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Dulles South Veterinary Center

Referral Veterinarians

Common Pet Emergencies


Pets do not display pain in the same ways that people do.  Common symptoms of pain can be pacing, panting, agitation, rapid heart rate, and some pets may display aggression at being touched or approached.  If you feel your pet is in pain, please call Dulles South Animal Emergency and Referral Hospital immediately.  Remember that a painful pet may be more likely to bite when approached or moved.  Handle painful pets with caution.

Toxin Ingestion

Products that are safe for human consumption are not always safe for your pet.  If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to a potentially harmful substance, please call our emergency hospital to discuss your case.  As needed, our veterinarians will work with Poison Control (toll free, 888- 466-3242) to develop the best course of action to treat your pet. Please bring the package or what is left of the substance your pet ate. Click here for a list of food/drinks your pet should avoid.


If your pet has suffered from a cut or laceration, they may very well need stitches.  Only a veterinarian can make this determination, and it should be done as quickly as possible after the injury.  Prior to your visit, it is best not to disturb the wound.  Rinsing, or investigating the wound, may further the damage and could promote additional bleeding. Your pet should not be allowed to lick at the wound.

Breathing Difficulty

Breathing difficulty can be caused by a variety of reasons, but should always be considered an emergency.  Please call our Dulles South Animal Emergency and Referral Hospital to have your pet seen immediately.

Difficulty Urinating

Inflammation, crystals, stones, or blood in the urine may all be reasons your pet is straining to urinate.  If your pet is unable to pass urine, this is an animal emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention to avoid life threatening complications.

Vomiting or Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea are some of the most common pet emergencies, and can be caused by a variety of reasons.  Depending on the cause, the patient may become progressively worse very quickly.  Dehydration can onset very quickly, causing life threatening body conditions.  If your pet is experiencing non-specific gastrointestinal symptoms, please call our pet emergency center immediately.

Blunt Force Trauma

Many pets experience some form of blunt force trauma in their lifetime.  While your pet may appear outwardly fine, internal damage may have taken place.  Symptoms of internal damage can take hours to become apparent.  If your pet has suffered blunt force trauma, please call our veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Dog Bites

Although the entry wound of a dog bite may appear small, they often cause a great deal of damage under the skin.  Dog bites tear skin, fat, and muscle apart, creating pockets of air that can seed infection.  Waiting on these types of injuries can allow an infection to grown and spread. For this reason we recommend your pet be evaluated by our emergency veterinarian after any dog bite type of wound.