Every day we work with clients that have needed to take their pet in for emergency care and realize that this can be a stressful experience – your pet may be hurt and scared and you are having to take him to an unfamiliar place and may not know what to expect. We want to take this opportunity to describe the process of an emergency visit to the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas to help you be prepared should you ever find yourself in this situation.
Medical problems in your pet can arise unexpectedly at inconvenient times. This can range from a true life threatening emergency to a painful ear infection. For such occasions we are fortunate to have a trusted relationship with an exceptional team at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas (VSH), a 24 hour emergency and specialty hospital that is there to help after hours until we reopen. When you call our office after hours, you will be given the option to connect directly with the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas. They will advise you as to the urgency of the medical situation and if your pet should be evaluated by their 24 hour emergency service. Alternatively, if appropriate, they may provide some advice for at home care until our office reopens. In any circumstance, if you feel the problem can’t wait, they will gladly provide an evaluation and recommendations.
Veterinary Specialty Hospital has three locations in the Triangle (Cary, Durham and North Raleigh), with the North Raleigh location being the most convenient to our office (4640 Paragon Park Rd., Raleigh, NC 27616 – On Capital Blvd, just north of I-540).
Once you arrive at VSH, your pet will be seen within minutes by a triage nurse to determine the urgency of the situation. Like all emergency rooms human or animal, patients are triaged and treated based on the severity and life threatening nature of their condition. The staff will make every effort to have your pet seen by an emergency veterinarian as quickly as possible and keep you informed if other more critical patients need to be treated first, requiring a wait time. As soon as possible an emergency doctor will talk with you to get a more complete medical history and perform a thorough examination of your pet. The emergency doctors at VSH all have advanced training after veterinary school or multiple years of experience in emergency medicine. Based on their assessment, they will make the best recommendations for the care of your pet but will also provide options for different levels of care and associated risks. If they deem the problem is not too serious, your pet may be treated as an outpatient. In this case, a summary discharge sheet with care instructions and recommendations on when to follow up with your veterinarian at Falls Village will be sent home. A copy of this discharge summary will also be provided to us via electronic means.
Hospitalization and further care may be recommended if the problem is more serious or uncertain. Hospitalization could be needed for such reasons as additional diagnostic tests (radiographs, blood tests, etc), intravenous therapy, close patient monitoring or even emergency surgery. You will be given a plan for initial treatments and tests for the care of your pet. This will be accompanied by a financial estimate from which a deposit of the low end of the estimate range will be collected. You will also sign a consent form for the procedures and treatments you authorize. Once hospitalized, a team of veterinary nurses and doctors will be caring for your pet 24 hours a day. If needed, VSH has a staff of other specialists including internists, radiologists and surgeons that can be consulted. All of these specialists have completed rigorous residency training programs and board-certification examinations. For instance if serious emergency surgery were deemed necessary, one of these board certified surgeons is on call to come to the hospital to perform surgery along with a trained veterinary nurse anesthetist.
Regardless of the course of events, once Falls Village Veterinary Hospital has reopened, communications between your doctor here, yourself and the veterinarians at VSH will occur so that the best continued care based on your needs and your pet’s needs can be provided. At times your pet may have improved enough to go home with a recheck visit to be scheduled at our hospital as appropriate. Sometimes, your pet will be transferred directly back to our hospital for continued care. Your pet may also stay at VSH if needed due to an unstable condition, the need for more extensive testing or treatments, or if consultation with a specialist is needed. In those cases, continued communication between your VSH doctors and your Falls Village veterinarian will occur to make sure that all involved are up to date with your pet’s progress.
By building a trusted relationship with the team at VSH, we know that you will have the best medical care for your pet regardless of the time of day or day of the week that a problem arises. The care team at Falls Village Veterinary Hospital strives to make the medical care of your pet as worry free as possible.