Mill Veterinary Hospital
limits emergency services to current clients only. During normal office hours, emergency care is provided on demand at the Hospital. (Please advise the Hospital in advance of your emergency so our staff will be prepared for your arrival.) After normal office hours and until 11:00 PM, the on-call veterinarian will determine the best course of action and may coordinate patient admission to a fully staffed critical care facility. Adams Mill Veterinary Hospital elects to provide such services to its current clients so as to assure continuity of patient care and, as necessary, to advise any referral veterinarian of important patient information which could assist in an efficacious treatment protocol. Adams Mill also desires to advise clients as to what to expect at a critical care facility.
What is a Medical Emergency?
The Hospital views an emergency condition as an injury or illness that has a sudden onset and poses an immediate threat to an animal's life or well-being.
What is a Medical Urgency?
The Hospital views an urgency condition as a condition that is not life-threatening but may cause serious medical problems or discomfort if not promptly treated.
What situations are likely to become urgencies or emergencies?
Optimally, medical conditions that may deteriorate into emergencies are recognized as abnormal behavior before immediate action is required. A companion animal's owner knows best what behavior is normal and abnormal in day-to-day home-life. Abnormal behavior always warrants a precautionary call to the hospital. This call may eliminate the need for a hospital visit and/or address a problem before it becomes major.
Examples of situations which are cause for owner concern and should prompt communication with a Hospital staff member include:
- Spurning a regular meal
If an animal does not eat its normal meal the first time, that is cause for concern. If an animal does not eat its normal meal a second time, that is an urgent situation.
- Bouts of regurgitation, vomiting, or diarrhea that are unexplained or protracted
Healthy animals do not exhibit this type of behavior. When owners dismiss such behaviors as inconsequential or wait for such behaviors to simply go away, major problems may develop.
- General behavior changes
Lethargy, aggression, shyness, changes in body movement or any other type of abnormal behavior a companion animal uncharacteristically exhibits may be symptomatic of an existing medical condition which needs to be addressed. Behaviors different than the norm are an animal's attempt to communicate about a problem.
- Different smells
Healthy companion animals smell, well, healthy. Aside from having been "skunked" or "rolled" in odiferous places, if an animal's mouth, ears, or other parts of its body contain an unpleasant odor which does not pass with normal hygiene or grooming initiatives, an acute infection or other medical condition may exist.
- Change in breathing pattern
Shallow breaths, quick breaths, noisy or exaggerated breathing should prompt a call to the Hospital.
- Eyes look different
Squinting, tearing, swollen eyelids, or redness to eyes can all signal problems that can permanently impair vision.
Large volumes of blood, small frequent sightings of blood or bleeding that does not stop in a short time should elicit a call to the Hospital.
Loss of use of a limb, sudden swelling on a limb, or reluctance to walk using all four legs that persists more than a few minutes should raise a concern.
How can you avoid certain veterinary urgencies and emergencies?
By being observant and proactive. Daily observation and hands-on examination of any dog or cat is easy and highly advised. Animals will enjoy the attention and an owner will have the opportunity to see, smell and feel what is normal for their dog or cat. If anything seems different or strange, call the Hospital's staff. The only stupid question is the one you did not ask in a timely fashion.
Observant owners taking an active role
can look forward to happy, healthy companion animals.
Colvin Run Road, Great Falls, VA