Animal Emergency Care
  • Acute paralysis

If your dog or cat is experiencing paralysis it can be caused by the spinal cord and brain not communicating. This can be caused by some sort of disruption which can lead to instability in moving or even complete inability to move.

Paralysis can be caused by genetics or trauma that an animal just experienced. If your animal is having trouble moving it is imperative to take them into our emergency room. Our doctors are also neurologists and have specific specialties in addressing these situations.

Seizures are a common emergency and the most well known animal neurological condition that pet owners must deal with. Seizures for dogs and cats are much like human seizures where there is a disturbance in the normal brain function of animals that causes uncontrollable muscle activity.

Any seizures that last over 5 minutes or if multiple seizures occur in 24 hours, emergency veterinarian care is need immediately.

  • Vestibular (vertigo) disease

Vertigo in dogs and cats is when the animal has a sudden loss of balance, orientation and irregular movement of the eye. Often dogs will be unwilling to move and their head will tilt as they lose balance. Most often this disorientation will cause animals to fall in the direction that their head is tilting and be unable to regain balance.

  • Allergic reactions, hives or swelling; difficulty breathing

Allergic reactions are most common when it comes to insect bites or bee stings. If your pet has an allergic reaction to insect bites is swelling at the area of the bite. Other signs of allergic reactions include hives, redness of the ears and skin, excessive paw licking, scratching and butt-scooting. The most severe reactions can include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling and lack of mobility.

For any extreme allergic reactions immediate veterinary medical care should be sought.

  • Bleeding or bloody discharge

Any continual bleeding from a laceration, cut or puncture wound is a sign of an emergency. A vein or artery may have been damaged and can be causing the continual bleeding. Extreme blood can cause the animal to go unconscious or cause serious health problems. When bandaging wounds it is important not to do so too tightly as it can cause breathing problems for the animal.

Foreign body ingestion occurs when your pet ingests an object that should not be ingested. These objects can get stuck in the intestinal tract and are unable to pass through the animal. If the object is unable to pass, it will cause major discomfort and cause very serious health concerns for the animal.

Some signs that this may be occurring include vomiting, diarrhea, pain in the stomach, loss of appetite, inability or struggling to defecate and unusual behavior.

  • Pale gums

An animal’s gums are a fairly accurate way of determining if something is unusual or amiss. Ordinary the gum color of pets is a pale-pink color. If you are acclimated with your pet’s normal color of gums this will help you determine if there is any irregular coloring.  

If gum is white it could mean that an animal is experiencing blood loss or is in shock. If you notice that your animals gums are pale, immediately take them to the emergency veterinarian.

  • Pain or limping

If your animal is walking or moving with difficulty it could be sign of an injury. Your pet may be feeling pain and is uncomfortable. It is important to help relieve the burden of moving for the animal, allow them to sit and rest. Then it is important to take your animal to the veterinarian.

  • Difficulty urinating

When your pet is having difficulty urinating it can be a sign of a larger problem. Your dog may be experiencing a bladder stone while cats can develop “crystals” that can prevent them from urinating. If your animal is experiencing trouble it can be a sign of something bigger.

    Dogs that are experiencing heat stroke cannot be given water and be healed. Animals that are experiencing heat stroke must be seen by a veterinarian quickly or the animal can be at risk of dying.

    General veterinarians do a great job or helping animals, but they may not always be available when something goes wrong. In urgent situations, going to the animal emergency room is the best way to make sure your pet is treated properly. Emergency vets in Mission Viejo can act quickly and effectively to ease your pet’s pain and prevent your pet’s condition from getting worse. If you’re not sure whether you need to go to an animal emergency room, here are signs of the most common illnesses and injuries that need immediate attention from a doctor.

    • Laceration

    Laceration are the tearing of soft body tissue. These wounds often come from biting or tearing wounds caused by other animals, automobile accidents or even getting cut by a fence. Like in humans, the main concern is infection. These open wounds are often caused by uncleanly sources like the bite of a different animal.

    It’s imperative to immediately seek veterinary care to properly treat the wound. This will help prevent infection, unnatural healing or furthering of the severity of the wound.

    • Trauma

    Causes of trauma are similar to lacerations where it is a wound or physical injury that is caused by an external force. The specific causes of trauma are countless including motor vehicles, violence, abuse, bad falls, etc. If your pet has experienced an awkward and extreme fall or is attacked by another animal or person bring your animal to the emergency vet.

    Without proper care your pet can be exposed to further injury, loss of quality of life or extra need of medical care or surgery.

    • Poison Exposure

    Poison exposure of your animal should be treated seriously and swiftly. Many substances that are perfectly fine for humans can be deadly or fatal to dogs and cats. Common poisonous substances for animals include:


    Pesticides is one of the most common forms of poisoning for animals. Though these pesticides and insecticides are used to attract small animals or insects, it can also be appealing to your pets who accidentally consume these toxic substances.

    Toxic Plants

    Certain flowers and plants that are common house or garden plants can be fatal to pets. These include lilies, asparagus fern, aloe plants, among others. A common cause of these instances are celebratory occasions where flowers and plants are bought for promotions, graduations, anniversaries or housewarming.

    Though beautiful it is important to leave plants and flowers off to the side out of the reach of animals before making sure that they are ok for your pets to be around.


    Human or pet medication if left lying around could look appealing to your pet and if they consume too much it can be fatal. For human medication, common drugs like Ibuprofen can be fatal and should not be consumed by your pet. If you are concerned that your animal has it is important to immediately get them to the animal er.


    Antifreeze is a common cause of emergencies for pets because of the relative sweet scent and taste. Most antifreeze are toxic. Take your pet to the emergency animal hospital immediately if they have consumed.

    House Cleaner

    Cleaning products like bleach, potpourri, cleaners and many other laundry and house cleaning products are dangerous for animals to consume.


    Many foods that humans consume can be toxic to animals. Some popular ones include chocolate for dogs. It is important for owners to be educated on what human foods are not okay for their pets to consume.

    • Vomiting, Diarrhea or Severe Salivation

    Signs of vomiting, diarrhea or severe salivation for your pet is a serious sign of danger for your animal and could be life threatening. If there is constant diarrhea, blood in the diarrhea or in combination with vomiting or unusually tired/lethargic behavior, these are all bad signs.

    Constant vomiting is also a serous sign as it can cause severe dehydration and/or low blood sugar that can affect the strength and vitality of the pet.

    Heavy drooling can also be a sign of something amiss. This can be caused by bones or rough objects being lodged in an animals mouth causing pain, irritation, infection and inflammation. Other causes include motion (car) sickness, poor dental health, rabies and poisoning.

    Owners of puppies and kittens should be extra careful as the animals are younger and weaker can have serious problems arise from these situations.

    • Heat Stroke

    Heat stroke is a common cause with animals when exposed to extreme heat and sunlight. This can occur when dogs or cats are left in cars on a hot day or are in a home where there is no ventilation and have no access to water.

      When should you go to an emergency vet?

      You should go to an emergency vet in Mission Viejo if you feel that your pet is experiencing an emergency. If you are unsure, call your vet and let them know what you are observing. They will be able to advise you on the next steps you need to take.

      Is an emergency vet more expensive?

      In general, emergency care is not cheap. Depending on the emergency and your pet, costs will vary. If your pet’s emergency situation requires a specialist, the cost will increase. Overall your emergency vet in Mission Viejo will be more costly.

      Can you get free vet care if you're on benefits?

      Different factors determine if you can get free vet care while on benefits. It would be wise to discuss your situation with your emergency vet in Mission Viejo. A google search can also help get you some general information. If you are still unsure, feel free to contact us.

      What is considered a vet emergency?

      If your pet is experiencing an animal emergency in Mission Viejo, please take them to see an emergency vet. Emergencies require immediate attention for a vet to help your pet in need. Situations can be very serious and scary. Remember to remain calm.

      Are emergency vets more expensive?

      As previously stated in another question, animal emergency care is not cheap. Depending on the emergency and your pet, costs will vary. If your animal emergency situation requires a specialist, the cost will increase. Overall your animal emergency in Mission Viejo will be more costly.

      How much does an emergency vet visit cost?

      Every pet has an individual situation. Costs for an animal emergency in Mission Viejo will be high. If your pet needs to see a specialist, the cost will only increase from there. Give us a call if you have any concerns or questions.