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Tips for Handling After Hours Dog Emergencies

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Today I want to talk to you about the two common ways veterinarians handle after-hours emergencies.

First, some veterinarians will personally handle emergencies with their own clients. You call their office and leave a message with an answering service or a voice mail on a pager and they will call you back. From there, they will direct you to go to a local emergency clinic or to meet you at their clinic.

Second, there are dedicated emergency clinics. Some clinics are after-hours clinics that open when regular veterinary offices close, and they close when regular veterinary offices open. For example, many will open at 6 PM and close at 8 AM Monday through Thursday, and open at 6 PM Friday and stay open until 8 AM Monday morning. There are other emergency clinics that are open 24/7. This gives owners the flexibility to seek emergency help if their vet is out sick or if their office is closed for the day. Also, some veterinarians may be booked or unable to support a specific emergency that will require 24-hour care or specialized equipment.

Find out how your veterinarian handles emergencies and where your closest emergency clinic is located. Keep the phone number handy (on the refrigerator is a great place), along with your dog's medical record.

Also, the local emergency clinic told me that the average simple emergency visit (where the pet does not stay in the hospital) costs $214, and the average emergency visit that results in hospitalization costs about $764 (with a common range from $400 to $3,000). To make sure your pet receives the best possible care in situations like these, consider petinsurance.

Your homework for this week is to find out how your vet deals with emergencies and write down the phone number, address, and directions for the location where emergencies will be handled.

Until next time,

Dr. Debra


P.S. Why do I believe in pet insurance? Well, because I've seen it save the lives of many pets.

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