Emergency Pet Care

What is a Pet Emergency on Weekends and Public Holidays?

I’m worried about my Pet but is it an Emergency?

With most vets being closed or offering only “Emergency Consultations” or “Urgent Veterinary Care” on weekends and Public Holidays – what exactly does that mean for me?

As a pet owner if I am worried about my pet and it’s a Sunday, how do I know whether it’s urgent or not?

The answer is – you don’t.

While we can all recognise a true Emergency such as Snake Bite – Bloat – Trauma from an accident – collapse etc – there are also a lot of other less obvious symptoms while not considered true emergencies that benefit from being treated sooner rather than later.

For this reason – we’d rather put this message out there

If you are worried about your pet at ANY time – get veterinary help. Don’t hold off calling just because you’re not sure whether it is a true emergency or not.

For your peace of mind – have your pet seen. While it will cost you more to see a vet on those days – you could actually save money in the long term by addressing the problem sooner rather than later. Some conditions can deteriorate quickly so leaving them untreated for even 24 hours can risk making your pet sicker therefore requiring more intensive treatment.

Emergency Veterinary Care “Lucy’s” Story

One of our Public Holiday patients that comes to mind is a lovely middle aged labrador. Let’s just call her “Lucy.”

The owner’s noticed she wasn’t quite right on that morning. Nothing too alarming. She was still bright and responsive – but just didn’t want to eat breakfast.

They called up and just wanted her checked over for peace of mind. Little did they know the lifesaving decision they just made.

It turns out that the reason why Lucy didn’t tuck into breakfast as normal was that she was bleeding internally from a ruptured tumour that had been growing silently and causing no outward symptoms until now.

This was a serious situation that could not have waited until the next day. Thankfully Lucy had emergency surgery and made a full recovery.

The chances of this happening of course are slim. Not every dog that goes off their food for one day has a condition as serious as this.

Sometimes some medication is all that’s needed to stop something from becoming worse.

If you’re worried about your pet – just give us a call. We’re available 24/7 for that very reason. Our full hospital facilities also mean we can carry out any diagnostics and treatments your pet needs so you won’t need to be referred elsewhere.

Of course if you are not local to us – contact your nearest Animal Emergency Centre for advice.

Please note our services on Weekends and Public Holidays are limited to in clinic consultations only. We can’t provide home visits or ambulatory calls for large animals.

Our 24/7 Veterinary Care

GDV Bloat in Dogs

Gastropexy – Avoiding Dangerous Bloat in Dogs

Would You Consider Your Dog having an Elective Procedure if you knew it could prevent Dangerous Bloat?

Bloat – most people know about it but not everyone knows how dangerous it can actually be. In veterinary speak we call it GDV (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus) – also known as twisted stomach or gastric torsion.

How does Bloat Happen?

It happens when stomach fills with gas during the digestive process and something prevents the food flowing into the small intestine as it should – giving the gas no way to escape!

When the stomach begins to bloat it stretches and become enlarged – eventually becoming so big it rotates on itself (twists) shutting of critical blood flow to organs & causing tissues to die off which can’t be reversed.

Meanwhile your dog starts to show signs of laboured breathing and pain as a result of the stomach stretching and taking up more and more room in the abdominal cavity and putting pressure on the chest cavity.

This condition is extremely painful and won’t go away without Urgent Veterinary Intervention. It is a true Emergency and you must get to your vet quickly. Any delay can cause irreversible damage and a potential excruciatingly painful death!

How Common is Bloat in Dogs?

It seems this condition is more common in deep chested and large breed dogs such as Great Danes, German Shepherds, St Bernards, Standard Poodles, Dobermans however any other medium – large breed of dog can also be at risk.GDV Bloat in Dogs

Other Causes

There are many factors that can cause bloat aside from natural breed and build of your dog. These include:

  • Genetic pre-disposition – chest dimensions
  • Age – Older dogs are more likely to develop bloat
  • Gender – Male dogs seem to more pre-disposed to bloat
  • Eating habits – Dogs fed once a day are more at risk than those been fed several smaller meals throughout the day
  • Temperament – Nervous, fearful or anxious dogs appear to be at higher risk of developing this condition
  • Exercise on a full stomach after eating

Warning signs of Bloat

  • Swollen belly – loss of the tucked in area behind the last rib and hip
  • Non – productive vomiting – trying to vomit but nothing comes up – retching
  • Restlessness – hunched appearance
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Salivation (drooling)

If your dog’s condition continues to deteriorate, especially if volvulus (twisting) has occurred, your dog may go into shock and become pale, have a weak pulse, a rapid heart rate, and eventually collapse. A dog with gastric dilatation without volvulus can show all of these signs. The more severe signs are likely to occur in dogs with both dilatation and volvulus.

Be Prepared

Know the location of your nearest 24 hour Emergency Centre or vet with 24 Hour service before this happens. If it does – you can’t afford to waste time hunting!

An Elective Surgical Procedure that can help prevent Bloat

This is called Preventative Gastropexy – a procedure that is often performed early in a dog’s life that greatly reduces the risk of a future emergency.

Most commonly this is done at the time of desexing when your dog is already under Anaesthesia.

During this procedure, part of your dog’s stomach is attached to the body wall preventing it from being able to rotate.

Other options include:

  • Performing a Gastropexy at an early age 6 – 9 months of age. We don’t recommend desexing at this age for large breed dogs so this would be a standalone procedure
  • Perform a Gastropexy at the same time as desexing when full maturity is reached at around 18 months of age for large breed dogs. This can be done with a routine desexing (Traditional spey and castration) or via a laparascopic (keyhole) spey with a laparascopic assisted gastropexy.

If you suspect Bloat – Don’t Delay

If your dog is showing signs of bloat – head to your nearest Emergency Centre immediately or if you are local – call us and come straight down. We operate a 24 hour facility with vets available to perform this life threatening surgery day and night!

Even if it turns out be be a false alarm – you’ve done the right thing. In this case it’s definitely best to be safe than sorry.

Equine Colic

Equine Emergencies. Are You Prepared?

 The Day Your Horse becomes Seriously ill

Equine EmergenciesIt’s certainly not uncommon – at least not around here for some of you to own a horse for sport or pleasure but unlike smaller furry companions, managing their needs when they become sick or are injured presents a whole different set of challenges.

Fact – Most Owners are Not Prepared for that unexpected Emergency

Equine Ambulatory services can only do so much if your horse is seriously ill. While we carry a range of medications and equipment in our vehicles, as far as facilities go, we are limited to paddocks and stables.

What this means is – we can perform routine or minor procedures such as Geldings, stitch up lacerations, treat hoof abscesses, manage a spasmodic colic, provide emergency first aid and remove a lump or two however, we are certainly not resourced to provide intensive medical care around the clock or perform major surgery.

Your Horse will need to go to Hospital!

Having to refer your horse to hospital is not simply something we do to make things easy for us. It’s done because its what your horse’s condition needs.

It’s no different to calling an ambulance when a member of your family suddenly becomes seriously ill or having your doctor send you straight to hospital if the symptoms point to something serious.

You will need to have Transport

Owning a Float or having access to one at short notice is one of the absolute must haves if you own a horse.

Too often we’ve seen people caught out by having either no float or car to tow one when they need to get it to an Equine Hospital in a hurry. This is not a situation you want to find yourself in.

Equine Emergency CareDon’t own a Float? Find a Friend who has!

If you don’t yet own a float – then at least make arrangements that allow you to borrow one from a friend – at short notice – and 24/7. (Emergencies can happen at any hour)

Better still – have at least a few people up your sleeve should you not be able to contact your first choice.

Other things to consider

  1. Make sure you have access to First Line veterinary care from a vet local to you. Even for serious issues you may need that necessary initial first aid treatment to prepare your horse for safe transport.
  2. Have a good relationship with that vet. After all – you may need to call them out at any time. Not all veterinary clinics offer a 24/7 emergency service.
  3. Have funds set aside for veterinary expenses.  (Routine and Emergency Care) If you own a horse, you will have vet bills.
  4. Have a well stocked first aid kit. You may need to use it in conjunction with veterinary advice should your vet not be able to attend as quickly as the situation demands.
  5. Know the names and locations of your nearest Equine Emergency Centres.
Vet On Call

After Hours Emergency and Veterinary Care

Who do you turn to when your pet becomes sick at night?

Try calling your vet at night and chances are you’ll get a recorded message giving details of your nearest Animal Emergency Centre. (After Hours Service) This is common practice as these centres are open when regular clinics are not and have the all the necessary resources (staff, equipment, facilities) to provide the best treatment and care your pet needs.

Most often – your pet will be referred back to your regular vet for further treatment once stabilised or after surgery if that was needed at the time.

Our After Hours Service

We choose to provide a 24 hour service to our clients because not only do we believe it’s an essential part of running a Veterinary Hospital but because we can.

We’ve invested in the same equipment and facilities as Veterinary Emergency centres which means we can run the same diagnostics and perform almost all of the necessary procedures your pet needs at the time. We simply call in the right team to do it.

Emergency Vet

For intensive care patients our duty vet and (nurses if needed) stay on the premises all night to keep an eye on your pet and provide necessary treatments and patient monitoring.

The benefit to our clients is that we already have all your pet’s records on file.

We can access all your pet’s important background information like Vaccination status, previous illnesses and test results which can be extremely helpful when dealing with a recurring or sudden onset illness. It also means we don’t have to repeat any unnecessary tests because of lack of vital information.

Familiarity Helps

Even more important is the relationship we already have with you and your extended family. You may be greeted by one of our Vets you’ve seen before, which can be reassuring when emotions are high and you’re worried about your pet. Likewise, your pet is less likely to stress in a place she knows than an unfamiliar one.

We’re also less likely to ask for full payment before treatment starts (a common practice in Animal Emergency Centres) if you are a regular long term client of the practice and your account has always been in good standing with us.

I’m sure you’ll agree there’s nothing worse than having to come up with a substantial deposit in the middle of the night when there’s more important things to worry about.

All payment arrangements can be discussed the following morning

Over the years thousands of emergency patients have passed through our doors after hours all needing veterinary help of some kind. We’ve attended to everything from upset tummies, poisonings, road trauma injuries right through to lifesaving surgeries including GDV surgery (bloat)

So although running a 24 hour operation is a challenging and expensive arm of a Veterinary Practice knowing how many times being close and available has saved lives means we wouldn’t have it any other way.