What Services Are Available at an Emergency Animal Hospital?

Emergency animal hospitals are crucial in providing immediate and specialized care services for distressed pets. Unlike standard vet clinics, these emergency hospitals provide round-the-clock services to manage unexpected crises, similar to human emergency rooms. This immediate access to care is often life-saving, ensuring the well-being of our animal companions at times when regular veterinary clinics may not be operational.

When to Visit an Emergency Animal Hospital

Recognizing the necessity for immediate medical intervention in pets can be challenging, especially since they can’t communicate their discomfort directly. However, certain symptoms and situations necessitate prompt action. Some common pet emergencies include:

Common Pet Emergencies

  • Trauma Injuries: Dogs and cats can get struck by vehicles, experience falls from heights, or get involved in fights with other animals, leading to wounds, fractures, or internal injuries. Immediate medical attention for trauma injuries is essential to prevent further complications.
  • Severe Illnesses: Sudden onset of severe symptoms is concerning in pets. Trouble breathing could indicate heart or lung disease; persistent vomiting or diarrhea could suggest poisoning, gastroenteritis, or pancreatitis; and seizures could indicate epilepsy or brain problems. Such symptoms necessitate an immediate visit to the emergency pet hospital.
  • Intoxication: Curiosity often comes at a cost for pets who unintentionally consume poisonous substances. Common pet poisons include medications meant for humans, toxic plants, cleaning chemicals, chocolates, and certain artificial sweeteners. Intoxication can cause various signs, from vomiting to seizures, requiring immediate vet attention.
  • Severe Allergic Reactions: Pets can react to allergens like humans, exhibiting swelling around the face, hives, difficulty breathing, or sudden collapse. Unfortunately, they may undergo anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening allergic reaction requiring immediate veterinary help.

As a responsible pet owner, one should be aware of their pet’s general behavior, daily routines, and health status, which makes it easier to pick up when something is off.

Overview of Services at Emergency Animal Hospitals

An emergency animal hospital such as one you would find with any competent veterinarian in Visalia, CA, provides several critical services designed to manage and treat a variety of pet emergencies.

Initial Critical Care and Stabilization

  1. Emergency triage: To assess and prioritize cases based on severity.
  2. Immediate life-saving treatment: Administering necessary interventions to stabilize the animal.
  3. Initial stabilization of critical pets: Giving IV fluids, oxygen, or other care based on the pet’s condition.

Diagnostic Services

Veterinary radiology plays a significant role in diagnosing various medical conditions in pets. Using this technology, among many others, the veterinary laboratory and pharmacy at an emergency animal hospital offers comprehensive diagnostic services.

  • Digital radiography (X-rays) for rapid analysis.
  • Ultrasonography for scanning soft tissues and organs.
  • Endoscopy for a closer look inside the body or retrieval of ingested foreign objects.
  • In-house laboratories for immediate results, helping to expedite treatment in critical cases.

Surgery Services

An animal hospital’s comprehensive emergency vet wing is equipped to conduct various surgeries. These may range from preventative surgeries like spaying/neutering to more serious procedures necessitated by emergencies.

Post-Emergency Care

Post-emergency care assures that the patient continues to heal and recuperate after the immediate crisis has been managed. Hospitals with the facilities of an animal emergency clinic will provide the following range of services:

  1. Intensive Care Units (ICU): Many emergency animal hospitals have ICU units designed to provide round-the-clock monitoring and care to critically ill pets. These units are staffed by skilled veterinarians and technicians who continually monitor your pet’s vital signs and administer necessary treatments to facilitate healing.
  2. Post-operative Care: After successful surgery, the recovery phase is crucial. Post-operative care consists of wound care, pain management, administering medications, providing nutritional support, and physical therapy if necessary. Regular evaluations are carried out to track the recovery progress.
  3. Long-Term Management of Chronic Conditions: Some pets may have chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease, which may become life-threatening in acute episodes. Emergency animal hospitals provide immediate stabilization of these chronic conditions during crises. They also offer information and guidance on long-term management strategies, such as diet modifications, appropriate exercise routines, medications, and regular follow-up appointment schedules, to keep the condition under control.

What to Expect During Your Visit

A visit to an emergency animal hospital can be an overwhelming experience for both the pet and the owner. However, knowing what to anticipate can make the process considerably less stressful.

  • Initial Assessment and Stabilization Process: Upon arrival, the hospital staff will triage your pet to assess the urgent care required.
  • Communicating With the Veterinary Team: Transparent, two-way communication with the hospital staff will be crucial in making informed decisions about your pet’s care.
  • Updates and Decision-Making in Emergencies: The clinic staff will update the pet owner about their condition and treatment options.
  • Cost and Payment Options: Emergency animal care can be costly. It’s vital to discuss and understand the cost and payment options during the initial stages of treatment.


Emergency animal hospitals are essential opponents of the veterinary care system. They provide highly specialized care for critically ill or injured pets outside clinic hours. As pet owners, understanding the services these hospitals offer and recognizing when our pets might need them is crucial to ensuring their health and well-being.


Learn More →