Emergency Care 2018-01-15T05:57:02+00:00

Emergency Care for Your Pet

Many life-threatening emergencies require immediate veterinary treatment to ensure your pet’s survival. These emergencies include tick paralysis, snake envenomation, road traffic accidents, urinary obstructions, bloat or ingestion of household/garden toxins (e.g. snail & slug bait, rat baits).

When to Call Your Vet

Coffs Coast Veterinary Afterhours Service

Treatment for emergencies and illnesses outside of normal business hours is provided by the Coffs Combined Veterinary Afterhours Service (CCVAS). CCVAS is shared between five veterinary practices in the area so your pet may receive emergency treatment at another vet clinic. If your pet has been treated elsewhere, please advise us the following business day to ensure we receive the relevant patient history.

First Aid

Some emergency conditions benefit from first aid prior to urgent transportation to a vet. Keep calm and quiet around seizuring animals and allow a few minutes for your pet to settle before moving.

Apply firm pressure to bleeding wounds and minimise movement by transporting on a flat board if fractures or neck/back injuries are suspected.

If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a paralysis tick or a snake you should immobilise your pet and try to keep him/her as quiet as possible. It is vital that you contact your veterinarian prior to bringing your pet in for treatment. The sooner your pet is treated, the better their chances of survival.

Paralysis Tick

The paralysis tick injects a toxin into its host dog or cat as it feeds. Normally, cats show more resistance to this poison than dogs, but if affected the signs are similar for both. Increased body temperature due to either hot weather or exercise will exacerbate symptoms.

If left to run its course, a case of tick poisoning goes through three stages.

Early signs:

  • A change in voice; the meow or bark becomes softer and/or changes pitch.
  • Weakness in the back legs; walking along then sitting down suddenly is a common early sign.
  • Vomiting, especially if it happens several times in a day and you see froth.

Later signs:

  • Wobbliness in the back legs.
  • Excessive salivation and vomiting is not uncommon.
  • Panting, progressing to loud breathing, even grunting noises.
  • Many dogs will exhibit a moist cough and breathing problems before other signs. (Particularly common in King Charles spaniels, schnauzers and other short-nosed dogs, this is a dangerous sign because it may lead to pneumonia.)

Worsening signs:

  • As signs of poisoning progress, the animals become unable to stand.
  • Breathing becomes exaggerated and difficult.
  • As breathing becomes more difficult, the gums become cold and blue-tinged. Death follows quite quickly.

Snake Bite

Several factors will determine what sort of reaction your pet has to a snake bite. The type of snake (some species of snake are more venomous than others), the amount of venom injected (depends on the size and maturity of the snake) and the site of the snake bite are all contributing factors.

Dogs and cats are most often bitten around the head and limbs. Usually the closer the bite is to the heart the quicker the venom will be absorbed into the pet’s system and distributed around the body.

At the beginning of summer, when snakes first come, their venom glands tend to be fuller and their bites at this time are much more severe. The length of time since the snake last struck can also be a contributing factor.

The signs of snake bite by a tiger or brown snake are varied. They may show some or all of the following signs:

  • Sudden weakness followed by collapse.
  • Shaking or twitching of the muscles.
  • Vomiting.
  • Dilated pupils not responsive to light.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • In the later stages paralysis may occur.
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