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Frequently Asked Questions

Our most frequently asked questions for pet owners

If you have any additional questions please feel free to use the chat to call us at 610-666-1050, or contact us here.

What is a veterinary specialist?

To obtain a degree as a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) requires 4 years of college and then 4 years of veterinary medical school. Veterinarians who wish to specialize must continue on with their training by completing an internship or private practice experience, a 2-3 year advanced training program (called a residency), publish original article(s) in peer reviewed scientific journals, and then pass a rigorous examination given by other specialists. When all of the requirements have been fulfilled, the veterinarian is recognized as a Diplomat (“board-certified”) in his/her specialty.

What are the hours of your Emergency Service?

Emergency and critical care services are always available – 24 hours a day every single day of the year (including holidays and in times of inclement weather).

What is considered an emergency?

You should have your pet examined by a veterinarian if you feel they are in pain or significant discomfort. Other problems that warrant an examination include sudden increases or decreases in thirst and urination or protracted vomiting and diarrhea. We are here so that you do not have to wait until morning, through the weekend, or over a holiday to seek help for your pet. You are the best judge of your pet’s condition since you will be able to pick up on subtle signs that others would miss. If you feel that your pet needs to be seen immediately, you can consider that an emergency.

How long will I have to wait for my pet to be seen by the emergency veterinarian?

Like a human emergency room, we work on a triage basis to decide which patients are in most immediate need of care. Unfortunately, like the ER there is often a wait. Our patients are triaged upon arrival.

  • We get an initial estimation of your pet’s situation from your phone call to us.
  • If your pet is not in an immediate crisis situation, we will ask you to complete our Admissions Form. One of our nurses will assess your pet as quickly as possible.
  • Pets with life-threatening conditions are brought immediately into our treatment area. We understand that separating you from your pet may be very upsetting. We ask for your patience while we begin treatment. In these cases, the doctor will stabilize your pet before discussing the condition with you. Clients are not allowed into the treatment area during this time.

We see patients based on the life threatening nature of their problems. It is possible that patients who arrive after you will be seen first. It is possible that patients who are seen before you may not appear to be injured or sick. However, there are often things happening to these patients that require immediate attention. This is why we triage.

Our receptionists will keep you updated on our emergency status and help answer any of your questions. We would like your pet to receive the best and quickest care possible in a critical situation. However, we are unable to predict what emergencies will arrive at our door. Emergency surgery and critically ill patients influence how quickly your pet can be seen.

Why does a doctor see some pets/clients before others, even though they have been waiting longer?

The nature of all emergency medical facilities is to treat the most ill or seriously wounded patients first, a system called “triage.” Sometimes the most seriously ill patients don’t appear that way to the untrained eye. Pets may have severe organ dysfunction, heart problems, or internal damage. This process of “triaging” may not be convenient, but this is the way we must function to fulfill our obligation to you and your veterinarian.

How much will it cost to have my pet treated for an emergency?

The front office staff can quote you our emergency examination fee. The emergency veterinarian will provide an estimate for costs associated with diagnosing or treating any problems that have been noted. We require a deposit equal to half of the high end of your estimate with the balance paid upon discharge for all hospitalized patients. Charges are entered daily on hospitalized patients. You can call at any time to see what the total charges are.

Why do you have to bring my pet into the “back”?

When you bring your pet into the emergency room, a trained veterinary nurse will immediately come into the lobby to perform a quick assessment, or triage. The nurse will look at your pet’s overall demeanor, breathing pattern, and will evaluate your pet’s gums to determine the mucous membrane color. Even if the nurse determines that your pet is stable, he or she may still bring the patient into the “back” to get other vital signs, such as the body temperature and heart rate. The nurse might ask you for permission to place an intravenous catheter (if your pet is experiencing seizures, for example) or to take x-rays (particularly if there is suspicion of bloat, or gastric dilatation volvulus/GDV).

The “back” is a large treatment room, which is essentially the heart of our hospital (you can take a virtual tour of the hospital to see the treatment area). Your pet might receive life-saving support such as oxygen and possibly intravenous fluids depending on the patient’s stability, and the nurse will discuss this with you prior to transporting your pet to the treatment area. Additionally, the emergency veterinarians can also perform a quick triage and determine if your pet is stable enough to continue waiting with you until the doctor is able to speak with you, or the doctor may decide that your pet should remain in the treatment area for observation or immediate, life-stabilizing treatment procedures. There are some disease processes where time is of the essence and every minute your pet is in the hospital can be crucial to saving their life, which is why it is imperative to let the nurses and doctors work in a timely manner.

We understand that an emergency visit is nerve-wracking for both you and your pet and we are doing everything we can to ensure that your pet’s visit to the ER goes smoothly and that a diagnosis and treatment are rendered quickly and efficiently.

If my pet was admitted to the hospital, am I allowed to visit?

We understand that being separated from your pet is extremely difficult and encourage visitation whenever possible. However, to provide the best care for your pet the doctor or nurses may ask that you delay or limit visitation. Healing can be an exhausting process!

We have limited times for visiting with your pet. Arrangements for visiting must be made with the attending doctor or nurses. Please call before you plan your visit. Our primary visiting time is between 9:30 am and 6 pm, Monday through Friday. Saturdays and Sundays are extremely busy times for our emergency service so there may be wait time to visit. It is easiest to visit an ambulatory patient, but it may not be possible to disconnect a patient on monitoring equipment in an extreme intensive care situation. If your pet is quarantined in isolation, visitation is not allowed.

What is the difference between MVA’s daytime Referral Services and the Emergency Service?

From 8 am to 6 pm on weekdays, the veterinary specialists have appointments at our hospital to see patients that are referred to us by a veterinarian. These pets are often sent because they require extensive testing or special equipment. One of the primary goals of emergency medicine is to stabilize your pet whereas our daytime specialists can pursue a more detailed and in-depth plan of treatment.

What services are offered at MVA?

We concentrate on specialty and emergency cases. Our daytime referral facility has a veterinary staff that specializes in behavior, cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, interventional radiology, minimally invasive surgery, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, and surgery. Emergency and critical care services are always available. Read more about all of our specialty services on our “Specialties” page.

How do I make an appointment to see a specialist?

MVA operates as a referral facility during the hours of 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday. Before making an appointment, many regular veterinarians will contact us to discuss the reason for referral and the results of any completed diagnostic procedures or tests. Our doctors believe it’s important to work closely with your doctor so that we are fully informed. Your veterinarian may make an appointment for you at that time, or you can call us to make an appointment. Please remember to bring medical records, laboratory results, and/or radiographs for your initial consultation.

What happens in the middle of the night? Is there anyone here to watch my pet?

We have veterinarians and nursing staff here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so that your pet can be closely monitored and treated throughout the night.

Do you provide “regular” preventative care like vaccines etc?

No we do not, because we only provide emergency and specialty care, routine preventative care is best provided by your primary veterinarian.

How does the Emergency Service communicate with my family veterinarian?

Your pet’s family doctor is considered an important part of the team. We will call your family veterinarian once daily to discuss the status of your pet. A copy of the discharges and laboratory work will be faxed to your pet’s regular doctor after the visit to help provide a continuity of care.

What are my payment options?

Fees for services rendered must be paid in full when the patient is discharged. Payment is accepted as cash, check (photo ID is required for all personal checks) or major credit cards. We also offer interest-free and low-interest financing options through CareCredit. You can apply for Care Credit prior to arrival online.  As well as apply for a payment plan through Scratchpay.