Most cities and metropolitan areas have several emergency veterinary hospitals. They are facilities that are designed to provide after-hours emergency care for pets.
Emergency veterinary hospitals usually open between 5 to 7 pm and close between 8 to 10 am on weekdays. Most are open 24 hours on weekends and holidays.
Your pet’s regular veterinarian, like most regular veterinary practices, has regular business hours, usually opening sometime between 7 to 9 am and closing somewhere between 5 to 7 pm. During these hours, your regular veterinarian is available to provide emergency treatment for your pet if needed.
However, if your pet emergency occurs after-hours, your pet may need to visit one of the emergency veterinary hospitals in your area.
Just as in human emergency hospitals, these facilities operate on a first-come, first served system. However, if your pet emergency is life threatening, your pet will be treated immediately.
Most emergency veterinary hospitals for pets are staffed by several competent veterinarians, veterinary technicians and assistants. Some have additional veterinarians and specialists on call should the need arise. Many clinics have state of the art equipment; some have only basic emergency room necessities.
Although your regular veterinarian may allow you to stay with your pet during routine office visits and other treatments, some emergency veterinary hospitals may request that you remain in the waiting room while your pet is receiving treatment. Some pet owners may feel uncomfortable leaving their pet in the hands of someone they do not know. However, the emergency treatment of your pet should be your most important concern.
Depending on the nature of the pet emergency, most pets will be able to return home with their owners after their treatment. However, if the pet emergency is critical or life-threatening, some pets may need to be hospitalized at the facility. If this is the case, these pets, along with their patient charts, must be transferred to their regular veterinarian offices in the morning hours when they close.
Payment for services at most emergency veterinary hospitals is required immediately after treatment, and most accept cash, checks and major credit cards. Some hospitals may also require a deposit for hospitalized pets.
Do you know the locations of the emergency veterinary hospitals in your area? If not, do a Google search or ask your regular veterinarian to recommend one. You never know when a pet emergency will happen.
For emergency veterinary hospitals in the Atlanta area, see Emergency Veterinary Hospitals in Atlanta