Emergency Clinic Visit

At some point, in many pets’ lives, pet parents find themselves in a position of having a pet that is ill or injured after their vets regular office hours. It’s the middle of the night or even the middle of a Sunday afternoon. It’s hard enough to be worried about your fur baby, but having to figure out what to do just adds to an already tough situation.  

During some of my relief shifts working weekends at a veterinary emergency clinic, I run into many different scenarios and thought writing this blog can help you and your pet if and when you ever find yourself in this position. Not only should you have a plan in place, but I also wanted to help you to know what to expect when you get there.

Questions that you may have:

Do I need to go? First and foremost, it can be tricky to determine if your pet requires emergency care or if it’s something that can wait until we open.  There is no easy answer to this question. The short version - if you are worried, you should go. Please be aware that these hospitals are out there for you and your pet, there are options after hours when Pikesville Animal Hospital is closed.

Where are you going?  Which hospital is closest to you?  Fortunately we have a few options around our area.  We primarily refer to two practices after hours - Pet ER in Towson and Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Catonsville.  We have confidence that our patients will be well taken care of at each of these facilities.

What happens when we arrive?  Much like going to a human emergency room, your pet will first be triaged to determine the urgency of your pets illness.  In some cases, your pet will be taken to the treatment area. It’s scary to have them taken away - but please understand, it’s meant to help assess your pet properly and to make sure they are evaluated appropriately.  Sometimes they will bring them back to you while you wait, other times, they may feel the need to keep them in the treatment area for observation. Patients are dealt with in the order of urgency first, time of arrival second, so please be patient.

How much does it cost?  Of course, this is often times a huge factor. These hospitals have a large overhead so things do cost a bit more.  The initial exam/emergency fee includes the veterinarian doing an exam and determining the next steps - whether your pet needs more diagnostics or if you are heading home with medications.  Emergency clinics do not have payment plans, so it is very important that you make the doctors aware of your concerns.

I hope this helps clarify some thoughts and questions you may have, and while, ideally, you never have to go - but if you find yourself in need, I hope this has helped!

Pet ER Towson: 410-252-8387

Catonsville Emergency Vet: 410-788-7040

Until next time,

Dr Covert


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