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What to Expect When You Bring Your Pet to an Emergency Room

Jul 31, 2017


A trip to the emergency room can be a frightening experience for both you and your pet. Our hope is that understanding what to expect can help reduce some of the anxiety in an already stressful time. 

What is an Emergency?

Many pet owners aren’t sure when a trip to the ER is recommended for their pet. We have an excellent blog post on exactly this topic. You can read it here.

That said, if you think your pet might need immediate care, please call us right away at 757.935.9111.

While we can’t make a diagnosis by phone, our staff may be able to give you some guidance on whether your pet needs to be seen right away and what you may do to assist them during transit.

What Happens When You Arrive? 

A team member will assess your pet’s condition. Just as in a human emergency room, the patients that have the most urgent conditions are seen first and you may not be seen in the order in which you arrive. This is called “triage.” 

We understand that it can be frustrating if you have to wait, but please understand we must tend to the patients that need more immediate life-saving care.  We will keep you updated and make sure your pet is comfortable until our veterinarian is available to give you and your pet their full attention.

If your pet is in need of immediate stabilization, they will be brought into our treatment area so we can care for them quickly. We request you remain in an exam room or reception area and we will communicate with you as soon as possible to inform you about the status of your pet’s condition.

What Kind of Care Will My Pet Receive?

Once we’ve completed the examination, we will explain our care recommendations (called a medical plan). A financial estimate will also be provided so you can make an informed decision about the best course of action. Your written consent and a deposit will be required to initiate further treatment.

Be aware that an ER visit is more expensive than a trip to your primary care veterinarian. A 24-hour specialized veterinary facility incurs higher costs with additional equipment and staff, and patients typically need a higher level of care by individuals with advanced training and expertise. Having pet insurance (before care is needed!) can be helpful in covering these costs, and we also accept all major credit cards and CareCredit, a monthly financing program for those who qualify.

This is, of course, a brief overview but rest assured, we will tailor treatment to your pet’s specific needs. Know that your pet’s health, safety, and comfort always comes first for our team, and we are here for you 24/7/365 if you need us. Visit to learn more.

Category: Pet Health Tips