top of page

First Aid
What kind of an emergency are you having?



Difficulty breathing. Pale Gums. Blue tint to gums/tongue
Keep pet as quiet and calm as possible. Place a small pet in a carrier, or hold with minimal restraint. Avoid collars; harnesses work very well. Carry the pet, or have emergency staff use a gurney.

Keep the pet cool (use the air conditioner in the car).

Use a clean cloth or towel to apply pressure to the wound. If the bleeding is from a recent surgical site (spay or neuter), wrap a towel or ace bandage around the abdomen before transporting. The mouth, nose, ears and feet are quite vascular and therefore the blood coming from these area's can appear to be excessive. Most animals will not "bleed to death" from a skin wound unless a major artery or vein has been severed and is producing pulsating hemorrhage. If such a wound does occur, apply pressure wraps until you can contain the hemorrhage beneath a bandage and transport your pet to the ER. Most skin wounds will require repair (sutures/staples) along with antibiotic therapy.

Most seizures will stop in 2-5min and are usually not life threatening. During the seizure, remain calm and speak quietly to the pet during the seizure. DO NOT try to hold the pet. It is not unusual for the jaws to be snapping, and you may inadvertently get bitten. DO NOT put your hand in the mouth to try to hold the tongue. The pet will not swallow the tongue, nor will the tongue cause choking. Post seizure, the pets can be disoriented and even aggressive. Handle all post-seizure patients carefully. In small puppies and kittens, the seizure may be due to a low blood sugar.

You may try placing a teaspoon of Karo Syrup or Honey on the gums. Prolonged seizures or multiple seizures over a short time are more serious and require emergency treatment. During increased seizure activity, the body temperature may increase. Apply cool towels and transport to the nearest emergency clinic.

Hit by a Car
The pet may be in shock, cover with a blanket and carefully place in a box or carrier. Larger pets may be placed on a blanket which can be used like a hammock for transport. While most patients will appear to have some sort of injury from a vehicle, some animals may appear perfectly normal but could have internal bleeding or other trauma that is not immediately evident. Some injuries from vehicles do not become apparent for up to 18-24 hours after such an injury. We always recommend having a pet who has been hit by a car evaluated at the Animal ER.

Straining to Urinate
This is more commonly a male cat problem (but can occur in male or female dogs or cats) and can be a life threatening problem that requires immediate evaluation and treatment. Obstructions can be due to stones, crystals, blood clots, or even severe inflammation from infections. If animals are completely obstructed (unable to produce any urine) most pets will assume the position to urinate but very little to nothing is produced. In this case, death will usually occur in 24-36 hours if the issue is not addressed.

Allergic Reactions
Most allergic reactions are due to insect bites or stings, however vaccinations, food, medication or plants can cause the reactions. Most allergic reactions manifest as hives, facial swelling, and extreme restlessness/being frantic, or rubbing the face. The more severe anaphylactic reaction may manifest as vomiting, collapse, pale gums and increased effort when breathing. In severe cases the pet may also defecate and urinate. These problems should be addressed immediately as they can lead to multiple organ failure and death.


Consumption of Toxic substances or foreign objects
Animals love to put almost anything in their mouths, including plants, owners' medications, toys and things found outdoors or in the garbage. Some of the following are a list of commonly ingested materials;

(1) Chocolate: Milk chocolate is toxic at about 1 ounce per pound of body weight and Dark chocolate at 0.5 ounce per pound of body weight. Excessive consumption (below the toxic dose) can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Please call regarding any chocolate consumption.

(2) Medications: While pets can take a majority of medications that humans take, many are toxic to animals and many animals will consume excessive amounts of something that may be safe for a pet at a lower dose. Aspirin is highly toxic to cats and should never be given to a cat by its owner. Aspirin, Tylenol, and other anti-inflammatory medications are extremely dangerous to any animal that consumes even a moderate amount of these medications (a few to several tables/capsules). Please do not administer any medication to a pet without first asking your daytime veterinarian or the Animal ER. If you feel your pet is in need of pain medication, please consult with your veterinarian or the Animal ER before you administer anything.

(3) Foreign Objects: Many foreign objects (toys, string, pantyhose, tampons, sticks, balls, stuffing, corn cobbs, etc..) can become obstructive. If you know that your pet has ingested any type of foreign object, please consult your veterinarian or Animal ER regarding necessary treatment as soon as you are aware of the consumption. Signs of obstruction include vomiting, anorexia, abdominal pain and lethargy. Some objects can be removed via endoscopy if a recent consumption is known and the stomach is otherwise empty of any recent food content. Once most objects pass out of the stomach (2-4 hours after consumption) and become lodged further in the g.i. tract, surgery is warranted to remove the object(s).

(4) Plants: Most plants can cause local irritation of the mouth, salivation, pawing at the mouth and vomiting or diarrhea. There are several plants that are toxic to animals (certain Lily's are extremely toxic to cats). Please call regarding the ingestion of any plant or plant part. Sometimes it only takes ingestion of a leaf or a part of the plant for toxicity to occur.

This is a condition that typically occurs in large breed, deep chested dogs (but can occur in any breed of dog). Signs of bloat include pacing, retching, attempts at vomiting with no production or production of frothy white fluid, and abdominal swelling or discomfort. This is an emergent condition and should be addressed immediately. Typically emergency surgery is the only cure. Please call the Animal ER regarding any patient exhibiting these symptoms and begin to transport your pet to your veterinarian or the Animal ER for immediate treatment.

Vomiting and/or Diarrhea
Patients (especially small breeds) can become dehydrated and collapse due to excessive losses that occur from vomiting or diarrhea. Usually single or acute (<24 hours) episodes of vomiting or diarrhea are not immediately life threatening, but should be addressed as the problems associated with vomiting and diarrhea can escalate the longer that time has lapsed without treatment. Some auses include intestinal parasites, dietary indiscretion (consumption of something other than the pets usual diet), pancreatitis, renal (kidney) disease, liver disease, infections (parvo virus) and others. If a patient appears lethargic or anorexic in addition to having vomiting or diarrhea, that pet is more emergent than a pet who is acting normal with such symptoms and that patient should be seen immediately.

Services Not Provided…….
We would also like to let you know, there are a few things which the Animal ER does not provide. These services and products will need to be obtained from your regular Veterinarian. The Animal ER does not provide preventative health care services or products (ie, vaccinations, spays or neuters, tick control products, food sales, or heartworm prevention).

Patients are seen on a first come first served basis with more serious patients receiving a priority. The Animal ER does not take appointments; however, a phone call prior to the visit is recommended and extremely appreciated.

bottom of page