What is a TRUE medical emergency?


  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Rapid breathing and pale gum color
  • Collapse
  • Sudden change in mental status
  • Uncontrolled vomiting
  • Coughing, sneezing, vomiting or defecating excessive blood
  • Unable to urinate with weakness and/or vomiting
  • Continuous seizures
  • Pregnant animal straining to deliver for 2 hours without effect
  • Pet trapped somewhere and is flailing or self mutilating
  • Any trauma that includes change in mental status, excessive blood loss, rapid breathing, collapse or major visible damage
  • Stumbling and self-damage
  • Sudden severe bloating of belly and weakness

My pet is BLEEDING and it won’t stop.

Muzzle a dog if possible, protect yourself from the pet’s reaction to pain by using a towel to block the head from biting. Apply pressure to a bleeding wound, tightly wrap any affect limb above and over the wound with any available fabric: sheet, towel or pillowcase. Get the pet in the car. Have someone else drive you to the nearest veterinary facility. Call ahead to alert the staff.

If transporting the pet is impossible, call 310-477-4140 in the Greater Los Angeles area for an instant consult with or without an emergency house call visit.

My dog can’t get up and I can’t move him/her.

If your pet has suddenly become unable to walk or stand and you are unable to move your friend without causing harm to the animal or yourself, make a quick assessment:

Notice the rate of respiration. Is there panting or quick breathing? Count the number of chest movement cycles in 10 seconds and multiply by 6. In and out is one. 30 is about normal for most cats and dogs. Respiratory rates over 50 is of concern and may indicate pain, nausea, oxygen deficit, or other metabolic disease.

Check the gums that are not pigmented. There should be area of pink gum color much like your own. Pale, white or even overly red gum color indicates a problem of circulation or shock.

If you have a thermometer, especially an electronic one with a small metal tip, measure rectal temperature. For pets, over 103 degrees is a concern.

If none of these signs are evident and the pet is otherwise alert, hungry and thirsty, you most likely do not have a medical emergency.

Either way you may call dispatch at 310-477-4140 to either request an instant veterinarian phone consult, an emergency house call visit, emergency or scheduled transport to your veterinary facility, or request the next available appointment for a home exam, diagnostics and medical management of your pet.