View Full Version : Check your vets emergency service!

22-01-08, 08:00 AM
I have been taking my dogs to the same small animal vet practise now for over 10 years. In that time I have had to call them on an emergency a few times. Mainly when I was breeding JR's and they would decide to need a caesarian at 11pm on a Sunday night! But the procedure was always the same. I would ring, get the 'on call' vet number and rush to meet them at the surgery.
Last night I had occasion to do that again for the first time in years. This time it was probably a snake bite judging by my poor little dogs condition. I rushed in and called the usual vet and of course got the answering machine. This time though the message went on for at least 5 minutes telling me what the surgery hours are, what they are on weekends, what they are on public holidays (all the time I am watching him slipping into a coma) and FINALLY tells me they don't have an emergency service and I should ring another number of another practise. Which I immediately do and these people are in a vet hospital the best part of an hour away!!
I frantically grabbed the yellow pages and started ringing other local vets (of which there are at least 10!)and most referred me to this same hospital, two of them said they did emergencies for current clients ONLY and not to bother calling the emergency number unless you were. I called anyway, thinking that I would beg and plead and promise to become a regular (which I would have)only they didn't answer.
So there was nothing for it but to bundle him up and try and get to the vet hospital. Half way there my dear little dog died in my arms.

Until last night I had no idea my vet had stopped providing this service and it looks like many others in this area have also followed this suit. I feel sure that had I got him to the local vet we could have saved him. He will of course no longer be my vet and I will try and get my remaining dog in with a vet who offers a decent emergency service. But a word of warning, check what service your small animal vet offers. Especially if you are on a property and have JR's! I found out far too late.

22-01-08, 08:04 AM
I'm so sorry centaur your poor little dog :(

Suzie Q
22-01-08, 08:10 AM
Oh Centaur what a distressing thing to happen. Thank you for sharing with us, I will be checking you can be sure.

22-01-08, 08:14 AM
I am so sorry for your loss. Thats a horrible thing to happen.

22-01-08, 08:27 AM
Keep some liquid vitamin c and suitable syringes and needles on hand..

A dose of Vitamin C sure does help them, and buys you the extra time.

I have no idea how or why this works - my vet told me - and I have a list with approximate ml's for each animal type...

I know this is too late for your little mate, but it may also help you save the next one.


22-01-08, 08:45 AM
How terribly, terribly distressing, I'm sooo sorry for your loss.

Some years ago, we had recently moved, I was away & one of my cats was bitten by a snake, when my mum rang the vet, his first question was do you have cash to pay for the treatment?? WTF?? The cat was rushed in, antiveneen administered, but the cat went into anaphylactic (sp?) shock & died. The bill was duly paid, there & then with my mum in tears. When I got home & informed of his calous treatment, I spoke with other locals who told me they wouldn't take a dead dog there!! Yes he is in Qld & I believe he still practises.

The lastest problem, is that my vet takes an annual 2 weeks vacation each year at this time - no worries there, he works very hard & is entitled to a break. BUT there are no locums available to man the surgery for this 2 weeks (due to EI, there is a lack of qualified vets available) - so I am crossing everything, that none of my "children" get sick or injured in this period.

22-01-08, 08:54 AM
Oh Centaur that is just so awful for you. I would die if I lost my little mini foxie x tenterfield terrier, and to think your boy may have been able to be saved. Just too sad.

Our local vets (Bega) have a fantastic Emergency service for which we are so grateful.

Reg could you please email me the Vit C info/dosages etc if you get a chance? That would be incredibly handy to have on hand.

info @ karizmah . com (remove the spaces)

Karizmah Performance Palominos

PS My sincerest condolences for your loss.

22-01-08, 08:59 AM
I too am sooo sorry for what you had to go through and your loss.

It is so true what you say.
A couple of years ago we had to use our vets after hours service. Only they sent out a 'small animal' vet from further into the city way (Liverpool) as our vets did not have enough at the practice to have one on call - so they had this 'agreement' with another practice.

This poor dog vet guy tried to treat our mare for hours. We included I must say - didnt understand why she did not respond to what began as normal colic signs.
Hours later (and I'm talking we called at 4pm, our normal vet couldnt attend and they finally sent this guy out at 6pm.) at about 2am the next morning the mare finally died. In the end and upon reflection it was found to be snake bite.

He prob would not have been able to save her anyway, but I would have had her immediately euthanised rather than struggleing on with her and putting her through more misery. It was long, drawn out and not the way you want to see your 28yo mare go.

Anyway he did his best, not really his fault - but now I use Sydney Uni and they have a fab 24hr service and of course are very horsey and know all about large animals.


22-01-08, 09:05 AM
Jen, and anyone else - will go home tonite and check the list on my supplies fridge for safe dosages of Vit C for various animals..

Will post tomorrow for you all.

I (fingers crossed, touching wood etc etc) have not had to use it yet, but I am happy to pay for Vit C to sit in the frisge as a just in case.

You administer subcutaneously - which is really easy in cats and dogs...

Will get back to you all, unless someone else beats me to it!!


22-01-08, 09:37 AM
Thanks heaps Reg. You can ignore my email now, lol.


22-01-08, 10:29 AM
I would just use our vets home number, it is really rude, but if it is an emergency he would come out. he has been up that often over the last 7 years since we have used him that he still remembers our dogs names and he only ever comes to see the horses.

could you possibly do that? i think it is a bit rude that others don't do emergencys for non clients, but then if you were only going thru to the offices answering machine it would make sense

22-01-08, 12:02 PM
Thanks for the kind words & condolences guys. And thanks Reg, I will certainly get some Vit C as you suggest, I have lost a couple of JR's this way now. This one for some reason is the worst, he was the nicest little guy.
Still, it seems to be one of the facts of owning a JR is that you don't see many old ones. Nearly all our surviving pups have been ones that have pampered city homes!
foxni I don't have the vets home number, we don't have that sort of relationship. I do with my horse vet but not the small animal guy.
But yes, I will get the Vit C and keep it in the fridge because I'm sure I'll go through this again at some point :(

22-01-08, 12:30 PM
I am really sorry Centaur, how heartbreaking for you. Thankyou for posting and reminding the rest of us to update our emergency numbers.

Reg, is there a typical size (thickness) needle for dogs?

22-01-08, 02:02 PM
I have noticed the same thing and its very sad as so many die because the alternate vets are so far away.

I now know some excellent vets that do but you have to be clients but well worth it.

everyone its worth the ring round to find out you can can rely on in an emergency

Lisa an Gypsie
22-01-08, 02:13 PM
(((((((((((hugs))))))))))) so sorry you lost your JRT!!! I'm going to keep an extra sharp eye on mine when I'm down at the ponies :(

http://tickers.baby-gaga.com/p/dev065pr___.png (http://pregnancy.baby-gaga.com/)

22-01-08, 02:20 PM
Centaur that is a really awful thing to have happen. I discovered a couple of snakes in my shed the other day and am a bit paranoid now :(

I'm lucky I'm in a fairly populated area so there are enough vets for early morning call outs. Plus I have a couple of vets mobile numbers :)

23-01-08, 01:26 AM
gime, a 22G needle should be fine for both dogs and cats, and try to keep maybe some 15G on hand if you need to administer antibiotics, as these are often thicker (penicillin etc)

23-01-08, 02:23 AM
Small animal - such as cats and small breeds of dogs such as the JR - 8 to 10mls of Vitamin C, every half hour.. you can inject IM, but have been advised that SC is the best due to a greater surface area available for absorption, and is distributed quicker..

Larger dogs - like GR's, Rotties etc, 18 - 20 mls, same deal as above.

Large animals - ie horses, 30 - 40mls every half hour.

I keep a a variety of syringe sizes on hand, and also needles. For smaller dogs, I have a 22g needle supply, and as the animals get bigger I just use a bigger needle.
Please also note that it isnt the fastest thing to inject - you do have to inject slowly.. And choose a different injection site each time you administer..

This isnt a cure.. it just helps them until you can get to a vet. You also cannot overdose them on Vitamin C (well, you can, but you would want a lot of the crap in your fridge!!) The animals body will simply excrete what it doesnt need later...

Hope this helps.

Most times cats handle snake bite really well - they just need a little nursing and they are fine. Dogs, on the other hand, do not have the ability to slow their body processes down like a cat can, and the adrenalin rush that most dogs get does them no good either..

And dont forget to pressure bandage the bite area if possible - just as you would for a human... Sometimes its very hgard with pets though as nine times out of ten a dog will get struck on the face....


23-01-08, 02:34 AM
Sorry to hear of your loss. How frustrating for you as well.

I have a similar story, but it's concerning a horse. My friend had her horse on a property near Eildon, she found him in the dam constantly putting his head under water. She got him out but he was very weak on his back legs and his face was swollen. She called her regular vet, got the emergency number, rang that and it went back to the office. This was on Christmas day. She could not get her vet nor any other vet. She couldn't do anything but wait until the morning, by then it was too late, her horse died during the night.

I appreciate that vets have families they want to spend Christmas with but unfortunately animals do need vets weekdays, weekends and public holidays.


23-01-08, 02:44 AM
That is terrible, so sorry for your loss. Im in the Hawkesbury District of NSW and as far as I know this "Emergemcy" situation has been in force since December 2006. My little dog was very ill on a Sunday in February 2007 so i called my vet, got the answering machine message same as you did, so i did same as you and called othre locals only to find same as you did! I ended up taking my Dog to the Emergency clinic it was about 9pm at night, he stayed over night but they close at 8am on Mondays dont they so I had to go get him and take him to my regular vet and they said he shouldnt be off drip for more than half an hour, well my vet doesnt open till 9am! I was lucky when i called them one of the vets nurses answered the phone and they let me in early with him. For one overnight stay and treatment at the emergency centre it cost $690.00! So I tell my little dog, if he is going to get sick it has to be during my vets opening hours..lol

Its all because of insurance, to have after hours service a vet and a nurse have to be on the premises 24/7. It gets way to expensive for little vet clinics to do this.


23-01-08, 03:02 AM
centaur firstly so sorry for the loss of your little man, bit I also learnt this lesson the same way as you. Its not often you need the emergency services but you do assume they will have one or that there original one will still be in operation.
I lost my cat the same way a few years back, had to rush her to an animal emergency clinic and hour away that insisted on $700.00 upfront fee before even looking at her, of course we paid but unfortunately that hour travel and the 40 mins ringing around before hand to find a vet that would take her locally to no avail cost her her life. She died 15 mins after arriving.

I often wonder why vets go into practice is it really for the love of animals or is it a way for them to make money only.

We now have a good vet service which I have actually had to use the emergency part 4 times in the last month, think I have shares in the new consult rooms, haven't used an emergency service for 5 yrs and for at least 5 before that so you just never know but wise advice for any one who owns animals.

23-01-08, 03:44 AM
Thanks for the info Reg. Much appreciated :)

23-01-08, 03:44 AM
Hi, Sorry to hear about your loss. It is a shame that your vet, and the vets in the area are like that. My vet, who I actually do fill in work for from time to time, works every public holiday, including christmas day! The way he works it, is he diverts the practice phone to his mobile after hours, and if it is late, lets it go to msg bank, but checks it immediately, and if it is an emergency, he will call the people right back to organise to bring the animal in or whatever! I think he is one of the few that actually loves the animals, as I have seen one in our area that is only in it for the money and couldnt give a rats about the animals. My friend racked up around an $800+ bill with her little pup, and in the end, nothing could be done, and it sadly passed away. Of course she didnt have that kind of money on her, but when she went to fix the bill up, they said it had been taken care of.... he didnt charge her at all.
Hope you find a good vet like this in your area for future emergencies. I think it is nice to see that some people in this world are still like my vet is!

23-01-08, 03:51 AM
So sorry for your loss Centaur. how heart breaking it would be.
My thoughts are with you


23-01-08, 05:40 AM
Oh no Centaur I'm so sorry :(

Thank you for the warning post, I'm sure anyone who ends up facing that situation will appreciate it. Some vets will share the night shifts within an area so it's worthwhile finding out what the process is in your area.

I ran over my own cat coming in the driveway one night. He was at the other end of the paddock as I drove up the street, but I stopped at the letterbox and he caught up without me realising it :( I knew about the 24hour vet but that was half an hour away so I rang my normal vet first and thankfully he was there within minutes, which I'm quite sure saved my cats life. But it certainly helped to know my options up front in that moment of absolute hysteria.

23-01-08, 06:10 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about your dog :(.
Same thing happened when my mare foaled this year. First horse I had bred.
At first when she wasn't drinking I rang the vet and asked them to come out, she said she was busy with surgeries today and to just go home and leave them alone. Other then this vet the next one is over 200km away but I still called a well known vet in Perth for advice which was get the filly to the vet ASAP!
So I did and the vet did their job. Also took them in for a check-up during the week.
Then at 8 days old when I went to feed up I found my filly suddenly ill. I rang the vet and described her condition (won't describe it as its sad) and she said she's too busy to sort out a drip and for us to milk the mother as much as possible and get it down her.
We considered taking the mare and foal to the next nearest vet but at the condition of the foal and state of the mare (nervous) either we were going to have a float accident or we'd loose the weak filly on the way.
For 12 hours, every 30min we milked the mare and tubed it down the filly's throat and never left their side. Just after midnight we decided the filly was passed it and ONLY then did the vet come out to us and put her to sleep in my arms.
And since then I realised that the only time this vet has visited people is to put animals to sleep! Other then that they can't be bothered no matter how serious.

23-01-08, 10:02 AM
Please dont blame the vets for every bad thing that goes wrong. And dont make statements about them not caring and just being out to make money.

Money is important - they have to feed their families as well, and as for the caring, well they can only go so far. And when you see sickness and death day in and day out - after a while it has a numbing effect on you..

Its not that the vet cant be bothered, but they cant be in several places at once.. and they have to make the hard call of prioritising where they will go first...

And whether you like it or not, the ones that are loyal, well paying sizeable customers will often get first call... Not saying you may not be, but a large racing stable or such that are good payers will take precedent over the pleasure horse owner every time...

I also think its important for owners to find out as much as they can.. and something like a drip is easily done if you have been shown how.. and having a giving set on hand is not an expensive item at all.....

I think the vets do a great job, but sometimes things will just be.. sadly, thats life. And we have to accept that.


23-01-08, 02:05 PM
Sorry to hear about your JR Centaur. We lost our 6 week old puppy just before New Year.

Fortunately for us our vet does have an emergency service though sadly our puppy died within 15 mins of finding him. The vet - who came out but didn't charge us! - said that the snake was so big (our JR bitches killed it - four foot copper head) that nothing could have saved the puppy.

23-01-08, 07:42 PM
Sorry Reg but if an animal is on its last legs and needs serious vet attention and your refused that because the vet has simple speying to do then it is their fault, expecially if their the only vet in over a 200km radius. I was willing to pay for every animals board at the vets and any other costs to have my filly seen to but she simply was too lazy.
Their lucky I haven't spoken up and decided to leave it alone.

24-01-08, 03:38 AM
Centaur, so sorry to hear about your little fellow. :(

Reg, what strength Vit C do you recommend?

I had heard about high dosage Vit C for snake bite and keep the powder form & sterile water on hand in case of emergency, though was unsure of the dosage level. But its true that Vit C is a water soluble vit, so the body will eliminate what it does not require. For snake emergency I was prepared to just mix and inject :O , after having had our dogs bitten previously.

Our beloved kelpie was sick just a fortnight ago. Rang the vet after hours when we found a paralysis tick behind the ear .... why do these things always happen after hours and an even bigger question, how the hell had we missed the tick in such an obvious place .... anyway, the vet advised not to rush him in and to give Vit C until morning ...... see how he fares. *gulp*

I immediately shoved 3 x 1000mg tabs down his throat, with a further 2000mg the next morning even though he was so much brighter. 2000mg that evening and on the vets advice continued with 1000mg am and pm for the next few days. Dog is fully recovered, still has not visited the vet and I have a strong interest in the benefits of high dosage Vit C. (Also now wary of relying on Frontline too much!!!)

24-01-08, 04:14 AM
Sorry for your loss Centaur.

I am sorry but in the last ten years and since moving interstate I have noticed a growing trend in Vets to pick and choose and charge exorbidant fees for their services.

A few year agos we had a dog break its leg. We took her to the local vet her referred to a "Vet Hospital." Vet hospital said you 3 choices, put her down $80, amputate leg $1000, save leg $3000. My jaw hit the ground. I asked how could they charge so much as 4 years previously we had a similar injury that was fixed for $600.00 by a leading Vet interstate. The vets answer was, oh the cost of inflation. Inflation of 500% over 4 years I dont think so. Luckily a friend of a friend came to rescue and we saved her leg at somewhat cheaper rate.

We had emergency last year with our daughters pony. Called vet in Sat morning he looked at her for Colic and said keep in touch. Rang him at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon to say she was worse. His answer, I am going to a BBQ you have will to take her a Such and such vet hospital, 2 hours drive away.

We bundle her on float the float and take her, Vet there says she needs surgery at $8000.00 (which normally end up at around $20,000) to which I said no. I said try and save her but no surgery. They saved her without surgery bill was $4500.00 pay now, no accounts. NO pay, no pony leave surgery. We were lucky as atleast we got a live pony.

I know of this vet charging someone $7500.00 for a dead horse and If they didnt pay immediately they would be sued straight away. Person offered instalments to settle debt in a space of 2 months. NO pay now or be sued.

Now I do understand that Vets have alot of bad debts, but this attitude pay up front or your animal dies is just horrible.

I thought vets were there to help animals. But then I guess it a sign of the times.

25-01-08, 12:29 AM
I can assure you most vets do really care about animals, unfortunatly a vet practice is a business and must pay the staff ( That already work long and tough hours for very modest pay), cover the cost of all the drugs/disposables used, pay to buy and maintain expensive equiptment and the hospital facility, pay for insurance etc etc etc. Most of us - ie people that work at vet clinics - would love to care for everyones animals for free, and use all the most expensive treatments to try and save their animals - without it costing a fortune - but unfortunatly thats just not the real world. We all own our own animals and understand and feel the pain of all those tough decisions that are made, and we also wish it could be different.

25-01-08, 12:50 AM
Couldn't have said it better myself DQ. Although I sympathise totally with anyone whose animal is sick and the last thing they have on their mind is how to pay for the vet bill, I find it extremely frustrating when vets are constantly labelled the bad guys because they have the seemingly heartless habit of asking for money!

I face this dilemma almost daily at work and wish I could show all the clients the huge expenses incurred by running a vet practice and then maybe they would understand why many are reluctant to offer credit or are eager to know if they will be paid or not.

The bad debts from non-paying clients held by many practices I have worked for are emormous.

The cost of some drugs like snake bite anti-venom are really expensive and must be paid for by the vet whether the client pays them or not.

Like DQ, it would be great if all the sick and suffering animals could be treated for free, but at the end of the day, a vet practice is a business just like any other.

26-01-08, 12:28 PM
I'm so lucky. I live in Darwin inner suburb, my horse lives at equestrian club about 4km away at East Point. My vet, Ulick Wong, went beyond call of duty when my 14yo blue cattledog (that's a good long life for a dog in the tropics)was prostrate. He knew it would be 'the end'and arrived at 8pm from his home/clinic many, many kms from my place with his strapping son (aso a vet), gave the final needle and son picked him up gently and they took him away. I still cry thinking about it, I'd had Joe (Jalmar Bold Wayfarer)since he was a baby. Ulick also looks after my horse.

26-01-08, 12:47 PM
Yes .. there are 2 sides to every story.

I am currently sitting here at 20 to 8, waiting to feed my horses. But I can't because someone was coming to pick up their horse BEFORE 5pm! I sent the vet nurse home at 6:15pm and now I am wondering what the hell I am going to do with this horse I don't have a stable for!! So not all owners are perfect either!!

Having said that, I went to a vet type dinner several years ago which was predominately small animal vets. All they talked about was turnover, investments blah blah. At 1am, I FINALLY met a fellow who told me how he had saved a dogs life that day and was excited about it! It was qute depressing because it made me realise what paupers horse vets are and how we don't make enough effort with money!!! (LOL!!!). No, but, seriously, I WAS more depressed about the attitude they had.

26-01-08, 01:11 PM
"Still, it seems to be one of the facts of owning a JR is that you don't see many old ones."

Centaur, you are so right - we lost 2 just before Xmas - they went hunting and never came home - searched everywhere that we had seen them hunting before - no JR's - hubby has said that is the last - never again are we going to be JR owners.

26-01-08, 03:39 PM
Reg, ignore my pm, just saw your information, however you could still send me more information on how to give the injection. I've never injected an animal but would certainly try it as I also have JR's. :P THanks.

Bloody little hunters they are. :)

So sorry for your loss Centaur. Words cannot express . . . . .

27-01-08, 05:27 AM
Reg's advice is spot on I have seen this treatment work first hand.
Sorry about the dog loss of a pet is always hard.
Now as for the vets, I understand just what Centaur is saying.
I ran over our cat, so I rush ring the vet emergency service listen to all the BS on the answering service about the surgery hours, the emergency vets number (speed read so you have to call back three times to get it).Only to get a drippy women telling me his having his lunch can I call back.
By the time I rang around and found a vet to come in (close on an hour) the cat died again half way to town. I rang and sent a thank you card to the vet for his dedication.
Not vet bashing but like doctors they charge for all there training which is fair but have they forgotten people and animals have no concept of time and days of the week in order when to get sick.
I for one am happy to pay weekend rates if the animal is sick its sick thats all about the commitment of owning them

03-02-08, 02:45 AM
Thanks to everyone for your sympathies, what a lovely bunch you are! I have just dragged this back up again because I saw my horse vet yesterday and told him the sad tale. For a start he was genuinely upset at the fact that I lost my dog, (which just confirmed to me why he's been my horse vet for 20 years) and he was also ropable about the attitude of the small animal vets around here. It appears that nowadays they just want to be a shop front, sell that expensive dog food and a few flea and tick repellants, do the routine vaccinations and that's it. He has suggested that I write to the Vet Surgeons Board to express my disgust at the lack of a decent emergency service in this area. Particularly as it is highly populated and semi-rural ( and snake infested). Reg I also asked him about the Vit C and he said he didn't know much about it and obviously it wasn't a cure but that if it helped then go for it. So thanks for that and I will get some and put it in the fridge.
I wasn't exactly vet bashing by starting this post (although I must say I would like to bash my ex-regular dog vet, preferably with a baseball bat) just warning people to check what their small animal vet practise offers. If you have the genuine, hard working, dedicated vet like I have for my horses, look after them and support their practise (and pay your bills on time!!). If you have a 9 to 5 poseur, then piss them off and get a proper vet who cares before it's too late.

03-02-08, 03:07 AM
That is terrible news, so sorry for you loss. My local vet is great, luckily! He pretends he doesn't know me if he sees me during normal business hours as the only times i seem to need to see him are at 3 o'clock in the morning. When we first moved to Bowen my great dane got hit by a 4x4 and broke her hind leg- 3 am to the vet, me in hysterics and my OH trying to carry our boofhead dog. My vet (after getting our dog more comfortable) then gave me a hug, a glass of water and gave me lots of little jobs to do to keep me occupied (and probaly to shut me up).

There are some great vets out there, it is just finding one that you can rely on that is the problem. I hope your search for a good vet is over quickly!