In Manatee County, pets are now being taken away from emergency situations in an ambulance.

The dogs and cats in need of care are not riding with their owners, they’re being taken to emergency clinics by the Vet Care Express Animal Ambulance.

East Manatee Fire Rescue recently partnered with the pet ambulance service in order to serve pets of the community.

“They are in a situation where their pet needs critical care and they need the people there that are trained and equipped to do so,” said Cheryl Brady, owner of Vet Care Express Animal Ambulance.

Brady has been in business for four years. She said she recently partnered with East Manatee Fire Rescue in an effort to help pets who are involved in accidents, whether it’s a vehicle crash or structure fire.

“You’re too anxious,” said Brady. “You don’t want to hurt them further. You don’t know where to go. We know all of that and we know proper resources and how to get that pet the best help it can get in quickest manner.”

Brady, who believes this relationship is a first in the country, said she thinks this type of service is greatly needed.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 62 percent of all households own at least one pet.

Brady said they’re seeing more pets involved in emergency situations.

Dr. Ashley Kanzler, an Emergency Room doctor at Bradenton Veterinary Emergency on Manatee Avenue, said she thinks the new service will help emergency responders who don’t have the time or resources to tend to pets.

“Animals can suffer smoke inhalation, burns to lungs and skin and they do need medical treatment,” Kanzler said. “They can develop the same problems as people can, so it’s a very important to get them checked out as soon as possible.”

Pet owners who have used the service said they think it’s a great idea.

Joanne and Larry Hibbs had to use the emergency pet ambulance transportation service a few weeks ago. They were watching their 11-year-old "grand-dog," Guinness, when he became very ill.

When they took him to the Bradenton emergency clinic, he needed emergency surgery. They said after the surgery, they were told he needed specialty care from another clinic in Sarasota.

The Bradenton couple said that if it were not for the special ride, Guinness may not have made it.

“He’s a 130-pound dog, and if not for the ambulance, we would not have been able to get him in the back of the car ourselves and get him to Sarasota,” Hibbs said.

Vet Care Express Animal Ambulance provides both emergency and non-emergency transportation for pets in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Pet owners are responsible for all transportation fees.