Animal ER - How to Prepare for an Emergency

Going to the emergency room is never an exciting trip – both you and your animal are panicked, stressed, and uncertain about the outcome. When dealing with any animal emergency, there are 3 things to remember: Don’t panic, don’t injure yourself, and prepare in advance. Your animal will pick up on your stress and emotional volatility during a crisis. It is best for both of you if you stay calm and remain confident. Any injured or ill animal may strike out with teeth or claws – it’s nothing personal, just their way of saying, “I don’t feel good, leave me alone!” Sure, you’re precious pup may never have bitten before but if he is seriously injured and frightened, he may become confused when you try to help and lash out at you. Be cautious and use protection – gloves, blankets, make a muzzle out of a sock or bandage material if necessary. Cats can be particularly difficult to handle when scared and/or injured. Picking a cat up with gloves, a thick blanket or towel, and placing her in a large plastic container with ventilation or animal carrier is safest. The third key to handling emergencies effectively is to prepare in advance. Always know where your gloves and animal carriers are, have bandaging material readily available, keep hydrogen peroxide available to induce vomiting, have emergency veterinary numbers posted on the phone, and have some money set aside for a trip to the hospital. Also be familiar with the following so that you can prepare for your trip to the emergency room. Oftentimes, what you do before you get to the hospital will help a great deal with the outcome of your emergency. 

  1. Always approach the animal in the safest way for both you and him/her. If an animal is severely injured or traumatized, muzzle him/her and wrap in a blanket. As mentioned above, cats should be contained if possible.
  2. Know exactly who to call and where they are. If you are unable to contact your regular veterinarian or have an after-hours emergency, call R.E.A.C.H. 665-4399. We are available after hours Monday thru Friday and 24 hours on weekends and holidays. We are at 677 Brevard Rd, Asheville. Call us in advance so that we are able to give you advice on what you can do before you arrive.
  3. Know CPR – it is much the same as cardiopulmonary resuscitation on humans. Learn it, commit it to memory, practice it – it could save your pet’s life.
  4. Know how to bandage a wound. If your animal has been injured and is severely bleeding, knowing how to properly bandage the wound and stop bleeding could save your animal’s life and prevent shock or the need for a costly blood transfusion.
  5. If your animal is covered in a toxic substance, do not touch the animal unless you are wearing protective gloves or can cover him with some other protective material.
  6. If you are certain he/she has ingested a toxic substance, call the hospital immediately to get advice on inducing vomiting.
  7. Have a proper “stretcher” ready to put your larger animal safely in the car to avoid additional injury. A sling style stretcher can be easily made with a blanket or a piece of plywood can make a nice solid board for transport.
  8. Be prepared financially. Probably the last thing people think about during an emergency is how to pay the bill. Emergency clinics and veterinary practices are no different than other small businesses, and they need to pay their own bills to survive. Expect to leave a deposit when admitting a pet and be prepared to pay for services rendered.
  9. If you suspect your animal is ill or injured, do not try to feed him/her. Bring them in for immediate attention. 

Knowing how to prepare for your trip to the animal ER can save both time and money and will increase your animal’s chances of recovery. If you have questions or would like instruction with any of the things mentioned in this article, please call us