Small-Animal ER FAQ

Emergency DogRead more about 24/7 emergency care at Pilchuck.

 

What do I do if my pet is hit by a car?

The most important thing you can do for your pet is to remain calm, think rationally, and get your pet to a medical facility as soon as safely possible.  An injured pet is scared and is more inclined to bite so approach slowly and cautiously.  If you are able to approach your pet, try to determine the nature of the injuries.  Are there cuts and abrasions? Is your pet walking? Is your pet unconscious or disoriented?  Try to make your pet comfortable and warm using a soft blanket while you are preparing to transport it to a veterinarian.  If the pet is not walking or you have concerns of a back injury, try to slide your animal onto a rigid board to minimize movement of the spine. If your pet is walking, a severe back injury is less likely so consider transporting it in a pet carrier or have someone hold onto it in the car.  Cats are generally will not tolerate being held if injured so make sure to place them in the pet carrier.

Try to call the veterinary facility you are going to in order to make sure they are open and prepared for your arrival.  If your veterinarian is closed, they should have a message referring you to the closest emergency hospital.   Once you know where you are going, drive safely in order to arrive at your destination.

Upon arrival, the receptionist, assistant, or technician will assess if your pet is stable or if it needs to be seen immediately by the veterinarian. You can be helpful by filling out necessary paper work, telling the staff all the necessary information, and remaining in the reception area or exam room. Once the veterinarian has examined your pet, they will work with you to formulate a plan for diagnostic testing (such as x-rays or blood work) and treatments (such as fluids therapy or pain medication, if necessary. 
 

What do I do if my pet may have eaten something poisonous?

Many chemicals, drugs, and plants can be toxic for your pet.  Never give your pet human medication or food without first finding out if it is safe.   If you have any concerns that your animal has been exposed to a toxin, call your veterinarian or the Poison Control Hotline at 1-888-426-4435 or 1-800-8-POISON.  Call immediately- your pet has the best chance of surviving a poison if treated as soon as possible.

Additionally, the following websites have information on toxic plants and chemicals:

www.petpoisonhelpline.com

www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx

www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control

What do I do if my pet is vomiting?

Pets can vomit from many different disease conditions such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, dietary changes, stress, ingestion of foreign materials; internal organ disease, hormonal diseases, and toxins.  Knowing how long and how frequently the vomiting has occurred,  what the vomit looked like, and if there have been any changes in the pet’s life recently can help the veterinarian determine the cause of vomiting.  After taking the history and performing a Complete Physical Exam, some of the following tests may be necessary to diagnose your pet’s condition:

  • Blood analysis (complete blood count and chemistry analysis). This helps us to determine the extent of illness to internal organs.
  • X-rays of the abdomen.
  • Since many pets that vomit also have diarrhea, we also recommend fecal analysis.  There are several different types of analyses that can be performed to check for giardia, worms, other parasites, and disturbances in the normal bacteria found in feces.

Additional testing may be recommended such as a barium series or even an exploratory surgery may be necessary.