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When Your Pet Has a Veterinary Emergency: Care for Chesapeake Pets

We are here for you! We can not stress this enough. If you think your pet is experiencing a medical emergency call our office. Please do not ever feel embarrassed or second guess your instincts. You are our client and your pet is our patient, if you feel something is wrong, we want to help.

The information on this page is meant to prepare you for dealing with any future medical emergency. In a medical crisis, there is no substitute for veterinary care.

  1. Be Prepared.
  2. Keep a Pet First Aid Kit. We hope you never have to use it! You can purchase any of the following items from a drug store. If you're having trouble locating an item, give us a call.
  3. Latex gloves
  4. Alcohol Prep Pads (Use these to sterilize your hands or tweezers. Do not use on wounds)
  5. Antiseptic solution
  6. Sterile eye wash solution
  7. Cold Pack
  8. Gauze Sponges
  9. Roll Gauze (2 inch)
  10. Roll Bandages
  11. Adhesive Tape
  12. Non-Adherent sterile pads
  13. Small Scissors
  14. Tweezers
  15. Nylon leash
  16. Muzzle
  17. Blanket
  18. Digital thermometer
  19. A pet first aid book and/or a copy of this article from

Remain Calm

This is the most valuable thing you can do for your pet. He will be comforted by your reassuring tones and calm demeanor. Likewise, he may be unsettled if you are frantic and emotional.

  1. Assess the Situation.
  2. What is the nature of the emergency?
  3. Is your pet breathing? Is he having difficulty breathing?
  4. Is your pet conscious?
  5. What color are your pet's gums?
  6. Is there any bleeding?
  7. Is your pet ambulatory?
  8. Are there any obvious wounds?
  9. Can you safely move and transport your pet?

Take action

Your pet needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian. Your priority is to transport him or her as quickly and safely as possible.

Bring your pet directly to Centerville Animal Hospital if any of the following apply to your pet. This list (from is not meant to be comprehensive; when in doubt bring your pet in. Call us when you are on the way:

  1. Your pet has been vomiting or has had diarrhea for more than 24 hours, or she is vomiting blood.
  2. You suspect any broken bones.
  3. Your pet is having trouble breathing or has something stuck in her throat.
  4. Your pet has had or is having a seizure.
  5. Your pet is bleeding from the eyes, nose, or mouth, or there is blood in her urine or feces.
  6. You think your pet might have ingested something toxic, such as antifreeze, rat poison, any kind of medication that wasn't prescribed to her, or household cleansers.
  7. Your pet, particularly your male cat, is straining to urinate, or is unable to.
  8. Your pet shows signs of extreme pain, such as whining, shaking, and refusing to socialize.
  9. Your pet collapses or suddenly can't stand up.
  10. Your pet begins bumping into things or suddenly becomes disoriented.
  11. You can see irritation or injury to your pet's eyes, or she suddenly seems to become blind.
  12. Your pet's abdomen is swollen and hard to the touch, and/or she's gagging and trying to vomit.
  13. You see symptoms of heatstroke.
  14. Your pregnant dog or cat has gone more than three to four hours between delivering puppies or kittens.

If any of the following apply, your pet is critical. Go directly to the nearest veterinary hospital- even if it is not Centerville Animal Hospital. Call us when you are on the way:

  1. Your pet isn't breathing or you can't feel a heartbeat.
  2. Your pet is unconscious and won't wake up.

Know where the nearest veterinary emergency hospital is located in case your pet experiences a medical emergency when our office is closed. Take the time now to Map Quest driving directions. Keep a copy in your glove compartment.

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