.

If your pet is coping with a chronic illness, carefully follow all of your veterinarian's recommendations regarding medication administration and check ups.
 

How Can I Plan For An Emergency?

Make sure you know ahead of time what your veterinarian's policy is regarding emergency care, both during regular practice hours and after hours. If your veterinarian does not have a referral relationship in place, then make sure you know the location of the closest emergency referral center for your area.

If your pet has an ongoing medical problem that could result in a sudden emergency, make sure you keep any pertinent medical records in a handy place so that you can quickly locate them and bring them with you to the emergency service or hospital in the event of a crisis.

Keep your veterinarian's phone number and any emergency phone numbers and directions next to your phone along with all other important emergency information for your family.

Know basic first aid tips for pets. Ask your veterinarian for these ahead of time during a routine wellness exam

How Do I Handle My Injured Pet?

Handle With Care

Pain, fear, and shock can make animals behave differently. When you are faced with a pet emergency, remember that even the most well trained and loving pet can behave differently when feeling ill or in pain. Also realize that even relatively small animals, such as cats or small dogs, are capable of inflicting serious bite and scratch wounds when they are disoriented and in pain. If this occurs, it is important not to take such actions personally, but to realize that it is an expression of the extreme pain or disorientation your pet may be experiencing at the time.

Approach all injured pets with caution. Despite your natural wish to comfort your ill or wounded pet, do not place your face or hands near his or her head until you can assess your pet's condition. If you feel you cannot safely manage the emergency situation, ask your veterinarian for advice on how to handle and transport your pet when you call to report the emergency. Sometimes wrapping small, injured pets in towels (taking care not to cause further injury or pain) or placing larger pets in crates or carriers for transport may be the safest option for both you and your pet.
 

What To Do In An Emergency?

Call your veterinarian immediately. Even if it is after hours, most veterinarians have recordings that explain how to obtain emergency help for a pet when the practice is closed.

Call your veterinarian rather than attempting to obtain advice online. Do not leave a voicemail. In an emergency, your pet needs help immediately. Keep going until you get a live person on the other end of the phone who can connect you with a veterinarian or direct you to an emergency facility.

If you are away from home, consult the yellow pages of the local phone book for the closest veterinary emergency facility.
 

What Type of Equipment Do Emergency and Critical Care Specialists Use?

High Tech Help

Much of the same high tech equipment that human doctors use to help critically ill humans is also available to help save injured or seriously ill pets. Emergency and Critical Care specialists are more likely to have access to the following cutting edge equipment or capabilities to help your pet recover:

  • Supplemental oxygen delivered via oxygen cages or nasal tubes
  • Pulse oximeters
  • Blood gas monitoring
  • End tidal carbon dioxide measurement
  • Colloid oncotic pressure measurement
  • Continuous ECG monitoring and telemetry
  • Ultrasonography
  • Endoscopy
  • Blood pressure and central venous pressure measurements
  • Blood transfusions
  • Advanced imaging techniques, such as CT scans and MRI
     

Our Emergency Care Services

Canine Transfusion Therapy
Digital Radiology
Echocardiography (ECG)
Hospitalization
In-House Laboratory
In-House Pharmacy
In-Office Surgical Suite
Intensive Care
Canine Transfusion Therapy
Oncology
Orthopedic Surgery
PennHip Evaluations
Sevoflurane Anesthesia
Soft Tissue Surgery
Tonopen
Ultrasound

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