What to Do in Case of a Veterinary Emergency
When there’s any medical emergency, it is always best if you have planned ahead. The same is true for your pets. Never plan on experiencing a life-threatening emergency with your pet, but have a plan in place in case one occurs.
Start by asking your veterinarian about the emergency services he or she provides. Does your vet take emergency call for his clients, or does he refer all after-hours calls to an emergency clinic? If he takes his own calls, how does that work and how soon will he get back in touch with you once you call and leave a message about an emergency? If emergencies are referred, find out the locations and phone numbers of the 2 emergency clinics closest to your home.
You should do your best to emergency proof your home. Have the aforementioned emergency number(s) posted near the phone or on your speed dial. Make sure all medications, both human and veterinary, are secure and out of reach especially when you leave your pet unattended. For some inquisitive and/or athletic dogs the kitchen counters or a bedside table is not “out of reach.”
Try to avoid the use of rat poison in and around your home – many dogs are simply good at finding that stuff. Always read the label several times before applying a flea control product to your pet. This warning primarily applies to cats, as many “K9 ONLY” products are very poisonous for our feline friends. Keep pets away if and when you do your own automotive maintenance.
Finally, in the event of an emergency do not panic. If your pet has been injured, check for consciousness first. Try not to move the pet unless it would be safer in another location. Use caution when picking up an injured pet. It may try to bite you simply out of pain and fear. Call the vet as soon as possible. The doctor or technician may ask some questions or give advice on what to do or how best to transport the patient. Be sure to give your estimated time of arrival to the veterinary hospital, so the doctors and staff will be ready to assist when you arrive.
If you would like to ask a question about your pet – send an email to Dr. Philip Arnall