Pet Emergency FAQs

We receive a lot of questions from concerned pet parents which we’re more than happy to answer. Eliminating uncertainty is crucial to your pet’s care and your peace of mind.

What constitutes a pet emergency?

The following can indicate a serious health problem and should be addressed immediately:

  • Not breathing/difficulty breathing
  • No pulse/heartbeat
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Upset stomach (repeated bouts of diarrhea and/or vomiting)
  • Blood in urine, stool, and/or vomit
  • Bleeding from the eyes, nose, and/or mouth
  • Broken bone(s)
  • Object stuck in throat
  • Seizure(s) - either had one, or is currently having one
  • Hit by a car, even if there are no obvious external injuries (internal injuries may be present)
  • Large wounds
  • Lameness
  • Difficulty walking or staying balanced
  • Ingestion of toxins, such as:
    • Antifreeze
    • Rat poison
    • Over-the-counter or prescription medication not prescribed for your pet
    • Household cleaners
    • Toxic or poisonous food and/or plants
    • Ingestion of any part of a lily plant for cats
  • Straining or unable to urinate (especially in male cats)
  • Signs of serious pain, such as:
    • Excessive whining or meowing
    • Shaking
    • Hiding
    • Reluctant to socialize
    • Being unusually aggressive
    • Acting unusually needy or seeking unusual amount of affection
  • Unable to stand
  • Acting disoriented, bumping into things
  • Eyes appear injured and/or irritated, suddenly seems blind
  • Abdomen is swollen and hard to the touch
  • Gagging and heaving (trying to vomit)
  • Symptoms of heat stroke:
    • Excessive panting
    • Increased heart rate
    • Staggering, acting dizzy
    • High rectal temperature
    • Bright red tongue
    • Red or pale gums
    • Weakness
    • Vomiting, sometimes with blood
    • Diarrhea
  • 3 to 4-hour lapse between delivering newborn puppies or kittens
  • Any other concern that you feel requires immediate attention
I have arrived at your veterinary emergency center with my pet; now what happens?

Upon your arrival at our animal hospital:

  • We will assess your cat or dog’s condition
  • We will obtain a medical history
  • One of our experienced emergency veterinarians will perform a thorough exam
  • We will discuss an appropriate treatment plan with you after we have examined your pet
  • We will do our best to work within the budget you have established for your pet’s needs
Do I need an appointment?

No appointment is necessary in the case of an emergency or urgent care issue--come see us immediately, and call ahead if possible. By calling ahead, you will give our team the opportunity to prepare for your pet’s specific emergency. As with human emergencies, we triage our patients. This means the most life-threatening cases will take priority.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept

  • Cash
  • Check (with valid driver’s license or state ID)
  • MasterCard
  • Visa
  • Discover
  • CareCredit
Can I make payments?

Payment is required at the time of service. However, we do offer outside financial lending for those that qualify through CareCredit. Go here to apply for CareCredit and to see if you qualify.

Do you provide primary veterinary care?

NCVEC provides urgent, critical, and emergency care only for dogs and cats. We do not offer routine health care services such as vaccinations, annual physicals, wellness care, grooming, and boarding.

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