Emergency pet care, emergency pet surgery and overnight patient monitoring when primary care veterinary practices are closed.
A comprehensive physical exam doesn’t always reveal why a patient is ill, and our veterinary patients certainly can’t tell us what is wrong when they are sick or injured. Laboratory testing is one way to reveal these hidden problems, and in serious or life-threatening situations, having access to rapid and accurate test results provides the best chance for a timely intervention and a favorable outcome.
Copies of your pet’s test results are available to you and your family’s veterinarian at any time.
First Coast Veterinary Emergency is able to perform diagnostic ultrasounds on emergency patients. Our emergency doctors can use our ultrasound equipment to view internal organs in a non-invasive way. This diagnostic tool can provide a speedy diagnosis or, for some critical patients, it allows our emergency team the ability obtain valuable information that will help determine the best possible treatment for your pet. If an ultrasound would be useful in guiding your pet’s care, the doctor will discuss this option with you during your visit.
An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a diagnostic test that records the activity of the heart. An ECG is a non-invasive procedure that can help doctors assess abnormal heart rhythms, drug effects or even an enlarged heart. At First Coast Veterinary Emergency Center we also use an ECG during anesthetic procedures so that our surgical team can closely monitor the functioning of the heart while the patient is under anesthesia.
The location of the intensive care unit in our hospital allows our doctors and nursing staff to continuously monitor our patients throughout their hospitalization. Many of the veterinary patients we see are critically injured or have life-threatening illness. Constant observation and hourly treatments are necessary for us to address their special needs. In addition, our intensive care and ongoing monitoring give us the ability to monitor and assess pain and provide appropriate pain control to keep our patients comfortable.
Emergency patients often require oxygen therapy. At First Coast Veterinary Emergency our doctors and staff are trained to efficiently and effectively administer oxygen to patients with symptoms indicating respiratory shock or distress.
Oxygen is administered through masks that are designed specifically to fit cats and dogs. When appropriate, we may use nasal catheters and tubes to deliver oxygen directly into a patient’s airway and to maintain delivery over a period of time.
Patient’s who commonly require oxygen therapy include those with respiratory distress, hyperthermia, pulmonary hypertension, seizures, pets hit by a car, head trauma, pulmonary contusions, congestive heart failure, anemia, shock, smoke inhalation or lung disease.
Occasionally veterinary patients need blood transfusions. Blood loss as the result of trauma, poisoning or disease is very risky and likely will lead to death if not resolved.
There are several types of blood products used in transfusions. The type of blood product that is recommended depends upon the cause of the blood loss. Blood products can be purchased from veterinary blood banks or obtained from donor animals. As in human medicine, donor blood is tested for blood type and, when time allows, a variety of diseases that could be transmitted during a transfusion.
A transfusion is a critical, life-saving treatment but is not without risk. Patients can have reactions to transfusions. At First Coast Veterinary Emergency Center we follow all appropriate procedures to minimize risk to our patients. We cross match samples before transfusing to decrease the chances of a reaction. We also closely monitor our patients during transfusions so that if a reaction occurs, it is caught quickly and treated immediately.
Careful observation of every patient is the key to finding minor physiologic disturbances before they develop into major problems. In addition to a skilled and attentive nursing staff, First Coast Veterinary Emergency uses a wide range of monitoring devices:
The digital x-ray equipment utilized at First Coast Veterinary Emergency requires less radiation than radiographs captured on film so it is safer for both the patient and for the x-ray technician. In addition, the images are obtained in seconds. The speed with which images can be obtained enhances safety and comfort for every patient and is critical in an emergency setting when time is of the essence.