If you have an emergency, you may reach one of our on-call doctors by calling our answering service at (803) 401-5972. If it is during office hours, you may call our office at (803) 438-1223. You may also contact South Carolina Veterinary Emergency Care at (803) 798-3837 or www.scvec.com
WHEN IS IT AN EMERGENCY?
Most pet “parents” have been in a situation like this: Buster slipped on the way down the stairs and now he’s walking with a limp. It’s 11:00 at night should you call your veterinarian, or are you just being a worrywart?
You’re never wrong to call
If you’re concerned about your pet, you should never feel embarrassed about calling Veterinary Medicine & Surgery. VMS is an AAHA accredited facility and offers 24 hour access to emergency care.
You know your pet better than anyone else. If you notice your pet behaving in a way that’s unusual for him/her, or if something just doesn’t seem right you may have picked up on a subtle sign of a real problem. To find out you can call our answering service or SCVEC. By asking a few questions over the phone, the veterinarian on call should be able to tell you whether you should bring your pet in right away, or whether she/he can wait for an examination during normal office hours. Even if you find out nothing’s wrong, you’ll be glad to have your mind at ease.
Your pet has experienced some kind of trauma, such as being hit by a car or a blunt object or falling more than a few feet.
Your pet isn’t breathing or you can’t feel a heartbeat. (See Pet CPR. See image below.)
Your pet is unconscious and won’t wake up.
Your pet has been vomiting or has had diarrhea for more than 24 hours, or she/he is vomiting blood or passing bloody diarrhea.
You suspect any broken bones.
Your pet is having trouble breathing or has something stuck in her throat.
Your pet has had or is having a seizure.
Your pet is bleeding from the eyes, nose, or mouth, or there is blood in his/her urine or feces.
You think your pet might have ingested something toxic, such as antifeeze, rat poison, household cleaners, or any kind of medication that wasn’t prescribed to him/her.
Your pet, particularly your male cat, is straining to urinate, or is unable to.
Your pet shows signs of extreme pain, such as whining, shaking, and refusing to socialize.
Your pet collapses or suddenly can’t stand up.
Your pet begins bumping into things or suddenly becomes disoriented.
You can see irritation or injury to your pet’s eyes, or she/he suddenly seems to become blind.
Your pet’s abdomen is swollen and hard to the touch, and/or he/she’s gagging and trying to vomit.
Your pregnant dog or cat has gone more than three to four hours between delivering puppies or kittens.
What to do if it’s an emergency
If you notice any of the symptoms above or you suspect a serious problem, try to get directly in touch with a veterinary professional.
Your first step is to call your veterinarian. All AAHA-accredited veterinary hospitals will either have someone answering the phone 24-hours a day or will have a recorded message referring you to a 24-hour emergency hospital.
Once you decide to bring your pet in for emergency treatment, make sure you know where you’re going and how to get there safely. If you have any questions about directions on how to move your ill or injured pet, call the hospital and ask.
Keep your veterinarian’s name and number on an emergency sheet near the phone, right next to the numbers for your doctor, fire department, and poison-control hotline. If your veterinarian refers evening and weekend emergencies to another hospital, write down that hospital’s name and number too, as well as what hours your doctor refers cases there. This way, if an emergency catches you off guard, you won’t have to file through drawers or folders looking for business cards. This way, if an emergency catches you off guard, you won’t have to file through drawers or folders looking for business cards. You may also want to have a list of pet first aid tips easily accessible, along with guidelines for human first aid.
If you’re taking your pet along on a trip, you can find AAHA-accredited hospitals in the area you’ll be visiting by using the Hospital Locator.