An emergency can be defined as a sudden generally unexpected condition requiring IMMEDIATE care. Our knowledgeable and caring staff can help you determine whether or not a situation requires you to be seen right away. Below are symptoms to help you determine if a situation is an emergency.

  • Persistent Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Rapid or Shallow Breathing
  • Labored Breathing
  • Straining to Urinate
  • Prolonged or Difficult Labor
  • Suspected Poisoning or Foreign Material Ingestion
  • Seizures
  • Bleeding
  • Unproductive Retching, Dry Heaving, Extended Abdomen
  • Sudden, Severe Lameness
  • Collapse or Loss of Consciousness
  • Trauma
  • Pale Gums

Patient’s seen on an emergency basis  are triaged by our team soon after arrival. Triage involves evaluating each patient’s condition briefly to determine the appropriate course of action. If immediate care is not required, your pet will be seen as soon as a doctor is available.  We give each patient the time and attention needed.  We appreciate your patience if a wait is necessary. Every effort will be made to ensure your pet’s comfort and safety while awaiting treatment.

Always remember that any first-aid administered to your pet must be followed by immediate veterinary care!

When your pet has an emergency, being prepared is very important. You can stay prepared for emergencies by putting together a first-aid kit:

  • Phone Numbers for your veterinarian and/or clinic. Central Hospital is available 24/7 at 203-865-0878
  • Gauze to wrap wounds or muzzle animal
  • Muzzle, a basket muzzle is the best option but a cloth muzzle will also work, (soft cloth, rope, necktie or nylon stocking) or use a towel to cover a small animal’s head. DO NOT USE IN CASE OF VOMITING
  • Nonstick bandages (i.e., Telfa pads) to protect wounds or control bleeding


Wounds—Approach any animal that is injured with caution even your own pet may bite when scared and in pain. Muzzle your pet. Apply firm direct pressure over any bleeding until bleeding stops. DO NOT use a tourniquets. Wounds often become infected and need professional care. Wounds of unknown origin should be approached with great caution because of the risk of Rabies. Use gloves when in doubt. Call your veterinarian.

Vomiting/Diarrhea—Trying at home treatments without knowing the cause may be hazardous to your pet. Pets can become dehydrated quickly from fluid loss and will need veterinary care. Vomiting and diarrhea is a symptom of a variety of illnesses such as bacterial or viral infections, gastric obstructions, pancreatitis, or poisoning to name a few. Unproductive wretching commonly referred to as dry heaving , along with a distended abdomen can be the symptom of “bloat”, which is a life threatening medical condition that requires immediate veterinary intervention.

Poisoning— Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control center immediately and write down the information they give to you. You should record how much your pet ingested, inhaled, absorbed or came into contact with as well. Call your veterinarian as most poisonings will require prompt veterinary care . If you know what product your pet came into contact with, save all packaging material and bring it with you to the veterinarian’s.

Straining to urinate—Straining is a frequent and exaggerated effort to urinate. Cats are prone to a condition known as FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease) in which their urethras become clogged by urinary crystals or stones. Veterinary care must be sought immediately, as this condition can be fatal within 24 hours if left untreated. Dogs having trouble urinating can be obstructed as well but for different reason and should be examined by your veterinarian immediately as well.

Eye Injuries—If your pet is squinting or protecting its eye, there was trauma to the eye, or there is abnormal appearance of the eye, seek veterinary care immediately. Eyes are fragile and just a few minutes could mean the difference between sight and blindness.

Difficult labor— At the beginning of labor contractions may be infrequent, weak or incomplete. If the contractions are frequent, regular and strong and no young are produced within 30-60minutes call your veterinarian. You should also seek veterinary care if the gestation date is past 65 days, a fetus seems stuck in the birth canal or if greater than 4 hours pass between newborns and you expect more. Dogs and cats experience labor and delivery very differently. You should educate yourself completely before your pet goes into labor and consult with your veterinarian on what to expect.

Seizures— Symptoms include convulsions, salivation (drooling), loss of control of urine or stool, violent muscle twitching, or loss of consciousness. Move your pet away from stairs or objects that could be harmful (table corners, decks, etc). The use of a blanket can help provide padding and keep your pet safe. Seizuring animals may snap involuntarily, be very cautious when handling. Time the seizure, keep your pet in a quiet area away from external stimuli and call your veterinarian immediately.

Labored breathing—This is a symptom of various medical conditions such as pulmonary diseaseheart related problems, poisonings, or metabolic disorders. Veterinary care is required promptly for diagnostics and treatment.

Bee Stings/Insect Bites—Any insect or spider can cause problems if they bite or sting your pet. Some pets can have an allergic reaction to an insect sting. DO NOT administer any medication without first contacting the office.