Things you should know about the vet ER

Things you should know about the vet ER

(The article was reviewed by dr. Soren Drimer Pejstrup, DVM at dyrlæ

Having a pet can be one of the most joyful things for a human, a companion who never judges, gives love and affection and is loyal to a fault. But in return, we owe these animals a good life, and one of the most important parts of providing a good life is providing your pet with good health care.

Unfortunately, from time to time you may require the assistance of an emergency vet. This could be for anything from an injury to the sudden onset of worrying health symptoms, but whatever the reason there are things you should know about the vet ER.

In this article, we are going to be taking a look at some important information regarding your visit to the emergency vet. These points will help you to ensure that you are fully prepared and armed with all the knowledge you will need when attending this type of surgery.


What is a dog emergency?

Sometimes, it may be difficult to determine what actually qualifies as a true emergency and what could wait for a routine appointment. In this section, we are going to look at some things which would fall into the emergency category. If any of these things are relevant to your dog in this moment, it is vital that they are seen in the vet ER as soon as possible.

  • Anything life threatening
  • Severe bleeding from any wound or from any orifice
  • Signs of moderate to servere pain
  • Unconsciousness
  • Breathing problems or the breath stopping
  • Poison
  • Snake bite or burns
  • Broken bones
  • Stopped urinating

Anything life threatening is considered an emergency, and as the dog owner, you may be required to perform some sort of first aid before arriving at the vet ER. By telephoning your vet and getting the correct advice, you can be sure that any first aid you administer will be as effective as possible. Life threatening conditions could be any of the following; severe bleeding from any wound or from any orifice, unconsciousness, breathing problems or the breath stopping, poison, snake bite or burns.

Broken bones are also considered an emergency and should be seen by an emergency vet as soon as possible.If you bitch is giving birth and is struggling to do so by herself, she should be taken to the vet ER for assistance.

Dogs who have not been urinating as usual or for prolonged periods of time may be suffering from a more serious health condition or dehydration, if left untreated this could lead to death and so needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

There are times where dogs may present with less serious emergencies but still require quick medical attention. In this case, you should contact your local vet ER and get your pet there as soon as you can.

Once there, you may have to wait a little longer if there are more serious cases being seen to but it is important that you wait to get your dog the correct treatment. Some of these less serious emergencies might be as follows; less severe bleeding or smaller wounds, insect stings, blood tinges during urination, less serious burns or if a limp is noticed in the animal.


Why is the emergency vet so expensive?

It is common knowledge amongst pet owners that a trip to the emergency vet can prove much more costly than a routine appointment. But what is the reason for this? One of the things you should know about the vet ER is the reason behind this.

One of the things that has to be factored in is that the vets and veterinary nurses who are working at the ER are being paid a higher rate due to working unsociable hours, this higher wage, of course has to be subsidised somehow, and raising the fees is their way of doing this. The initial fee for your consultation will therefore be higher, and should your pet require no further treatment, this fee still applies.

Whilst it can be difficult to come up with the funds for an emergency vet visit, it is important not to let this deter you from going as your dog will only get worse without treatment. Many pet insurances will include cover for emergencies and so it is worth considering taking out a policy or if not, creating a savings account especially for pet emergencies.


Can a vet hold your dog for non payment?

As we mentioned previously, finding the money to pay your vet fees can be difficult and in some cases people are unable to pay them at all. So the question is often raised, can a vet hold your dog for non payment?

Legally, a vet is able to hold your dog if you fail to pay the fees, however in most cases this will not happen because the vets understand that doing this will not be beneficial to the dog. The animal, especially one who has just suffered the trauma of a vet visit, is better served by being at home with his owners in familiar surroundings. Keeping the animal at the vet practise may only cause further stress and harm to it. By retaining the animal, the vet may incur further costs which can not be charged to the owner.

In some cases, the vet may offer a payment plan in order to make meeting the agreed fees easier for the owner, although they are not required to do this by law, most practises will do so for the benefit of both parties.

For fees that are not paid at all, the vet reserves the right to recover these through court action and so it is always best to keep in contact with the vet in order to come to an arrangement that suits both them and you.


What does an emergency vet do?

You may have never needed to visit an emergency vet before and so one of the things you should know about the vet ER is what to expect when you arrive.

On arrival you will be asked to fill out your details and explain to the nurse or technician what the problem is, they will then provide an initial examination of your pet which will be the deciding factor in whether you are able to wait to be seen or if the dog needs immediate attention.

Emergency vets are able to offer an initial treatment plan for your dog, whether that be emergency surgery, a prescription for medication or anything in between. Once this initial treatment has been given, the emergency vet will then pass the care of your dog back to your normal vet who will monitor and maintain the treatment for as long as is necessary.

This type of vet is fully qualified to perform many different types of treatment including injections, blood tests, surgery and examinations so you can be rest assured that your dogs welfare will be fully taken care of.


What do you do if your pet has an emergency?

It can be a very worrying time when you notice that your pet is in distress and often times it can be confusing as to what action to take when your main concern is whether your pet is going to be ok or not.

This short guide will assist you in what to do in case of an emergency. The first thing to remember is to try to stay calm, this is for your own sake as well as the sake of your pet. Once you have established that an emergency situation is underway, follow these steps;

Make a quick assessment of the situation and the state of your pet, check to see whether they are breathing, have lost consciousness or have any excessive bleeding. These vital things should be addressed as quickly as possible.It is a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your home and one in your car for any emergencies that arise when you are out of the house. Begin by administering any first aid as soon as you can as this will increase the chances of your pet pulling through and will keep them more comfortable in the meantime.Call the emergency vet as soon as you can, you can do this whilst giving your pet the aforementioned first aid. Your vet will be able to talk you through the first aid process if you are unsure and will be able to be aware of and prep for your arrival to the surgery.Once you have managed to get your pet in a stable condition, you should get them to the vet ER as quickly as you can where expert help can be given.

If you are unsure how to proceed when it comes to first aid or have had limited experience here, there is a brilliant guide over at The Spruce, which gives some great advice on what to do in various emergency situations such as when an animal stops breathing. You can access this information by clicking on the following link:



Whilst it is a very upsetting time, an emergency pet situation needs to be responded to quickly, calmly and effectively by the owner and then passed over to an emergency vet. By ensuring that you have the correct knowledge to deal with the situation, you can be confident that your pet will be well looked after if an emergency should happen.

Our guide to things you should know about the vet ER will give you this knowledge and confidence. It may be the case that you have never had to visit an emergency vet before or you may want to simply refresh your memory, either way you should now feel comfortable in dealing with an emergency situation.




This article was first published at dyrlæ

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