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Ask/Answered is a weekly feature for reader-submitted questions. Follow the blog online at www.cumberlink.com:

Where in Cumberland County can I take my pet at night or on weekends for an emergency?

If you live in Cumberland County, the options for emergency veterinary care outside of normal business hours are limited.

Sabrena Hartley, owner of Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center in Lower Allen Township, said her center is the only place in the region west of Harrisburg for 24-hour-per-day animal medical care.

An employee at Holly Pike Animal Hospital in South Middleton Township also said she was unaware of any 24-hour animal hospital besides Rossmoyne in Cumberland County. The Holly Pike Animal Hospital’s website directs people to Rossmoyne after hours and on weekends.

Rossmoyne handles the full range of animal emergencies, Hartley said. According to its website, it expanded to 24/7 service beginning in 2013.

If a pet owner is unsure whether their pet’s ailment is an emergency or can wait until business hours, Hartley encouraged them to call the hospital for a phone consultation.

While no other animal hospital in the county is open 24 hours, many are open on Saturday or Sunday or as late as 7 p.m. on certain evenings. Most have their hours of operation listed on their websites.

It can be difficult to determine whether a pet’s discomfort is a sign of an emergency, and several animal welfare organizations encourage people to contact an animal hospital if they are unsure whether treatment can wait. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other animal welfare organizations, the following symptoms are often signs of an urgent medical need:

  • Abnormally colored gums, such as pale, white, blue or gray gums
  • Inability to stand
  • Seizures, especially if the pet does not have a known seizure disorder
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unproductive vomiting

Pets should also be immediately taken to a medical provider after experiencing trauma, such as being hit by a car, even if they appear okay, experts say.

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Daniel Walmer covers public safety for The Sentinel. You can reach him by email at dwalmer@cumberlink.com or by phone at 717-218-0021.

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