dvm (36)Please call us at (916) 984-8387 if you have an emergency, and we will do our best to help you through this frightening and stressful time. Emergencies can be a terrible experience for pets and pet owners, so we promise to communicate with you and make the process less stressful.

We also offer emergency surgery as well as critical care. Please attempt to call ahead in case of an emergency to alert us to the situation and allow us to prepare.

If you’re not a veterinarian yourself, it can sometimes be hard to tell a mild health problem from an emergency. But there are a few guidelines I can offer. You need to call your veterinarian if your pet has any of the following symptoms:


  • Seizure, fainting or collapse.
  • Eye injury, no matter how mild.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea — anything more than two or three times within an hour or so.
  • Allergic reactions, such as swelling around the face, or hives, most easily seen on the belly.
  • Any suspected poisoning, including antifreeze, rodent or snail bait, or human medication. Cats are especially sensitive to insecticides (such as flea-control medication for dogs) or any petroleum distillate, such as kerosene and gasoline.
  • Snake or venomous spider bites.
  • Thermal stress — from being either too cold or too hot — even if the pet seems to have recovered. (The internal story could be quite different.)
  • Any wound or laceration that is open and bleeding, or any animal bite.
  • Trauma, such as being hit by a car, even if the pet seems fine. (Again, the situation could be quite different on the inside.)
  • Any respiratory problem, such as sudden, prolonged coughing, trouble breathing or near drowning.
  • Straining to urinate or defecate.
  • Hunched-up appearance indicating abdominal pain, especially if the belly seems tight or distended.

When in doubt, err on the side of caution, always. Better to be dead wrong about a minor medical problem than to have a pet who’s dead because you guessed wrong about a major one. If you’re not sure what to do, call. Your veterinarian may need to see you immediately — and it’s better to let him make that decision.