Road Traffic Accidents


Why Should I Bring my Pet to Willows following a Road Traffic Accident (RTA)?

Our Emergency and Critical Care (ECC) Specialist team works closely with our other Specialist services including Diagnostic Imaging, Soft Tissue Surgery, Neurology and Orthopaedics offering a multidiscipline approach to managing patients that have been involved with an RTA. This multidisciplinary approach enables a 360 degree approach to care with the ability to perform all tests, surgery and treatment in one location.

Round the clock, close monitoring by a dedicated Intensive Care team means that even the sickest patients will have the best chance of recovery. Willows has extensive experience in successfully treating patients with respiratory distress, life threatening bleeds, traumatic brain injury and multiple wounds and fractures.


Road Traffic Accidents

With the increasing traffic volumes it is unfortunately not uncommon for animals that have been hit by a car to be referred to the Emergency and Critical Care service at Willows. Animals who have been hit by a vehicle often experience ‘polytrauma’ where several areas of the body may be affected.

If your pet has been involved in an RTA, and even if you believe that they have not sustained a major injury as a result, it is crucial that he or she sees a Veterinarian as soon as possible. Once your local Vet has stabilised your pet enough to be transported or if your Vet is closed and cannot receive you, our Emergency and Critical Care service are able to see injured pets 24/7, 365 days a year.

Responding to Road Traffic Accidents

Emergency situations require quick thinking and action. Witnessing you’re an animal being struck by a car is a harrowing experience, the ability to respond as quickly is key to ensure a pet receives Veterinary care as soon as possible. An animal could unfortunately be hit by a car, truck, motorcycle or any other type of vehicle and the clinical signs will depend on the speed, impact and way in which the animal was hit.

In some instances, not all RTAs are witnessed and pets may return home despite suffering an injury i.e. escaped dogs or outdoor cats. In this situation signs of injury can include; collapse, hiding, growling and scuffed nails which may all be signs of major trauma.


How are RTA Injuries Diagnosed?

Advanced imaging such as a CT scan provides a quick and non-invasive method of diagnosing problems throughout the body including fractures, brain haemorrhage, bleeds elsewhere and a lung tear due to blunt trauma (pneumothorax). Monitoring will include blood pressure and oxygenation measurement, repeated basic blood tests to see progression of patient.

Our Intensive Care Unit provides point of care (bedside) monitoring, blood tests, and thoracic and abdominal ultrasound which enable our ECC Specialist and team to identify any life threatening conditions early and intervene where appropriate with fluids, blood transfusions, chest drains, continuous pain relief infusions, oxygen therapy etc.


What Treatment is Available following a RTA?

The most important goal following injury is to stabilise the patient. This includes; fluid therapy (aggressive fluid therapy when patients are in shock), analgesia and/or transfusion if ongoing bleeding (haemorrhage) occurs. Further treatments may include fracture repair, wound management, respiratory support and management of traumatic brain injuries.

What can I Expect if my Pet is involved in a RTA?

Many injuries sustained after vehicular trauma are life threatening, yet treatable with an excellent outlook. Other injuries, such as those to the head or spine, can result in lifelong problems such as seizures, behavioural changes and paralysis. Injuries such as bone fractures or a dislocated hip will require surgery and many of these dogs can benefit from rehabilitative care, such as physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.

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Emergency and Critical Care

Find out more

To assist owners in understanding more about Emergency and Critical Care, we have put together a range of information sheets to talk you through some of the more common critical disorders cared for by our Specialists.