How to prepare for an emergency vet visit

If your pet suffers a serious injury or suddenly becomes very ill, don’t panic. Veterinary hospitals and emergency clinics provide medical care in such situations. While an emergency vet visit is always a stressful experience, it helps when you know what to expect. Here’s how you can prepare.

What is a vet emergency?

While it may be obvious your pet needs medical care, it’s not always clear if they need assistance immediately, or if they could safely wait to visit their regular veterinarian. Calling an emergency veterinary clinic and describing your pet’s symptoms is the best way to have a trained professional help you make the decision.

Some serious symptoms could indicate a life-threatening problem. If your pet suffers from repeated vomiting or diarrhea, seizures, trauma (ex. being hit by a car or attacked by another animal), laboured breathing or choking, high fever, bloated abdomen, complications giving birth, has swallowed a foreign object or shows difficulty urinating, contact an emergency clinic immediately.

Call before visiting an emergency vet clinic

Even with 24/7 veterinary hospitals, it’s better to call before showing up. In case of a life-threatening condition, someone may guide you over the phone through basic first aid procedures to help stabilize your pet. If the clinic expects you, it gives them a chance to prepare accordingly. For example, if your large breed dog was injured, the hospital staff may have special equipment ready to better transport them from your vehicle to the exam room as soon as you arrive.

Triage and emergency pet care

Just as in any hospital ER, the condition of each patient is assessed quickly using a triage system that involves answering basic questions and filling out a medical questionnaire. Pets who need immediate attention are treated first, followed by pets who are in serious but stable condition. It may be frustrating to spend a long time in the waiting room, but it’s a good sign; it means your pet can afford to wait.

When it is your pet’s turn to be seen, they may be taken back to an exam room without you. Emergency veterinarians and veterinary technicians work in a quick, organized fashion designed to treat each patient and move on to the next one as efficiently as possible. the clinic’s instructions and trust the professionals who are here to help you.

How much can an emergency vet visit cost?

Emergency vets provide a specialized service outside typical hours when there aren’t any alternatives.. So be ready to pay a premium compared to a visit at your regular veterinarian. A staff member will usually provide you with an estimate early during your visit, ask you to authorize treatment and require a deposit. If you don’t have pet insurance and the estimated amount is beyond what you can afford, ask if any procedures could wait until you can take your pet to their regular veterinarian, while the hospital staff focuses on the most urgent needs.