Avoiding a Pet Emergency Visit
Dr. Breanna Caltagarone
Few things are as stressful as when your pet is injured or sick. Trips to the emergency room can be riddled with stress, anxiety, and fear of the unknown. You can’t always predict when an illness or injury may occur. At AMH we are here to help you and your pets around the clock through these difficult times. Below are some tips to help try to prevent a visit to the emergency room and to help ease the process if you find your pet requires urgent care.
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Routine veterinary care and basic pet safety can go a long way to preventing an emergency visit. Vaccinations, parasite screening, heartworm checks, etc can help detect early signs of illness. It is imperative that young dogs and cats receive their core vaccines to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. For example, parvovirus in puppies can be fatal, can cost thousands of dollars to treat, but is preventable with appropriate puppy vaccinations. Prevent traumatic injuries by keeping dogs leashed when outdoors, avoiding dog parks, and keeping cats indoors. Make sure to pet proof your home; puppies, kittens, and many a mischievous Labrador are notorious for exploring with their mouths and ingesting objects or toxins they shouldn’t. Never leave pet alone in attended car, which can lead to life threatening heatstroke.
Plan ahead for possible emergency situations. Ask ahead of time what your veterinarian’s policy for after hours care is and where the nearest emergency hospital is located; have addresses and phone numbers ready. Have the phone number for ASPCA poison control handy in the event your pet ingests a possible toxic substance or medication. Keep your pet’s medical file in an easy to locate area and bring it with you to the emergency room for the veterinarian to review. Have a list of your pet’s medications and dosages.
Emergency care can be a considerable expense. Veterinary medicine is unlike human medicine where third party insurance companies cover the majority of medical expenses. It is our job to come up with the best treatment plan that works within your budget. However, the cost of superior medical care can be substantial in many severe illnesses and emergencies. Having a savings fund or credit card set aside in the event your pet needs emergency care or even a pet insurance plan can really help ease the financial stress during your pet’s illness.
Sometimes recognizing an emergency can be difficult. Our staff is always available to answer questions to try and help you determine if your pet’s problems require urgent or emergency care. When in doubt it is better to have your pet evaluated. Keeping calm and talking to your pet in a soft soothing voice helps decrease your pet’s stress levels as they can pick up on your emotions and cues.
In the unfortunate event you and your pet find yourself requiring emergency room assistance please remember to be patient. There is no way to predict how many patients may be having an emergency at the same time you are. In general patients are seen on a first come first serve basis; though those patients with life-threatening conditions or trauma are given priority. We care about each and every pet we see and strive to provide the best care possible.