Emergency/Critical Care

While your general practice veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems and handle many routine emergencies, certain situations require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in handling emergency and critical care for your pet. An emergency and critical care specialist typically works in tandem with your general practice veterinarian on a referral basis, as well as with any other needed specialists, until the emergency is resolved.

What Is An Emergency and Critical Care Specialist?

A board-certified specialist in emergency and critical care is a veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional training in treating life-threatening conditions. An emergency and critical care specialist can help in the following kinds of cases, among many others: traumatic injuries of all kinds (like serious cuts or car accidents); respiratory emergencies (when your pet is having difficulty breathing); poisonings or toxin ingestion (when your pet has eaten something harmful, like rodent bait or human prescription medications); blood transfusions; seizure disorders; complications from metabolic disease (like Addisonian or diabetic crises); and post-operative complications.

When Does My Pet Need Emergency Care?

Any of the following situations can be considered an emergency:

  • Difficulty breathing or severe coughing
  • Ingestion of a foreign object, drug, poison or unknown substance
  • Bleeding or unexplained bruising
  • Blood in vomit, feces or urine
  • Severe vomiting, retching, or diarrhea
  • Swollen, hard or painful abdomen
  • Serious wound
  • Suspected broken limb
  • Any injury to the eye
  • 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

If you are concerned about your pet at any time, please contact us. We are happy to counsel you on the best course of action.

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?

Many emergency hospitals work on a referral basis with primary care veterinarians. In some cases, your pet will only be referred to the emergency service for after-hours care. In other cases, your pet may be in the care of the emergency and critical care specialist for the duration of the emergency and recovery, but then referred back to your primary care veterinarian for follow up and routine care.

 

 

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