Archive for the ‘Emergency Tips’ Category

Common Backyard Pet Hazards

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Pet Hazards


The arrival of warmer weather means more time outside for you and your pets. However, in your very own backyard there may be some potential family pet hazards that could obstruct the fun. Don’t let that happen with these emergency tips to keep your pet dog safe from outside risks:

Fertilizers & Herbicide Pet Hazards

Prior to applying a chemical to your lawn, consider whether organic or chemical-free treatments could be just as effective.
Keep all plant foods and herbicides in their original product packaging and also far from pet dogs. Be sure to review labels before application; over application can lead to excess residue.
Do not let your animals on the lawn while applying chemicals. Cover or eliminate outdoor food bowls, water dishes, family pet toys, and bird baths prior to any kind of application of chemicals. Wait until chemicals have dried out or even up to 4 days after application before enabling a family pet into the location. Oftentimes animals might lick their feet or paws after strolling on treated locations, which can lead to them being easily poisoned.

Insecticides & Pesticides

These items tend to be much more toxic to animals than fertilizers or weed killers, so be even more mindful with them. Store all insecticides as well as chemicals in their original product packaging and far from animals.
The most unsafe kinds of chemicals include slug and snail bait (consisting of metaldehyde), fly poison (containing methomyl), systemic insecticides (containing disyston or disulfoton), mole or gopher bait (having zinc phosphide), as well as many rat poisons.
Pet dogs can be attracted to the slug and snail bait, which contains metaldehyde. Indications of poisoning consist of tremors, seizures, shaking, vomiting, hyper-salivation, fast heartbeat, and also abdominal pain.
Many natural or “green” choices to pesticides consist of: Diatomacious planet – made from fossilized one-celled algae; and also Fermenting fluid – spoiled yogurt or beer could bring in and also eliminate slugs.

Dangerous Plants

Consumption of small amounts of specific plants (such as rhododendron or azalea, oleander, lily, or yew) can be unsafe or deadly to a pet dog.
Signs of plant poisoning include: irritability to skin and/or mouth, looseness of the bowels, seizures, unconsciousness, as well as throwing up. Note that throwing up occurs after your pets ingest plant products.

If your pet does ingest any chemicals or other pet hazards, please contact us or call us immediately at 360 253-5446.  Immediate care can often be crucial to the health of your pet.  Be prepared to bring in the original packaging of the chemical so the active ingredient can be determined and appropriate treatment given.


4 Foods That Could Send Your Dog To The Animal Hospital

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016


It might be a corny sentiment, but the thought of a dog being a member of the family is completely serious to many pet owners. Our dogs mean the world to us, and the thought of them having to go to the animal hospital, or anything unfortunate happening to them is gut wrenching. Unfortunately, something as mundane as your dog eating a raisin or grape could send your best friend to the animal hospital.

Four Hazardous Foods to Avoid a Trip to the Animal Hospital:

  1. Bread Dough – Raw bread dough containing live yeast can be very dangerous to dogs. In extreme cases, coma, seizures and even death may occur in dogs that have ingested raw bread dough.
  2. Grapes / Raisins – Grapes and raisins have recently been linked with kidney failure in dogs. Negative effects could take 12 hours to show up in some cases.
  3. Avocado – Avocados often contain a toxic principle known as persin. Guatemalan avocados, a common one found in stores, appear to be the most dangerous. Other varieties of avocado can have different degrees of toxic potential. Avocados aren’t very dangerous to dogs, but they can greatly upset their stomachs.
  4. Hops – Home brewers beware, cultivated hops used for brewing beer have been associated with potentially life threatening signs in dogs who have ingested them. Both fresh and cooked hops have been implicated in poisoning dogs.

These are just a few of the dog unfriendly foods that you need to be aware of. While the list is greater than this as a whole, these are some that you likely weren’t aware of. We all care tremendously for our pets and don’t want anything bad to happen to them at any point. So keep these bad foods in mind the next time you choose to drop a treat under the table.

Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the St. Francis 24 Hr. Animal Hospital is located in Vancouver, WA. Our experienced and dedicated team know how to treat animals suffering from any condition and ailment. Contact us today!

Taking Your Cat to the Emergency Vet

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

animal hospital for cats

Accidents and illnesses happen to even the most healthy pets, and they often happen when we least expect them. Taking your cat to the emergency vet doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience, however. These four tips will help you keep your cool when your feline friend has to go to the veterinarian for emergency treatment.

  • Be prepared. The best time to prepare for a trip to the emergency vet in Vancouver WA is well before your cat needs it. Keep an up to date copy of your cat’s medical records, including vaccinations and current medications and diet, in an easily accessible location so you can grab them and go. If your cat sees us for wellness exams and general care, we already have those records, but being able to produce a copy of your pet’s records if needed is helpful in a situation where minutes matter.
  • Keep calm. Your cat can read your body language and pick up on your anxiety from your tone of voice. By keeping calm, you’ll give your cat one less reason to be upset. Not only that, but staying calm means you’re better able to assess the situation and get your cat here safely.
  • Call ahead. We’re prepared for just about every emergency your cat could have, but calling us beforehand gives us a bit of time to prepare to treat your cat’s emergency. It also gives us a chance to explain how best to transport your cat in any given circumstance.
  • Protect Yourself. Even if you have the sweetest cat in the world, he or she might act aggressively because of pain or fear. Wrapping your cat in a thick blanket or towel can protect you from scratches or bites. Take care when wrapping your cat, especially if there’s a possibility of a back or neck injury. We can guide you through the steps over the phone, if need be.

Emergencies can be hard to handle, but you aren’t in it alone. When you bring your cats to St. Francis 24 Hr. Animal Hospital, we’ll treat them like they’re our own. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Signs Your Cat Has An Urinary Tract Obstruction

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

emergency vet for cats

As a pet owner it can be difficult to determine if you need to take your pet to the animal hospital. Often a situation occurs on a Sunday afternoon or holiday when you are unable to call your regular veterinarian to find out how to proceed. There are certain circumstances where you can’t just wait until the office opens. You need to take your pet to the emergency vet.

For cats, one such circumstance is when you suspect a urinary tract obstruction. In this situation a crystal or plug of mucous has lodged in the urethra and is completely obstructing the flow of urine. Unfortunately, if left untreated this is fatal for cats.

Although it is possible for this situation to occur in a female cat it is most commonly seen in male cats due to their anatomy. If your cat is showing any of the following symptoms you need to seek veterinary assistance immediately.

  • Getting in and out of the litter box repeatedly but not creating urine.
  • Urinating only a few drops.
  • Vomiting
  • Significant Pain
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness

Once you arrive at the animal hospital the veterinarian will perform a physical exam to determine if a urinary tract obstruction exists. The vet may also recommend a urinalysis or a urine culture. A procedure called a cystocentesis will likely be performed to obtain a urine sample. A needle will be inserted through the skin into the bladder.

Your cat may be put on antibiotics if an infection is identified. If a blockage is identified, the prognosis is generally good. For the long-term health of your cat a dietary change may be required. This will prevent another blockage from occurring in the future.

If you suspect a urinary tract obstruction or any other medical emergency contact us.

Stress-Less Tips for Visiting the Veterinarian

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Veterinarian tips for your dog

Your home is your pet’s home, safe place, and center of the world, really. So any time you pack up a pet and head out to visit the veterinarian, you’re inviting a little chaos into your pet’s life.

Your veterinarian understands this, and you probably do too. So how can you help your pet feel less stress about the vet visit? Below, some common sense basics and other lesser-known tips that will make that veterinarian appointment on the calendar a more positive experience for everyone.

Visiting the Veterinarian:

  • For emergency visits, practice positive thinking and using a calm voice. This will help both you and your pet arrive safely and ready to receive the best care.
  • For planned visits, consider withholding food for several hours before the appointment. This will make your pet more interested in responding to edible treats offered by the vet staff, therefore making your pet likely to see the veterinarian and techs like great people!
  • DRIVE SAFELY. Your eyes and focus on the road is critical – on the way to the veterinarian’s office, and all the time.
  • Try to arrive on-time or better yet, a few minutes early to smooth the check-in process. Also, your hurried feelings will be noted by your pet. And that’s a signal something’s wrong!
  • Want to use your cell phone in the waiting room? Don’t, unless it’s an emergency. You need to be focused on your pet and pay attention. Slip it in your pocket if you really must have it handy.
  • Ask questions, and make sure you understand the answers. If you need notes, diagrams, or other information to take home for reference (or for other family members or caregivers) please ask! Our goal is your pet’s health and full recovery, and we’ll do everything we can to help you follow the best course of medical treatment once you’re home.
  • Go for a ride sometimes, just because. Obviously, if the only time your pet gets in the car is to go see a veterinarian, the car is like a ticket to a stressful day. If the car sometimes stops at a park, or a friend’s house, then your next trip to the vet will be “just another place we go.”

Why Bother?

Obviously, sometimes we can’t avoid our pets visiting the veterinarian office – whether for emergencies, minor ailments, or routine visits. Some people may think, “We have to go, it’s going to be a pain, but we’ll get over it.” What’s wrong with that philosophy?

Quite simply, consumers of health care who are calmer receive better care. This is not because a vet staff is unwilling to treat patients in distress – quite the opposite! The fact is, the more calm and receptive to information a patient (and its family) is, the better the information and education will be received, and therefore, acted upon. In other words, RELAX as much as possible on your next vet visit – it will ensure you’re on your way to better health.

If you have questions or specific concerns about an upcoming visit to our veterinarian office, please contact us. We’re here to help!

Summer Pet Care Tips

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

pet care tips

Regardless of the time of year, Summer Pet Care information is always useful as it can also pertain to some other special precautions to protect your pet. From heat, to bugs, and parties and picnics our furry friends can get sick or injured if not properly protected from some of the dangers summertime can present. Fortunately, being aware of these dangers and proactive in protecting your pet from them can ensure a fun, safe summer for all.

Some Summer Pet Care Tips:

  • Ticks are a parasitic danger that can affect outdoor cats and dogs. Make sure to frequently check your pets for ticks and promptly remove any you find. After removing a tick, observe your pet for any change in behavior. Talk to your veterinarian about preventative medication to protect your pet from ticks.
  • We are all aware about our own increased risk of dehydration in the summer, but our pets are also at risk. Make sure your pet always has access to clean water, and be aware of the signs of dehydration. Lethargy, not urinating, and other behavioral changes can indicate that your pet is dehydrated.
  • Summertime can mean lots of barbecues, picnics and parties, and with that comes lots of yummy foods. Pets also think of these foods as a tasty treat, but many foods pose a health threat to your pet. Your best bet is to make people food off-limits to your pets, but you can also contact us for a list of foods that are especially dangerous.
  • It should go without saying, but never leave your pet in a car, no matter how short the time. The interior of a car gets too hot very quickly and can easily cause heat stroke in your pet.
  • When the weather gets hot so does the pavement. When walking your dog, or allowing you cat to go outside be aware that paved surfaces, especially dark ones, can burn the pads of your pet’s feet.
  • It’s not something many people think of, but your pet may need sunscreen. Animals with short, thin fur or pink skin may need protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Check with us to see if your pet should use sunscreen.

Remember these tips as we move through the rest of the summer and into the warm days of early fall. We hope you and you furry friends have a fun and safe summer season!

When Your Dog Needs An Emergency Vet

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

emergency vet for dogs

Dogs have medical emergencies just like us. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish from a true emergency or if the episode can wait till the morning. While it might be smart to err on the side of caution where our pets’ health is concerned, there are times when an emergency veterinarian should be contacted.

How to Decide it’s Time to Take Your Dog to the Emergency Vet

  1. Collapse or Extreme Fatigue: Anytime your dog is extremely lethargic and unresponsive to any of your cues medical treatment should be sought immediately. This is the same if your dog suddenly collapses. This can be a sign of organ failure, poisoning or many other conditions.
  2. Major Trauma: This one is pretty obvious. However, if your dog does seem ok without any warning signs, they still need to be evaluated. For example, if they are struck by a car, take a long fall or any other blunt force, seek urgent care. There could be internal damage or bleeding.
  3. Breathing Difficulty: If your dog is breathing very slowly, making funny noises or skipping breathes, emergency care is needed. You know your dog better than anyone, if you notice any “odd” breathing don’t hesitate to call.
  4. Pain: If your dog is experiencing severe pain, it is a good idea to take them in. Some examples include, limping, unable to lay down, sensitive to touch, and constant crying. Another thing to look for is any bloating. Some of these symptoms require immediate treatment.
  5. Poisons: If your dog is exposed to any type of poisonous household items seek treatment immediately. The potential poison list is extensive, but find the top 6 here. Many poisons will cause seizures. However, it is best to contact emergency services before this occurs.

There are several situations that require a trip to an emergency vet. These 5 are the most common and important times to seek immediate care. Anytime you notice an unusual behavior it is always best to contact us to discuss the need of treatment.

Top 6 household items toxic to pets

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Here are the top six most  common household items that are toxic to pets, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. Household Pet Toxins:


1. Xylitol: Many sugarless gums contain xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Candies, mints, flavored multi-vitamins, desserts, and baked goods may also be made with xylitol. When pets ingest large amounts, liver failure can occur. Even small amounts when ingested can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar. Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, weakness, difficulty walking, tremors, and seizures.

The amount of xylitol typically found in most pet oral-care products is very small and, when used properly, these products aren’t expected to cause poisoning unless a dog ingests a very large amount.

2. Human medications: Common drugs such as NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and antidepressants can cause serious harm to your pets. NSAIDs can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure. Acetaminophen can damage red blood cells in cats, limiting their ability to carry oxygen, and in dogs it can lead to severe liver failure. Ingestion of antidepressants can lead to neurological problems like sedation, incoordination, agitation, tremors, and seizures.

3. Flowers: As beautiful as spring flowers are, some can cause severe toxicity or even fatalities in pets. Certain types of lilies such as tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese lilies are poisonous to cats. Just ingesting a few petals or pollen can result in severe feline kidney failure. In addition, spring bulbs like daffodils or tulips can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

4. Chocolate : While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate can be very toxic. Bakers’ chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. The chemical toxicity results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death.

5. Fertilizers: Many fertilizers are gastrointestinal irritants. However, some are often combined with dangerous chemicals and compounds called organophosphates or carbamates, which can be harmful or deadly to pets. Ingestion can result in drooling, watery eyes, urination, defecation, seizures, difficulty breathing, fever, and death.

6. Pest control products: Rodent, snail, and slug baits are often used to keep pests at bay—they are toxic to pets, and without immediate veterinary attention they can be fatal. Rodent baits can result in blood clotting disorders, brain swelling, or kidney failure, while snail and slug baits can result in severe tremors or seizures.

Pet first aid while traveling

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Pet medical emergencies don’t just happen at home. A few simple steps can better prepare you to help your pet with first aid treatment while you are traveling.


When traveling, pack a simple travel-size Pet first aid kit for your pet, similar to the one you have at home, along with an antidiarrheal medication that is safe for animals (ask your veterinarian to suggest a product).

  • Be sure to have handy the phone numbers of your veterinarian, the national animal poison control hotline (888.426.4235), and a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital in the area where you will be visiting. You can obtain a list of emergency veterinary clinics by country/state on the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society’s directory page at It’s a good idea to keep this URL with you during your travels as well, so you can find an emergency veterinary hospital wherever you are.
  • Your pet should be wearing an ID tag (which should be labeled with your name, home address and phone number) in addition to a travel tag or collar with information on where you are staying while away from home, so you can be contacted while still in the area.  A microchip is another good tool for helping you reunite with your pet should you become separated.
  • Perform a daily “health check” on your pet when away from home. Contact your veterinarian or a local veterinarian if you are concerned about any physical or behavioral changes.

Chocolate Toxicity

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Due to Chocolate Toxicity danger, we want to remind you of one thing: Please remember around Valentine’s Day that chocolate does not mean “I love you” to your dog!


We have all heard that chocolate is toxic to our canine companions, but how toxic is it really? And what happens if it’s ingested? These questions are both frequently asked by our clients.

The actual toxic components of chocolate are called theobromines, a type of CNS stimulant. They stimulate the brain to a point that initially causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. This is followed by vomiting/diarrhea, and then tremors or seizures. This can eventually lead to death.

The toxicity of chocolate for dogs depends greatly on the type of chocolate ingested.  The purer the chocolate (higher percentage of cocoa), the more toxic it is.

Chocolate Toxicity levels can be ordered as follows, from most toxic to least toxic:

  1. Cocoa powder (more toxic)
  2. Dark chocolate
  3. Semi-sweet chocolate
  4. Milk chocolate
  5. White chocolate (less toxic)

So, if your 85-pound German Shepherd eats a Hershey bar, it is not likely going to cause any problems. But if your 10-pound Chihuahua eats the same bar, some significant reaction may occur. It is important to call your veterinarian if your pet has eaten toxic doses of chocolate — especially the darker chocolates.


Treatment for chocolate toxicity involves inducing vomiting if eaten within 2-4 hours. That will be followed by administration of activated charcoal with cathartics, to prevent further absorption and to help pass any residual chocolate through the GI tract faster. Hospitalization with IV fluid therapy for diuresis may also be indicated. In severely affected animals, a urinary catheter may be necessary to help prevent any absorption from the urine.