Emergencies


The vast majority of after hours visits to the ER clinic are not true emergencies, and most pets will benefit from being stabilized at home prior to transport. Controlling stress is vital when dealing with a sick pet and can make the difference between life and death. If you have an emergency during business hours (Mon-Thur 8am-6pm, Fri 8am-5pm), please contact us at 843-216-8387 and we will assess your needs.

“Most Common Mistakes” (reported by Guinealynx.com)
1. Dismissing medical signs as non-medical.
2. Waiting to see a vet.
3. Seeing a non-exotics vet.
4. Accepting veterinary diagnosis/treatment without question or research.
5. Failure to get proper diagnostic procedures done.
6. Mistaking secondary signs of illness as the primary cause.
7. Mistakes with medications — wrong medication or insufficient dosage or duration.

Basic First Aid to Stabilize Prior to Transport:
•To minimize stress keep your pet in a quiet, warm, dark enclosure.
•If your pet is bleeding place him or her in a quiet dark place or box and monitor closely. If the bleeding has stopped or clotted, leave your pet alone until we can examine him or her. If the bleeding persists then gently wrap your pet in a towel and apply direct pressure to the bleeding area for several minutes. Sometimes applying a small amount of styptic powder or ice to the area might be beneficial. It may take up to 5 minutes or longer for the bleeding to stop.
•If your pet seems cold try to warm him or her gently by utilizing one of the following:
Gently wrap in a warm towel.
Place hot water bottle or a heat producing light nearby.
Place a heating pad on low setting wrapped in a protective cover under 1/2 – 2/3 of the enclosure; never place your pet directly on a heating pad!
•If your pet is poorly responsive but can swallow, try rubbing a small amount of pancake or Karo syrup on his or her gums.
•Place a pet with fractures or injuries in a small container to minimize further damage.

The Hospital Box

hospital box

This is a temporary “at home” suggestion for sick pets until they are stable enough for transport.
1) Take a plastic clear container (i.e. Tupperware or Rubbermaid) that is large enough for your pet. A parakeet can use roughly a shoebox-sized container. Some sort of vented top is recommended so the heat will be retained while permitting airflow; remember that you do not want to “cook” your pet.
2) Place a heating pad underneath the box and set it on low to medium. Place your hand on it to make sure it is not too hot. Ideally you can use a thermometer and you want it to be roughly 90 degrees Fahrenheit for birds or the appropriate temperature range for your pet. In the daytime you can place a lamp over the box to supplement the heat. Make sure the light is turned off in the evening so your pet can rest.
3) Place some paper towels in the bottom of the box to use as a substrate. This way you can monitor your pet’s fecal output and urination. If there is decreased fecal output, this may mean that your pet has not eaten for a while.
4) Place small dishes or paper plates inside the box for water, feed and vegetables as appropriate for your pet. This way you can monitor your pet’s food intake and water consumption. Remember that a pet may pick at the food but it does not necessarily mean that he/she is eating it.
5) You can use an eyedropper or syringe to supplement your pet with some fluids/calories once he/she seems more stable. Ensure, Gatorade or baby foods appropriate for your pet are some products that you can use. Make sure that these items are warmed up in a warm water bath, not a microwave, prior to administration. You can give a parakeet approximately 1cc or ml, a cockatiel about 3-5cc and so on.

BIRDS:

If your bird is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, contact us immediately at 843-216-8387:  Any weakness; staying at the bottom of cage not perching; ruffled or fluffed up; blood loss of any kind; pronounced keel bone; not eating; discharge from eyes, nose, mouth or ears; continuous closing or squinting of the eyes; labored breathing or tail bobbing; sleeping a lot; not talking or singing (if does normally); matted or caked vent (anus); loose or malodorous droppings; sudden change in color of stool or urine; blood in droppings; prolonged straining to pass stool or egg.

Never give over-the-counter preparations (i.e. vitamins, supplements or antibiotics) orally or in the water since this may mask signs and can worsen the situation.

Birds can be restrained with a towel with a firm grip around their neck since their neck and trachea are very strong. Make sure not to compress the body since it may interfere with their breathing.

bird restraint
How to properly restrain a bird

If your bird is weak and not eating you can try a solution of Karo or pancake syrup in water. For smaller birds feed one drop at a time (~5-6 drops), then offer regular food while keeping your pet safe in a hospital box. For larger birds you can try this solution followed by hand-feeding formula.

If your bird is bleeding from a broken blood feather or another area, place him or her in a quiet dark place or hospital box and monitor closely. If the bleeding has stopped or clotted, leave your bird alone until we can examine him or her later on. If the bleeding persists then gently wrap your bird in a towel as described above and apply direct pressure for several minutes (sometimes up to 5). Sometimes applying a small amount of styptic powder, corn starch, or ice to the area might be beneficial.

If your bird has been attacked by a cat it is a veterinary emergency requiring immediate attention. Cats carry several potentially deadly bacteria in their mouths and claws that can be fatal to birds even if the bird appears unharmed and the skin unbroken. If your bird is showing any of the symptoms detailed above, place him into a hospital box and call us at 843-216-8387. It is important that we examine your pet as soon as possible to correct the underlying condition.

FERRETS:

If your ferret is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, contact us immediately at 843-216-8387: Diarrhea, vomiting, pawing at the mouth (may indicate nausea due to dangerously low blood sugar), frequent trips to litter box with little or no urine production, tense abdomen, depression, lack of appetite.

ferret scruff
How to properly scruff a ferret

If your ferret is not eating, you can try hand- or syringe-feeding warm chicken or beef baby food to support your pet. If your ferret seems weak or disoriented, you can rub some Karo syrup or honey on his gums prior to attempting to feed until you are able to get to our clinic. It is important that we examine your ferret as soon as possible to correct the underlying condition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cychCkTAkB0 – How to Syringe Feed Your Ferret

GUINEA PIGS:

If your guinea pig is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, contact us immediately at 843-216-8387: Diarrhea or decreased number of stools, lack of appetite, weakness, depression, painful when lifted or touched, head tilted to one side, rolling or flipping.

If your guinea pig is not eating, his or her gastrointestinal system can go into stasis, a serious condition which may require hospitalization and treatment or surgery to correct. You can try syringe-feeding ground pellets or Oxbow Critical Care mixed with water. This will provide fiber and nutrients to support your pet until you are able to get to our clinic. Not eating is often related to dental issues or internal disease, and as such is an emergency situation, which demands medical attention. It is important that we examine your pet as soon as possible to correct the underlying condition.

guinea pig handfeeding
This guinea pig is being syringe fed to meet her nutritional requirements

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iGZVYVm5Bg – How to Syringe Feed Your Guinea Pig

A guinea pig’s health can deteriorate rather quickly. By the time problems become apparent, illnesses may be life-threatening. They very seldom recover from illness without help. Prompt, competent veterinary care is crucial to saving the life of a sick guinea pig. When caught early, most illnesses can be cured fairly easily.

RABBITS:

If your rabbit is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, contact us immediately at 843-216-8387: Diarrhea or decreased number of stools, lack of appetite, weakness, depression, painful when lifted or touched, head tilted to one side, rolling or flipping.

bunny burrito
How to make a “bunny burrito”

If your rabbit is not eating, his or her gastrointestinal system can go into stasis, a serious condition which may require hospitalization and treatment or surgery to correct. You can try syringe-feeding ground pellets or Oxbow Critical Care mixed with water. This will provide fiber and nutrients to support your pet until you are able to get to our clinic. Not eating is often related to dental issues or internal disease, and as such is an emergency situation which demands medical attention. It is important that we examine your pet as soon as possible to correct the underlying condition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iGZVYVm5Bg – How to Syringe Feed Your Rabbit

REPTILES:

Detecting signs of illness in reptiles can be difficult, as most have been sick for quite some time before showing signs of illness.

Basic First Aid to Stabilize Prior to Transport:
•If your reptile is cold to the touch increase temperature to 85-90 degrees with a heat lamp, space heater or heating pad set on low. Monitor temperature near the pet with a thermometer.
•If your reptile is weak and not eating but is warm, minimize handling.
•If your reptile has a prolapse (something hanging out of vent or rear) keep exposed tissues moist with sterile saline contact lens solution or sterile lubricant (ie. KY jelly), place pet on moist paper towels.
•If your reptile is paralyzed confine to a small enclosure and do not handle him or her.

 

If you have an emergency after business hours, please call us at 843-216-8387. If one of our experienced technicians does not answer your call immediately, please leave a message and your phone number. If your call is not returned in a timely fashion and you do not feel that you can stabilize your pet at home, please contact one of the Emergency Clinics in the area. Please note that Emergency Clinic fees are significantly higher than standard veterinary care fees. While not specialized in the care of avian and exotic patients, these clinics can provide some basic necessary supportive care. The veterinarian on duty will notify us of your emergency and refer you to us for follow-up care.

Wildlife:

If your concern is regarding injured or orphaned wild animals that have been found outdoors please call Pet Vet at 834-884-7387, Dorchester Vet at 843-552-0259, or one of the emergency clinics listed below if after hours.

Mount Pleasant Emergency Veterinary Clinic
930 Pine Hollow Rd, Mount Pleasant SC 29464
843-216-7554

Charleston Veterinary Referral Center
3484 Shelby Ray Ct, Charleston SC 29414
843-614-8387

Greater Charleston Emergency Veterinary Clinic
3163 West Montague Ave, North Charleston SC 29418
843-744-3372

Animal Poison Control Hotline