Everything You Need to Know About Emergency Vets
Here are some insights on what to expect and everything you need to know about seeing an emergency vet before you actually have to see one.
What Exactly is An Emergency Vet?
If your pet gets sick or hurt at home, and you find yourself in an emergency situation, you're most likely to call your vet. Of course, these situations rarely happen during office hours, and veterinarians usually aren't staffed around the clock - which then means you'll need to seek out an emergency vet. Sometimes vet practices work together to provide after-hours care or partner with larger emergency vet providers, so be sure to inquire with your veterinarian who they recommend in case you need emergency care.
Here are some of the ways that emergency vets and wellness clinics differ:
Full-service Veterinary Clinics
Some veterinarians provide a full range of routine care (wellness exams, vaccinations, minor surgeries, etc.) and they might also offer emergency vet maintenance. Many have an on-call veterinarian who can meet with patients after hours, although many times, they are only open during business hours.
More times than not, your regular vet will not be available to see your pet during an emergency - therefore, you'll need an emergency vet who can tend to your immediate needs and can also provide your pet with follow-up attention throughout their recovery.
After-hours Veterinary Hospitals
Many emergency vet clinics don't offer regular vet care, but Companion Veterinary & Urgent Care Center does. These hospitals are usually open when regular veterinary clinics are closed for the day, and are typically available 24-hours on holidays and weekends, too.
24-hour Emergency Vet Clinics
There are 24-hour emergency veterinary clinics in every part of the country. Some cities have many, and a few even have ability for pets to be picked up by ambulance services.
What You Should Know Before Seeing Emergency Vets
Even emergency vet offices prefer that you call before you arrive. It gives them time to prepare for the type of emergency you have and ready any necessary materials and medications they might need during your emergency vet visit.
Some emergency vet offices have specific equipment to help move a injured dog from your car into their clinic without hurting them even more. Calling first means they'll be prepared once you arrive.
Be Prepared to Pay
Emergency vet care is not affordable. Some clinics that offer urgent care services still offer convenient after-hours emergency care, but without the hefty price tag.
Expect the emergency vet or urgent care center to be transparent - speak with the staff about the general pricing upon arriving and after your pet is admitted, and many will ask you to sign paperwork stating that you agree to cover your pet's care.
Sickest Pets See the Emergency Vet First
It's possible that your pet is the last patient seen if the staff is caring for animals with more severe emergencies. Like in a trauma unit that is human, emergency vets treat those who need the most immediate attention.
It can be tough to wait a long time for an emergency vet to finally see your pet, but you remember to be thankful that your pet is secure enough that she can wait for the physician to see her.
Some Emergency Veterinarians Prefer to Treat Your Pet Without You Present
In emergency vet and urgent care clinics, pets have to be hurried into a back room where the vet and technicians can provide the necessary care. But will the emergency vet allow you to stay with your pet when the crisis is over?
It depends on the situation and vet's preferences. Try to anticipate being understanding when an emergency vet prefers to treat your pet without you present. Depending on the severity of your pet's condition, an emergency vet has to act quickly and with precision and it can be distracting to have an upset pet owner in the room while they work.
Have Medical Records Handy
Many veterinarians allow clients to access their pets records. See if this service is offered by your vet, before you're facing an emergency situation. In some cases, you may be able to access their records online, which can be a convenient feature to have when an emergency comes up.
Regardless, be sure not to forget to ask the emergency vet to forward their documents to your regular veterinarian!