Emergencies

Please call us immediately for any emergency. Our emergency number is our office number: (520) 761-8686. When you call the number above after regular business hours you will be given the phone number of the veterinarian on call.

Emergencies are shared with other local veterinarians. In some instances you will be transferred to the voice mail of the mobile emergency line. Be sure to leave a detailed message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

Do not use the mobile emergency line during regular hours. We are fully equipped to deal with all emergencies including snakebites (antivenom always on hand), javelina and dog bite wounds, vehicular accidents and obstetric problems. The hospital is not staffed around the clock, so should your pet require 24-hour critical care, arrangements will be made to transfer them to a critical care facility.

Rattlesnake bites
Dog bites / Javelina attacks
Possible poisoning
Vomiting / Diarrhea
Hit by a car
Seizures
Dog can't get up
Toad poisoning
Heatstroke
Bloat, or Gastric dilatation and volvulus

Cruciate ligament rupture
Congestive heart failure

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Rattlesnake bites
While many bites are “dry” meaning that little or no venom has been injected, some bites are fully loaded with a potent mix of venoms. It is impossible for you or your veterinarian to truly know how “dry” the bite is in the early stages, so one should not dismiss the need for antivenin or other treatment.

The antivenin needs to be given within the first 12 hours of the bite to be most effective, and sooner is even better.

Do NOT attempt first aid at home.

Do NOT incise, excise, blow, suck or mutilate the wound. Leave it alone, you can’t get the venom back out once it is in.

Do NOT apply ice or a tourniquet.

Do NOT allow the pet to exercise unless absolutely necessary to reach a veterinarian. Limit her movement as much as possible to slow the spread of the venom.

Do NOT give aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as they could make bleeding problems worse. Antihistamines such as Benadryl may be helpful, but even this is controversial.

Bring the animal in right away. Most dogs and cats will be able to survive a rattlesnake bite with prompt treatment and good after-care at home.

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Dog bites / Javelina attacks
Do not attempt first aid at home except to apply pressure with a clean towel over areas that are bleeding very heavily.

Bring the animal in right away, do not try to dress, cover or apply ointment to the wounds.

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Possible poisoning
For rat poison, insecticides, herbicides, anti-freeze and all other non-caustic poisons:
Give Hydrogen peroxide 1 TBS per 20 lbs. by mouth to induce vomiting, then bring the pet in immediately.

For caustic poisons such as acid, lye or bleach: do not induce vomiting, bring the pet in immediately.

If your animal is drooling, shaking, staggering or seizuring, your animal may be poisoned by licking or mouthing a Colorado River toad. See toad poisoning.

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Vomiting / Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms associated with hundreds of diseases. Many of these diseases are quite serious, particularly for young animals. Dehydration occurs very quickly and for this reason these animals should be seen early in the course of their disease. If there is any delay in bringing the animal in, offer no food for 12 hours and offer water, gatorade or pedialyte frequently, in small amounts at a time. Licking ice cubes may help with hydration while preventing overload that could result in vomiting.

Some milder cases of vomiting improve on their own within 24 hours, without medical intervention, and some mild cases of diarrhea can be resolved quickly with simple treatment.

Your pet should be seen by the veterinarian if he or she is experiencing any of the following problems:

  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite for more than 24 hours
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever (greater than 103°F)
  • Lethargy for more than 24 hours
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting for more than 24 hours
  • Blood in stool or vomit

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Hit by a car

Be very careful handling injured animals - they may bite severely in their fear and pain, even the people they love the most. Use one large towel or blanket tightly over the head while sliding the animal onto another blanket to be used as a stretcher. Do not attempt first aid in the field other than applying pressure to wounds that are bleeding heavily, preferably with a clean towel. Bring the animal to the hospital immediately.

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Seizures

Most seizures will stop within minutes. Do not attempt to give the animal anything by mouth or to hold his or her tongue during a seizure as a severe bite wound may result. Throw a blanket over the animal if needed to prevent him or her from falling down stairs or otherwise injuring herself.

Seizures occurring on top of the previous seizure are life-threatening and must be seen immediately. If the seizures are not on-going then the animal should be seen as soon as reasonably possible.

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Dog can't get up

There are numerous possible causes - use a blanket as a stretcher to load the dog into your vehicle and bring him into the clinic as soon as possible. If he is at all painful when moved then protect yourself by covering his head tightly with another towel or blanket while transporting.

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Toad poisoning
If your animal is drooling, shaking, staggering or seizuring, your animal may have been poisoned by licking or mouthing a Colorado River toad.

Rinse your animal's mouth out with a hose for 5 minutes by the clock, being careful not to make him swallow too much of the water. Wait 15 minutes. If the animal is not clearly improved after these 15 minutes, contact a veterinarian.

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Heatstroke
Heat stroke (hyperthermia) is abnormally elevated body temperature. Generally speaking, if a pet’s body temperature exceeds 103°F (39.4°C), it is considered abnormal or hyperthermic. The critical temperature where multiple organ failure and impending death occurs is 109°F (42.7°C).

Hyperthermia must be dealt with immediately by a veterinarian. Cool water may be poured over the head, stomach, underarms and feet, or cool cloths may be applied to these areas.  Rubbing alcohol may be applied to the footpads to dilate pores and increase perspiration. Ice may be placed around the mouth and anus.

The most common cause of heat stroke or hyperthermia is leaving a dog in a car with inadequate ventilation. The dog’s body temperature in this situation can elevate very rapidly, often within minutes. 

Other common causes of heat stroke include being left in a yard without access to shade or water on a hot day, being exposed to a hair dryer for an extended period of time, and excessive or vigorous exercise during hot temperatures. Flat faced dogs such as pugs, boxers and bulldogs or muzzled dogs are at greater risk.

If the body temperature did not become extremely high, most healthy pets will recover quickly if they are treated immediately. Some pets may experience permanent organ damage or may face fatal complications at a later date from complications.

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Bloat, or Gastric dilatation and volvulus
Gastric dilatation (bloat) and volvulus (twist) (GDV) is a life threatening disorder most commonly seen in large, deep-chested dogs. The term refers to a gas-filled stomach (bloat) that then twists upon itself. It is a medical emergency that requires surgery to correct.In elderly small dogs the bloat can occur, usually without the twist, but it is often impossible to tell on a physical examination whether the stomach has twisted or not.

 In either case, the distended stomach pushes the posterior rib cage so that the dog appears swollen or “bloated”. This is most obvious on the left side and gentle tapping of the swelling just behind the last rib often produces hollow, drum-like sounds. The enlarged stomach presses on the diaphragm and breathing becomes labored. The swollen stomach also presses on the larger blood vessels in the abdomen and circulation is seriously compromised, resulting in systemic shock. Ultimately, the dog collapses and the huge size of the abdomen can be seen as the dog lies on its side.

The exact cause is still unknown. The most common history is a large breed dog that eats or drinks rapidly and then exercises. In recent studies, stress was found to be a contributing factor. Sometimes the condition progresses no further than simple gastric dilatation (bloat) but in other instances the huge, gas-filled stomach twists upon itself so that both entrance and exit to the stomach become blocked. Immediate veterinary attention is required to save the dog’s life.

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Cruciate ligament rupture
There are two bands of fibrous tissue called the cruciate ligaments in each knee joint. They join the femur and tibia (the bones above and below the knee joint) so that the knee works as a hinged joint, moving only backwards and forwards. Traumatic cruciate damage is caused by a twisting injury to the knee joint.

This is most often seen in dogs when running and suddenly changing direction so that the majority of the weight is taken on this single joint. The joint is then unstable and causes extreme pain, resulting in lameness. The injury also occurs commonly in obese dogs, just by stumbling over a pebble while walking. Because dogs stand on their toes which puts constant pressure on the ligaments, chronic cruciate damage can occur due to gradual tearing of the ligaments. This can be difficult to diagnose because the lameness is slow in onset and both knees may be affected at the same time.

Unfortunately, most dogs will eventually require surgery to correct this painful injury, though certain dogs under 10 kgs. (22 lbs.) may heal without surgery.

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Congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure is the heart’s inability to pump adequate amounts of blood to the body. There are many causes of congestive heart failure in dogs. The most common cause is a heart valve that fails to open or close properly, causing the heart to work too hard. Another common cause is cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle itself). Other causes include irregularities of rhythm and narrowing of some of the major blood vessels. Heart attacks (blocked blood vessels supplying the heart muscles) are extremely rare in dogs and cats because they don't accumulate cholesterol plaque in their arteries as humans do.

Congestive heart failure usually results in coughing, difficulty breathing, fluid in the space between the tissues lining the abdomen and abdominal organs, exercise intolerance, general lethargy, weakness and weight loss despite having an enlarged abdomen due to fluid accumulation. The normal pink color of the mucous membranes may become pale or bluish color. However, clinical signs can vary depending on whether the dog has left- or right-sided heart failure.

Right-sided congestive heart failure results when the rights side of the heart fails to pump blood to the lungs. Fluid accumulates in the abdomen and/or the chest cavity, interfering with the function of the organs in these areas. The abdomen may become enlarged with fluid. Fluid may also leak from veins and swelling may appear in the limbs.

Left-sided congestive heart failure results when the left side of the heart fails to pump the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. Fluid then seeps into the lung tissue resulting abnormal buildup of fluid in the air sacs of the lungs. This causes coughing and difficulty breathing. Left-sided congestive heart failure is the most common form of congestive heart failure in dogs and cats.

 

 

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