Skip to main content

Gulf & Main Magazine

Pet Emergencies: How To Spot Them & Where To Go

Jun 26, 2017 05:21PM ● Published by Kevin

Gallery: Cape Pets: Pet Emergencies - July/August 2017 [5 Images] Click any image to expand.

Until human beings learn to speak Great Danish, Pekinese, Guinea Pig Latin or the Siamese dialect of a cat, we must rely on our powers of observation to determine when our pets are in pain or otherwise having a medical crisis.

That can be difficult at times, says veterinarian Lisa Monte, a partner in Vizcaya-Prado Veterinary Hospital in Cape Coral. Prey animals such as birds and rabbits often instinctively hide their symptoms in order not to show weakness.

Since we’re human, not animal, we may not recognize serious symptoms that we don’t share. And just like the person who goes to the emergency room with chest pains and finds out she has heartburn, we may be reluctant to go to the expense of seeking emergency care only to find out the situation was not an emergency. However, the woman with heartburn knows that in spite of the cost and perhaps embarrassment, it’s still better to be safe than sorry―and the same goes for our pets.

Fortunately, emergency care has become somewhat easier to obtain in Southwest Florida in recent years. Many veterinarians are offering extended hours and even 24-hour service. And among other options, there are full-service hospitals now in the area. No matter what the outcome, seeking emergency pet care can be emotionally as well as financially trying.

About two years ago, North Fort Myers resident Tanya Soholt noticed one of her cats exhibiting a danger sign: the inability to urinate. She took the feline to an emergency veterinarian and learned he needed surgery. She was required to make a $2,500 deposit toward treatment and her cat didn’t survive the operation. About $1,000 was refunded, she says, “but it really made me think about the whole process.”

Soholt’s regular veterinary office, Vizcaya-Prado Veterinary Hospital in Cape Coral, has since extended its hours and become available for emergency care. She’s happy about that development, she says, since she has a relationship with its doctors and feels more secure about seeking emergency care there.

To be prepared in case of emergency, check with your regular veterinarian for a recommendation if something happens to your pet after hours. If you will need to visit a clinic for the first time, find out what personnel are onsite or on call at various times and what initial charges will be.

So when is it an emergency? Dr. Monte of Vizcaya-Prado outlines indications that your pet might be in an emergency situation:

  • A cat that is unable to urinate or straining to do so.
  • A large dog that is bloated and belching.
  • Any animal that collapses or is weak and pale.
  • Any animal having trouble breathing, profusely vomiting, has bloody diarrhea or a broken limb.
  • Any animal that in the owner’s opinion is “just not acting right.” This may include more subtle changes in birds, rabbits or other prey animals.

Monte stressed that these are just general guidelines. Owners know their pets best. When in doubt, call the vet.

Written by Dayna Harpster, a writer, editor and accredited public relations professional who lives in Southwest Florida.

Where to get emergency pet care

  • Animal ER of Southwest Florida, Cape Coral. 239-673-7426, animalerofswfl.com
  • Florida Veterinary Referral Center & 24-Hour Emergency Critical Care, Estero. 239-992-8878, flvrc.com
  • Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists & 24-Hour Emergency Hospital, Bonita Springs. 239-992-8387, swfvs.com
  • Specialized Veterinary Services, Fort Myers. 239-947-0588, svsfl.com
  • Vizcaya-Prado Veterinary Hospital, Cape Coral. 239-574-2868, viscayaprado.com 

Should you get pet insurance?

Pete Cangialosi of Estero and his wife, Judy, have always had two cats. Not long ago, both cats had health crises and the bill for each topped $1,000. But Cangialosi never considered pet insurance. Until those situations, the costs for their care had been minimal.

Liz Kellar of Naples has two West Highland white terriers. One developed an autoimmune disease that eluded diagnosis for months, and in spite of a spinal tap and MRI which Kellar says “cost thousands.”

Dr. Lisa Monte of Vizcaya-Prado Veterinary Hospital says that insurance can be a good idea, “but you really have to do your research on the companies,” she says. “Sometimes they have limits for diagnoses, like foreign body surgery especially.” 

Health+Beauty july/august animals Cape Pets Tips
  • 2018 Tour De Cape

    01/21/2018
    08:00AM

    Friday, January 19, 2018 Pre-event packet pick-up celebration at Cape Harbour 5:00 - 8:00pm ...


  • The bounty of fresh, locally produced food is closer than you think! Check out the map for a lis...


  • Sanibel Island Farmer's Market

    01/21/2018
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    The Sanibel Island Farmers Market was established in 2008. It is a favorite outdoor activity for...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/21/2018
    11:45AM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • Mindful Retirement with Valarie and Nancy

    01/21/2018
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Are you thinking about retirement or enjoying it already? Have some hopes and fears about this ti...


  • Crimes of the Heart

    01/21/2018
    02:00PM

    The tragicomedy relates the story of the three Magrath sisters, Meg, Babe, and Lenny, who reunite...


  • How the Other Half Loves

    01/21/2018
    02:00PM

    Featuring Tony Nominee, Paxton Whitehead! One secret affair, two disastrous dinner parties, and ...


  • The Pajama Game

    01/21/2018
    03:00PM

    Conditions at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory are anything but peaceful as sparks fly between the n...


  • Experience deep relaxation body and soul as you surrender into restorative poses. Linda will shar...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/21/2018
    05:30PM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • A Tribute To Ella

    01/21/2018
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    A program honoring the “First Lady of Song” with Capathia Jenkins, Aisha de Haas, and Metropolita...


  • The bounty of fresh, locally produced food is closer than you think! Check out the map for a lis...


  • Open Painting at The Paint Escape

    01/23/2018
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Ceramic painting for children and adults, create a decorative item. Friday night offers ladie...


  • December 20, 2017 – February 16, 2018 Opening Reception: Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 6pm-8pm...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/23/2018
    11:45AM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • Surfside Sunset Market

    01/23/2018
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    The Surfside Sunset Market is located at The Shops at Surfside. From November through April, the ...


  • Wicked Dolphin Distillery Tour

    01/23/2018
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    We will take you through the steps of how we source our ingredients, cook, ferment, distill, in o...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/23/2018
    05:30PM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • How the Other Half Loves

    01/23/2018
    07:00PM

    Featuring Tony Nominee, Paxton Whitehead! One secret affair, two disastrous dinner parties, and ...


  • Noises Off

    01/23/2018
    07:30PM

    “Noises Off” is a laugh-out-loud farce surrounding an opening night performance of a play called ...


  • The bounty of fresh, locally produced food is closer than you think! Check out the map for a lis...


  • Open Painting at The Paint Escape

    01/25/2018
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Ceramic painting for children and adults, create a decorative item. Friday night offers ladie...


  • December 20, 2017 – February 16, 2018 Opening Reception: Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 6pm-8pm...


  • Medication Q&A

    01/25/2018
    11:15AM — 12:15PM

    Join American House Ft. Myers at the University Grill for an interactive and informational Q&A se...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/25/2018
    11:45AM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • Wicked Dolphin Distillery Tour

    01/25/2018
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    We will take you through the steps of how we source our ingredients, cook, ferment, distill, in o...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/25/2018
    05:30PM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • How the Other Half Loves

    01/25/2018
    07:00PM

    Featuring Tony Nominee, Paxton Whitehead! One secret affair, two disastrous dinner parties, and ...


  • Noises Off

    01/25/2018
    07:30PM

    “Noises Off” is a laugh-out-loud farce surrounding an opening night performance of a play called ...


  • 16th Annual Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival

    01/26/2018
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Fort Myers Recreation Division and Celtic Heritage Productions invite you to “Don your Tartan” an...


  • 16th Annual Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 10:00PM

    Fort Myers Recreation Division and Celtic Heritage Productions invite you to “Don your Tartan” an...


  • ArtFest Fort Myers

    02/02/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    ArtFest Fort Myers is best known for its annual juried fine art festival, which nurtures the arti...


  • ArtFest Fort Myers

    02/03/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    ArtFest Fort Myers is best known for its annual juried fine art festival, which nurtures the arti...


  • ArtFest Fort Myers

    02/04/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    ArtFest Fort Myers is best known for its annual juried fine art festival, which nurtures the arti...


  • December 20, 2017 – February 16, 2018 Opening Reception: Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 6pm-8pm...


Proudly Brought To You By These Community Sponsors