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Services > Shock & Trauma

Emergency Animal Hospital Care 

About Shock & Trauma

Animals experience various forms of trauma, illness and injury leading to severe shock. Our emergency animal hospital routinely triages and treats cases involving animals which have been:

  • Hit by vehicles
  • Drowned
  • Attacked by other animals
  • Accidentally dropped or stepped on
  • Poisoned
  • Burned (house / barn fires)
  • Electrocuted
  • Septic (system infection)
  • Malnourished

Shock: The failure of the circulatory system to maintain adequate blood flow through vital organs. Types of shock include:

Hypovolemic shock can result from severe fluid loss. Causes may include vomiting, diarrhea, burns or trauma. Clinical signs include low blood pressure, high heart rate, and lowered urine production.

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Hemorrhagic shock can result from sudden blood loss from a laceration, ruptured organs, vomiting blood, bloody diarrhea, or surgical procedures.

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Cardiogenic shock can occur with primary heart disease, arrhythmias, or heart trauma. Other causes can include fluid pressure building in the pericardium (heart sac) or in cases of pneumothorax (collapsed lung or lungs due to severe chest trauma). Heartworm disease can be another cause.

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Neurogenic shock can result from primary nervous system disorders, toxicity, heatstroke, or head trauma. Animals in this condition often appear to be asleep or under anesthesia.

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Anaphylactic shock is a reaction to an allergy causing agent. This can be from insect bites, vaccinations, or medications to which the animal is allergic. Signs of this type of shock include hives, 'brick-red membranes', breathing trouble, vomiting, and sometimes fever.

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Obstructive or mixed shock results from a combination of low blood volume and obstruction of blood flow. A common example is seen in cases of 'bloat'. The stomach becomes twisted in the abdomen and then fills with gas. The resulting abdominal pressure prevents proper blood flow to the abdominal organs and heart.

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