CASE provides around-the-clock emergency and critical care, 365 days a year.
If your pet is experiencing anything that makes you hesitant or uncomfortable, call us, we’re here to help! Even if you're uncertain if your pet is experiencing an emergency, you can take comfort in knowing that one of our skilled technicians will speak with you to determine if your pet is in need of medical assistance.
When should I seek emergency veterinary care?
We are always available to provide the expert care that your pet needs at a moment’s notice. While a call ahead is appreciated (so we can prepare for your arrival), you never need to make an appointment to meet with a member of our emergency and critical care team. The following symptoms should be considered emergencies and require immediate medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing, blue tongue or raspy breathing sounds.
- Swollen or distended abdomen, with or without productive vomiting.
- Inability to urinate or defecate, especially if straining. (Cats may repeatedly go to the litter box)
- Ingestion of toxin, including but not limited to: chocolate, rodenticides (D-con), prescription, over-the-counter or illegal drugs, xylitol (artificial sweetener), nicotine, and household cleaners. BRING THE CONTAINER WITH YOU!
- Trauma, such as bite wounds, lacerations, being hit by a car, falling from a height or experiencing a blunt force, even if the animal is not showing any ill effects!
- Collapse/inability to stand or walk.
- Loss of balance or consciousness, convulsions, or seizure activity.
- Bleeding that does not stop within 5 minutes. (Apply pressure using a clean cloth while on your way.)
- Vomiting or diarrhea with blood.
- Heatstroke: heavy panting, weakness
- Rattlesnake envenomation
24/7 Emergency Services at CASE
Our hospital is equipped with advanced diagnostic, surgical, therapeutic technology, services on-site, providing your pet the comprehensive care he or she needs all under one roof. We also are home to a variety of veterinary specialists in multiple disciplines to whom your pet can be seamlessly transferred should more specialized care be needed. Emergency conditions, illnesses, or injuries can involve more than one area of the body, meaning your pet may need help from one or more specialists working in tandem to provide the comprehensive care needed.
Below are some of the advanced emergency services that we offer at CASE:
Our hospital is prepared to provide emergency care and overnight support for critical patients. Our team also includes three board-certified criticalists, who is a specialist who has completed a series of advanced training, education, and test requirements on treating life-threatening conditions or injuries.
Staff members trained and experienced in the safe, effective use of anesthetics utilize the most advanced technology to provide low-stress pain management when needed, even for older or higher risk pets.
Dogs and cats, just like in people, have different blood types. We utilize a blood banking system to ensure availability of safe blood products. In this program, we separate blood into its separate components: red blood cells, plasma containing clotting factors and protein. Many disease states may affect one of these components. By separating these different segments, we can replace deficiencies in one or more area without exposing them to unnecessary products, reducing cost and potential side-effects.
Our hospital is equipped to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services to address your pets’ unique healthcare needs under the guidance of a board-certified radiologist. Our advanced diagnostic capabilities include X-ray, CT, and MRI
- A CT scan can substantially assist in imaging difficult regions of the body such as the lungs, nose and brain. Additionally, we administer a special contrast material, which can outline blood vessels with exquisite detail to detect some abnormalities, which can be present. As the contrast material enters various tissues, we can also outline different tumors or obstructions that may not be visible with other methods.
Our Emergency department partners closely with all of our other specialists to ensure your pet receives the most comprehensive care possible. Our doctors and staff also ensure we are communicating with you regarding your pet’s options for care every step of the way.
Some conditions may require urgent surgical intervention. Examples may include intestinal obstructions, bleeding abdominal masses, bloat, difficulty giving birth, ruptured gall bladders, neurological back problems and many other conditions.
- At CASE, we have a dedicated team of 24/7 on-call specialists, surgical technicians, radiologists and anesthetists to ensure that any patient requiring emergency surgery receives immediate care with 1-on-1 monitoring.
Our in-house laboratory facilities provide for serum chemistry, hematology, serology, urinalysis, and parasite testing at a moment’s notice in an emergency. We also use Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, an AAVLD accredited laboratory, for any specialized diagnostics and consultations that we cannot perform in-house.
Trauma, specifically vehicular accidents are unfortunately common problem, particularly in densely populated areas.
- There are a variety of potential complications which can occur as a result from this type of trauma including lacerations, fractures, collapsed or bruised lungs leading to respiratory distress, concussion, hemorrhage or internal organ damage.
- At CASE, we actively stabilize these patients and proactively search for complications that can delay or worsen recovery.
- Some animals may require repair of their collapsed lung, supplemental oxygen, aggressive IV fluid support, antibiotic and pain medication therapy, laceration repair or transfusion administration. We also have the ability to place and monitor specific IV and urinary catheters to improve patient comfort and rapidly identify and problems or deterioration in their status.
Ultrasound is a non-invasive technique to visualize structural changes within various thoracic or abdominal organs. It is often used in conjunction with x-rays to provide additional information about certain disease processes.
We can often provide information about specific diseases which are not available with other methods including gallbladder disease/rupture, abnormal fluid accumulation, heart function, abdominal or thoracic masses, lymph node enlargement, cancer metastasis, pancreatitis, kidney disease, stones within the urinary system, intestinal obstructions, amongst a variety of other conditions.
In some instances, we may also have the ability to non-invasively collect tissue biopsy samples without needing surgery. This can allow for a more comfortable and less costly way of obtaining a diagnosis with minimal anesthesia.
The process: Dogs and cats lie on their backs while ultrasound gel is applied to their abdomen. To provide the best images, the abdomen is shaved and ultrasound gel applied to the skin to ensure proper probe contact. This can be a very relaxing process for animals and some dogs may even fall asleep during their exam.
There are a variety of forms of heart disease which can result in difficulty breathing, weakness, collapse, pale or blue gum color, arrhythmia, heart failure, or abnormal fluid accumulation.
We utilize digital x-rays, ultrasound, echocardiography and real-time ECG to rapidly diagnose and stabilize any heart disease.
We work closely with our cardiologist to ensure the highest level of acute and chronic heart disease identification and management without needing to transport your patient to or from CASE. Our large oxygen cages house animals requiring supplemental oxygen. In this way, we can provide exact amount of additional oxygen required to animals of various sizes.
We have a ventilator that assists pets that cannot breathe on their own.
Unfortunately, dogs frequently have access to a number of potential toxins. CASE has an extensive database of possible side effects associated with a variety of potentially toxic substances. We also utilize veterinary toxicologists at the Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) allowing for rapid identification and treatment. Some of the most common toxins are not considered harmful to people! Here is a list of common animal toxins:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)- such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- Anti-Depressant Medications
- Heart Medications
- Sugar-Free Gum containing xylitol
- Some Nuts
- Certain House and Garden Plants
- Early identification, decontamination techniques, supportive therapy and proactive monitoring give animals the best chance for a successful recovery. Should your pet ingest any of these substances, call us immediately or just bring your pet through our emergency service. CASE is also the only facility in this region of the country to offer hemodialysis, which can clear many toxins from circulation.
Seizures can be a scary and unnerving event for any owner to witness in their dog or cat. There are a wide variety of causes for seizures including inheritable conditions, metabolic derangements, brain tumors, strokes, toxins, low blood sugar or epilepsy.
At CASE, we focus on identifying and treating the underlying cause of the seizure and work with you to avoid or minimize future seizures in your pet.
Acute seizure management is accomplished by controlling the seizure, complications associated with prolonged seizure activity along with serial neurological and cardiovascular monitoring.
A number of medications are utilized to treat animals with recurrent seizures. Often, a combination of drugs is tailored to meet the specific needs of the patient to allow for adequate seizure control while avoiding side effects.
Hemodialysis is a therapeutic option utilized more frequently in veterinary medicine to support animals in kidney failure and in some toxicities. Learn more: https://coloradoanimalspecialty.com/hemodialysis-at-case/
What to expect when your pet is being treated by our 24/7 Emergency Department
We understand that when a pet gets sick, it can be a very emotional time. We are here to provide the most advanced diagnostics and therapies around the clock to give your pet every advantage to make a successful recovery. It’s helpful to know what to expect should they require emergency medical care and/or hospitalization.
We offer emergency services 24/7 to any animal requiring attention when your primary care veterinarian is not available. As with any human emergency room, cases are evaluated in order they arrive at the hospital, however priority is given to unstable or critical cases. This means if your pet is fortunate enough to be one of the more stable animals, there may be an extended wait while stabilizing more critically ill patients.
Every day that your pet is in the hospital, the doctor will have an in-depth discussion with a designated family member. We will discuss your pet’s progress, available test results, hear your concerns, understand your goals, and work with you to develop a plan for continued care. In certain cases, we may be awaiting tests results prior to calling you. Of course, if we have a concern about your pet’s status, we will call you immediately to alert you to his or her condition.
We work closely with your primary care veterinarian. Once through the initial, critical phases of care, there may be additional follow up appointments we recommend making with them. Therefore, we will also be giving them daily updates on your pet’s condition and will send them an in-depth referral report once your animal leaves our hospital.
We encourage hospital visits. If you are interested in visiting your hospitalized pet, please contact us and our doctors will coordinate visitation. Although there are some exceptions, visitation is not recommended for days that your pet is scheduled for a procedure.
When your pet is ready to go home, we will provide written discharge instructions, which will outline your animal’s condition, remaining concerns, what to monitor for and how to care for your pet during recovery at home. We will also make recommendations for further tests or procedures as indicated.
We will provide an estimate of the approximate costs for the initial diagnostics, treatment, and therapy we’ve discussed with you. A deposit for a portion of the initial estimate is due at the time of hospitalization and the remaining portion is expected at hospital discharge. As a patient’s condition changes or various test results become available, the initial plan may require adjustment. We will notify you when the medical costs reach approximately 75% of the initial estimate and review the reasons behind additional costs if required.