The ABC’s in Being Prepared for an Unexpected Pet Heath Crisis

Did you ever notice that your pets most critical heath issues seem to happen outside your veterinarian’s scheduled hours? Even within their regular hours, it’s not always possible that your primary care veterinarian can see you immediately, or that they have the medical equipment for critical care issues. In those cases, an Urgent Care Veterinary Hospital can help fill that void and assist in unexpected health issues that just can’t wait.

At Freddie’s Place, we stand behind our motto that “we’re there when you need help the most”. The Urgent Care Veterinarian’s place in pet healthcare is a hybrid mix of everyday wellness care (vaccines, yearly routine health checkup, feline and canine dental care, Veterinary Acupuncture, Laser Therapy) and more aggressive pet health issues that need to be seen at a moments notice.

Here is a basic list of what most Urgent Care Animal Hospital’s should treat;

  • Excessive coughing and sneezing

  • Reoccurring vomiting and diarrhea

  • Eye discharge and squinting

  • Dehydration

  • Fever

  • Not drinking or eating

  • Toxin ingestion or eating excessive amounts of “danger” foods

  • Skin allergies

  • Upper respiratory infections

  • Urinary tract issues

  • Abscesses

  • Visible signs of pain

  • Lameness or limping

  • Wounds and lacerations

  • Difficulty walking or standing

  • Ear infections

  • Reactions to food or medications

  • Anal gland problems

Click here to see the full list of Freddie’s Place Urgent & Wellness Care services.

Another key difference in an Urgent Care Vet visit is the information you’ll need to have ready to assure faster and more efficient care. Stress and emotions are high for both pet and parent. Being prepared and armed with information… knowing medical history… and having a tangible “talking point” list about the current medical issue, are all critical to fast, accurate, and quality treatment at the time of arrival at the facility.

Plan Ahead

Your pre-planning and information gathering skills are important. The more facts and history you’re able to provide, the more in the know the veterinary team will have for treatment. So consider having a “Pet Preparedness List” in a quick access location.  This could be digital or old fashioned hard copy and should be updated monthly or after each veterinarian visit of any type.

The list should include:

  • Current Primary Care Veterinary Name/Address/phone #: The Urgent Care Team might need to speak to, update, coordinate with your everyday doctor’s office

  • Medical History: Details of any ongoing or chronic medical conditions, allergies, surgeries, last date of a vet visit/the reason for the visit, and a list of medications currently taken are all important to triage and treatment. Dates and details are key to form a solid medical history.

  • Current Symptoms or Signs of Illness: the more you can provide the more help you can be. Think, what/when/how… when did the issue start, exactly what symptoms you’re seeing, how quickly they are advancing, color and look of any discharge. For fear of poisoning; what did they ingest, how much, how long ago. For lethargy/vomit/diarrhea; when did start, what changes in environment or routine, how long has this been happening. Think what you would tell the doctor if it was you or a member one of your kids. No detail is too small to collect.

  • Personal information; in high stress situations having a written record of your contact information (address, phone numbers/additional contact point) puts that critical information at your immediate disposal. Even mundane things like the pets name, age, date of birth, other pets in household could he handy.

Should I Just Go Into the Facility?

Freddie’s Place Medical Director Dr. Alcyen Silva suggests that you always call ahead, even if it’s from your vehicle while in route to the facility.  Dr. S recently stated, “that advanced notice gives the needed details that allow us time to prepare for the incoming patient. We can access priority, clear an examination room, have a crash cart ready (if needed), and prep the staff in advance for the planned treatment of the animal.”

By calling in advance, you could also potentially avoid the stress and cost of the Urgent Care visit. The facility staff can advise you of the symptoms are critical enough for illness immediate treatment,  or if you could wait to see your Primary Care veterinarian the next day.

Calling ahead is a positive action for all parties involved,  but my no means necessary. You can always just go to the hospital and be seen. Keep in mind that patients are categorized on triage priority basis. While obviously important and scary, your pets excessive diarrhea might take a secondary position to a more life threatening patients need. Ask questions and be aware that things may be happening in the environment that you’re not aware exist.

What to Expect When You Arrive

An Urgent Care Facility Can Be a High Stress environment. Depending on the cases and volume of patients the waiting room at the facility could be crowed and stressful. After all, every fur kid in the place is potential  facing a health crisis of their own. This mean that loving pet parents are also likely freaking out, so your ability to remain calm and in the moment is crucial to your pets peace of mind… and your own. Arguing, being impatient, yelling, or confronting the staff is not going to make things go any faster. Ask your questions, show your concern, but consider others in the room. Be the person your fur kids think you are.

You could be there awhile. The cases that the Urgent Care Facility handle are more than the routine maintenance care. The critical nature of the visit will likely take longer to treat. There could be blocks of time that you are not with your fur kids during treatment, times when your are left wondering what is happening. You need to have trust that the trained professionals are working to treat and help your pet. Once information is available, you’ll be the first to know. Keep in mind that every time you ask for any update, you’re taking someone away from their job and away from a critical duty. It’s scary when your kids, fur or flesh, are sick. Letting the staff do their job is the best help you can provide your pet.

What To Expect When at Release

Every case for every patient is different  so there is no universal answer to this question. What you can expect is after care instructions, the facility to have information for your primary care veterinarian, and any prescriptions or medications needed.

In the case of Freddie’s Place, our staff follows up several times after the visit to check up on the patient. We want to be that trusted advisor and to assure there are no complications or questions about the visit or after care instructions. The Freddie’s Place Best Care Anywhere Team are all pet parents and pet lovers, so we take a personal interest in every animal that we see. Our staff firmly believes that anyone we see is family, and family cares for family long after the job is done.

In Closing

Your pets Urgent Care visit can be more expensive than your everyday veterinarian, so be prepared. The facilities are usually staffed 24/7, normally have more advanced treatment options than your primary care veterinarian, and have a better/more modern equipment. The veterinarian’s are skilled specialists in urgent care cases, and thrive in the fast paced environment. These differences can add additional costs.

If you have pet insurance, know what your provider covers in non-planned or urgent care costs. Not every plan covers this kind of care, so read and understand your plan.

At Freddie’s Place, we pride ourselves on having the “Always Fair, Freddie Friendly Price” for all patients. You’ll never see unexpected or unwanted costs on your bill. We believe that all pets should have access to quality care, and that pet parents shouldn’t have to weigh pet healthcare needs against other household expenses.

Nobody wants to think about their precious fur kids being sick. However,  if you plan ahead… if you know where Urgent care is available in your area… if you make a conscious effort to have the information you might need already organized… if you gather information on the current medial issue using the “what/where/why” method… if you call ahead to inform the facility you are coming… and of you stay calm for your pet… you can help make these rare urgent care events smooth and successful.

That’s our Dog Blog for this week. We hope you gave you information and ideas to help navigate the world of your pet healthcare needs. If you found this blog valuable, keep in mind that we have a library of other pet related blog topics available at our web home.

Till next week, we wish you good health, great times, and much success navigating this pet friendly world! Be good to each other, #FreddieSez!