Is it an Emergency?

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Sometimes illnesses that don’t seem very bad are actually quite serious. Other times we panic over things that are not as bad as they seem. Take a look below and see if we can help you better determine how serious the problem with your pet is.

If you note the following, you should proceed immediately to the veterinary hospital where your pet needs to be examined and treated without delay!

  • Difficult or suddenly noisy breathing.
  • Blue or white colour in the gums.
  • Injury or disease causing loss of consciousness.
  • Heavy bleeding or bleeding that will not stop.
  • Straining to urinate, especially males.
  • Seizures lasting more than 10 minutes.
  • Ingestion, or even a suspicion of ingestion of anything toxic. (Bring the package with you!)
  • Sudden onset of paralysis or weakness
  • Any injury to the eye.
  • Active hard labour without delivering a puppy or kitten in 15 minutes.
  • Extreme pain.
  • Deep penetrating wounds.

The following health problems are serious, but you can probably wait until the next available appointment today.

  • Continuous vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Dangling or non-weight-bearing limbs.
  • Ingestion of inappropriate items – balls, string, elastics, rocks, earplugs etc.
  • Open wounds. The sooner we treat it the better it will heal.
  • Severe itching that prevents you or your pet from resting.
  • Change in the appearance of a surgical wound such as swelling, redness or discharge.
  • Tick embedded in skin.

The following problems are less serious and can probably wait until morning.

  • Mild vomiting or diarrhea that lasts more than a day.
  • Small amounts of blood in stool.
  • Mild lameness that hasn’t resolved overnight.
  • Shaking or scratching head or trunk.
  • Bad breath.
  • Anal gland problems (scooting).
  • Cut or blistered footpads with only minor bleeding.
  • Cat fight wounds, if animal is otherwise fine.
  • “Hot spots” – superficial skin infestations, unless severely painful.
  • Ear infections and hematomas (swollen ear).
  • Insect stings and bites causing swollen lips.
  • Otherwise healthy animals off-feed for more than 2 days.

What is an “Animal Emergency Clinic”?

An animal emergency clinic is a specifically defined category of veterinary practice in British Columbia. Such a clinic required to have a veterinarian and assistants on-site overnight, simply being on-call is not sufficient. The standard of care and facilities for an ER is also higher than your average veterinary facility with mandated in-house diagnostic equipment and supplemental oxygen therapy. Usually, staff of an emergency facility are members of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. The presence of an emergency facility allows your regular veterinarian to be well rested and alert during their regular work day and continue to perform their duties at the high standard expected of them, while ensuring that their patients receive adequate attention should an emergency situation arise.



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