How does the Emergency Veterinary Hospital differ from my Normal Vet?
Emergency Clinics or Hospitals are open odd hours and are often the only option when your primary care vet is closed. They are normally skilled in treating a wide variety of injuries and illnesses, such as medical trauma, neurological issues, broken bones and bites. They are often staffed with board certified veterinarians in critical and emergency care, so they might have capabilities or knowledge your 9 to 5 vet lacks. Their clinic’s are likely to have the latest, state-of-the-art, cutting edge technology and specialty equipment not available in most vet offices. So the positives of these treatment centers are clear, in many cases they save lives of pets that would not survive waiting for their normal vet to see them.
Much like a human going to a hospital ER, the Emergency Vet works on a “Triage to Treatment” basis. New arrivals will be evaluated quickly and, if not a major life threatening illness, could be listed behind others who have arrived with more serious needs and pushed to the waiting room area. It’s not that your pet is less important, it’s that your needs are not as critical as others who are waiting or have called ahead and in route. Quick decisions often lead to a less personal approach and a more impersonal treatment. Tension is high, the stakes higher and it’s not always easy to calm down upset, frightened and worried owners… this is part of the reason these facilities often seem cold and uncaring. Also, dealing in major trauma and death on a daily basis can force the kindest of hearts to protect themselves by not engaging at a personal level. It becomes business, a cold and impersonal numbers game.
Cost is another negative with most Emergency Vet visits. The odd hours, higher skilled staff, better training, top of the line equipment and ability to offer all of these things “on demand”, means that you will pay a premium price for these premium services. You pay for the extras, and often you need to make the decision for treatment in a matter of minutes. When faced with paying a high cost for saving your pets life, or not treating and watching them potentially die… the decision is often made before the questions are asked. The rule of supply and demand often rules in these facilities.