How to Navigate a Visit to the Emergency Vet

Truthfully, the past month and a half in our household has been absolutely EXHAUSTING. 

In the midst of our busy schedule and launch of our very first Summer Trail Dog Challenge, reality struck, and Ruby fell rapidly ill.

In the past 3 weeks, we have visited Emergency Veterinarians twice for Ruby's worsening gastrointestinal issues, which would cause her condition to decline to the point of being life threatening in a matter of hours. Her current diagnosis is hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, and she is currently responding well to her treatment. Despite the positive outcome, I can easily say that these emergency trips were some of the most overwhelming and difficult hours of my life, but I am forever thankful to these doctors for their quick, skillful work to help save Ruby.

Though we hope you and your pets never have to make a trip to the emergency vet, in the event that you do, we do have a few tips to help you navigate the process and make things a little easier and less stressful.

Make an emergency plan while your pet is healthy.

Make sure you're prepared for an emergency situation by doing your research and forming a plan as to what you would do if your pet ever gets injured or falls ill. Do your research and find a reputable 24 hour veterinary clinic near you, and save their number in your phone in case of emergencies. Also be sure to make a file of your pet's medical history, vaccination records, and pet insurance information that you can grab on your way out the door.

Always call ahead.

Before you head into the emergency vet, or on your way there, be sure to call the vet and let them know your pet's symptoms, and that you're on your way into the clinic. This will give the staff a chance to prepare for your arrival if necessary, or let you know the wait time. They can also help to guide you in ways that you can help your pet immediately if need be.

Expect a wait.

24 hour veterinary clinics are almost always busy, and patients range in condition from critical to chronic. When you arrive, your pet will very likely be assessed by a veterinary technician who will "triage" them, or asses their overall condition and decide how to prioritize them amongst the other patients. If your pet is in critical condition, it is likely that they will be rushed to the back immediately for treatment after a vocal authorization of care, if they are not, you will likely have to wait your turn to see the vet. We waited more that 4 hours during our first visit, because Ruby was stable, our second visit was much more urgent and we waited only an hour. If at any time your pet's condition seems to change, you should alert the staff immediately so that they can be reassessed.

While you wait, consider writing down your pets symptoms, the approximate timeline of the medical issue, and any other changes, medications, or concerns. This way you can remember every detail that you want to share with the veterinarian when you see them.

It's always better to be safe than sorry.

Though trips to the emergency veterinarian can be stressful and often times expensive, it is always important to consult a veterinarian if you are concerned with your pet's health. An expert opinion can make a world of difference when it comes to the life of your pet!

Thank you all for reading, and for your ongoing support of myself and Ruby 
as we work to help her recover and thrive. 
Your kind words mean the world to us!
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Have you ever made a trip to the emergency veterinarian?
Do you have advice on emergency preparedness for pets?
Leave us a comment, call us, beep us, reach us @RubyOnAlki!

We are not experts here at Ruby On Alki, so please remember that all opinions or advice given is based on our personal experiences and opinions. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please reach out to a qualified trainer, veterinarian, or other appropriate specialist.
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