Emergency Care  


Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere. This is why Southfort Veterinary Clinic has opened it's doors 7 days a week working late into the evenings. Our dedicated staff has been known on more than a few occasions to stay late to continue treatment on severely ill patients during their personal time to ensure proper care. That being said, on the rare occasion there are certain cases where a specialist or 24 hour care facility is needed. We always refer to a suitable location if it is in the pet's best interest. Our concern will always be what is best for the pet - their lives come first. Always.

  • Anaphylaxis

  • Bleeding

  • Choking or Difficulty Breathing

  • Burns

  • Repeated Vomiting or Diarrhea

  • Bites, Wounds, Lacerations, or Abscess

  • Convulsions or Seizures

  • Bloody Vomit or Diarrhea

  • Heat Stroke

  • Poisoning

  • Any Eye Injury

  • Unconsciousness or Collapse

  • Ingestion of a Foreign Item

  • Open Mouth Breathing (in Cats)

  • Hit By Car/ Severe Trauma

  • Difficulty Birthing

  • Broken Bones

  • Head or Neck Trauma

  • Not Passing Urine

  • Unresponsiveness

  • Diabetic Crisis

  • Inappetence for 24 Hours or More (Cats)

  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus "Bloat" (Dogs)

The most important thing you can do in an emergency situation is to stay calm. Your pet needs you at your best and thinking clearly so make sure to take a breath and remain in control. Next, call the clinic. Your veterinarian can help guide you and tell you the next steps. you are also going to want to get a second person to help you, whether it be your neighbour, significant other, or friend who can either help you get to the vet clinic or meet you there. A second person is great if you need help moving a larger breed dog or someone to continue application of pressure to a wound site, or just to keep an eye on the pet during travel. It's also helpful to have a second person who can help answer questions for the team or just be there to support you during this stressful time. 

Once the clinic knows you are on your way down, get together everything you need to get there; keys, wallet, license, phone, carrier, blankets - everything should be assembled and in the car ready to go before moving your pet. The less animal has to be moved around when injured the better - this can help decrease stress and the potential for further harm to the pet. Remember, drive carefully. Getting pulled over for a speeding ticket or getting in a car accident won't help you or your pet. Your safety should always come first.


When you arrive at the clinic you will be ushered into a room for immediate assessment. Information is key - the more we know about how, when, and how long, the better we can determine the specific needs for your individual situation. We can help target our treatment plan much better with the more history we have about a situation, so don't be afraid to share. We are not the police and we do not judge - our only job is to make sure that your pet gets the attention they need as quickly as possible. 

Many of us don't know what to do in an emergency situation, and because of that, common mistakes are made which can be incredibly dangerous to your pets. 

Waiting Too Long

Often we convince ourselves that things will be fine. 'Sure, he ate chocolate but it was only a little bit.' 'I'm sure by tomorrow everything will be back to normal, right?'

The trick is, our pets are both predators and prey. Their survival skills kick in and tell them to hide signs of illness or injury because they don't want to seem weak. Often we compare them to ourselves and how we feel and react when we get sick, but so often their signs and symptoms are vastly different, and usually much more subtle, than ours. Contacting a veterinarian quickly is the best thing for your pet, no matter what the condition. Large breed dogs for example, have subtle signs for a fatal condition called Gastric Dilatation Volvulus - restlessness after a large meal, trying to vomit with very little or no success. These simple, nondescript signs are easily overlooked, and when the animal comes in the next day flat out, the prognosis is worse and the internal trauma more severe. Another situation where time is often lost is with ingestion of toxic or harmful substances. If a toxin is not removed from the system within the first 2 hours, the absorption will have already taken place and the damage to the organs will have started. In these cases, rather than being able to induce vomiting and send home with a few medications that same night, the pet would need to be transferred to a specialty facility for 24 hours IV fluids and constant monitoring with several rounds of blood work to assess possible damage. 

Induce Vomiting at Home

Many animals get into things they shouldn't - especially puppies. One of the most dangerous things you can do is to try to induce vomiting at home by yourself. One problem with this is the safety of doing so. There are a lot of online remedies you can find to induce vomiting, but they are often incorrect. For example, Hydrogen Peroxide is not only incredibly difficult to give a pet, but, if used incorrectly, it can cause gastritis and esophagitis, in severe causes causing sores and burns if given in the wrong concentration. In rare cases it can also lead to peroxide-induced brain inflammation. Even if the hydrogen peroxide was given correctly and did work, there are still some risks. your pet could aspirate as they vomit or you could induce vomiting in a case where it would not be recommended. Certain chemicals, toys, strings, or other foreign material may actually cause further damage on the way back up. Depending on the item ingested, you may not be able to ensure that everything came out and x-rays or stomach protectants may be required. 

Not Calling the Clinic

In an emergency situation we have so many things running through our minds that often we miss the most important step - calling your veterinarian. Your veterinary team can help talk you through what to do, how to stabilize your pet and, if necessary, talk you through procedures you may need to perform at home before your pet is stable enough to travel to the clinic for further care. If the situation is severe, you may even be directed to a closer facility to increase the chances of your pets survival. Most importantly, if you walk in with an emergency, we are not prepared. Time is of the essence in these cases and every moment lost getting information or setting up oxygen can make the difference. Letting us know that you are coming down means that we can be prepared for you the moment you get here and your pet will get complete and immediate assistance. Calling ahead ensures that you have all the information you need to get here safely and we are waiting to help you right at the door. 

  Common Emergencies   

  What to do in an Emergency Situation   

  Fatal Mistakes In an Emergency Situation