Pittwater Animal Hospital
Northside After-Hours
Emergency Veterinary Service
335 Mona Vale Road, Terrey Hills
Weeknights: 7pm till 8am
Weekends Sat 12 noon till Mon 8am
All Public Holidays 24hrs

Car Accidents
Tick Poisoning
Animal Attacks

Emergency Clinic

Northside Emergency Service

Although we have the longest consultation hours on the Northern Beaches, we have to sleep too. Unfortunately, animals can suddenly require professional care at any time. That's why we are a member of the Northside After-Hours Emergency Veterinary Service. They have an experienced veterinary surgeon on duty all night, every night. And now after years of sharing hospital space, they have their own brand new, purpose-built premises at Terrey Hills, near the Forest Way intersection and Fresh Fruit Market. The phone number is the same as always.

IMPORTANT: Always phone to tell them you are on your way.

If they feel it's necessary, the Emergency Centre will contact us after hours for further information about your pet. And if you are worried about how it's doing and would like us to become involved, just ask the veterinarian on duty in Forestville to contact any of us once PAH is open.

Once your pet is ready to travel, we'll arrange to have it transported back to Pittwater Animal Hospital as a free service. Then we can continue to look after its convalescence.

Immediately below you'll find first aid advice regarding the most common emergencies we see:

Car Accidents - If your pet is hit by a motor vehicle, the first thing to do is get it off the road. But be careful, not only of traffic but your pet as well. You don't want to cause any further injury, nor do you want to be hurt yourself. Even the most friendly and gentle pet can bite indiscriminately when it's in pain. Using a muzzle fashioned from a belt could well be prudent. A blanket provides a good means to gather up your pet to move it.

Depending on the severity of its injury, your pet could be in some degree of shock, so you should keep it warm and offer reassurance. If the injuries look bad, you should always seek immediate help. Otherwise you can offer first aid yourself until you bring your pet to us at PAH. It's always best that car accident victims have a proper examination. While fractures might be your first concern, they're generally not life threatening. What we will be looking for are more worrying problems in the chest or abdomen. Even if your pet looks fine, we would still caution you about such hidden problems as a ruptured bladder or internal bleeding.

If your pet is breathing fast or its gums are pale, it could be going into shock. If it is bleeding, apply pressure with gauze swabs and a firmly applied bandage. Call the Emergency Clinic to let them know you are on your way.

Tick Poisoning - This very dangerous toxin causes paralysis of many muscle groups, progressively worsening over one to four days. If your dog or cat is unable to stand and breathing heavily with a grunt, there's no time to waste. If PAH is closed, call the Emergency Clinic to alert them that you're bringing your pet in. You should search your pet for ticks and remove any you find with a tick hook (available at PAH), then keep the animal cool and calm. Do not offer food or drink; its ability to swallow could be impaired.

Poisoning - Chemical poisonings and snake bites can be very serious problems that need immediate attention, whereas spider bites (even by those dangerous to humans) and bee stings are less serious. However, if your pet develops swelling or other reactions, call the Emergency Clinic.

Snail Baits. Some of these products are highly toxic to both dogs and cats. Whether you've actually witnessed your pet eating snail bait or if he or she is showing signs such as salivating, trembling or convulsing, you should immediately get in touch with PAH or the Emergency Clinic (if it's after hours). In either instance, bring the bait package with you so the most appropriate antidote can be given.

Needless to say, when you lay the baits in areas inaccessible to your pet(s) and store the boxes in a similarly safe place, you shouldn't have any worries. Also, using baits with bittering agents and pet deterrents makes more sense than using those without. However, even the latter are not totally safe; pets die from them regularly.

Rat and Mouse Baits. Rodenticides, as they're known, are also toxic. Some rat baits contain poison that stops blood clotting, which we can usually control with Vitamin K treatment. But other products contain a chemical which causes calcium to be deposited in the kidneys and other organs, resulting in death. There is no known antidote to this poison.

A major problem with rat poisons is that the signs might not show up for several days - even weeks - after the baits have been ingested. If you're sure your pet has eaten one of these baits, you should try to get him or her to vomit and then give activated charcoal which will work to absorb residual poison. If your pet won't vomit, you should immediately contact PAH or the Emergency Clinic. Even if your pet does vomit and appears quite normal, you should still contact us at PAH within 24 hours. In either instance, bring the bait package with you so the most appropriate antidote can be given.

Snake Bites. As with humans, snake bites can be extremely serious and demand immediate attention. And, as with humans, it helps greatly to identify the snake responsible so the correct antivenene can be administered. (Don't kill it; you'd be breaking the law.) If you have seen your pet being bitten and recognise the snake as a brown, red-bellied black or tiger snake, you should seek veterinary care right away. Where the bite is on the leg you should apply a pressure bandage.

If you've spotted such a poisonous snake near your pet but haven't actually witnessed an attack, stay alert for signs including breathing difficulty, dilated pupils, weakness or loss of balance, tremors, collapse, convulsions and/or vomiting. As soon as you see any such symptoms, contact PAH or the Emergency Clinic. Meanwhile, keep your pet as still as possible. Signs should appear within four hours if it was bitten.

Animal Attacks - Bites by other animals can cause lacerations, blood loss, broken bones and deep, life-threatening infections. Because the teeth will have pushed skin and hair into the wound, it must be throughly flushed out to allow successful healing. However, beneath the bite wounds there's often much more serious damage to the underlying muscles. Such injuries usually require cleaning and suturing under a general anaesthetic. Worse still, when a large dog picks up a smaller dog or cat and shakes it, the lungs could be punctured and/or the spine fractured.

If your pet is attacked by another animal, you should watch to see whether it can stand and walk and breathe properly. If there's bleeding, apply a pressure bandage. Then bring your pet to us or the Emergency Clinic for assessment and appropriate treatment (antibiotics are usually necessary).

Seizures or Fits - The cause generally will be either poison (as discussed above) or epilepsy, even in instances where your pet has never before shown any indication of the condition. It's essential to avoid stimulating your pet (reduce bright lights and keep it calm) and to make sure it can't hurt itelf during the seizure. You should also take care to avoid being bitten.

Don't hesitate to contact PAH or the Emergency Clinic if the fit continues, your pet experiences repeated seizures or you suspect poisoning. If the fit does stop, you should bring your pet to PAH as soon as possible so that we can determine the cause and advise on future action.

In either case, it will help the vet in assessing the situation if you're able to time how long the seizures last.