Picture this scenario: Your beloved pet has just been hit by a car. Your dog is obviously in great pain and suffering from broken bones, internal bleeding, or both. Your immediate response will be an emergency vet visit.
When your dog is seriously injured and you need to make an emergency trip to the animal hospital, there are some steps you can take to make it less stressful for both you and your dog. An emergency visit is never the same as a regular visit to the vet.
If possible, call the animal hospital before you leave home and let the staff know you are on your way with a seriously injured pet. This will alert the emergency vet and hospital team, giving them time to prepare for immediate treatment upon your arrival, which could possibly make a difference in saving your dog’s life.
As calmly as possible given the seriousness of the situation, describe your dog’s symptoms as carefully as you can. The staff may need to give you some first aid steps to perform before coming to the hospital.
As soon as your dog reaches the animal hospital or emergency pet clinic, the front desk nurse or receptionist will call for “triage.” This term simply means that a team which includes the emergency vet, will examine your dog’s condition and ask questions about your pet and an explanation of what caused the injury. The vet will determine if your pet must be immediately scheduled for surgery or whether its injuries can be treated in one of the examination rooms. You may be asked to sign a release for your dog to be treated.
If surgery is deemed necessary, you’ll be asked to have a seat in the waiting room while your pet is undergoing surgery. Fully staffed animal hospitals will have a technician update you on your dog’s progress as the procedure progresses.
When your pet’s surgery has been completed, a member of the emergency veterinary team will discuss your dog’s prognosis, any at-home care required, and when a follow up appointment is needed. The vet may recommend that you leave your pet in the hospital overnight, or possibly for a few days for further observation.
If your pet is hospitalized, you will usually be allowed to personally check on your dog’s progress during regular animal hospital visiting hours. A competent and caring staff may also call to keep you updated on your pet’s recovery and progress.
When it comes time to bring your dog home, the hospital staff will give you detailed instructions for continued at-home care, including any medications the vet has prescribed.
When an emergency vet visit is necessary to save the life of your seriously injured dog, it helps to know what your responsibilities will be in order to help your injured pet receive the appropriate care it needs as quickly as possible.