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5 Things to Expect From an Emergency Vet Visit

It is what every pet parent dreads—your furry friend is injured or sick and needs to see a veterinarian immediately. Perhaps this happens in the middle of the night or on the weekend. You may already know a pet hospital near you in case you find yourself in an emergency. Whatever the case, it is helpful to understand what emergency veterinarians do.


What Do Emergency Veterinarian Services Provide?

Emergency veterinarian services provide medical care for pets after a sudden illness or injury. Many situations call for immediate veterinary attention. First, you should understand that there is no typical day in the emergency room. Just about anything may present as an emergency.

So, emergency veterinarians typically see pets in order of urgency. There are times when your pet will see the veterinarian team right away and other times when you will have to wait. It is similar to human emergency departments. 


What to Expect 

Emergency veterinarian care provides immediate medical and surgical services for your furry friend when his/her regular veterinarian is unavailable. So, emergency veterinarians act as an extension of your veterinarian’s health care. They usually have staff present 24/7 to care for ill or injured patients. Some of the things to expect from an emergency veterinarian visit include the following:


1. Triage

A staff member will assess the severity of the problem. It will help determine whether your pet requires immediate assistance. You will receive an admission form to complete. Please understand that the veterinarian will see pets requiring urgent medical attention immediately, even if they arrive after you.


2. Physical Exam

A staff member will take you and your animal friend to an examination room and take your pet’s vital signs. The veterinarian will then examine and ask relevant questions to determine the nature of the illness or injury. If your pet is severely ill, the veterinarian will take immediate action.


3. Treatment

The veterinarian will recommend the most appropriate treatment plan and estimate the cost of care. You may need to deposit about half of the estimate if hospitalization is necessary. Your veterinarian will inform you of any significant changes in your pet’s treatment plan, condition, or estimated cost of care.


4. Fees and Payment

Emergency veterinarians charge assessment and exam fees for each patient, covering the initial consultation and examination. All other diagnostics, treatments, and services are additional. You will receive an estimate from a staff member before doing any diagnostics or treatments besides the emergency assessment and examination. 


5. Patient Transfer

In most cases, the emergency veterinarian will transfer pets back to their regular veterinarians once they reopen, usually the next day. However, that will only happen if the pet is stable enough to travel. If your furry friend is critically unwell, he/she may remain at the emergency clinic for several days.



Almost all pets will experience a veterinary emergency at some point in their lifetime. These range from an injury or sudden illness to a more critical situation like an animal attack or poisoning. Such scenarios can be confusing and scary for you and your animal companion. However, knowing what to expect from an emergency veterinarian visit can make the experience less stressful. 

For more pet care tips, visit the Emergency Pet Hospital of Redlands at our office in Redlands, California. Call (909) 793-5999 to speak to a team member today.