If your pet is experiencing difficulty breathing, multiple seizures within 24 hours, inability to walk or stand, or collapse, these are considered “RED” – or true emergencies – on our Fast Track Triage system. We advise you seek immediate veterinary care. Please call ahead of your arrival so the veterinary team knows to expect you!
If your pet is experiencing persistent/severe vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss for more than 24 hours, or aggressive coughing without distress, these are considered “ORANGE” – or urgent cases – on our Fast Track Triage system. We recommend having your pet see your family veterinarian or local animal emergency hospital within the next 12 hours. Please call ahead of your arrival so the veterinary team knows to expect you!
If your pet has a chronic condition with no new symptoms, this is considered a “GREEN” – or Non-Urgent case – on our Fast Track Triage system. This means emergency care isn’t needed, but your pet should be evaluated by your family veterinarian within the next few days.
Having a pet with a chronic disease such as diabetes, heart failure, chronic kidney disease or cancer can be stressful, and knowing when to seek veterinary care can be difficult. It is best to work closely with your family vet for the most consistent management of your pet’s condition, but there may be times your pet needs emergency care when your veterinarian is unavailable. It can be helpful to set some parameters with your family veterinarian ahead of time as to when you should consider seeking emergency care for your pet based upon their specific chronic disease so you can be prepared for these instances.
In general, the same reasons that you would bring an otherwise healthy pet to the ER should be considered as reasons to seek veterinary attention in a pet with chronic disease. On top of that, your pet’s underlying disease may make them more susceptible to more rapid deterioration, so pay close attention to your pet’s symptoms and seek care with any concern. Some of the more concerning signs include but are not limited to:
- Persistent, severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Appetite loss for more than 24 hours
- Respiratory distress or aggressive coughing without distress
- Multiple seizures within a 24-hour period or active/intractable seizures
- Inability to walk or stand
In An Emergency
When your pet arrives to the ER, they will be triaged immediately by the medical staff and provided treatment based on their condition. Depending upon your pet’s symptoms and health history, and the doctor’s findings and recommendations, symptomatic home therapy may be all that is necessary, or your pet may require hospitalized care. The doctor will work with you to establish a plan of care that makes sense for both you and your pet based on their specific situation.
Being prepared will help make your ER visit run more smoothly for you and your pet. Having up-to-date copies of your pet’s medical records will make it easier for the emergency veterinarian to understand the progression and management of their chronic disease, and it will help them make the best recommendations for your pet’s emergency management. Medical records typically include both the doctor’s notes and copies of labwork—not just a copy of the invoice from their visit to the clinic—so work closely with your family veterinarian to make sure your information is complete! Bring a current list of all your pet’s medications/supplements as well. After the emergency visit, a copy of your pet’s medical records will be shared with your family veterinarian so they can have all the information needed to take over your pet’s ongoing management once more.
There may be situations where you’re not sure exactly what to do or if your pet truly needs to be seen. Any time you have concerns, do not hesitate to call! Medical staff can help guide you as to what the best choice may be. Caring for a pet with chronic disease can be daunting, but if emergency care is needed, our team will make sure that you understand the process each step of the way.