Unfortunately, even when pet owners are careful and take every safety precaution possible, accidents and crises happen. At our clinic, we step into emergency and critical care mode when a pet ingests a toxin, gets hit by a car, receives a bite from another animal or suffers a serious health condition like a seizure or a sudden knee injury. Moments like these can be terrifying and distressing for pet owners. After all, a member of your family is in crisis, and we understand this all too well.
What to Do During a Pet Emergency
The first thing to do in an emergency is to stay calm and assess the situation to determine whether your pet requires immediate care or if you can wait for a callback. If he/she has a severely bleeding wound or broken bone, for example, your pet will be in a lot of pain and frightened. In such situations, animals are prone to bite and attack anyone, even if they know you, and you are trying to help. Muzzle your pet if you can, or throw a jacket or thick towel over his/ her face to protect yourself.
Hopefully, you have first aid items handy. If not, prepare a makeshift bandage out of a scarf or sock. If you feel confident in what you are doing, try to stop the bleeding, protect the bone and stabilize your pet.
Pet Emergency and Critical Care
If you are not sure what to do, call us immediately. We will provide you with as much guidance over the phone as we can. We take reasonable steps to make room for unplanned emergencies. However, sometimes, we may not be able to accommodate you for an emergency in-clinic visit.
When this happens, we will not leave you hanging. Instead, we will refer you to a veterinary emergency hospital near you and facilitate record transfers so the hospital has all the information they need to tend to your pet. We will team up and ensure good communication flow between veterinary teams so your pet’s aftercare is managed effectively. We only want the best for your pet so he/she can recover quickly.
Radiology and Ultrasound
Many emergencies require us to perform a radiograph or an ultrasound on your pet. This can occur to diagnose a broken bone, locate a foreign object your cat or dog may have swallowed, or to confirm a bladder obstruction, for example. Wellington Veterinary Hospital is a full-service facility with state-of-the-art digital radiography equipment on-site that takes X-rays which we can view within seconds. We can send them online to other specialists for quick second opinions.
If your pet requires an ultrasound, we can schedule in-clinic appointments within days with one of several ultrasound specialists we work with. If it can wait, this is often much easier than sending you to a hospital that you or your pet are unfamiliar with.
Pet accidents and emergencies can occur suddenly and unexpectedly. And the best thing you can do to prepare for one is to plan ahead. Speak to us about this during your regular visits to ensure a pet emergency does not knock you off your bearings. We can also offer unbiased advice about pet insurance options because nothing is more distressing to a pet owner than the prospect of not being able to afford the treatment your pet may require.
Also, taking care of a pet in crisis can go much more smoothly if you have the right tools handy. We will provide you with a list of items for a first-aid kit specifically for your pet. You will need a few different items than what you have in your “human” first aid kit at home. In addition, you should keep our 24-hour emergency number and that of the closest emergency hospital in your wallet. If you are not familiar with the neighbourhood, take a drive to the hospital so you don’t waste time on directions during an emergency. In many ways, these are similar to the steps you would take during an emergency with a human loved one.
About Wellington Veterinary Hospital
Wellington Veterinary Hospital is operated by Dr. Cliff Redford, a veterinarian with over two decades of experience. Our caring and passionate team of professionals provides a full range of services for your canine and feline companions. We are always delighted to meet new pets, answer your questions and offer preventative health care tips during free assessments with our veterinary technicians. Our location in Markham, Ontario offers plenty of free parking, convenient operating hours and a 24-hour emergency call line.