What to Expect from Pet Emergency Visits

By Dr. Robyn Johnson, Veterinarian

It’s very stressful when you realize your beloved pet needs to take a trip to the emergency room.  So what should you expect when visiting the emergency room at Rocky Gorge? 

  1. There is no appointment to see the emergency doctor. Much like a human emergency room, pets are triaged when you check in. This triage is where temperature, heart rate and breathing rate are taken. Your pet is assessed to determine how critical the situation may be. We understand that anything wrong with your pet is critical to you but there are some issues that will take precedence. Pet’s that are actively having a seizure, actively bleeding, pets who are not responsive, allergic reactions, or pets who are having difficulty breathing will be seen first. We try to see each pet as soon as possible, but also need to devote attention to each pet so they can be assessed by the doctor and appropriate recommendations can be made.
  2. The next step is the exam. The emergency doctor examines each pet from head to toe. Once they have finished their exam, they will make recommendations for either testing or treatments. These tests will help the doctor better understand the illness that your pet is having. These tests will also help the doctor recommend the best treatment. Some illnesses may be best served at a specialty hospital and that may be a recommendation the doctor will make. These recommendations are based on what is best for your pet and the problem that they present with.
  3. After the exam and diagnostics some pets will have an illness that we can treat and send you home with medications. Some pets are more ill and require in hospital treatment.  We will give you estimates on testing and treatments at each step of the way. We understand that in an emergency you are often unprepared for the financial burden these treatments may cost. We will try to work with you and your budget if we are made aware of these limitations. Please understand that some illnesses may not have alternative treatments. If your pet is admitted to the hospital the doctor will update you twice a day on their status. If at any time your pet becomes unstable the doctor will immediately attempt to contact you to update you on the current status. You will also be updated each day on the financial status of your pet.   

There are times when the emergency department may be very busy with various patients. The emergency department is also involved with treating patients that are currently in the hospital. We know how hard it is to wait and we try to keep waits as short as possible. We will try to update you with wait times when possible. Some patients require emergency treatment which can include surgery. This can increase wait times.   

We hope that this will make your visits to the emergency room a little less stressful. In these difficult times it even more stressful when your loved one gets sick. We are all in this together.

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