While we all hope that we never have an emergency with our pet, anything is possible.  Pets can be a lot like kids – they get into things they’re not supposed to, they can get rambunctious while playing and injure themselves, and sometimes they can figure out how to make a “jailbreak” and escape your house or yard, putting them at risk of being hit by a car.

Pets also seem to get into the worst trouble in the middle of the night or on weekends, when your regular veterinarian is closed!  Since anything can happen at anytime, it is always best to be prepared and have an idea of what to do if you have an after-hours emergency with your pet.

Because Lake Road Animal Hospital is not a 24/7 facility, we share emergency coverage with six other area veterinary practices: Broadway Animal Hospital, Chemung Valley Veterinary ClinicAgape Veterinary ClinicCorning Animal HospitalTowne & Country Animal Hospital, and Rio Vista Veterinary Hospital.

[Please note: None of the veterinary practices in the Horseheads, Elmira, or Corning area provide 24 hour care.

If your pet has an emergency outside of our regular business hours, please call the main office number at 607-733-6503, and the answering service will contact the covering veterinary practice on your behalf.

A veterinary nurse from that practice will call you back within a few minutes to consult with you and assist in making arrangements to see the veterinarian covering emergencies.  In some cases, you may be referred to Cornell if the veterinary nurse feels your pet requires more intensive care with a complete staff available 24 hours per day.

Emergency coverage is available through our group of hospitals to manage illnesses and injuries that should not wait until the next business day, or to stabilize pets in more serious condition until transport to a 24 hour facility can be arranged.

Having your pet’s medical information readily available will be extremely helpful to the attending veterinarian handling your emergency.  This is when using the VitusVet app can be a lifesaver for both you and your pet, as your pet’s records will be available right in your smartphone.  Having this information handy can mean that certain diagnostic tests may not need to be repeated, saving money as well as critical time.

[For details about the VitusVet app, check out our blog post, “Accessing Your Pet’s Medical Records with VitusVet.”]

Download the VitusVet app here for Apple devices

Download the VitusVet app here for Android devices

If you aren’t sure whether or not your pet needs emergency care, it never hurts to call!  You can also refer to this helpful checklist from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)“When Is It An Emergency?” which you can find by clicking here.

Below are some additional tips that will be enormously helpful to both the emergency veterinarian and your pet.  While we completely understand that emergencies can cause fear and panic, if you can focus enough to organize the following information – if at all possible – it will enable the treating veterinary team to assist your pet more quickly and efficiently.

  1. If your pet ingested a poisonous substance, please call the Pet Poison Helpline, at 855-764-7661. There is a fee for this service, payable by credit card over the phone.If possible, collect a sample of the material, along with the packaging, vial, or container, and save it – you will need all that information when you talk to your veterinarian or to a Pet Poison Helpline expert.
  2. If your pet is having a gastrointestinal emergency – such as severe vomiting or diarrhea, or bloody diarrhea, if it is at all possible to collect a stool sample to bring with you, that will be helpful to the treating veterinarian.
  3. If your pet cannot walk, or cannot be carried easily, you can use a blanket or sheet as a stretcher. Please be sure to alert the veterinary hospital in such cases, so they can assist you with getting your pet into the facility when you arrive.
  4. Have a list of all the medications your pet is currently taking, or bring the bottles with you to the hospital.  Again, if you have the VitusVet app, this is easy, because you can keep a record of all your pet’s medicines right in the app!

While we hope you never experience an emergency – especially after hours – we want you to be as prepared as possible.  We hope you find this information helpful, and if you have any questions about this blog post or emergency procedures in general, please feel free to reach out to us during our regular hours – we’re always happy to talk with you

[The Pet Poison Helpline is a 24-hour animal poison control service available throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet. They have the ability to help every poisoned pet, with all types of poisonings, 24 hours a day. Their knowledge and expertise will put your mind at ease when dealing with a potential emergency.]