Frequently Asked Questions
Will my pet be seen immediately?
In general, patients are seen in the order they arrive. More life-threatening cases, however, must take priority over others.
If you feel your pet’s condition is life-threatening, please notify us immediately, and the doctor will perform an examination without delay. As this exam is conducted in the treatment area, you will not be present with your pet. The doctor will, however, still meet with you personally to discuss findings and arrange a treatment plan. If your pet is in critical condition, you may be asked to sign a release allowing immediate treatment. Although we are often able to meet with clients immediately, the unpredictable nature and severity of emergency cases may at times create delays, just as in human emergency rooms. Unlike a regular veterinary hospital, we cannot “schedule” our appointments. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make you more comfortable. We appreciate your patience.
How is Emergency care different from regular Veterinary care?
Emergency care is available at times when regular veterinary hospitals are not open. As it is impossible for a daytime veterinarian and his or her staff to provide service around the clock, a centralized emergency center allows for intensive after-hours care by a specially trained staff with extensive equipment. Veterinarians referring cases to an emergency center want their clients’ pets to receive the best possible after-hours care.
The emergency center, however, cannot replace the historical knowledge and valued relationship you have with your regular family veterinarian. After initial treatment, all follow-up care will be done by your family veterinarian.
How much will emergency treatment cost?
A doctor must perform a thorough physical exam before he or she can determine what treatment, if any, is recommended. Following the exam, you will receive an estimate for the treatment plan that the doctor recommends for your pet. Upon approval, you will be required to leave a deposit in the form of cash, ATM, check, or charge card for the low end of the estimate. Please feel free to ask questions if you do not understand any aspect of the estimate or treatment plan. We want your pet to receive the best possible medical care.
Is emergency care more expensive?
Just like a human emergency room or trauma center, a modern veterinary emergency center requires more extensive equipment than found in typical daytime practice. Our hospital is able to provide ultrasound, endoscopy, blood gas monitoring, ultrasonic blood pressures, oxygen therapy, advanced surgery, and much more. As an emergency center requires immediate blood test results, our hospital has also invested in an extensive on-site laboratory. In addition, operating an emergency center requires a uniquely trained staff working long and difficult hours. As a result, the overhead in operating an emergency center is greater than a normal veterinary hospital. This is reflected in fees which may be somewhat higher than your regular veterinarian, but are comparable with all other emergency centers. Our hospital prides itself on providing excellent value in convenient, high-quality emergency care for your pet.
Can I bring my pet in for routine care?
We do not provide vaccinations or perform routine health care. Our hospitals provide emergency care when your family veterinarian is not available or your pet requires intensive care — no appointment is necessary. Our doctors and nursing staff have advanced training and expertise in emergency medicine.
In addition, each of our specialists has completed a rigorous academic program in his or her area of expertise, including years of advanced study beyond a four-year veterinary college curriculum. Until recently, only human medical facilities or veterinary teaching hospitals provided many of the services offered by the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center.
How does billing work?
Because emergency centers lack ongoing relationships with clients, and experience has shown that a significant number of clients at emergency centers failed to pay balances as promised, it is not financially possible for our hospital to allow billing. This is the current policy at all emergency centers in our area, as well as being the prevalent policy throughout the United States. The extent of care given to any animal is determined by its owner, the value they place on their pet, and their financial resources. As there are no government subsidies or insurance programs covering veterinary care, hospitals would end up operating at a loss and closing without satisfactory financial arrangements. It would be unfair to demand service at any business without guaranteeing payment. Our staff is, however, very willing to work with you to provide care within your budget. Learn More.
If I leave my pet, when do I pick him/her up?
If the doctor recommends that the pet be hospitalized due to his or her medical condition, you will need to make plans to pick up your pet for its return home or transfer to your regular veterinarian. The doctor should inform you as to an expected time of release.
As the emergency doctor may be unexpectedly busy, we rely on you to call for periodic progress updates. We will, however, contact you at any hour if your pet’s condition should decline unexpectedly. Please provide us with an accurate phone number, and keep a phone by the bed at night.