Emergencies are unpredictable. That’s why the Emergency Department at NIVES is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. You know your pet best, and if you believe your pet is sick or hurt, please bring him or her in for evaluation.
If your pet has ingested a potentially poisonous substance, you can call the National Animal Poison Control at 1(888) 426-4435. Please be aware there is a consultation fee associated with this service. They will provide you with a case number that can be referenced if your pet needs emergency treatment by a veterinarian.
It is important to know what is “normal” so you will recognize what is abnormal in an emergency situation.
Temperature: A pediatric thermometer that is properly lubricated can be used to obtain an accurate rectal temperature (most accurate methods in cats and dogs).
Heart rate/pulse: To feel the heart, place your hand over the chest. Alternatively, you can check the pulse by gently placing you finger tip on the inner thigh.
Breathing rate: Observe the chest motion for rate and effort. One rise and fall of the chest is equal to one breath.
Color of the gums: Gently lift the lip to visualize the gums. The gums should be pink and moist (some dogs have black pigment on their gums which is normal). Pressing on the gums with your finger will result in a white color; once you remove your finger the gums should return to pink within 1-2 seconds.