4504 Outer Loop, Louisville, KY 40219 • directions to our 24hr Emergency Hospital Email us

Ph: 502-966-4104 • Fax: 502-966-3904

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Jefferson Emergency Outer Loop is it an Emergency?

Is It An Emergency?

Home • Emergencies • Is It An Emergency?

Evaluate the Situation

  • Is the situation for you and your pet safe?

Do not put yourself in danger

  • Do not walk or run into a busy street or intersection
  • Do not attempt to break up a fight between two dogs that you cannot control – get help!

Evaluate your pet

  • Level of Consciousness - Is the pet fully conscious, partially responsive, or non-responsive?
  • Heart Rate - Does the pet have a heartbeat? Is it normal, fast, slow or irregular?
    • You can check your pet's heartbeat at the point where the left elbow touches the chest when bent
    • Put your hand in this area and count the number of beats in 60 seconds
    • Normal Heart Rate (can vary based on breed, age and activity)- canine = 50-150 per minute, feline = 160-220 per minute

***If your pet does not have a heartbeat, begin CPR and contact us immediately

  • Respiratory Rate - Is the pet breathing? Is the pet breathing normally?
    • Looking at the chest, count the number of times the chest rises and falls in 60 seconds
    • Normal (can vary based on temperature, age and activity)- canine = 10-12 per minute, feline = 20-30 per minute
    • Open-mouth breathing in cats (similar to panting in dogs) is normally a sign of respiratory distress. Contact us for additional information

***If your pet is not breathing, begin CPR and contact us immediately

  • Body Temperature
    • Use of a digital or mercury thermometer is recommended
    • Carefully lift the tail and visualize the anus just below where the tail meets the body
    • Insert the thermometer into the rectum approximately ½ inch (just enough to cover the bulb or metal tip)
    • A mercury thermometer should be read after approximately 1- 1 ½ minutes. A digital thermometer can be read as soon as it beeps
    • Normal- canine and feline= 101°F to 103°F
  • Mucous Membrane Color
    • What does the color of the gums look like? Are they pink? Is the capillary refill time prolonged (> 2 seconds)?
    • Your pet's gum color will help you determine if the oxygen level in the blood is sufficient
    • Locate the mucous membranes by lifting the upper lip
    • Pink indicates that enough oxygen is in the blood stream
    • Gums that appear white, pale, blue, purple, or yellow are indicative that your pet is in a crisis situation-contact us immediately 

***Note: Some breeds have naturally occurring black pigmentation in the gums. The inside of the lower eyelid can be observed if your pet has black pigmentation in the gums.