It’s safe to say that a trip to the emergency vet is probably not on your weekend agenda, but you never know when something unforeseen can happen. Since you can’t plan for an emergency, knowing what to expect can help keep both you — and your pet’s — fears at bay. The good news is that the team at Emerald City Emergency Clinic has more than 25 years of experience treating all kinds of pet emergencies, from an accidental chocolate gorge to a scuffle with the neighborhood tomcat. Regardless of what brings you to our clinic, you can count on quality care that’s based on industry best practices and a full “nose to toes” exam. Read on for a rundown of what lies ahead:
To Call or Not to Call?
Our business is treating emergencies, so we’re always ready for you, whether you call first or not. However, if you call us first, we can offer support and advice over the phone, including suggestions for transporting injured pets or a list of things to bring that may help us get to a quicker diagnosis. Otherwise, just come on over, we’ll be waiting! Speaking of waiting, if you call ahead, we may be able to give you a sense of wait times. Just keep in mind that if you do have to wait, it’s because we’re treating animals that need help, which could end up being your own.
When you walk in, you may think you’re alone. That’s because all of the action is happening behind the scenes, in the back of the clinic. There, our staff is working as quickly as possible to treat pets that have already arrived or cleaning and sterilizing our equipment and exam rooms in preparation for the next patient. At the front door, you’ll ring the doorbell which alerts every room that a new emergency has arrived. From there, we’ll head out to start the triage process.
Triage and Diagnosis
During the initial stage of our process, we talk to you to get as much information as possible and conduct a visual assessment of your pet. (Tip: if you suspect your pet ate something they shouldn’t, such as a poisonous plant, please bring it with you so we can better identify the potential culprit. In addition, if your pet is taking any medication, it’s best to bring the prescription bottle with you, rather than struggling to recall the name and dosage on the spot.) At this point, we can share the preliminary costs for our emergency exam but won’t be able to provide full estimates until after our diagnosis. After we are able to diagnose your pet, we put together our recommended treatment plan and share a full estimate with you for approval before moving forward with care. Keep in mind that similar to an ER for people, our triage process also determines the urgency in which your pet is seen, based on severity rather than arrival time. We understand that waiting can be frustrating, but our goal is to ensure the best outcome for every pet.
After the initial intake, we’ll bring your pet back into an exam room, but we will ask you to stay in our waiting room. Many pet owners are understandably concerned about being separated from their pet, but it’s industry protocol for a few reasons. First, we want to conduct an exam as objectively as possible to provide the most accurate diagnosis. Additionally, during emergencies, many pet parents are emotional. Your pet picks up on your emotions, which can increase their anxiety and create a more frantic atmosphere. Lastly, safety is our utmost concern, so we only want trained staff on hand who know best practices for keeping pets and people safe. The reality is that an emergency clinic operates very differently from your daily vet practice; we work after hours and against the clock to help pets get the care they need, quickly.
Treatment Plan of Action
After our diagnosis, we will put together a treatment plan for your pet based on our gold standard set of recommendations for the best long-term outcome. Your treatment plan will include any recommended lab work or X-rays, hospitalization if necessary and medications. As soon as our treatment plan is ready, we’ll meet with you to go over our assessment, including estimated costs and talk through questions or concerns. We understand that emergency fees can be unexpected, so we work with our clients to create a plan that takes your budget into account while keeping your pet’s best outcome in mind. Regardless of the diagnosis, we won’t conduct any treatment beyond our initial exam without your full authorization. After you have authorized our plan, we begin treatment. Depending on the course of action and how long care will take, we’ll advise you if you should stay and wait on-site or head home and come back to pick up your pet at a later time.
Discharge and Follow-up Care
Whether your pet is admitted for hospitalization or treated and discharged quickly, we will provide full instructions for aftercare. Additionally, we send our full medical chart, doctor’s notes and any lab results to your regular vet so they can have a history of your visit and can provide any follow-up recommendations.
Our fur babies don’t always pick the most convenient times to get sick or injured, but having a plan for emergencies and knowing what to expect can help lessen the stress. If you’re unsure whether it’s an actual emergency, give us a call and we can help determine if your pet should be seen right away. Just in case, save our number in your phone: (206) 634-9000. If you do need to bring your pet in, you can have the peace of mind that comes from understanding the process and knowing they are in good hands.
Emerald City Emergency Clinic has more than 25 years of experience treating all kinds of pet emergencies, from an accidental chocolate gorge to a scuffle with the neighborhood tomcat.