What to do in an emergency
First of all, you must stay calm in order to be the most help to your pet. Pets pick up on human emotions so by being calm yourself, you can help your pet to relax. Plus, you will need to be able to give the correct information to a Vet over the phone, potentially give your pet first aid, and transport them to a clinic.
Call your vet practice
If you use a regular veterinary service, you should call them first to see if they can help as they will have a full record of your pet.
If your regular vet practice is closed or is unable to provide emergency or critical care, call our 24-hr service:
- We can help you decide how urgently your pet needs to be examined by our team, some cases may not need to be seen straight away.
- We provide free advice over the phone and we will ask about your pet’s symptoms and recommend if you can safely wait to see your own regular Vet when their practice is open.
- If your pet needs immediate emergency care, we will ask you to bring your pet into our practice where we have all the suitable medical facilities to treat your pet immediately. After we have admitted your pet to our practice, our duty Vet will advise you on what to do next, based on your pet’s condition and what you tell us.
- If you’re unsure whether it is an emergency situation, please call us to discuss your concerns with one of our staff or use our Symptom Checker or Poison Guide.
- Please do not come directly to the practice without calling us first.
Pets can suddenly become ill for a variety of reasons such as an ongoing condition that has suddenly worsened, poisoning from consuming or coming into contact with something harmful, or an acute onset illness that doesn’t necessarily have an obvious cause. Even though it can be a very stressful time, it is always helpful if you can provide our team with as much information as possible to help us diagnose and treat them.
If your pet is unwell, please try to have the following information:
- How long your pet has been unwell for and what their symptoms are
- The brand of pet food you usually feed them including any supplements and snacks
- Any medication previously taken by your pet – it would be helpful to bring in any packaging if you still have it
- Where your pet is originally from and what other animals they have been in contact with recently
- What your pet’s urine and faeces normally look like and what they look like at the moment
- Whether the pet’s owner or a decision maker will be available on the telephone if they cannot come in
Please note that it is a legal requirement for the person signing a consent form to be over 18 years of age. This includes consent forms that allow your pet to be admitted to into our surgery to under-go treatment.
If your pet has been injured and is in pain, you may find they become distressed or even aggressive out of fear. Always make sure that you are safe when handling an injured animal – bites and scratches can be nasty and become infected, meaning you may need to go to the hospital right away.
If your pet has been involved in a Road Traffic Accident, always ensure the safety of yourself and others in the vicinity before stepping out into the road. You can try to move your pet to safety once it’s safe for you to do so. Wrap them in a blanket or something warm to minimise the risk of them going into shock. Keep yourself safe when handling your pet, and be extra careful with suspected fractures and wounds.
Call us on 0208 783 2850 and we can give you first aid advice over the phone, whilst preparing for your arrival at our surgery.
What is a pet health emergency?
Pet health emergencies aren’t exclusive to obvious trauma and open wounds. The conditions below also require emergency veterinary treatment:
- Acute severe lameness
- Breathing difficulties
- Collapse or significant weakness
- Difficulty urinating (particularly in male cats)
- Eye problems
- Flystrike in rabbits & guinea pigs
- Ingestion of toxic substance or food (some poisons can be absorbed through the skin)
- Loss of thirst or appetite (rabbits & guinea pigs especially)
- Opens wounds with significant bleeding
- Snake or other animal bites
- Swallowing hazards (toys, food, socks, string etc.)
- Swollen abdomen or retching (particularly in large dogs)
- Trauma such as a road traffic accident, fall, or crushing injury
- Vomiting and/or diarrhoea for more than 24 hours, especially if depressed
If you are worried about your pet’s health, even if the problem isn’t on this list, contact a Vet right away.