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Emergency Animal Care

Farmington Valley Veterinary Emergency Hospital, Avon, CT –A member of the BrightHeart Veterinary Network.

September 16, 2010

Front Entrance to the Farmington Valley Veterinary Hospital

Yes, there are emergency veterinary hospitals.  As with Farmington Valley Veterinary Emergency Hospital (above), they may be simple on the outside, inside they have all the complexity of your local hospital emergency room. They are emergency rooms for your pets and are usually open when your Veterinarian is not available.  For example, Farmington Valley Veterinary Emergency Hospital is open weekdays, 5:30PM to 8:00AM and weekends, Friday 5:30PM to Monday 8:00AM.  In addition 24 hour service is available for most holidays.

Hospital Laboratory



Hospital Laboratory

Hospital Radiology (below)





Animal Hospital Radiology

Our visit to the hospital introduced us to Connie Halal, head veterinarian technician and facility manager. Most laboratory tests are done at the facility.  Equipment is available to take radiographs (X-Rays) which can be read via computer by veterinary radiologists and specialists around the country.  Additional specialized equipment includes an ultrasound, ventilator, and closed cage for oxygen therapy.  The surgical suite is fully equipped and ready for the next emergency.  Specialized services for patients may involve transfusions of blood and artificial blood, anesthesia, and monitoring of heart and lung functions.



Animal Cages Waiting for Patients






Above patient cages with available IV
Below surgical suite.


Farmington Valley Emergency Animal Hospital Surgical Suite







Who or What The Next Patient Will Be Is A Mystery!!

And just as your local hospital emergency room never knows what the next case will be, the staff at an animal emergency hospital must be prepared for anything that comes through its doors.  Although dogs covered in porcupine quills are common and among the easiest cases to deal with, a dog or cat hit by a car, hurt in a jump or suffering from any number of illnesses may be the next patient. Other patients have included a pet mallard, a wild fawn hit by a golf cart, and guinea pigs.

 Waiting for that patient is a Veterinarian with surgical experience, who may be board certified in advanced surgical procedures involving thoracic, cardiology, orthopedic, or any number of veterinarian specialties. If the veterinarian needs additional specialized assistance consulting veterinarians are available.

Assisting the veterinarian are two veterinary nurses.  Each has many years of experience and may also be certificated in emergency veterinary medicine.  At the Farmington Valley Veterinary Emergency Hospital, nurses have a degree from a four year animal science program or a two year veterinary technician certificate. 

If patients are well enough they may go home in the morning.  If not arrangements are made to transfer the animal to its veterinarian for additional treatment.  In the most critical cases patients are transferred to specialized full service animal hospitals.

Pet Owners Must Be Prepared For Emergencies

The hospital is prepared, pet owners must also be prepared.  As my experience with Marshmallow shows(link to Index Page), you never know when an emergency will happen.  Just as we prepare for family emergencies, pet emergencies should also be prepared for.  First gather the information that you will need.  We have created a form for you to put with the important documents you need easy access to.  Consider the refrigerator door or the same place information is kept for the baby sitter.  Learn where the closest animal emergency hospital is located.  Checking with your veterinarian’s office now for the emergency hospital will save you valuable time when you have the least time to spare.  Fill in all of the information that you can and keep it up to date.  Consider pet medical insurance.  Again your veterinarian’s office is a good place to get information.  Emergency pet care is expensive and you will probably be expected to pay at the time of service.

What is an emergency?

Suspected poisoning is always an emergency.  Being skunked, although awful for the pet and its owner is not.  The Farmington Valley Veterinary Emergency Hospital has given us the Skunk Deodorizing Recipe for dogs and cats that it gives to its clients.  Print out the recipe and keep it handy, you never know when you may need it.  Just as with our families, pet owners may sense an emergency because of a change in behavior, or animal sounds.  Only the hospital personnel can determine if it is a true emergency.  With all suspected emergencies, call the hospital before getting in your car.  This gives the staff the opportunity to prepare for your animal.  They may also give you instructions for handling the sick or injured animal.

What to do in case of a poisoning

Poisoning has its own protocol that you should follow to insure that your pet receives the fastest care.  As we learned when our kitten ate the azalea flowers, time is important.  A little organization now will give you that time.  On our form we list two animal poison control centers with their phone numbers.

The poison control center will assign a case number to you.  Using all of the information that you give them they will develop a course of treatment for your pet.   Call the emergency hospital or veterinarian and give them the case number.  When you reach the emergency hospital they will be ready to start treatment.

Both the ASPCA and NAPCC will charge you a fee.  At present the ASPCA charges $65, NAPCC charges $30.  Be prepared to give them a credit card number.

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