Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. We are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. If your family veterinarian is unable to see you for an emergency during normal business hours or if they are closed, you may come to Care Center and you do not need an appointment. Your family veterinarian may also refer you to Care Center if they feel continuous monitoring, intensive care, or our expertise may benefit your pet.
Our hospital is fully staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by experienced emergency veterinarians and staff. There is always a veterinarian on duty at Care Center.
Like a human emergency room, this will largely depend on the number of other emergencies that we have at that time and how many patients we are caring for in the hospital. Because we serve as both an emergency room and intensive care unit, we prioritize our time between hospitalized patients and walk-in emergencies. Upon arrival, one of our veterinary technicians will triage your pet to assess the severity of their illness or injury and determine if they need immediate stabilization. It may be necessary to bring your pet into the treatment area without you, as this is where our equipment is located. We will make communicate with you as soon as possible and keep you informed of their status and explain our findings. Every effort will be made to keep your wait to a minimum, and to make you as comfortable as we possibly can (free Wi-Fi is available in our lobby).
After a complete and thorough examination of your pet, we will provide you with our recommended treatment plan, which may include additional diagnostic tests. An estimate of fees will be included in this plan and you will be informed of any risks or possible outcomes. We want you to be fully educated regarding your pet's condition so that you can make the best decision possible for your personal situation. Your approval to proceed with the recommended care will be required along with a deposit to initiate further treatment. As a 24-hour facility, our costs are generally higher than your typical day practice due to the additional equipment, skills, and experience of our team. To keep costs manageable, we ask for payment at the time of service and accept all major credit cards and CareCredit, a low or no cost finance option for qualified applicants.
Care Center's board-certified specialists are available for consultation with our emergency veterinarians whenever our emergency team deems it appropriate. In cases where that specialist's expertise is required immediately, they will come in. For example, if your pet came in at 2:00am and required immediate surgery for bloat, one of our surgical specialists would come in to perform the surgery. If that pet needed a cardiology consultation, but was stable, that consultation would occur during typical appointment hours the next day.
No. Our facility is open 24 hours so it is never necessary for you to pick up your pet first thing in the morning. You may do so, of course, if you want to transfer your pet to your family veterinarian for continued care. We always recommend that you call your family veterinarian first to make sure they can accommodate your pet and let them know you're on your way.
Yes, we encourage you to visit your pet during hospitalization. Sometimes our Emergency/ICU patients are in the hospital for extended periods of time. But even those here for a day or two are of course missed by their owners and vice versa. We feel strongly that visitation is of enormous benefit to both you and your pet. We support family visits if you feel comfortable doing so. We have no strict visitation hours, but we do request that owners not visit from 8am-9am or 4pm-5pm, when we are performing rounds in preparation for changing shifts. We limit visits to 30 minute if your pet is able to be moved into an exam room, or 15 minutes if they are in the intensive care unit (ICU). We strongly suggest waiting to visit patients who have undergone anesthesia until the day after the anesthetic was given, as they may be too groggy to appreciate their family's presence, or may even become a bit agitated.
In all cases where you wish to visit, we recommend calling before you come to make sure we will not have to keep you waiting. We make every effort to provide you and your pet with a comfortable place in which to spend some quality time. During very busy times, there may not be such a room available.
If your pet is admitted overnight on emergency, we will send their medical records to your family veterinarian by 8:00am the next day. If your pet will need further treatment, we will call your veterinarian to discuss the options for where that care will take place, be it at Care Center or your local veterinarian's clinic. Primary care veterinarians are our healthcare partners. We believe strongly in coordinating all care as a healthcare team, which ensures all aspects of your pet's health will be addressed in a comprehensive manner.
24-Hour Emergency Services
Day or night, we are ready and equipped to care for your pet no matter what the emergency.
Emergency veterinary medicine closely parallels emergency human medicine. Emergencies commonly arise from the same types of sources: Trauma such as dog fights, cat bites, being hit by a car; Medical emergencies such as a diabetic crisis, seizures, severe dehydration from profuse vomiting and diarrhea, or toxicities: either accidental or environmental: over-dosage of medication, pets ingesting household products or human medications, etc. acute, severe changes in a pet's status: heart failure, bleeding internally, etc.
The process of treating the emergent patient is therefore much the same as you have seen in a human emergency room: triage, diagnosis, and treatment. When a patient comes to the Care Center ER, they will first be triaged to identify how critical they are. Patients will be treated in order of their medical condition, not necessarily in order of arrival. So the first thing that must be done is to determine if they are critical. The patient is then examined in the appropriate order, and a diagnostic and treatment plan formulated. The emergency veterinarian will then discuss this plan with you, and cover any questions you may have.
If admitted to the hospital, the emergency staff will call you if there is a change in your pet's condition, or if there is new information to be discussed with you. Because we are fully staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you are always welcome to call in to ask about your pet's condition, and our nursing staff will be happy to give you an update.
The ICU (Intensive Care Unit)
The major difference between our facility and a human emergency room is that Care Center functions not only as an ER, but also as an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). At all times, our facility is not only receiving new emergencies, but also monitoring and treating the critical cases that have been admitted to our hospital. Some of these cases came in as emergencies, others were referred to us because of our critical care capabilities. So while you may be the only client in our waiting room at 3:00 a.m., the ICU may also be filled with critical patients, keeping our staff busy. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
If you suspect your pet is ill, don't hesitate to call or go directly to the Care Center Emergency Room nearest you.
Meet the Emergency and Critical Care Team
All of our emergency veterinarians have dedicated themselves to the practice of emergency medicine. Our entire team can be counted on for their expertise and compassionate approach to care.
Darsha Arnold, DVM
Dana Brandenburg, DVM
Brittany Burroughs, DVM
Daniel Carey, DVM
Erin Colvin, DVM
Sarah Erwin, DVM
Patrick Farrell, DVM
Jacquelyn Gaier, DVM
Douglas Hoffman, DVM
Caitlin Hokanson, DVM
Irene Lavigne, DVM
Julia Maitland, DVM
Jennifer Miller, DVM
Mary Ormsby, DVM
Ann Peruski, DVM, DACVECC
Sharmila Ruparel, DVM
Allison Shepherd, DVM
Tracy Walters, DVM
General Emergency Information
Poisoning – If you know or suspect your pet has ingested something it shouldn't have, please call us or visit the ER immediately. You may also contact the ASPCA's National Pet Poison Hotline (www.aspca.org) at 1888-426-4435. There may be a fee for this service.