The World of Veterinary Emergencies

 In Pet Talk: In the News

veterinarian standing outsideBringing your beloved pet to the emergency hospital can be very scary and typically isn’t planned. This blog will hopefully help answer questions about emergency situations and give an insider’s point of view on cases we see, as well as common emergencies.

Here’s an example of an average overnight work shift that I experience. I wake up at 4 p.m., eat some breakfast, get my dogs and myself ready, and am out the door by 5 p.m. Typically I work the overnight shift (6 p.m. – 8 a.m.) with one of our Interns, and our night starts with “rounding” from the Specialists and ER Doctors about the current hospitalized patients, being updated on the status and progress of each. We are lucky to have amazing Specialists at WVRC, including a Cardiologist, Internists, Neurologist, Surgeons, Oncologists, Ophthalmologist, Anesthesiologist, Radiologist, Dental/Oral Surgeon, and Criticalists, as well as in-house diagnostic laboratory services.

Once we’re informed on all the hospitalized patients, we start our physical examinations and evaluations. It’s our job to make sure they’re getting all of the treatments and proper monitoring that they require. 

As we’re taking care of the hospitalized patients, we also need to see the incoming patients. Our Technicians “triage,” or assess, each new emergency patient, and the Veterinarians evaluate them in order of how critical their condition is “on presentation,” or when they’re first seen. For example, a pet that has experienced trauma, such as being hit by a car, will be seen before a pet with a broken toenail.

A typical night in the emergency hospital can consist of pets having allergic reactions, dogs and cats with vomiting and/or diarrhea, a puppy with parvovirus, a dog with an irritated eye, a cat with an upper respiratory infection, a dog with fluid around its heart, and more. The list goes on and on.

After taking care of all of the patients and completing all of our paperwork, we then call all of the owners for morning updates. Then the Specialty Doctors and day shift ER Doctors come back in, and we round them on the hospitalized patients. We all collectively discuss the cases and get everyone’s opinions on how to proceed with each patient. I then gather my things and head home with a voracious appetite and fall into bed!

Every night of work as an Emergency Veterinarian is different and cannot be predicted. It’s one of the many reasons I love my job. We are always here for pets in need! 

Kerri Wiedmeyer, DVM

WVRC – ER Veterinarian 

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Black dog with injury to nose