Here for you 24/7, 365.
When Seconds Count.
Our Emergency Services department provides veterinary care 24/7, especially for pets requiring critical care. If your primary care veterinarian is unavailable or you do not want to wait for an appointment because you fear your pet’s condition is getting worse, we are here for you.
We’re here for you both.
When pets need an emergency vet, St. John’s and surrounding areas rely on VSC to provide round the clock care.
As a veterinary emergency clinic, our critical patients get attention first. If unstable, your pet will be immediately transferred to our Intensive Care Unit (ICU). You may be asked to sign a “critical care” form allowing the veterinarian to stabilize your pet prior to speaking with you. If your pet appears to be stable, may wait with you until they’re ready to be seen.
After examination, the veterinarian may recommend diagnostics and/or treatment required, or referral to our specialty services. All diagnostic and/or therapeutic recommendations are presented in an estimate with associated costs. Alternatively, care of your pet may be transferred from our 24-hour vet clinic back to your primary care veterinarian.
Signs Your Pet May Require Emergency Care
We cannot provide medical advice without examining your pet at our 24-hour animal hospital. However, we do recommend immediately seeking our emergency veterinarian service if your pet is experiencing symptoms or conditions such as:
- Changes to breathing (faster breathing, breathing harder, panting excessively) including choking
- Signs of shock or loss of consciousness (i.e., weak, pale mucous membranes, cold extremities, abnormal heart rate)
- Collapsing or severe weakness/fatigue
- Paralysis or inability to move normally
- Traumatic injuries including fractures, bites, burns, and lacerations
- Swollen, hard abdomen
- Dizziness, staggering, or tremors
- Blood in urine or feces
- Labour and delivery problems
- Excessive coughing, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Straining to urinate or defecate
- Poison ingestion including rat/snail/bug bait, antifreeze, human or pet prescription medication, chocolate, macadamia nuts, grapes, or raisins
- Trauma such as being hit by a car or dog/cat fight
- Vomiting blood
- Abdominal bloating
- Distress or drooling after eating a bone or other object
- Any condition causing excessive pain
- Had surgery and not recovering well from anesthesia or having post-operative trouble
- Needing specialize nutritional support because they are unwilling/unable to eat on their own
- Requires a blood transfusion
The emergency veterinarian service fee is $241 plus HST; this includes a physical examination
Patients will be seen in order of priority status based on the severity of their condition.
Please alert us if your pet’s condition changes.
Pets requiring emergency medical attention/life-saving measures.
- Bloat (GDV)
- Traffic Accident
- Allergic Reaction
- Active Seizure
- Respiratory Distress
Pets requiring urgent medical consultation and care.
- Active vomiting
- Bowel obstruction
- Closed fractures
- Birthing difficulties
- Urinary tract issue
Pets requiring care for non-life threatening issues.
- Skin conditions
- Sore ears/eyes
- Minor wound
- Chronic diseases
What is the difference between primary care and emergent/urgent care?
Primary care involves care of acute illness, chronic conditions (i.e., diabetes), routine checkups, and overall health management/prevention throughout the life span of a pet. Annual check-ups increase your primary care veterinarian’s ability to pick up on small changes in your pet’s health because they already established a baseline. Emergency care involves life-threatening emergencies such as the risk of a loss of limb, motor vehicle accidents, broken bones, head injuries, seizures, abdominal pain, breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, or uncontrollable bleeding.
Urgent Care involves conditions that require medical attention for an acute, but not life-threatening, emergency such as minor cuts/lacerations. Our emergency/urgent care walk-in services are available 24/7. A primary care veterinarian may also refer a patient to VSCNL that requires critical care, close monitoring, and/or life support measures.
What is considered an emergency?
Always be wary of any behavioural changes in your pet as it could signify an underlying health problem.
- Vomiting/Diarrhea caused by dietary indiscretion, human food, infections, etc.
- Poison injection such as chocolate, xylitol, plants, human medications, pesticide, or even an overdose of the pet’s own medication.
- Wounds incurred by another animal (i.e., at dog park visits, during off-leash walking).
- Automobile accidents where external injuries may appear minimal; however, internal injuries can be servere.
- Urinary tract obstructions are painful and life-threatening. Signs may include straining, frequent urination in small amounts, vocalizing, or excessive grooming.
- Difficulty breathing may signify heart failure, pneumonia, asthma, or heat stroke.
- Gastrointestinal foreign material lodged in the stomach/intestines.
- Worsening of chronic illness (i.e., heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer).
- Painful, red-eye caused by injury, scratch, foreign material, infection, or glaucoma.
- Lame/difficulty walking from sprains, ligament tears, fractures, dislocations, or cancer.
What do I do if I have an emergency?
Call your primary care veterinarian to enquire if they are available or call us. Calling ahead allows medical staff to prepare for your pet’s arrival. Our medical teams are onsite 24/7.
Why are you treating a pet that arrived after my pet and I did?
As with all emergency medicine, we function on a ‘triage’ basis – meaning the most critical or unstable patients are cared for first.
How long will it take?
Our intension is never to make clients wait; however, the reality of emergency medicine is that it is impossible to predict when an emergent case will arrive or in patient in our ICU may require immediate attention. Long wait times can be stressful, but we understand if your pet was in critical condition, you would want us to prioritize their care. We appreciate your patience, understanding, and cooperation.
What does a critical care consent form approve?
Upon arrival, if it appears your pet requires immediate, emergent attention, we ask you to sign a critical care form. The critical care may involve placing an IV catheter, administering IV fluids, and/or lifesaving medications, and other interventions such as CPR to try to stabilize your pet.