We are fortunate in Rancho Cucamonga that many homes have block walls around the yards which reduces the number of pets we see who are hit by cars. However, when your has sustained an injury caused by an impact with an automobile injuries can vary from mild to life-threatening depending on the speed of the impact, location of the impact, and the age and condition of your pet.
When we are presented with the patient who has been hit by a car, we will attempt to determine the extent of the injuries through a thorough physical examination, radiographs (x-rays) blood and urine tests, electrocardiograms, blood pressure measurement and ultrasound.
After sustaining this type of injury, most pets go into a state of shock. This means that their blood pressure is so reduced from pain and possibly bleeding that they are unable to supply their organs with adequate amounts of oxygen. If left untreated, shock may become fatal. Therefore, our first goal in treating your pet is to reverse the state of shock. This is done by controlling any hemorrhage, administering intravenous fluids and drugs to help restore the blood pressure along with pain relieving medication to reduce your pet suffering.
Once your pet has been stabilized, we will address each injury in turn. If there are external wounds, they will be cleaned and bandaged until such time as is safe to anesthetize your pet and repair them surgically. If we are suspicious of internal injuries, we may be forced to the surgery as soon as possible, it, particularly if there is internal bleeding. If bones are broken, we will attempt to stabilize them with splints or bandages until we are certain that your pet is stable enough to undergo orthopedic surgery.
Frequently, when pets have been hit by car, they may sustain injuries to their lungs and/or heart from the blunt injury. This may cause bleeding in the lungs and/or in the heart muscle itself. As a result, many pets may develop irregular heart rhythms anywhere from one to seven days after the injury. These irregular rhythms can lead to a heart attack and death. Therefore it is imperative, that all pets be evaluated with chest radiographs, and electrocardiograms both at the time of injury and a few days later. All victims of automobile impact injuries must be kept very quiet and preferably caged for at least a week after the injury to reduce the chance of cardiac irregularities.
Fortunately, we have all the equipment to evaluate your pet completely here on the premises. It may take a few hours to complete our testing. After we have completed our battery of tests, will be able to give you a much more accurate picture of your pet’s injuries and his/her prognosis.
We know how traumatizing it is to have your pet injured and we understand your concerns. While we are completing our evaluation and stabilization procedures, we encourage you to remain calm. We are happy to have you wait in the reception area or you may want to go home and wait. As soon as we have additional information about your pet’s condition we will let you know.