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Metropolitan Animal Specialty Hospital

What is an Emergency?

Emergency situations involving your pet can be a very stressful time for both you and your pet. We apologize if you have to wait. This information should help you understand what is happening and how we handle emergency situations.

If You Think You Are Having an Emergency, Bring Your Pet In

If you feel your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, please bringyour pet to the closest 24/7 emergency hospital. Your pet should be brought in immediately if they are experiencing major bleeding, breathing problems, consistent seizures, are unresponsive or limp, had severe trauma (dropped, kicked, crushed, or run over), or collapsed. Other situations needing immediate attention include blood in the urine or straining of a male cat or dog, a bloated abdomen, a snake bite, fluid in the lungs or around the heart, and unproductive retching.

What Triage is in Emergency and How it Helps

Here at MASH, we use a triage system to quickly determine which pets need immediate attention, especially when times are busy. This system is color-coded to easily show what is prioritized. Lower urgency may mean wait times to be seen will be longer. We may ask questions about your pet's symptoms and injuries or illness to determine the level of urgency.



Immediate stabilization is required for best chance of survival.

  • Collapse

  • Blood in urine or straining of a male dog/cat

  • Major bleeding

  • Breathing problems

  • Non-responsive/limp

  • Actively seizing

  • Severe Trauma

    • Dropped

    • Kicked

    • Crushed

    • Run Over

  • Bloated abdomen

  • Snake bite

  • Unproductive retching

  • Fluid in the lungs/around the heart



Patient is currently stable but serious nature requires further evaluation.

  • Trouble during active labor

  • Cluster seizures (three or more seizures in a 24-hour period)

  • Diarrhea paired with appetite loss and vomiting

  • Toxin ingestion

  • Diabetic not doing well/lethargic

  • Open fracture (can see the bone)

  • Euthanasia

  • Acutely non-ambulatory



Urgent but does not require immediate attention. Wait times may be extended.

  • Vomiting (less than two times in a 24-hour period)

  • Straining to defecate

  • Blood in urine or straining of a female dog/cat

  • Small laceration/wound

  • Altered mentation

  • Non-productive cough with no breathing pattern changes



Injury or illness is not life threatening. May be accommodated by being scheduled.

  • Itching

  • Chronic lameness

  • Dermatologic issues

  • A single seizure with full recovery

  • Hair loss

  • Chronic weight loss

Toxin Ingestion or Exposure

If you think your pet has ingested poison or eaten something toxic contact the ASPCA pet poison hotline at (888) 426-4435. They will ask questions to identify the risk factor and may have you seek veterinary care for your pet. Please call to inform us if you are on your way and provide your case number. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has good resources for any animal poison-related emergency.

Evaluation and Visiting the Hospital

We know everything can feel like an emergency when our pets are in distress or pain. It is important to keep in mind that we want the best for your pet too. We will need to examine your pet to determine the level of urgency so we can provide the best care that they need.

Wait times for non-critical patients may vary. This is why we ask for patience as we care for and triage your furry friends. Wait times are usually increased by cases that would benefit more from being seen by a primary veterinarian rather than the emergency room.

Please call to let us know why you are coming in, so we can prepare to care for your pet when you arrive.

We are here to support and care for you and your pet in any way we can. If you have any questions or are experiencing an emergency, please contact us.