Coming to the emergency department can be a stressful and confusing time. Here's a quick rundown of what you can expect during your visit.
Upon arrival, your pet will be seen by a triage nurse or veterinary student who will prioritize care needs based on symptoms being experienced and how sick or injured your pet is. You will be asked for a brief history of what the problem is. Often times the nurse will bring your pet to the treatment area for evaluation by a veterinarian or for continuous monitoring until the veterinarian can speak with you directly. If your pet needs immediate medical care, you will be asked for permission to start treatment immediately. This is called CONSENT FOR STABILIZATION.
A registration clerk takes information about you and your pet (name, address, age, breed, etc.), and your regular or referring veterinarian. After registration, the patient’s information (medical chart) is brought to the veterinary team.
History is extremely important for the veterinary team to be able to correctly diagnose and treat patients properly. You will be taken to a room where a veterinary student (or veterinarian) will ask you many questions. Often times the veterinarian will ask you additional questions for clarification. The veterinary team will need to know what the problems are, how long they have been present, what medications your pet is taking, and any pertinent medical history including previous illnesses, injuries, or surgeries, diet, exposure to other animals, and preventative care history.
- Medical Care
Every pet is assigned a veterinary student and specially trained veterinarian; however, we are all here to help you, so do not hesitate to ask anyone for help. The veterinarian will perform a physical exam on your pet, review the medical record and history that was provided, and then spend time discussing the concerns that you have. During this consultation the veterinarian will discuss the plan for diagnostic tests (such as bloodwork and x rays) and will recommend specific medical care. If your pet is well enough to go home, you will receive verbal and printed out discharge instructions. If it is recommended that your pet be hospitalized, you will receive an estimate of the costs of care that is expected, as well as contact information so that you may call and check in on your pet. You will be asked to sign forms to consent for treatment as well as provide emergency numbers so that we can reach you at any time.
After the visit your veterinarian will send a letter to your primary or referring veterinarian explaining the details of the visit.
Prioritizing Patient Care
Sickest Pets First: If you notice that other clients are being seen before you, it's because we need to treat the sickest pets first.
Feel Forgotten? If you think you've been overlooked, please ask someone for help. We will update you as often as possible.
If Your Pet Is Worsening: If your pet is waiting with you in the waiting area and you think your pet is worsening, please ask to speak to a nurse for a re-evaluation. If your pet is worsening, we will take your pet to the treatment area for closer monitoring and possibly start treatment immediately.
You'll meet many different members of our medical team in the emergency department. Each person plays an important role in helping our patients at such a critical time.
Please make sure to bring with you:
- A copy of any radiographs, bloodwork, and medical record from all hospitals your pet has been treated at.
- All medications that your pet is taking. This is especially important if the medications are compounded.
- If your pet has ingested a toxin, it is VERY important that you bring the packaging so that we can read the chemical name from the label.
If your pet will be hospitalized:
- Double-check your phone number, especially if it has been a while since you were here last.
- Bring all of your pet’s belongings home with you, including the pet carrier. These items can become misplaced and difficult to locate in our large hospital, especially if your pet will be treated by the different services we have available.