Emergency Veterinary Medicine: A Brief Overview

Emergency veterinary medicine provides treatment for your pet in the event of an emergency. Whether because it's the weekend or at night and your primary veterinarian is closed or because your primary veterinarian in unequipped to deal with a life-threatening situation, you should select emergency veterinary services when your pet needs immediate medical treatment.

Reasons to Receive Emergency Veterinary Care

Pet illnesses and injuries that require a trip to the emergency pet clinic include:

  • open wounds
  • broken bones
  • heavy or labored breathing
  • swollen abdomen
  • loud and incessant crying or moaning
  • seizure
  • loss of consciousness
  • pale, white or blue gums
  • toxin ingestion
  • high or low body temperature (below or above 101 to 102 for dogs, 100.5 to 102 for cats)
  • unusual coughing

What to Expect from Emergency Veterinary Medicine

The emergency veterinary team will work quickly to help your pet. You can help them expedite the process by calling ahead to alert them to prepare for your arrival; being prepared to answer questions about your pet's health history and the nature of the emergency; and bringing along a method of payment (cash, credit, debit or check), your pet's health records and your pet's health insurance card (if applicable).

Emergency veterinary medicine is not cheap. Visits to the emergency pet clinic easily run in the thousands of dollars. However, they can save your pet's life. Your pet's health insurance may cover all or part of your visit and you may qualify for a long-term payment plan.