Emergency & Critical Care Services
24-hours a day, every day of the year, VSEC provides emergency and critical care with industry-leading specialists and dedicated emergency doctors available to handle complex illnesses or injuries. And we do it with a heavy dose of compassion – because that’s what our animal companions deserve, and what you, their family should be afforded.
At VSEC, all veterinarians working in the Emergency Room have devoted their practice to caring for animals in emergent and/or critical situations.
With no interns or residents, your pet will always be cared for by highly experienced professionals who are accustomed to treating a wide variety of conditions.
Our ER team is supported by board-certified specialists in veterinary emergency & critical care, internal medicine, cardiology, surgery, and dentistry, with direct access to specialty colleagues as needed.
What To Do In An Emergency
The process will be easier for both you and your pet if you know what to expect at our emergency veterinary clinic. Here are the steps you should follow:
Call Ahead If You Can
We know that in an emergency, you may be unable to call us in advance, but it's always best if you can. When calling ahead, let us know if you will need assistance transporting your pet from the car.
If you have time, you can also complete our New Client Intake Form.
Get To Our Office Right Away
A member of our team will show you to an exam room. If you have not already done so, you'll be asked to complete an intake form. A veterinary technician will triage your pet, then a veterinarian will perform a full exam.
Once your pet has been assessed, our vets will develop a treatment plan so your pet will receive the best possible treatment. We will keep your primary care veterinarian updated with your pet's medical history to ensure seamless care.
Emergency & Critical Care FAQs
Emergency veterinary care involves the treatment of animals in situations that require immediate medical attention or could potentially be life-threatening.
- What is considered an emergency?
These situations are considered emergencies and will require immediate care. If your pet has had an accident or is experiencing any of these symptoms, bring them to our emergency office straight away.
- Abnormal behavior that you’re worried about – e.g., acting aloof or particularly clingy
- Anxiety or restlessness – often a sign of pain or a GDV (bloat)
- Coughing – inability to rest through the night
- Collapse – unable to move, walk, dragging the back legs
- Crying out in pain
- Difficulty breathing – blue gums, coughing, panting, stretching head and neck while breathing
- Difficulty in labor and delivery
- Distended, “bloated” abdomen – non-productive retching can be a sign of GDV (bloat)
- Extreme lethargy
- Heat exhaustion or stroke
- Pale gums – which are often seen with internal bleeding or anemia
- Poisoning or toxin ingestion
- Squinting, bulging, bleeding, or painful eyeballs
- Straining to urinate or defecate
- Tremors or seizures
- Trauma – hit by car, fall, involved in a fight
- Vomiting more than two or three times
- Anything that makes you worried
- What do I do if I suspect my pet ingested a poisonous substance?
The sooner a pet poisoning is addressed, the easier, less expensive, and safer it is to treat. If you suspect your pet has ingested a poisonous substance, our vets recommend that you contact one of the following immediately.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.
The Pet Poison Helpline has the expertise to handle any poisoning situation, in any pet species – large or small. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call (855) 764-7661. A $75 fee applies.
- What emergency services do you offer?
At our emergency clinic, we offer state-of-the-art emergency care for your four-legged family members. We are equipped to provide specialized diagnostics, a complete range of surgical services, and hospitalization.
- Do I need to call ahead?
If you can, it's always best to call us ahead of your arrival, but we understand emergencies can develop very quickly and that this is not always possible.
If your situation does not allow time for you to call, please do not hesitate to bring your pet to our clinic for immediate veterinary medical attention.
It always is best to call us ahead if you can, but we understand that in emergencies that's not always possible.
When calling VSEC before bringing your pet to see us, be sure to let us know whether or not you will need assistance with bringing your companion from your car into our building.
- When is your emergency clinic open?
We are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- What is the difference between emergency and critical care?
While veterinary critical care and emergency services have some overlap — both deal with seriously ill or injured animals — there are some important differences between these two services.
Veterinary emergency services treat pets that are suffering from serious and acute illness or injury that requires intensive and immediate care.
In comparison, veterinary critical care services also deal with serious illness and injury but do so in cases where animals require 24/7 monitoring, complex treatments, and crate rest in a medical environment to help them recover.
So, while veterinary emergency services at our clinic may transfer our patients to critical care after initial triage and treatment, not all emergencies will require critical care. Likewise, in situations where a pet has undergone major planned surgery, they will require critical care to remain stable and begin their recovery without ever having been a veterinary emergency case.
- How long will my pet have to remain in critical care?
A critical care unit at a veterinary hospital works somewhat similarly to a human hospital — while we may be able to provide an estimate of your pet's length of stay with us, factors may arise that impact that timeline.
We aren't able to predict if and when your pet's condition will change or a complication will occur, but rest assured we will communicate with you as much as possible about any changes in your companion's condition while in our care and what that means for the duration of their stay.
- How long will we have to wait to see the vet?
A veterinary emergency hospital is very similar to a human emergency department — the pace can be unpredictable and you may have to wait.
We are not able to predict which cases we will see and when they will arrive, but we will prioritize cases based on medical needs.
You'll find a comfortable area for waiting, and we will do our best to keep you updated about wait times and the status of your pet.
- Will you keep in touch with our primary care veterinarian?
Yes, we will keep your primary care veterinarian updated with your pet's medical history and files to ensure your pet receives seamless integrated care.
Why Trust Us
We know that when it comes to emergency and critical care, it's important to find a heavy dose of compassion – because that’s what our animal companions deserve, and what you, their family should be afforded.
Here are a few of the reasons why VSEC is the place you are looking for.
We have a diverse team of specialists who are here to help.
Veterinary specialists, especially in critical care, play a key role in restoring your pet's health by providing expert and intensive care management when your pet is recovering from a serious illness or injury.
Our team of veterinary cardiologists, veterinary oncologists, internal medicine specialists, surgeons, and dental specialists are here to support our ER team in providing your pet with the care they need.
We use state-of-the-art diagnostics.
We use advanced diagnostic imaging to examine your pet's internal systems and structures and aid in the detection of several conditions to create their treatment plan.
We work closely with your primary care veterinarian.
We work closely with your primary care veterinarians, communicating your pet's health and status to them as needed, to help ensure that your companion has the quality of care they deserve in the wake of an emergency.
Our Emergency Veterinarians
Our emergency team is equipped and qualified to provide attentive emergency care 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
For more information on the training and credentials of emergency and critical care vets, please visit the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC).