EMERGENCY & SPECIALTY CARE
How do I know if my pet is having an emergency?
Please click here to learn more about when an illness or injury may be an emergency. If you’re not sure, please call us right away at 757.935.9111.
I think my pet ate something poisonous. What do I do?
If possible, identify the substance eaten and have it ready for your veterinarian to evaluate. If your pet has vomited, gather a sample of that as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA ((888) 426-4435) immediately for guidance. Do not try to induce vomiting. You may always call us or come directly to our emergency room if you prefer.
For a list of common poisonous household items, read our blog post about pet poison prevention.
When do I go to my primary care veterinarian for an emergency vs. coming to a hospital like The COVE?
Pet illness and injury can strike at any time. If your pet needs emergency care and your veterinarian’s office is closed, count on us to help you 24/7/365. If your veterinarian’s office is open, we encourage you to call them first, discuss the situation, and follow their instructions about coming to see them or going straight to an emergency hospital. If you’re still not sure what to do, or if you don’t have a veterinarian, don’t delay, please call us or come by immediately.
Does my pet need a referral or an appointment for emergency care?
No, you don’t need an appointment or referral to receive emergency care. If possible, we urge you to call us first at 757-935-9111, so we can be prepared for your arrival and assist if you need help bringing your pet inside.
Does my pet need a referral or appointment for specialty care?
Yes, you will need your primary care veterinarian to submit a referral for your pet for our specialty services: cardiology, surgery, and dentistry.
What is a board-certified specialist? Why might my pet need to see one?
Just as in human medicine, veterinarians can choose to specialize. It requires extensive training that includes four years of veterinary school, plus a one-year internship, and a three-year residency in their chosen specialty. They must then publish original research and pass an exam certifying their expertise. After completing these requirements, the veterinarian is granted Diplomate status and is considered ‘board certified’ or a specialist, signifying his or her expertise and credentials in a chosen specialty. A primary care or family veterinarian has earned a veterinary degree after four years of schooling and focuses on general preventive care and pet wellness. They refer to and partner with appropriate specialists when advanced care is needed.
Will my family veterinarian be notified that my pet was seen at The COVE?
Yes, we will update your family (primary care) veterinarian by sharing your pet’s medical records with them regularly. This coordination helps to ensure continuity of care for your pet. Your primary care veterinarian may also call to speak with one of our doctors to discuss your pet’s diagnosis and treatment.
How much does treatment cost?
Each patient’s situation is assessed uniquely. You will always be told the cost of consultations and/or treatments before provided. Once care is completed, any balance due is payable upon discharge.
If your pet is hospitalized at The COVE, a deposit is required for treatment. We will provide medical and financial updates twice a day while your pet is with us to avoid any surprises.
We will always provide our best estimate for care. However, depending how your pet responds to treatment, and/or if any complications arise, we unfortunately cannot guarantee the original estimated cost.
Why is the emergency service more expensive than regular veterinary care?
The emergency and critical care department is staffed with highly trained doctors and nurses 24 hours a day. Maintaining the staff, equipment, and facilities necessary to provide emergency and critical care services around the clock costs significantly more than running a routine veterinary practice.
We understand that emergency care is an unforeseen expense and will do everything we can to work within your budget to provide the best care.A thorough review of medical recommendations along with associated costs will always be shared with you to avoid surprises. Please feel free to discuss your financial concerns with our team.
Do you accept pet health insurance?
Yes, we accept all pet insurance plans including any direct pay plans. We are happy to submit claims on behalf of clients who have pet health insurance, or we can provide information for clients who need to submit claims for reimbursement. Click here to learn more about various pet insurance plans.
POST OP CARE & OTHER QUESTIONS
When should my pet be going to the bathroom after surgery or discharge from the hospital?
Many pets may not have a bowel movement for several days after surgery or an extended hospital stay. There are various reasons why your pet might have bowel irregularities including:
- The fasting period prior to surgery
- Decreased appetite after surgery/during hospital stay
- Reduced appetite frequently observed after returning home for the first few days
- Diets of highly digestible food that produces little stool, and/or pain medications that contain narcotics slow their digestive system.
If your pet does not have a bowel movement by the 4th day post-operative or discharge or is straining to defecate sooner, call us here at The COVE or your primary care veterinarian.
What are signs of pain or discomfort and when should I be worried?
Dogs and cats feel pain similarly to humans, though they differ in the ways they show/express discomfort and/or pain.
Cats typically show pain or discomfort by vocalizing, refusing food, open mouth breathing, drooling/salivating, and most commonly hiding. Another indication of pain is when you hold your cat he or she will cry or if their abdomen feels tense or distended. Some cats experiencing pain may exhibit out of character behaviors like hissing or biting.
Dogs, on the other hand, display their discomfort or pain more obviously. You may notice them panting, pacing, not being able to get comfortable when lying down, drooling, refusing food, and whimpering. Dogs can also display out of character behaviors like growling or biting.
Other common symptoms of pain:
- Continuous licking of a specific area
- Unable to find a comfortable position to lay down
- Panting/rapid breathing
- Breaking their potty training habits
Are you able to call in my pet’s medications to a local human or online pharmacy?
Some medications prescribed to pet’s are available at human pharmacies and may be called in. However, there are some prescriptions restricted for veterinary use only and are not as readily available at local pharmacies.
While online pharmacies might offer medications at a more reduced rate, pet owners must heed with caution. It can be difficult to distinguish between a reputable website and an illegal online pharmacy. Some common challenges to purchasing medications online include:
- Counterfeit medications
- Outdated or mislabeled mediations
- Incorrectly formulated or improperly stored
- May not contain actual or inaccurate amount of active ingredients and/or contaminants
Ask your veterinarian for a reputable online pharmacy.
When do I change my pet’s diet back to normal following hospitalization?
Follow the discharge instructions closely for feeding recommendations. Once your pet’s symptoms have completely resolved and/or directed by your veterinarian you can switch back to their normal diet. However, we recommend anychange in diet should be gradual, over three – fours days to minimize risk of dietary indiscretion.
What are signs of labor (both cats and dogs) and when should I be concerned?
Signs of labor may be any one or more of the following:
- Possible panting and pacing
- Decreased body temperature
As labor progresses and contractions begin, your pet may lie on her side and you might see abdominal muscles contracting. Purposeful labor should last no longer than 30 minutes for dogs and 60 minutes for cats. If the labor continues for over an hour without birth, contact your primary care veterinarian or The COVE immediately.