When your pet is in pain, you are in pain. It is the unsettling emotion all pet owners feel when dealing with a loved one in medical distress. Our beloved pets are indeed members of the family and unfortunately, just as human emergencies cannot be predicted, neither can our pets.
It can be as predictable as Murphy’s Law that a pet will need medical attention during the holidays, weekends or in the middle of the night. Animal emergency treatment clinics offer a pet owner the critical medical help required in what can be a time of confusion and the need for immediate action.
What Is An Animal Emergency Clinic?
An animal emergency clinic provides 24 hour animal care and is akin to a M.A.S.H. unit or the veterinary equivalent of the humans’ emergency room. Equipped with veterinarians, veterinary specialists, surgeons and state-of-the-art equipment, the animal emergency clinic strives to provide the best care during an emergency medical crisis.
While many emergency clinics are open twenty four hours, some clinics are open the hours opposite your regular vet. The night clinics generally open at 6 p.m. and close at 8 a.m. and are open seven days a week.
Visiting a 24 hour animal emergency clinic for the first time is quite a different experience than visiting your regular veterinarian. Being knowledgeable and prepared can help expedite the visit and in turn, help the staff triage your pet quicker to receive expedited care.
Whether an acute illness or unexpected emergency, it is wise to be prepared and help the emergency animal clinic provide the best care available in a crisis. A few tips from experiences can expedite the visit:
- Call ahead. Inform the clinic you in transit and your estimated time of arrival. The clinic will ask a few medical questions so they can be prepared upon your arrival.
- What is the current condition of the animal? Can you or should you move the animal from the car to the clinic?
- Is a gurney required? If informed ahead of time the clinic personnel can meet you with a gurney and assistance in the parking lot.
- Is the animal biting? Is the animal restrained? Animals in pain, which have never before exhibited biting tendencies, have a greater propensity to bite when in pain.
- Has the medical condition of your pet changed while driving to the animal emergency clinic? Keep the clinic informed of any changes that will assist their personnel to triage the situation upon your arrival.
Many visits to an emergency animal treatment clinic occur when your veterinarian is closed and the clinic will not have immediate access to your veterinarians’ records.
Animals with a chronic disease often have a long medical and prescription history that is vital for the clinic to know when assessing your pet. Bringing hard copies or an electronic copy of a pets’ medical record is extremely useful in an emergency.
Helpful information to include with the history:
- Medical conditions, chronic and acute
- Prescription history
- Blood results
- Food preferences
A medical crisis with your pet can cause fear, confusion and anxiety. The staff of an animal emergency clinic are uniquely qualified to provide medical support for your pet and the emotional needs of the owner.
Be assured the staff views the treatment as a team effort. The staff will consult with your veterinarian to provide a coordinated effort that ensures the continuing health of your pet once the crisis has passed.
Where To Find An Emergency Clinic
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accredits veterinary practices throughout the United States and Canada. The AAHA provides an easy to use hospital locator on its’ website.