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How to find veterinary emergencies in the evenings, weekends and holidays?

When a dog is victim of worrying symptoms, it is necessary to consult without delay because in the absence of care the consequences can be very serious. Sometimes, within a few hours, the animal's vital prognosis can be engaged. Let's see which pathologies are more particularly the object of immediate care and which are the veterinary services that operate night and day as well as during weekends and holidays.

Calling veterinary emergencies: the main reasons for calling veterinary emergencies

It is fundamental to detect without delay the signs that justify a call to the veterinary emergency service. Neglect in this area can cost the life of your pet. Many symptoms may justify contacting a veterinarian or a veterinary clinic on call. Some examples are :
  • Sudden digestive problems: diarrhea and/or vomiting may cause fears of stomach upset or poisoning.
  • Difficulty walking: these are part of locomotor disorders, the severity of which varies from one dog to another and according to the pathology involved. This is a frequent reason for urgent calls that pet owners frequently face, especially when their small four-legged companion is elderly. Acute or chronic musculoskeletal disorders cause intense pain that must be relieved as quickly as possible. Advanced osteoarthritis may, for example, justify an urgent consultation in the evening, during the weekend or on a holiday.
  • A snake bite: the animal must be treated immediately.
  • An accidental cause, such as when the dog has been hit by a vehicle, fallen down a well or fallen over the balcony. In some cases, the animal appears to be unharmed. However, the frequent risk of an organ bursting during a severe shock should not be overlooked.
  • A heart problem: just as in humans, heart disease in dogs (or cats) cannot tolerate the slightest hesitation on the part of the owner. Veterinary emergencies should be called without delay, at any time.
  • A convulsive syndrome: when a dog suddenly has convulsions, it must be taken care of because the consequences can be serious. It is therefore necessary for a veterinarian to identify the cause in order to administer the appropriate treatment to the sick animal.
Obstruction of the urethra leading to difficulty in urinating, severe dehydration, hypoglycemia, birth that goes wrong are other reasons for imminent consultation. The slightest hesitation on the part of the owner can have dramatic consequences.

How to determine the degree of veterinary urgency?

Veterinarians consider that what worries a master is already an emergency, even if the problem encountered by their little companion does not necessarily expose his life. In all the cases seen above and many others, the absence of intervention puts the animal in danger. These are therefore absolute emergencies.

There are also common emergencies for which one should not hesitate to go to the emergency room even during the weekend, a holiday or in the evening. This is for example the case for :
  • Facial urticaria, also known as angioedema: this is a vital emergency because the dog can suffer from rapid asphyxiation if he swells in his mouth or throat.
  • A foreign body in the eye or ear canal,
  • An abscess,
  • Bloody diarrhea,
  • A fracture.
  • A thorn in a pad,
  • A claw torn off,
  • Conjunctivitis,
  • A change in eating behavior or dysorexia,
  • An insect bite,
  • A cough unrelated to an asthma attack.
Then we find the related emergencies. Even if the dog's health is not at all in danger, it is perfectly legitimate for the owner to want to consult a veterinarian immediately since he is worried about his pet. In this category, we classify among others :

In these cases it is quite possible to wait until the following day or to wait until the end of the weekend to go to the veterinary clinic. But if the owner has the slightest doubt, it is better for him to consult on the spot, even if it is in the middle of the night.

As a general rule, the overall behaviour of the animal gives a good indication of the degree of urgency. If he has no fever, if he is breathing normally, does not seem to be in pain, and continues to eat and drink as usual, it is already somewhat reassuring. On the other hand, a high temperature, blue or extremely pale mucous membranes, violent vomiting, a total stool and/or urine stoppage, shortness of breath, a staggering gait are among the signs that do not deceive: consulting an emergency room is essential whatever the day and time.

Veterinary emergency services: how does it work?

It is more or less easy to find veterinarians on call depending on whether you live in the city or in the country. In large cities, there are practices and clinics that meet the needs night and day as well as weekends and holidays. Pet owners should always keep contact information for their regular veterinarian on hand. If he or she is absent, the answering machine usually indicates the telephone number to call in case of an emergency.

In the countryside, you can of course consult the Internet to find out where to go, but it is still necessary to have the possibility to do so. It is best to call the Gendarmerie for reliable and immediate information. Another solution is to contact the veterinary clinic in the nearest town.

It is not always possible to take your dog or cat to an emergency consultation. In this case, it is the veterinarian who travels, which inevitably leads to an increase in the cost of the visit. A mutual animal health insurance covers all or part of the costs incurred by the owner of the animal, whether it is for an emergency or not.

As long as it is a relative emergency (but certainly not if the animal is at its worst), the owner can start by contacting a veterinary advice service (online or by phone), which operates 24/7. Simply provide your phone number and you will be called back as soon as possible by an animal health professional. This specialist can make a diagnosis based on the indications given to him or her. You must therefore be very precise in your explanations and describe the symptoms presented by the dog or cat, their duration and intensity.

The Animal Taxi remains the solution, a service that works differently from one region to another, knowing that some structures may offer to transport a sick animal outside of normal hours. It is recommended that all dog or cat owners memorize in their smartphone the coordinates of the Animal Taxi service in their geographical area in case of .