Emergency & Critical Care

When every second counts for your dog or cat, our Emergency Center is open for you and your pet 24/7, 365 days a year.
If your dog or cat becomes sick, or is injured during your veterinarian’s normal business hours, he/she should be your first choice for treatment. But pets, like people, seem to need medical attention in the middle of the night as often as they do during business hours. If this is the case, Animal Specialty Group is here, acting as an extension of your primary veterinarian, providing  24-hour emergency + critical care services after-hours when they are closed (nights, weekends & holidays).

Is it an emergency?

Perhaps your pet wasn’t bitten by a rattlesnake, but, if he/she is sick, hurts, or just doesn’t feel well, we recommend that they be evaluated by one of our qualified emergency veterinarians. Chances are we can make them (and you) feel better.

Please understand that, in the case of traumatic injury (such as in the case of a dog bite or being hit by a car), serious internal injury could have resulted that is not obvious, but needs immediate treatment. If there is any question, we recommend that you have your pet examined by a veterinarian.

Our Emergency + Critical Care team is in place to help you and your pet 24/7 (including holidays).

We put the “Care” in Critical Care. Not all emergencies (like lacerations) require “critical care,” but seriously ill pets truly need critical care. Similar to an ICU or a CCU in a human hospital, our veterinarians and critical care technicians keep close vigil over your pet. Whether your dog has parvo, your cat is having a diabetic crisis, or something else is seriously wrong, some pets require close monitoring until they are well enough to go home.

Veterinarians refer patients to us for hospitalization and ICU care, because we have the staff and the equipment to care for these sickest of pets ‘round-the-clock. Our “criticalist,” Dr. Young, is board-certified in internal medicine and in emergency & critical care medicine, and he works closely with our emergency doctors to ensure your pet is getting the most appropriate, most tender care possible.

At Animal Specialty Group, “intensive” is an understatement.

Referring veterinarians can fill out our Critical Care Transfer Form online, or fax it to us, so that we have all of the information needed, such as the results of tests that have been done and medications given, to provide good continuity of care. We will continue the care plan already in place, as well as make any other diagnostic or therapeutic recommendations as the situation demands. One of the benefits of having a Critical Care Unit inside a large referral hospital is the access to the latest equipment, and specialists from several disciplines, working together to ensure the best possible outcome.

ER Services:


  • Bite Wounds
  • Snake Bites
  • Broken Bones
  • Burns
  • Hit By Car
  • Bleeding
  • Eye Injuries
  • Breathing Problems
  • Gagging
  • Choking
  • Unconsciousness
  • Toxicity + Poison
  • Poisonous Plants
  • Poisonous Human Foods
  • Prescription Complications/Reactions
  • Antifreeze
  • Insecticides
  • Rat Poison
  • Household Cleaners
  • Human Medication

Other Conditions

  • Foreign Objects (including Bones)
  • Bleeding From Eyes, Nose or Mouth
  • Heatstroke/Frostbite
  • Inability To Walk
  • Distended Abdomen
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Changes in Behavior or Appetite
  • Disorientation
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Inability or Straining to Urinate
  • Reproductive Emergencies
  • Seizures (Abnormal or First Time)
  • Blood in the Urine, Stool or Vomit.
  • Diabetic Crisis
  • Urinary Disorders
  • Cardiovascular Disorders
  • Neurologic Emergencies
  • Dermatologic Emergencies

Diagnostic Tests/Equipment

  • Endoscopy
  • Sonography
  • Electrocardiography (ECG)
  • Gastrointestinal Contrast Studies
  • Blood Chemistry
  • Cytology
  • Biochemical Profiles
  • Pathology (In-House + Out-Service)
  • CBC Machines
  • Blood Gas Analyzer
  • Blood Coagulation Analyzer
  • Ultrasound
  • Digital + Mobile Radiography
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Spiral Computed Tomography (CT)

Critical Care Transfers

ASG provides 24-hour patient care. Referring veterinarians can transfer a patient to Animal Specialty Group for round-the-clock monitoring by our experienced staff. Click here for printable Critical Care Transfer Form and return to (818) 507-9418.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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

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.

Veterinarians who want to become board certified in emergency and critical care medicine must seek additional training to become a specialist and earn this prestigious credentialing. Specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC). A veterinarian who has received this specialty status will list the initials, 'DACVECC,' after his or her DVM degree. Or, the veterinarian may indicate that he or she is a 'Diplomate' of the ACVECC. The word 'Diplomate' typically means the specialist has achieved the following:  

Obtained a veterinary degree (three to four years of college plus four years of veterinary school).

Completed a one-year internship at a referral private practice or veterinary teaching hospital.

Completed an additional three years of advanced training in emergency medicine, surgery, and critical care through a residency at a veterinary teaching hospital where the veterinarian will have trained with some of the best specialists in the field and obtained hands on experience. This training focuses on the most up to date techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of life threatening disease processes or injuries, not only for the duration of the emergency but throughout the critical care period right after.

Passed a rigorous examination.

After completing and passing all of these requirements, the veterinarian is then recognized by his or her peers as a board certified specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care. When your pet faces an emergency, years of additional training and education will be focused on helping him or her to recover from injury or illness and enjoy the highest quality of life possible.  

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.

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