If you live in a city environment, chances are your regular vet clinic will use an after-hours veterinary service to allow their staff to rest and recharge after a busy day at work.
It can be quite daunting especially when you are stressed or in a panic to meet a whole new team of veterinary professionals and make decisions regarding your pet’s health so here’s some helpful hints for you.
Find out who your vets use as their after-hours service providers. Put their telephone number into your mobile phone and also keep a copy in the home and your car for easy access. Try and research where they are located and how you will get there. Hopefully you never need their services but if you do, precious time is saved by having a rough idea of where you are going to start with!
If your pet is on any medications (or has accidentally ingested medication or poisons) it is very helpful to have the names and amounts of these drugs, as the emergency vets do not have access to your pet’s previous medical history. For toxin ingestion bringing the packet can be very helpful to identify the toxin and quantity ingested.
Always bring your cat to the vet in a cat carrier. Cats can get stressed waiting in a room full of dogs and there is a chance they could escape whilst traveling. Likewise, all dogs should be on a lead to help avoid accidents in the waiting room!
If your pet is bleeding a clean cloth can be applied to the area to act as a pressure bandage for your travel.
If your pet has been hit by a car, or suffered major trauma transporting on a flat hard surface such as wood can be helpful especially for spinal trauma.
Seizures can be incredibly stressful to watch, try not to pet or soothe your pet as they do not have control of their body and may bite. Make a mental note of when the seizures started, how many and how long they last. Wrap your pet in a blanket or towel keeping the head free and bring straight to the emergency clinic.
If you do have an emergency please always try to call the clinic so they are aware you are coming and can prepare for your arrival. If you have a passenger, they can call for you whist you are driving.
On arrival the veterinary receptionist will register you as a patient and a veterinary nurse will assess your pet.
In the emergency clinic there are no appointment times, patients are seen in order of how severe their symptoms are just like in human emergency rooms.
When it is your pets turn to see the vet you will move into a consultation room and your pet will have a full physical examination with the veterinarian. They will discuss their findings and recommend treatment options which may include an overnight stay for diagnostics or further medications.
Be sure to ask any questions that are on your mind, this will help you feel more comfortable with leaving your pet in their care.
Often if your pet does have to stay overnight the veterinary team will call with an update so you can have peace of mind that your pet is having the full care and attention they need.
If your pet does not need to stay in the hospital, you will be able to go home, often with medications or specific instructions. A copy of the medical history will be sent to your regular veterinarian for any follow up treatment as needed, and if you need a copy of the records for insurance purposes be sure to let the nurse know at the end of the appointment as you are leaving.
The emergency visit can be a stressful one for you and your pet and wait times can be long. If you are not sure if you have an urgent need to see a vet remember at Vetonline Consult we are here to help assess that need and give you real time advice on what to do next.