Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my pet is experiencing an emergency?
The following situations deserve a "closer look" by a veterinary professional:
- Altered consciousness
- Difficult, labored breathing or rapid breathing
- Pale-colored gums or tongue
- Excessive vomiting or diarrhea
- Refusal to eat or drink normally
- Straining to urinate or pass stool
- Attempting to vomit, but cannot
- Bleeding or hemorrhage
- Any wound
- Blood in vomit, stool or urine
- Blood from eyes, mouth or in saliva
- Any concern about the eyes or vision
- Non-food objects eaten or stuck on animal
- Exposure to posionous plant or chemical
- Physically uncomfortable
- Won’t lay down
- Won’t get up or move
- Abdomen is bloated
- Obviously painful
- Anything that causes you to doubt that your pet is okay
What is the process for having my pet seen for an emergency at your hospital?
It all starts with a phone call. If you suspect your pet is experiencing an emergency, please pick up the phone and call us, right away.
Once you arrive at our hospital, your pet will be triaged, just as you would be if you went to a human emergency room. Your pet's vital signs (such as weight, heart rate, respiratory rate, and gum color) will be assessed by our client care team. Then, if your pet is stable, he or she will likely wait with you in an exam room or our lobby until the veterinarian is able to perform your pet's examination.
If your pet is not stable, we may need to separate you from your pet in order to bring him or her to our treatment area for life-saving medications and/or procedures. We will need you to remain as calm as possible, and we may also need to know what your wishes are in regards to resuscitation.
It is important to remember that although we see pets in a first-come, first-served order, animals experiencing a life-threatening emergency will always be seen first, so you may incur a wait. And just like in a human emergency room, wait times are often longer on weekends and holidays. We have television, wireless internet, and snacks to help the time pass more enjoyably!
Why are some pets examined by a doctor before others, even if they haven't been waiting as long?
Patients are triaged when they come into our facility, just as they are in a human emergency room. If your pet is stable and others are in a life-threatening situation, your pet may have to wait while these other pets go "to the front of the line." We know it's hard to wait, but we also know that if your pet is the one in crisis, you wouldn't want it any other way.
Do you provide preventative care, like wellness exams, vaccines and heartworm tests?
No, we only provide emergency care and referral specialty care. We have a list of member clinics should you require a family veterinarian.
What is a veterinary specialist?
A board-certified veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who completed up to 12 years of college education and veterinary training. Specialists must first graduate from an undergraduate program, then become veterinarians through a four-year veterinary program. Admission to veterinary school is very competitive, and many people apply to more than one school. Upon graduation, both state and national boards must be passed before one can practice veterinary medicine in the United States.
To become a veterinary specialist, one must undergo additional extensive training after vet school graduation, clinical experience in the area of the chosen specialty, publish a clinical case or research findings in journal articles and pass a credential review and specialty board examinations. The length of time to attain the specialty certification varies with each individual, but is usually a minimum of two years.
What is the process for having my pet referred to your practice for referral appointment?
Typically, your family veterinarian will begin the referral conversation. If he or she feels your pet would benefit from a visit to one of our specialty departments, your veterinarian can contact us and talk directly to our doctors. It is important that we receive all of your pet's recent x-rays, bloodwork or medical records. After that conversation has taken place (or if you don't have a family veterinarian,) you may call and make an appointment with the appropriate department. Appointments with most departments are available Monday through Friday during normal business hours.
Will my family veterinarian be updated?
It is our goal to function as an extension of your family veterinarian's practice; that is, we strive to provide seamless, integrated care that includes your family veterinarian. We will keep your vet updated through verbal and written communication.
Your vet will also receive a complete medical record, including laboratory findings and access to x-rays or other imaging, when your pet is discharged. If follow-up care from an emergency or referral visit is needed, we will encourage you to schedule it with your family veterinarian.
Do you have payment plan options?
We accept VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Care Credit, a medical credit card you can apply for at home. We also offer payment options through Paymentbanc. PaymentBanc is not a credit card and does not require a credit check. PaymentBanc does require a credit recommendation based solely on your Social Security Number; however, the recommendation does not affect your credit score. You must receive approval and be able to pay a portion of the anticipated treatment costs prior to beginning care in order to utilize this plan. You must also have a checking account that can accept direct debits.