Mt. Shasta Animal Hospital
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We know that pet emergencies are stressful no matter what, but we believe that finding reliable, comprehensive care shouldn’t be one of your concerns during a traumatic or stressful situation. That’s why we are open six days a week. Our specially-trained staff are willing to help in any situation and we have a network of providers a phone call away should your case becoming challenging.

At Mt. Shasta Animal Hospital no emergency will surprise us! We routinely see emergencies for car accidents, foxtail injuries and rattlesnake bites as well as gastric bloat and animal fights. We are prepared for all aspects of emergency medicine and you can count on us to care for your pet during both emergency and routine care. If your pet is required to stay with us for any period of time, we welcome you to call our staff to ask for updates on your furry family member. We know how reassuring this peace of mind can be during stressful times.

We believe in diagnosing problems early in order to determine the course of treatment quickly. We offer an in-house laboratory for quicker results and modern diagnostic equipment to determine immediate answers. These protocols are in place to get your pet back to normal as soon as possible.

Common Problems

If you are ever on the border of determining whether or not your pet’s symptoms could be considered an emergency, we welcome you to give us a call. Since our pets can’t tell us how serious their condition has become, it is important for us to be ready to act quickly and not take chances. In our experience, the cases that are “iffy” the night before can turn into the largest problems in the morning. We partake in no judgment as we act solely as an advocate for the health of your pet.

Here are some of the most common cases we see on an emergency basis:

Complicated Pregnancies

In effort to arm yourself with information for any potential problems throughout the course of pregnancy, ask your vet to provide you with an estimated delivery date based on when your pet was bred, and a list of recommended foods and vitamins. An ultrasound around day 30 confirms pregnancy, but a radiograph a week prior to the estimated delivery date is essential to determine the number of puppies. If your dog has been in labor 2-3 hours with no delivery, you need to bring her in for an exam to determine the safest delivery plan.


Throughout the late spring and summer, foxtails are quite common. What seems like a harmless plant actually causes enormous problems as they lodge themselves in the ears, nose, eyes, throat, and between the toes of your pet. These patients oftentimes require sedation to safely and comfortably remove the seeds so it is important to visit us if your pet comes in contact with foxtails or is suddenly shaking their head or licking their feet.


Trauma emergencies are arguably the most common, they are also usually the scariest for owners and pets alike. Unexpected accidents such as bite wounds, lacerations or car accidents are sometimes unavoidable and seeking immediate care is crucial. In these cases in order to expedite our diagnosis and treatment plan, professional exams, x-rays and ultrasounds are commonly implemented depending on the type of injury.

Emergency Problems and Toxicities

Should your pet come in contact with a possible toxin, the first step is taking a quick survey of the potential poisons around your home. Many pet owners don’t realize that common household cleaners, foods, plants and medications can be harmful to cats and dogs.

If you find the item in question or think that your dog or cat could have had even brief access to a toxin, bring any packaging or product descriptions with you to the veterinarian to expedite the diagnostic process. Do not attempt to induce vomiting at home or self-administer any remedies unless directed by a veterinarian.

When dealing with emergency situations, the most important thing to remember is to remain calm. This will benefit you, your doctors and your pet and can make the process move much smoother.

Listed below are some of the most common toxins that we see at our hospital. While this list does not encompass every toxin, it is a good guide.


Chocolate contains a chemical called theoromine, which is similar to caffeine. Because animals eat without thought, they are very susceptible to toxins such as chocolate. Dark chocolate is the most toxic while white chocolate is the least harmful. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, tremors and/or seizures.

Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Chives

These common cooking ingredients are toxic to both cats and dogs (especially the Japanese breeds). These foods can produce brown or pale gums, lethargy, vomiting and can cause unexpected collapse. Cats are particularly sensitive to these foods.


This toxin is one of the most common at our hospital, so be sure to tell your doctor if this is a possibility.

The symptoms include neurologic inconsistencies, seizures and gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, dry mouth or drooling. Some pets even develop physical signs like temperature fluctuations, dilated pupils or increased breathing and heart rate. Fortunately, the effects are short-lived and don’t cause permanent damage. Patients, however, may require supportive care such as fluids and active monitoring.

Moldy Walnuts, Blue Cheese, Moldy Bread

The molds that are found in these foods, which are okay for people in small portions, contain penetrem A, which can cause drooling, restlessness and even tremors in pets. If enough is ingested, seizures and organ failure may occur. Common treatments administered by a veterinarian include inducted vomiting, activated charcoal doses to absorb the toxins and use of sedatives to control the seizures.

NSAIDS, Ibuprofen

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS), such as common household medication ibuprofen, are highly toxic to dogs and cats, causing organ failure, gastric bleeding and ulcers.

Do not administer any sort of medication, especially NSAIDS, to pets without a doctor’s permission. What is helpful for pains and aches in humans is oftentimes harmful or fatal to pets.

Raisins, Grapes, Currents

Despite medical advancements, the specific toxins that cause harm in these fruits are unknown. We do know though that consumption, however, produces kidney failure and requires intravenous fluids to preserve renal function.


Rodenticides contain anticoagulants, which inhibit blood from clotting. Signs of ingestion may include seizures and/or bleeding in addition to internal issues such as kidney problems or major organ failure. Bring in your pet and the packaging, if possible, to the veterinarian immediately.

Salmon Poisoning

While this is not considered a true toxin, ingestion of an infectious organism found in some fresh water species is possible, especially in Siskiyou County due to all of our lakes and river. Cooked salmon is usually safer, but sushi or a fish found in nature can be problematic for pets. Common side effects include vomiting and diarrhea and it can be fatal if ignored.


Most common in the spring and summer, this toxic substance can cause severe seizures if ingested. Snail or slug bait is attractive to pets because it resembles dog kibble and is oftentimes sweet smelling.

Slug bait can also be found in liquid form, which your pet can come into contact with my licking his or her paws after exposure. If you are a pet owner, it may be in your best interest to avoid slug bait use around your home. Should your dog come in contact with this substance, a veterinarian may induce vomiting or administer activated charcoal.


This artificial sweetener, commonly found in chewing gum, mints, candies and baked goods, can be a toxin when consumption in large quantities. While it sounds harmless, it can cause sever hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or liver failure in pets. Signs of ingestion may include vomiting, collapse and/or seizures.