Emergency

Our emergency centre is open 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Our team of dedicated emergency veterinarians and nurses work around the clock to provide the best care for your pet.

Our emergency centre is open 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Our team of dedicated emergency veterinarians and nurses work around the clock to provide the best care for your pet.

Our state-of-the-art intensive care unit includes intravenous fluid pumps, mechanical ventilators (life-support), capability for blood transfusion, emergency surgery, urgent medications, and oxygen therapy. We also have a full in-house laboratory, providing rapid test results, often within 30-60 minutes. In many cases, Xrays and CT scans are required urgently. These are often able to be taken at the time your pet comes in.

We aim to provide the highest level of medicine and nursing care for your pet, to ensure the best possible outcome. Our staff are highly trained. We are very focussed on pain relief and providing a comfortable and relaxing stay for your pet, however ill they are. We welcome you to visit your pet in hospital if they are required to stay in overnight. We work closely with your local vet, and provide daily updates about your pet’s progress via phone and email. In many cases, pets can be transferred back to your local vet. Follow-up and ongoing care is generally conducted by your local vet once your pet goes home, and our staff are also available for advise around the clock.

A dog or cat may become dehydrated from not eating or drinking, from vomiting, diarrhea or any general illness. Dehydration can become serious very quickly, especially in younger puppies and kittens, or the elderly. At Pet Emergency and Specialist Centre, our emergency veterinarians and nurses are on stand-by to examine and treat your dehydrated pet. In some cases, pets need to be placed on an intravenous drip to treat the dehydration. Further tests may be required; such as blood tests or Xrays.

Vomiting in dogs, cats and other pets has many causes. Often times, your pet will not be wanting to eat either, if they are vomiting. Causes of vomiting may include an intestinal blockage, twisted bowel or stomach, infection, poisoning, tumor, liver disease, kidney disease, or dietary problems to name a few. Often, blood tests and Xrays are required to diagnose the condition. In some cases, more advanced tests such as CT scans or ultrasound may also be needed. Treatment may include intravenous fluids (iv drip), medications or surgery. At Pet Emergency and Specialist Centre, our staff are on duty 24-hours per day; and in many cases treatment can be started immediately.

Diarrhoea or soft, watery stool has many causes and may include parasites, viruses, dietary problems, bacteria, stress or other reasons. Often, tests need to be run on a stool sample, and blood tests may also be required. Severe diarrhoea sometimes requires treatment with iv fluids and antibiotics, and a special diet. If the diarrhoea has blood present in it; then this is a more serious situation. Immediate veterinary attention is recommended. Also, if you pet has diarrhoea and is also not eating, this is a more serious situation. At our hospital; we have a full in-house laboratory, and staff on standy to assist you with your sick animal.

Life-threatening external bleeding can occur from an open wound, trauma, or from clotting disorders such as rat bait poisoning. In some cases, surgery and a blood transfusion are required. Vomiting of blood is also a serious situation for your pet, and this requires immediate veterinary attention. If your pet is vomiting blood, in most cases blood tests and Xrays will be required initially. Further investigation can be performed using video endoscopy, CT scanning or exploratory surgery.

Life-threatening internal bleeding can also occur, and this can be challenging to diagnose. In some cases, the only symptoms may be pale gums and loss of energy/lethargy. Internal bleeding can occur as a results of trauma, poisoning, or a bleeding tumor for example.

Dogs and cats may have trouble passing stool if they are unwell, dehydrated, elderly, less mobile, or in pain. In some cases, more specific causes such as eating bones, or having an enlarged prostate, may cause a pet to become dehydrated. Constipation can often be treated with medications; however sometimes iv fluids, Xrays and enemas (being flushed out) are required.

Animals may stop eating for a number of reasons. This can include liver or kidney failure, heart disease, cancer, poisoning, pain, old-age, stress, change of environment or other causes. In most cases, blood tests and Xrays are required to diagnose the problem. Loss of appetite for more than 1 day is a serious situation for your pet.

Pets may lose weight for a number of reasons. This can include old age, digestive problems, heart problems, cancer, liver disease, or kidney failure for example. In some cases, blood tests, Xrays and special feeding are required.

   

Jaundice is detected as a yellow coloration to the skin, eyes and urine. Pets may become jaundice if they have liver failure, a blockage of the bile duct, pancreatitis, cancer or gall bladder problems. In some cases, diseases of the red blood cells such as anemia, can result in jaundice. Blood tests, urine tests, Xrays and ultrasound are often required to determine the cause of jaundice.

A swollen, enlarged or distended belly is an urgent medical problem for your pet. This may be due to bloating (gas-filled stomach), a twisted stomach, internal hemorrhage, a tumor, fluid or other causes. Immediate Xrays, blood tests and ultrasound are often required, especially if your pet is uncomfortable.

A painful belly (abdomen) may be due to a number of causes, including intestinal blockage, bloating, twisted bowel or stomach, dietary problems, cancer, or other problems. If your pet is uncomfortable, having trouble sleeping, or painful, then immediate veterinary attention is needed. 

A high temperature (fever) can be due to infection, inflammation, environmental causes (overheating), and in some cases due to cancer. If your pet has an elevated temperature, or feels hot, veterinary attention is required. 

A swollen, painful or hot limb may be due to a traumatic injury, broken bone, skin disease, infection or in some cases cancer. Veterinary attention to provide pain relief is necessary. Xrays may be required. In some cases, medications or surgery may be required.

Symptoms of allergy in dogs and cats may include a swollen, puffy face, fat lips, swollen and red eyes, lumps and bumps over the skin, red skin, itching, head-shaking, and discomfort. More severe symptoms can develop, including obstructed airway, vomiting, coughing, lethargy and loss of awareness. Veterinary attention is required if your pet is showing any signs of allery.

If your pet is weak, this may be due to a number of conditions including muscle or nerve problems, malnutrition, electrolyte problems (for example, low sodium, low potassium, or low blood sugar), snake bite, tick paralysis, or poisoning. General illness of any body system (liver, kidneys, heart for example) can also cause weakness and lethargy.

Fainting or loss of awareness may is usually due to either (a) a brain problem; or (b) a heart problem. Immediate veterinary attention is required if your pet has had a fainting episode. Blood tests and/or further tests are often required.

A seizure or ‘fit’ occurs when an animal (or person) becomes unaware of their surroundings, and begins to shake, paddle, or convulse. Barking and howling can also occur. Bladder and bowel function may be lost. The lack of awareness may continue for some time. Often, the body temperature rises rapidly during a fit. Do not approach your pet during a fit. Urgent veterinary attention is required, once it is safe to approach your pet.

Coughing or wretching may be due to an upper airway infection such as kennel cough; allergy; heart failure; pneumonia; lung cancer; or other causes. A chest Xray is required if your pet is coughing. CT scans and/or video endoscopy of the airways is sometimes required. In some cases, coughing may be associated with breathing difficulties. This is an urgent situation for your pet.

Breathing difficulty, heavy breathing, or excessive panting can be due to fluid on the lungs, bruised lungs, lung cancers, heart failure, pneumonia, upper airway blockage, laryngeal paralysis, or other causes. Treatment often requires oxygen therapy. Chest Xrays and airway examination is required if your pet is having difficulty breathing.

If your pet suddenly appears to be bloated or enlarged in the belly, this is an emergency situation. Bloating can occur due to the stomach becoming filled with air, and twisting around. This is a life-threatening condition and requires immediate surgery. Other causes of bloating -may include a fluid build-up, infection, intestinal blockage, internal hemorrhage, or other causes.

Animals are prone to developing heat stroke, especially if they are exercised on a hot day, or do not have access to water. Long-haired dogs, and dogs with short noses (bulldogs, pugs and other brachycephalic breeds) are at high risk. You should NOT exercise your dog on a hot day. On a warm day, you can cool your pet with water during the walk. Carrying a spray bottle is a good idea. If your pet is panting heavily, or overheats, immediate veterinary attention is required. Do NOT ever leave your dog in the car unattended. Cars can heat up suddenly within 5 to 10 minutes and can cause sudden death of your pet.

A very low body temperature can result if your pet has been missing, injured, trapped in the rain or snow, is elderly, or is very ill. Place a blanket around your pet, dry your pet if wet, and seek veterinary attention immediately.

Signs of urinary tract problems can include frequent urination, straining or discomfort when urinating, positioning but not passing urine, or blood in the urine. Your pet may be restless, not wanting to eat, or have increased or decreased thirst.

Before deciding to breed from your pet, please consult a veterinarian. It is important to understand the normal mating, pregnancy and birthing activities. If your pet becomes pregnant from an un-planned (accidental) mating, then consult your veterinarian well before birthing begins. Problems during birthing can occur frequently and it is essential to be prepared.

Many common household foods and products are highly toxic to pets. For example, chocolate, macadamia nuts, lillies, and grapes are very harmful to your pet. In addition, snail bait, rat bait, anti-freeze, and spoiled food (garbage) can cause life-threatening illness in your pet. Signs of poisoning are wide and varied.

Pain may be detected as your pet not wanting to be petted, less affectionate, not eating, not sleeping well, unable to settle, limping, reluctance to jump in to the car, reluctance to go up or down stairs, or a change in behavior. Pain has many causes, and can be acute (sudden-onset), or longer-term (chronic pain). Our staff receive special training in the field of pain management. Dr. Merrin Hicks, Head of our Emergency and Critical Care Service, has conducted research in this field in the USA, and has several international publications . We are able to provide pain relief to your pet in a range of ways. This may include tablets, injections, infusions, local nerve-blocks, or patches. Our staff are on duty 24-hour per day to ensure pain relief for your pet is appropriate, especially when they are injured or recovering from major surgery.

If your pet has been in a car accident, or hit by a car, immediate veterinary attention is required. Your pet may be suffering from shock, have internal injuries such as bruised lungs, and is likely to require pain relief.

Traumatic injuries can result from a fight (dog attack or cat fight), automobile accident, a fall from a height, athletic injury or other cause. If your pet is injured, he or she is likely to require wound care, pain relief, antibiotics, bandaging, or surgery.

Any open wound needs to be cleansed and treated appropriately. If your pet has an open wound, it will need to be assessed by a vet, then cleansed and possibly bandaged. More severe open wounds may require surgery, skin grafting or other reconstructive surgery.

CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) is a life-saving, urgent procedure performed in the event of cardiac arrest. If a pet’s heart suddenly stops beating, then an attempt can be made to ‘re-start’ the heart, using chest compressions and/or defibrillation. It is important to realize that the chance of re-starting your pet’s heart following cardiac arrest is LOW. CPR should only be performed if appropriate, as determined by your veterinarian, in consultation with you, the pet owner.

If an animal has lost a significant amount of blood, then a transfusion from another dog may be required. Many hospitals will keep a blood bank, meaning that stored blood from a donor is on hand. If a blood transfusion is required, it usually means your pet is gravely ill. There are risks associated with a blood transfusion, such as an allergic reaction, however this is not common. A blood transfusion is a potentially life-saving procedure.

Protein transfusions may be required if an animal is low in protein, hemorrhaging, septic, or if there is a bleeding disorder (such as rat-bait poisoning). This involves collecting whole blood from another animal of the same species, then separating out the protein. The plasma protein is then given via an IV drip. This is often a life-saving procedure.

In some cases special feeding is required. This may be needed if an animal is not eating for a period of time, or has protracted vomiting. Special feeding can be in the form of a feeding tube (for example, a stomach tube), or via intravenous feeding.
Examples of special nutrition include

  • PEG tube (percutaneous endoscopically placed gastrostomy tube) placed in to the stomach
  • Nasogastric Tube – placed via the nose in to the stomach
  • Oesophagostomy tube (“O-tube”)- placed in the side of the neck to the oesophagus
  • Intravenous feeding via a jugular catheter (total parenteral nutrition)

In some cases, animals that come to the emergency centre are not able to breathe very well on their own. We are on-standby to provide emergency treatment, which may include oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation (life support). Oxygen can be given to animals via a face mask (shown), nasal prongs that sit in the nostrils, nasal catheter (tube in the nostril), or a dedicated oxygen cage. In severe cases, were are able to offer assisted ventilation (IPPV). This is a type of life-support, whereby a machine breathes for the animal (our T-bird AVSIII mechanical ventilator is shown below). Ventilation is sometimes needed in cases of tick paralysis, snake bite, or other respiratory disease.

In some cases, animals that come to the emergency centre are not able to breathe very well on their own. We are on-standby to provide emergency treatment, which may include oxygen therapy. Oxygen can be given to animals via a face mask (shown), nasal prongs that sit in the nostrils, nasal catheter (tube in the nostril), or a dedicated oxygen cage. In severe cases, were are able to offer assisted ventilation (IPPV). This is a type of life-support, whereby a machine breathes for the animal. This is sometimes needed in cases of tick paralysis or snake bite. Other causes of breathing difficulty in animals include trauma (e.g. motor vehicle accident), severe pneumonia, lung cancer, viral infection or upper airway blockage.

Pain may be detected as your pet not wanting to be petted, less affectionate, not eating, not sleeping well, unable to settle, limping, reluctance to jump in to the car, reluctance to go up or down stairs, or a change in behavior. Pain has many causes, and can be acute (sudden-onset), or longer-term (chronic pain). Our staff receive special training in the field of pain management. We are able to provide pain relief to your pet in a range of ways. This may include tablets, injections, infusions, local nerve-blocks, or patches. Our staff are on duty 24-hour per day to ensure pain relief for your pet is appropriate, especially when they are injured or recovering from major surgery.

At our hospital, we are able to provide 24-hour care. Our facility is staffed around the clock with highly-trained and experienced veterinarians and nursing staff who will monitor your pet very closely during their hospital stay. We are equipped with state-of-the-art monitoring equipment. This includes heart monitors (ECG), pulse oximetry to measure oxygen levels (SpO2), carbon dioxide monitors (ETCO2), continuous temperature monitoring, and frequent blood tests (iSTAT and Idexx laboratory equipment). Dedicated nursing and veterinary staff are assigned to each patient, to provide the best possible monitoring and nursing care.

Often, critically ill patients require frequent blood tests. This includes measurement of blood sugar levels, salts and electrolytes, oxygen levels, carbon dioxide levels, and measurement of blood clotting. Frequent blood tests are essential to determine the best treatment for a critically ill patient, and to increase the chances of survival. At our hospital, our staff are able to rapidly perform laboratory tests in our state-of-the-art clinical laboratory. At Pet Emergency and Specialist Centre, our veterinarians and nurses participate in regular training and education in the use and interpretation of laboratory tests.

In serious, critical illness, the major organs often start to ‘shut down’. This can include kidney failure, liver failure, acute lung injury, heart failure and sudden death. Caring for these critically ill patients includes support of the major organs, in an attempt to save the animal’s life. This may include oxygen therapy or ventilation to assist breathing. Dialysis can be used to support the kidneys. Special feeding can be used to support the digestive system. Blood transfusions and protein transfusions may be required. Intensive monitoring includes the use of a heart monitor (ECG), temperature, and oxygenation (pulse oximetery). Unfortunately, the survival rate from multiple organ failure is low.

In serious, critical illness, the major organs often start to ‘shut down’. This can include kidney failure, liver failure, acute lung injury, heart failure and sudden death. Caring for these critically ill patients includes support of the major organs, in an attempt to save the animal’s life. This may include oxygen therapy or ventilation to assist breathing. Dialysis can be used to support the kidneys. Special feeding can be used to support the digestive system. Blood transfusions and protein transfusions may be required. Intensive monitoring includes the use of a heart monitor (ECG), temperature, and oxygenation (pulse oximetery). Unfortunately, the survival rate from multiple organ failure is low.

We offer a full range of on-site blood tests. This includes biochemistry to test for illness such as liver disease or kidney disease. We also offer hematology to check red and white blood cell counts, blood coagulation testing, electrolytes, blood gasses, blood cross-matching, blood typing, snake venom detection kit testing for snake bite, in-house microscope and urinalysis.

 

Often when euthanasia is required, it is to relieve the pain and suffering of the animal. Euthanasia is a humane and peaceful process for a pet. After euthanasia, there are various options available for the burial or cremation of your pet.

The loss of a pet is similar to the loss of a family member for many people. Veterinarians receive special training in helping people make decisions regarding euthanasia for their beloved pet, and provide support to pet owners. Organizations such as the RSPCA and your local counseling services are available to assist you further if required, following the loss of a pet.

If a pet is dehydrated, vomiting, has severe diarrhea, or is very unwell, then intravenous fluids are often needed. This involves placing a catheter or cannula in the forearm or foreleg. Most pets tolerate this very well. The catheter is then covered by a light, comfortable dressing, and connected to IV fluids. IV fluids are water and salt solutions. IV fluids aim to restore fluid to the animal when they are not able to eat or drink. IV fluid therapy is often a life-saving procedure.