We do not see emergencies at any time
Family Veterinary Mobile Clinic does not have the necessary equipment to diagnose or treat pet emergencies. Our practice sees patients for urgent care during regular business hours when we have availability. New clients will need to complete the New Client Form, the New Patient Form, and submit their pet’s complete medical record before the appointment can be scheduled. Please note we are sometimes booked out for several days. Family Plan Members have a special reserved appointment slot for Members Only. We will always see our Famly Plan Members within one business day. We only provide euthanasia services to patients currently in our care.
In Pet Triage- Emergency or Urgency, you will learn the following:
- What symptoms are always an emergency
- What symptoms are an urgency
- Emergency Hospitals in the Sanford, NC area
- What to do if you can’t get your pet into the car
- How to handle pet trauma
- Pet CPR
- What to do if your pet is poisoned
- What NOT to do if your pet is having a seizure
- How to start treating heat injury at home
- Urgent care clinics in our area
Sick Pet Triage
When the worst happens and your pet gets sick, the first thing to do is triage their illness. Triage means to assess your pet’s condition to decide how urgent their illness is, which determines how quickly you need to seek care. Emergency clinics also triage your pet when you arrive. Those with the most immediately life-threatening conditions will be seen first, no matter who arrived first.
Certain conditions are emergencies. Emergency means drop what you are doing and take your pet to a veterinary hospital immediately. Here’s a list of conditions that are an emergency:
- Trauma, such as being hit by a car
- Trouble breathing, or breathing too fast
- Animal attack
- Collapse, fainting, stroke or anything similar
- Heat exhaustion or heat stroke
- Eye injuries or infections
- Constipation or struggling to have a bowel movement
- Straining to urinate, inability to urinate, or small frequent urinations
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea for more than 24 hours in a sick pet
- Decreased appetite of more than 24 hours
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Swollen tongue or face
- Anything painful
- Pale or blue gums or tongue
- Labor for more than 2 hours without producing a puppy or kitten
- Seizures lasting more than 2 minutes, or 2 or more seizures within 24 hours
- Changes in mental status, such as “spacey” or stupor, or severe personality changes like aggression
- Eating anything poisonous or toxic including all human drugs, legal or not. I promise, we do not care or tell! List of poisons found here.
- Snake bite
- Bloated abdomen
- Blood in urine or stool
- Unable to get up or move around
- Anything you think may be an emergency- better safe than sorry!
Emergency Hospitals (24/7 unless otherwise noted)
What To Do In Specific Circumstances
You Can't Get Your Pet Into the Car
This is a common problem. Maybe your pet can’t walk and is too big for you to pick up. Maybe you never trained them to get into a carrier or a vehicle. Maybe they are dangerous to handle due to pain or seizures causing them to be aggressive or unpredictable. These situations certainly happen and it’s extremely frustrating because you want to get them to the vet ASAP but you can’t.
For all of these problems, the solution is a thick large comforter. You can use the comforter to cover your pet’s head safely, then wrap them up like a Santa Sack and take them to the vet that way. You can drag a pet that won’t walk if they are on the comforter. You may need help lifting them into the car. Call a neighbor. I promise 90% of people are willing to help an animal in need at any time. The rest of them are jerks and who needs them anyway.
There is a taxi service for pets if you don’t have transportation. It’s not cheap- prices start at $300, depending on your location, if your pet needs oxygen, etc. The service is available 24/7. Pet EMT Animal Ambulance and Transport Service. Their phone number is 919-876-3788.
Any time your pet has been hit by a car, kicked by a horse, attacked by another animal, or suffered any kind of trauma, take them immediately to a veterinarian. Do not wait to see if they show any symptoms because the symptoms are usually related to internal bleeding or collapsed lungs. Your vet will most likely take x-rays to look for signs of bleeding or lung damage. Also, these things are painful and your pet needs appropriate medication.
NEVER GIVE YOUR PETS ANY HUMAN PAIN MEDICATIONS unless directed specifically by your veterinarian.
While aspirin is listed as safe for dogs, it causes stomach ulcers and is a blood thinner, making it easier for your pet to bleed internally. Most human pain medications are toxic to pets, especially cats, even one dose, even a tiny dose. The last thing a pet that has suffered a trauma needs is to suffer a poisoning at the same time.
If your pet is bleeding, you can wrap a t-shirt or towel around the area to apply direct pressure. Do not use a tourniquet because they can lead to tissue death and having to amputate the limb.
If your pet is not breathing, check for a heartbeat. The easiest way to find a heartbeat is to take your pet’s left front arm push it back while it is against your pet’s chest. The heart is under the elbow in this position. You can check for a femoral pulse by laying your hand across the inside top part of the back leg, in the groin area. If your pet is not breathing and doesn’t have a pulse, start CPR.
WARNING- CPR is not pretty. If done correctly, you will crack your pet’s ribs, resulting in a long recovery.
- If you have a cat, small dog, or deep chested dog, lay them on the side with the right side down. Place the heel of one hand directly over the pet’s heart and the other hand directly over the first hand.
- If your dog is barrel chested, lay them on their back. Place one hand over the widest part of the chest and the other hand directly over the first hand. Lock your elbows and make sure your shoulders are directly above your hands.
- Start giving compressions, 2 compressions per second. You have to compress the chest 1/2 way down. This is HARD and again, if you’re doing it right, there will be cracked ribs.
- Give 30 compressions (15 seconds time)
- Now give 2 rescue breaths by closing your pet’s mouth and breathing into their nose until you see the chest rise.
- Repeat the cycle of 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths.
- Check for a heartbeat or pulse every 2 minutes.
Call the ASPCA Pet Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435 right away. If you are not sure your pet ate a toxin, it’s best to act like they did. Do not wait to see if they develop any symptoms- then it might be too late, especially with antifreeze, rat poisons, and other substances. There is a fee to use this service so have your credit card handy. Once your pet has a consultation with the toxicologist, your vet is also able to consult with them for no additional costs, as long as it takes to make your pet well.
DO NOT SYRINGE OR POUR OR OTHERWISE FORCE HYDROGEN PEROXIDE INTO YOUR PET’S MOUTH.
Hydrogen peroxide is used to make dogs vomit. You must use 3% H2O2, not the 30% hair bleaching agent. H2O2 doesn’t work on cats. Nothing does. If your cat ingests a poison, you have to take them to a veterinarian immediately.
Hydrogen peroxide only works if they have just ingested the poison less than 1 hour ago. If your pet is already showing signs of poisoning, it’s too late. Do not administer hydrogen peroxide to a pet that is having seizures, is depressed or comatose, can’t swallow, has a smushy face (any brachycephalic dog can aspirate vomit and that’s worse than poison) or has already vomited. Never use hydrogen peroxide to make your dog vomit a corrosive substance such as household cleaners, batteries, detergents, or hydrocarbons (any sort of fuel- kerosene, gasoline, lighter fluid, tiki torch fuel). All of these substances can cause serious permanent esophageal damage which can make it impossible for your dog to ever eat correctly again.
If it is safe to do so, the dose of hydrogen peroxide is 2 teaspoons per 10 pounds of body weight. That isn’t a lot of peroxide. More peroxide is not better- it can cause serious damage to the esophagus. I recommend pouring the correct amount of hydrogen peroxide into a bowl and adding a tiny bit of broth to make the peroxide taste good. Then let your dog drink it from the bowl. If your dog doesn’t drink it on their own, go to the vet. If your dog does drink it but doesn’t vomit within 10 minutes, go to the vet. There is no point to giving more H2O2 if it doesn’t work, and any delay can make the problem worse.
Some toxicities are through the skin, such as essential oils in cats or using the wrong flea product or dose. If possible, wash your pet with dish soap to remove as much of the toxin as possible, then go to a vet for continued care.
Do NOT try to pull your pet’s tongue out. It’s impossible for anyone to swallow their own tongue. It’s best to keep your hands and face as far away from their face because they will not recognize you and they have no control over their mouth. Use a heavy comforter as described in the what to do if you can’t get your pet into the car situation. At the very least, try to move your pet into a safe area- onto the floor, away from stairs, and keep your other pets and children away.
A seizure lasting more than 2 minutes is can be dangerous especially for brachycephalic breeds due to the risk of heat injury. Go to the veterinarian if the seizure has lasted more than 2 minutes, or if your pet has multiple seizures within 24 hours. Permanent brain damage can result from multiple short seizures just as easily as one long one.
As soon as you think your pet has overheated, cool them down with wet blankets or a garden hose- NOT ICE- and go to a veterinary clinic. Heat injuries can cause a serious to fatal condition called disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, or DIC. This condition causes all the coagulation factors in the blood stream to be used up, the blood vessels to be leaky, and ironically seriously large blood clots to form. We call DIC “Death In Cage” because the pet looks fine one second, then is dead the next. We can prevent it with certain medications and transfusions but only if we get the pet in before DIC happens. If you wait for them to show symptoms, it’s often too late. DIC can happen up to 24 hours after the heat injury so IV fluids and hospitalization are recommended for at least a day.
Emergency Bottom Line
There isn’t much you can do for a pet that has respiratory distress, a bloated abdomen, can’t urinate or defecate, etc. so just take them to a veterinary hospital. Bloated abdomens are especially serious and usually indicate GDV (“bloat” or the stomach twisting), or fluid build-up caused by internal bleeding, congestive heart failure, or other very serious conditions. GDV is a surgical emergency. I strongly recommend that if you have a deep chested dog such as a Great Dane, dachshund, boxer, etc. that if you think they have GDV, call the emergency hospital and tell them that. If the veterinarian is already in surgery, it will be better to go somewhere that doesn’t have a wait. The longer a GDV isn’t treated, the higher the risk of stomach tissue dying, and that is really really really bad.
The bottom line is if you think it is an emergency, it probably is. It’s best to err on the side of caution and have your pet seen and be told it’s not that bad than to not have them seen and have them suffer or die.
These are some common problems that should be addressed with 1-2 days of you first seeing the symptoms.
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea lasting more than 24 hours in an otherwise healthy, active, adult pet with no other medical conditions. Very young pets, older pets, and those with certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, Cushing’s Disease, Addison’s Disease, and cancer should be taken to an emergency hospital.
- Ear infection
- Skin infection
- Anything eye related- redness, cloudiness, discharge, swelling, rubbing the eye- these can lead to permanent blindness. You’re not wrong treating eye problems as an emergency even though it’s not a life-threatening problem.
- Limping or other signs of pain
Urgent Veterinary Care Clinics
Please note the opening times, as they vary quite a bit. Urgent Care Clinics do not perform surgery or hospitalize pets.
How We Can Help
You can email, call, or text us, or schedule an appointment through your pet portal and we can help you schedule an appointment or refer you to the best hospital to treat your pet.
Family Veterinary Mobile Clinic treats urgent care situations during normal business hours for our current clients. Family Plan members are always guaranteed a same or next business day appointment. We can never see emergencies because we don’t have the necessary diagnostic equipment or any way to perform surgery or hospitalize pets.
If you are a current client and you need to take your pet to another practice for an emergency or urgent care situation, please let us know right away. We are available for follow up if needed. Our vets need your pets’ full history to provide the best care possible. Other clinics will not send records unless you request them (and sometimes not even then). Unless you tell us, we have no way of knowing what is happening with your pets, and that’s just not a good situation!
Family Veterinary Mobile Clinic only euthanizes current patients during regular business hours. If you are not a current client or if you need after-after euthanasia for your pet, here are some in-home practices that may be available:
Peak Performance Mobile Veterinary Services
Lap of Love
Some veterinary practices also provide euthanasia services during their regular business hours, but please call ahead to confirm if you are not their client.