Emergencies don’t only affect humans. Our pets can suddenly fall ill or become injured too.
Any pet emergency situation is stressful and traumatic, and it is very easy to become overwhelmed and panicked. Sometimes this can cause us to do the wrong thing and make the situation worse. It is also important to bear in mind that your pet will be able to read your emotional climate. For this reason, it is important for you to stay as calm as possible should an emergency scenario arise.
How Do I Know if it is a Veterinary Emergency?
When you are feeling highly stressed, it can sometimes be difficult to think rationally. This can make it hard to determine whether your pet’s situation is an emergency and potentially life-threatening, or if she requires an urgent appointment but there is no risk to her life. To help make it easier for you to decide what type of help your pet needs, here are some of the most common veterinary emergencies that we treat at our hospital in Roswell, GA.
- Your dog or cat is severely bleeding (bleeding that doesn’t stop within five minutes)
- Your pet is experiencing breathing problems including choking, non-stop coughing, coughing up blood and gagging
- Your dog or cat is bleeding from the nose, mouth, or rectum, or blood in the urine (pee) or feces (poop)
- Your dog or cats eye is injured or swollen
- Your dog or cat is having seizures or seizure symptoms
- Suspected poisoning in your pet
- Your dog or cat experiences sudden lameness/suspected fractured bones
- Your dog or cat is in obvious pain
- Your pet has a heatstroke
- Your pet is unable to urinate or refuses to drink for more than 24 hours
- Your dog or cat is severely vomiting or having diarrhea (more than two episodes in 24hrs, or combined with other concerning symptoms)
- Your pet is having an allergic reaction
- Your pet was attacked by an animal (snake bite or trauma injury)
- Your pet is unconscious
Our Urgent & Emergency Vet Care Services
We understand that emergencies don’t arrive on schedule and for this reason, we have a veterinarian and several experienced veterinary personnel available to deal with any emergency or urgent care needs seven days a week. We now even offer extended hours for urgent care cases every Sunday from 9:00am to 6:00pm.
We are equipped to handle all types of medical emergencies from injuries and burns to poisoning and heatstroke for dogs, cats and exotic pets. We recommend that you contact us as soon as your emergency arises so that we can offer you specific advice based on your individual circumstances. This is important as there may be things that you can do to help your pet until we can see her. We will advise you what you should and shouldn’t do and tell you how quickly your pet needs to be seen.
In the event that your pet requires an urgent appointment, but the issue isn’t something that is life-threatening, our team will always endeavor to see your pet the same day, whether that be between pre-booked appointments or at the end of the day.
If you would like more information about any of our urgent care services, or if you would like to make an appointment for your pet to be seen by our experienced and compassionate veterinary experts, please contact our clinic in Roswell, GA.
FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS CALL US IMMEDIATELY AT 470-588-0173. We accept walk-ins and are available for emergency pet appointments.
What to Do in Case of An Animal Emergency
If you believe your pet is suffering from an emergency, then time is of the essence.
It is always recommended that you call us immediately and describe the symptoms. Or even just come right away to the hospital at 1570 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 110, Roswell GA.
If possible, call ahead to let us know the type of emergency, if you will need assistance getting into the building, and your approximate time of arrival.
Emergencies are very stressful and it is important that you do your best to remain calm. Your pet will be soothed by your ability to remain calm and speak in a calming tone while driving them to the hospital.
Some types of situations may concern you, but may not have you convinced your pet needs immediate care. In these cases, it is still best to err on the side of caution. Our staff will help you decide the best course of action.
Below we will cover the following:
- Pet Emergencies
- Transporting your Pet Safely
- First Aid for Pets
- Pet CPR
- Emergency Pet Hospitals
Pet Emergencies Requiring Immediate Veterinary Attention
- Labored Breathing: This may be the most serious of emergencies because hypoxia (low oxygen levels) may result in respiratory arrest and even death. This needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Symptoms: Breathing difficulties may not be entirely obvious. Look at your pet’s chest and see if it is moving faster and more pronounced while breathing. Your pet may make alarming sounds or have puffy lips.
- Restlessness: While not appearing immediately distressing, this may be indicative of internal stress. Your pet may be having abdominal issues (distension, bloat, etc.) or may be unable to vomit. This is more serious than it appears.
Symptoms: Inability to get comfortable, getting up frequently and pacing, or excessive panting. If your pet is a large breed (GSD, great danes, etc.), this may be particularly life-threatening (see GDV below)
- GDV (Twisted Stomach) and Bloat: These conditions are two of the most life-threatening situations for your pet. GDV is when a pet’s stomach twists, and even with treatment, may be terminal. Large breed dogs (Great Pyrenees, Standard Poodles, etc.) are susceptible to this condition.
Symptoms: Restlessness (see above), breathing troubles, pale tongue and lips, pulse increases but softer heartbeats, or retching after meals. Pets may exhibit some or all of these symptoms.
- Seizures: Solitary seizures may not be life-threatening. Seizures may come in clusters and then can become progressive. Seizures may be induced by a toxic substance or medication reaction. If your pet has never been diagnosed with a seizure disorder, seek immediate medical attention.
- Collapse or Profound Weakness: These symptoms may be brought on by a major illness. It can be induced by internal bleeding, anaphylactic shock, poisons, an endocrinological condition, or organ failure. Seek emergency care immediately.
- Major Trauma/Dog Fight: An accident, even if it was a blunt shock (like a fall) and there is no obvious blood, needs immediate attention if you suspect hemorrhaging. Dog fights can be a source of puncture damage, particularly on smaller dogs. Punctures may also hit internal organs, like a liver or lung, and cause severe damage, even death. Bones may get fractured as well. Dogs often hide their injuries so it may not be immediately obvious what is going on with your pet. If something has happened that would cause you to suspect major trauma, seek emergency medical attention.
- Vomiting or Diarrhea: If your pet vomits once or has a single bout of diarrhea, your pet may just need a few hours to recover and some bland food. Repeated vomiting and diarrhea, particularly if there is blood, maybe a symptom of major issues such as gastrointestinal obstruction. If you know that your pet ate something they shouldn’t, addressing it immediately may save you a surgical procedure. Our staff may be able to get it out before it hits the intestinal tract.
- Problems Urinating: This could indicate a bladder infection. While painful, it is not life-threatening. If your pet really struggles to pass urine, this could represent an obstruction by bladder stones. Bladder stones are considered a very urgent condition and you should seek immediate veterinary care
- Not Eating or Drinking: You know your pet’s habits best. If their eating/drinking habits change suddenly or if they go for an extended period of time without eating or drinking, then seek immediate medical attention.
- Coughing: Excessive coughing may indicate kennel cough or even the flu. When in doubt, it is best to schedule a veterinary visit.
- Loss of Use of Rear Legs: This may be a sign of an injury to the spinal cord. You may see this in your breed with long backs and shorter legs (Corgis, Dachshunds, etc.). This is very painful to your pet and immediate treatment may make a significant difference.
- Toxins/Poisons: Immediately call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline or an emergency pet clinic. Follow their instructions. Try to determine how much was ingested by your pet and how long ago. When going to the veterinarian, bring along the bottle of what was ingested.
Transporting Your Pet Safely
Transport your pet responsibly to ensure that there are no further injuries to you or your pet:
- Stay calm
- If your pet is aggressive, seek help. Put towels around the head or neck to prevent bites while transporting
- If your pet needs it, fashion a stretcher and gently lift them onto it
- Support the neck and back in case they have any spinal injuries
- Make sure your pet is comfortable and secure in the car
- Call ahead so that the veterinarian can be prepared for your emergency, time is of the essence.
First Aid for Pets
It may be necessary to perform first aid in order to stabilize your pet. Canine first aid tips:
- For bleeding, elevate the cut area. Apply direct pressure to the wound. If you are familiar with tourniquets, this may help slow bleeding from cuts in the limbs. It is important to minimize blood loss.
- Choking: use your fingers to see if you can remove the blockage from your pet’s mouth. Be careful to not push the blockage further into the throat.
- For objects further down the throat, applying a modified Heimlich maneuver by giving a sharp rap to your pet’s chest; this may dislodge the object. Learn how to perform the modified Heimlich maneuver prior to using it because you run the risk of injuring your dog if done incorrectly.
- If your pet is not breathing, put them on their side.
- Extend the head and neck. Hold the jaws closed.
- Place your mouth firmly on the nose. Blow into the nostrils once every three seconds
- Ensure no air escapes between your mouth and their nostrils
- If no heartbeat, apply cardiac massage with three quick, firm chest compressions for every respiration
- Repeat until your pet resumes breathing on his or her own
Emergency Pet Hospitals in Roswell, GA
East Roswell Vet Hospital is fully equipped to handle all types of emergencies during extended business hours. We have a veterinarian and several experienced veterinary personnel available to deal with any emergency or urgent care needs.
Call us at 470-588-0173) or come directly to 1570 Holcomb Bridge, Suite 110, Roswell, GA 30076.
Please call ahead as every second counts during an emergency. Walk-ins are welcome!
If calling outside our business hours, please call an overnight emergency pet hospital in your area. In the Roswell area, we suggest:
Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton