Once you have determined your pet is experiencing an emergency and you bring him or her to Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center (TPHCS), you may wonder what happens next. Since knowing what to expect helps to alleviate anxiety, we’ve outlined what ensues when your pet enters our 24-hour emergency care hospital. If at any point you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call us directly at (505) 884-3433.

Frequently Asked Questions: Emergency Care

How long is the wait to be seen?

The emergency case load on any given day or night is unpredictable. Within minutes of your arriving at our ER, we strive to have a nurse triage your pet. After this initial evaluation, the order in which patients are seen is determined based on the seriousness of each individual pet’s medical problem. Patients with life-threatening medical problems are seen immediately, while more stable pets are seen in order of arrival. However, please note that we make every effort to see all patients in a timely fashion, and we will certainly provide you time frames when at all possible.

What happens after my pet is triaged through the emergency service?

When you visit the emergency room at TPHCS, you will be greeted by one of our friendly Customer Service Representatives who will call a veterinary nurse to triage your pet in the waiting room. During the triage process, the nurse will conduct a quick assessment of your pet’s condition by feeling the pulse, looking at mucous membrane color, and evaluating breathing and mental status, among other things. They typically do all of this while also getting a brief history from you.

Following this initial assessment, if we have any concerns regarding your pet, we will ask for your permission to take your pet to our treatment room, where an emergency doctor will begin their physical exam. Depending on the medical situation, we may also ask you for permission to obtain baseline blood work, place a catheter to start fluids, and/or obtain an X-ray. We ask this of you on triage only if we feel it is warranted and to help us better assess the status of your pet so the doctor can provide you with a better picture of what might be going on.

Alternatively, if your pet is deemed stable, we prefer to leave them with you until the doctor is ready to speak with you.

What kind of accommodations do you have for my pet?

Please be assured that we strive to make every pet as comfortable as possible. With a range of cage sizes and locations throughout our treatment area, we are careful to take individual pet needs into account when choosing a temporary “home” for your loved one. All cages are visible from all areas of the room, so your pet is never out of our sight. We have a large collection of sheets, comforters, fleece, and pet beds to warm up the cages. If you would be comfortable seeing where you pet will be staying while with us, just let us know and we’ll be happy to show you.

How much will the visit cost?

For an emergency visit, there is an emergency exam fee. All diagnostics, treatments, and medications are additional. If your pet requires hospitalization, you will receive an estimate of anticipated charges prior to admission. Hospital policy requires a deposit prior to starting treatment.

Should your pet require care and treatment that exceeds the initial estimate, a revised updated estimate will be provided to you. Payment in full is due at the time of discharge.

What payment methods are accepted?

We accept cash, cashier’s checks, telechecks, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

If you require a payment plan, we offer CareCredit, a health care credit plan. You can apply in person or online at www.carecredit.com. If you are interested, please see a customer service representative for more details and an application. We do not offer all financing options, please inquire.

What updates will I receive regarding my hospitalized pet?

Once daily, you will receive an update from the emergency doctor on your pet’s case. The timing of that update will be determined by the shift that the emergency doctor is working. However, you will receive a call any time there is a change in your pet’s condition that requires further communication.

Additionally, you may call to talk to a nurse about your pet at any time, although only a veterinarian can discuss your pet’s treatment plan with you.

Can I leave something from home with my pet?

Many owners like to leave a blanket or favorite toy with a pet during his or her stay at TPHCS. However, please be advised should the blanket or toy need to go through our laundry facilities at any time, we cannot guarantee the item will be returned to your pet. If you would like to leave something, consider cutting a corner off a favorite blanket or leaving a familiar toy.

Can I visit my hospitalized pet?

You can visit your hospitalized pet any time before 9pm. Whether this visit will be in an exam room or cage side will be determined based on your pet’s condition at the time of each visit. Please call prior to visiting, as there may be a wait to visit your pet if we are busy with emergencies.

Please consider your pet’s individual personality when deciding whether to visit him or her in the hospital. If your pet is especially anxious, even at home, he or she may get especially excited when you arrive, which may make him or her difficult to calm after you leave. You are more than welcome to visit your pet during our visiting hours—just please use your judgment whether it will calm or potentially stress your pet.