Emergency Services

Pet Emergencies

Emergencies are unpredictable. That's why Denton County Animal ER is available to handle your dog or cat's emergency needs when your primary care veterinarian is unavailable (nights/weekends/holidays). If you are having an emergency, please call ahead at (940) 271-1200 if you are able so that a veterinary professional can prepare for your pet emergency. If your pet cannot walk, please let us know that when you call so that we may ready a gurney and the assistance necessary to swiftly transport your pet to the ICU area. After your arrival, our nursing staff will work with you to obtain information about you and your pet. We cannot predict our caseload from minute to minute but we regularly reevaluate each patient to determine which patient requires care most urgently.

In the case of a heavy patient load, we ask for your patience and we promise to keep you informed of any changes to the best of our abilities. If your pet is critically injured or critically ill, we will administer pain medications and other treatments necessary to stabilize your pet while we discuss treatment plans and patient care with you.

Recognize Urgent Problems

Prompt veterinary care gives your pet the best chance of a successful outcome and recovery. If you have a question about your pet's health, don't delay in seeking medical care. Here are some indications and situations when you should always seek urgent treatment:

  • Fainting, dizziness, collapse or unconsciousness
  • Bleeding in volume, doesn't stop (and/or is from a body cavity)
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Recent trauma (hit by a car, dog fight or animal attack wounds)
  • Seizure or tremor
  • Unresponsive
  • Lethargy, not eating, vomiting, diarrhea and/or elevated temperature
  • Blue, purple or pale gums or tongue
  • Cat open-mouth breathing
  • Toxic exposure/poisonings - ingestation of snail bait, rat bait, antifreeze, pills, medications, vitamins or any suspect substance. (NOTE: If your pet has been exposed to a toxin, please bring the product to the hospital)
  • Snake bites
  • Spider or insect bites
  • Painful and/or distended abdomen
  • Straining or unable to urinate
  • Difficulty walking
  • Paralysis
  • Respiratory distress (shallow, rapid or labored breathing) and/or coughing
  • Cardiac emergencies
  • Allergic reactions (facial swelling, hives and/or vomiting)
  • Dehydration
  • Lacerations
  • Fractures (especially open)
  • Burns
  • Heat and cold emergencies (heatstroke, excessive panting or salivation, shivering, etc.)

Immediate Steps

1. Stay calm for your sake and your pet's sake. Animals can sense if you are upset and may even become more fearful, distressed or aggressive.

2. If your regular veterinarian cannot be contacted, call ahead to DCAER if possible at (940) 271-1200. Our clinical staff will be able to advise you.

3. Be prepared with basic information: your pet's type/breed, age, the medical issue, time when injury/illness happened, and any changes that may have been noticed. We will give information specific to your situation.

4. Please be aware, even gentle pets may bite or become aggressive when ill or injured. A muzzle may be used to secure an injured animal, but it's not recommended if the animal has difficulty breathing.

Please download the files below for additional information on common emergencies and how to avoid them.

Common ER Questions & Emergencies (pdf)
Heat Stroke in Dogs (pdf)