How to Recognize an Emergency - Frequently Asked Questions
How to Recognize an Emergency - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Your pet has ingested some antifreeze. Is this harmful?
A: Antifreeze is extremely poisonous to dogs and cats and is very fast acting. You do not have much time to treat, so please bring your pet to REACH immediately.
Q: Your pet has ingested rat poison. Will it hurt him?
A: Rat poison is extremely toxic even in small doses. Your pet should be brought in as soon as possible.
Q: Your pet was just hit by a car, what should you do?
A: Avoid being bitten and carefully place the animal in a box or on a stretcher. Bring your animal in right away even if it appears fine. Internal injuries are not always readily apparent.
Q: Your cat has been chewing on a lily plant, will it hurt her?
A: Yes, in fact, most ornamental plants are toxic to cats.
Q: Your pet has had diarrhea and vomiting for a couple of days. What could be causing it and what should you do?
A: Diarrhea and vomiting can be caused by many things including intestinal parasites, dietary indiscretion, poisons, and systemic illnesses. There is always a risk of dehydration if your pet is having vomiting or diarrhea so your pet should be evaluated regardless of the cause.
Q: Your dog’s abdomen suddenly appears bloated and he is very uncomfortable. He is trying to vomit, but can’t. What should you do?
A: A dog with a swollen abdomen needs to be treated right away. Please bring your pet to REACH immediately.
Q: Your cat is going to the litter box constantly, but produces little or no urine. Can you wait and go to your regular vet tomorrow?
A: A cat that is having difficulty urinating or is unable to produce urine needs to be seen right away.
Q: Your dog got in a fight and has some puncture wounds. You have some antibiotics left over from a prior illness, can you give him one?
A: No. Antibiotics are given for specific conditions and must be given as directed by a veterinarian. Your pet needs to be seen as soon as possible for proper treatment.
Q: Your cat was hit by a car and is limping, can you give Tylenol?
A: No. Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is extremely toxic to cats.
Q: Your dog just ate one of your blood pressure pills, what should you do?
A: Your pet may need to be seen depending on the medication and its dose. Please contact REACH or the ASPCA poison control. The number to the ASPCA poison control is (888) 426-4435. Please call this number and proceed according to their recommendations. There will be a fee for their services.
Q: Your dog just ate a whole bar of baking chocolate, is it toxic?
A: Chocolate is toxic to dogs and results in an irregular heart rhythm and potentially death. Please call us at REACH so we can determine if the dose is toxic and if your animal requires emergency treatment.
Q: You think your dog has parvo but were planning to vaccinate him at home. Should you go ahead and administer the shot?
A: No. Vaccines do not treat parvo. If your pet is showing symptoms of parvo, it needs to be seen right away.
Q: You think your cat is constipated because he keeps going to the litter box. Should you give him a fiber supplement?
A: A male cat making frequent trips to the litter box needs to be seen right away.
Q: Your dog was just hit by a car and he seems painful. Should you give aspirin or Advil?
A: Neither. These medications can potentially make his/her condition worse. Your pet needs to be examined for internal injuries by a doctor and treated for his injuries. Your dog will be administered an appropriate pain medication once he is at our facility.
Q: You just put some flea spray on your cat and now she’s shaking. What should you do?
A: Bathe the cat right away with a mild dish detergent and come to REACH.
Q: Your dog has a laceration on his pad. How much will it cost to stitch him up?
A: Until the doctor examines your dog, we are unable to determine what treatment is necessary. Once your dog is examined, a treatment plan outlining the charges will be presented to you for approval.
Q: Your puppy is persistently vomiting and you are afraid she’ll get dehydrated. Should you force feed her water?
A: No. Anything given by mouth will exacerbate the vomiting. Your puppy needs to be brought in right away for treatment.
Q: Your cat is breathing with her mouth open. Is she just hot?
A: Open mouth breathing in a cat is considered an emergency with a number of possible causes. Please bring her to REACH right away.
Q: Your dog is choking on a rawhide. You can see it, should you try and pull it out?
A: No. You could risk pushing it further down or being bitten. Your dog needs to be seen right away.
Q: Your dog was hit by a car and you think his leg is broken. You don’t think you can cover the cost of treatment. Will he be fine until morning?
A: An animal hit by a car should be seen right away. We cannot determine the condition or prognosis of your animal over the phone. The longer you wait to treat a critical patient, the higher the costs may be due to complications posed by the delay. Your pet should be seen right away.
Q: Your dog is having diarrhea that is very bloody. He seems fine otherwise, can you wait until when your vet opens?
A: A dog passing large amounts of blood can dehydrate quickly. He should be seen as soon as possible.
Q: You have a Great Dane who is acting funny but you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong. She won’t lie down and is drooling. Are you overreacting?
A: If the dog is not acting right and you are concerned, she should come in right away. It is much better to be safe than sorry.
Q: You have a diabetic poodle who wouldn’t eat this morning but you gave her insulin. Now she is weak and listless. What should you do?
A: Rub some Karo syrup or honey on her gums and come in immediately.
Q: Your dog gave birth about 4 weeks ago and is nursing 10 puppies. Today she is shaking and not eating. What should you do?
A: Nursing mothers can develop complications with their calcium levels that can be life threatening. Your dog should be brought to REACH immediately.
Q: You think your dog got overheated today. Is there anything you should do?
A: Your dog should be cooled immediately by placing him in cool bath water and then brought to REACH. Do not use ice or extremely cold water for cooling.
Q: Your dachshund was fine this morning, but now his muscles are quivering and he can’t seem to use his back legs.
A: Dachshunds are very prone to back problems due to their anatomy. If this is what’s going on, he needs to be seen right away for treatment.
Q: Your dog’s face is swollen and there are hives all over his body. Should you just give Benadryl?
A: An allergic reaction can be severe and can progress without proper treatment. It is safest to bring your dog in for evaluation and treatment.
Q: All of the sudden your cat is unable to use his hind legs and he is crying in pain. What’s wrong?
A: There is no way to determine what’s wrong over the phone but it sounds like he is in distress and he should be seen immediately. These symptoms could be caused by a serious neurologic or cardiovascular condition.
Q: Your dog ate a whole bottle of Rimadyl. Is it toxic?
A: Rimadyl is toxic in large doses and your dog will require treatment. Please come to REACH as soon as possible.
Q: You accidently gave two doses of your dog’s heartworm medication. What should you do?
A: Most monthly heartworm preventatives have a wide margin of safety so it is unlikely that your dog will require treatment. Do call REACH to confirm that the medication given will not cause illness.
Q: Your dog was stung by a bee and his face is starting to swell. Can you give some Benadryl?
A: Like humans, animals have varying reactions to insect bites ranging from mild to life-threatening. It is safest to bring your animal in for treatment to ensure that the reaction does not become more severe.
Q: Your dog has been having contractions for 4 hours and has not had any puppies. Can you wait?
A: Active contractions lasting longer than 30-60 minutes could indicate a problem. Please bring your dog to REACH so she can be evaluated.
Q: Your cat is in labor. What do you do?
A: Cats tend to do well without any intervention. They require a quiet environment and any stress should be minimized. If you notice your cat is actively in labor for longer than 30-60 minutes or it is longer than 4 hours between kittens, she should be brought to REACH right away.
BLEEDING OR GAPING WOUNDS:
Gently place a pressure wrap over the hemorrhaging wound. If no bandage material is available, tear a shirt or blanket into strips and secure it with tape. Your animal should come to the REACH immediately.
ACTIVE SEIZURE ACTIVITY:
Any animal has the potential to bite during a seizure. To protect yourself and the patient, wrap your animal in a thick blanket or comforter.
Stabilize the back when lifting and place the animal on a stiff board for transport to the hospital.