9728 Carmel Mountain Road, Suite E • San Diego • CA • 92129

Emergency Care

If you have an emergency with your pet during our normal business hours please call us immediately at: 858-360-7794

If you have an emergency after hours click this Emergencies link for a list of after hours emergency clinics.

How do you know if your pet has an emergency?


UNABLE TO BREATH:  Noisy respiration, your pet's tongue is blue, your pet is gasping for breath like a fish out of water, your pet is thrashing around trying to breath, his/her neck is extended, he/she cannot lay down but stands with his/her feet in a wide stance, constant coughing that does not stop, foam either white or bloody coming out of your dog or cat's nose or mouth.                                        .

BLEEDING:  No matter what you do you cannot stop your pet's bleeding from a wound, from his/her nose, anus, eyes, mouth or any other part of your pet's body.  Try to get help from some one to apply pressure and get here now.  If you cannot find anyone to help just put your pet in the car and drive here immediately. 

CANNOT MOVE BACK LEGS FRONT LEGS OR ANY LEGS:  This is likely due to damage to the spinal cord.  Come in immediately!

FEELS COLD AND IS PALE (GUMS):  If you get home or wake up and your pet is cold, not moving much and has pale gums that feel cold and/or dry call immediately and bring your pet in at once.

SEIZURES:  If your pet is having a seizure bring him/her to our hospital immediately.  Please be careful when handling your pet.  Do not put your hand in your pet's mouth. The best way to handle a seizuring pet is to wrap them up in a large towel or blanket, put them on the floor of the back seat of your car and drive to our hospital immediately.

PAIN:  If your pet is crying or groaning in pain that is not normal.  Dogs and cats are very quiet when they suffer pain.  If they are making noise it is serious!  Bring them in immediately.

CANNOT URINATE:  This is a vital function for your pet's health.  If your dog or cat cannot urinate the potassium level in his/her blood stream goes up and his/her heart STOPS!  Not able to pass urine is typically a male cat ("blocked cat") or male dog problem.  Most females do not have their urethra (the tube they out of which they urinate) blocked as it is much wider than the males.  A blocked male cat or dog is a SERIOUS EMERGENCYYou must bring your cat or dog in AT ONCE.  This is a life threatening emergency.  Get your pet here now.

VOMITING OR DIARRHEA OR BOTH:  If your dog or cat vomits repeatedly or there is blood in the vomit or the diarrhea BRING YOUR PET IN IMMEDIATELY.

WOUNDS:  If your dog or cat has a wound that penetrates into the abdomen or the chest BRING YOUR PET IN IMMEDIATELY.  If there is a wound penetrating into your pet making any kind of opening anywhere in your pet's body call us immediately.  A neglected wound is a badly infected wound and is life-threatening to your pet.

POISON:  Any household cleaning agent can poison your pet and badly damage his/her throat, stomach or intestines.  There are some house plants that can cause your dog or cats tongue to swell (the "Mother in Law" plant, Diffenbachia).  SNAIL BAIT IS POISONOUS TO YOUR PET.  If your pet ingested snail bait BRING THE BOX and your pet with you to our clinic immediately!  The sooner you get here the more likely it is we can get your pet to vomit up the snail bait and prevent absorption into his/her blood stream.  RAT BAIT can cause your dog or cat to BLEED TO DEATH.  More modern rat bait products cause other terrible life threatening health problems for your pet.  If you suspect your pet has eaten RAT BAIT, do not delay (even if you are not sure) , bring your pet in immediately!

BEE STING:  If your pet is stung by a bee he/she may have a severe allergic reaction with facial or limb swelling (depending on where your pet got stung).  If you see such a swelling please call our office immediately.

Chocolate ingestion:  Chocolate is very toxic to dogs and cats especially dark chocolate.  It causes animals to have diarrhea, problems with their kidneys and liver and may cause them to vomit.  If your pet eats anything chocolate please call us immediately or just bring your pet in during our normal working hours.  

HIT BY CAR:  Do not call just bring your pet in immediately.

COLLAPSE:  If your pet collapses bring your pet in immediately.  If your pet faints or loses consciousness please bring your pet to our hospital immediately.

INJURY:  If your pet gets injured (hit by a baseball bat, stick, poked, shot, tears his/her skin)call for an appointment immediately.  Identify yourself and your pet and let the receptionist know you have an emergency injury of your pet and ask to come in right away.

EYES:  If your pet is Squinting, his/her eyes are "red", your pet is scratching at his/her eyes, rubbing his/her face along the carpet or along the furniture, your pet's eyes have lots of tears or mucus coming out of them call immediately to bring your pet in.

BLOAT:  This happens to deep chested dogs (example: dobermans), older dogs (labs, shepherds, etc), usually large breeds but it can happen to small breeds as well.  It is a condition where the stomach is so full of air that it swells out to where you can see it and feel it.  You can tape it and it sounds like a drum.  THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING EMERGENCY.  IT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE CARE AND OFTEN IMMEDIATE SURGERY.  You may want to call the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Sorrento Valley at 858-875-7500 or the VCA ANIMAL ER; (858) 560-8006 and take your animal right over there rather than coming to us.  It is not that we cannot treat your animal for this condition but we would have to refer you to that facility for long term care.  These cases are VERY SERIOUS and require a lot of intensive care.  Since we close at 6 p.m. we would refer you to a 24/7 facility so your dog would not have to be moved back and forth for the days he/she needs to recover from this problem.  To prevent this problem NEVER take your dog for a walk right after feeding him/her.  NEVER feed your dog right after you get back from a walk or allow your dog to drink tons of water right after a long walk. Instead allow your dog small sips of water (1/4 cup) every 15 minutes.  Do not feed your dog for an hour before or after his/her walk.  NEVER WALK YOU DOG WHEN IT FEELS HOT OUTSIDE TO YOU.

HEAT STROKE:  THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING EMERGENCY!  Every second counts.  Cool your dog off immediately if he/she is panting so hard that froth is coming out of his/her mouth.  It will appear that he/she cannot catch his/her breath.  Pour cool water on your dog's head, place a cold wash cloth on his/her head and cold towels on his/her body while still at home.  CALL US IMMEDIATELY AND BRING THE DOG IN OR SKIP THE CALL AND BRING THE DOG IN.  NEVER WALK YOU DOG WHEN IT IS HOT OUTSIDE TO YOU.  NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A LOCKED CAR EVEN IN THE SHADE.  IT CAN GET TO TEMPERATURES OF 130 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT IN THAT CAR!

DIFFICULT BIRTHING PROCESS:  If your cat or dog is giving birth and stops pushing suddenly or keeps trying but no kittens or puppies are coming out or a kitten or puppy is stuck in the vulva (birth canal) such that you can see it bring your pet in immediately.  If kittens or puppies are born and their placentas are all connected to each other (they are tangled up or piled in a twisted bunch) call immediately and bring them in at once.

Even if you are not sure whether or not your pet has a life threatening emergency call our clinic immediately without delay.  One of our veterinarians or technicians will speak with you and advice you as to your best course of action to take for your pet. (858) 603-3748

Please click the link to Emergencies if you are viewing this page after hours.

You should call for an appointment immediately and get one for today (call early before you leave for work): 

If your pet is eating and drinking and is not frantic but seems to have difficulty breathing, if your pet is coughing, if your pet is vomiting, has diarrhea or both but there is no blood and it is not continuous.

If you dog or cat seems to be lame and it comes on suddenly.  If your pet is holding his/her leg up off the ground has he/she walks or runs.

If you even think your dog or cat has swallowed an object call us for an appointment today (EARLY!).

If you cat or dog gets something caustic or toxic spilled on their coat or if they get burned.

If you cat or dog has a wound, tear or cut in his skin, a matted area that you cannot untangle or a bite wound of any kind.

If your pet is smacking his or her lips, crying, is not able to get up or jump up on the couch or counter top (cat) or if your pet is lethargic (not moving around much, just laying there).