Dear Valued Clients,
We have provided this short FAQ sheet to help give you some information on what to expect during your emergency visit. We hope this will answer some common questions that you may have.
Why are wait times longer than usual?
- COVID-19 has forced us to handle cases using “curbside service,” a common strategy in the veterinary industry since the pandemic began. This allows us to keep our staff safe and preserve our site, so we do not have to close down for an extended duration due to a COVID outbreak.
- All ER cases are designated with a Priority 1, 2, or 3.
Priority 1’s are pets that have life-threatening conditions that need immediate attention.
Priority 2’s are pets that may be experiencing pain or are sick enough to require hospitalization but are not immediately life-threatening.
Priority 3’s are stable patients and can wait until the more urgent cases are seen first.
Why are some animals that look fine going before me?
- We also have a general medicine department, which has scheduled appointments. This is a separate service (and staff) from our emergency service. These pets likely have appointments with general medicine.
- If a pet is being seen first in an emergency capacity and visually looks fine, it is likely a time-sensitive situation that is a possible Priority 1. An example of this may be a dog that just ate chocolate a few minutes prior and must be treated quickly to avoid serious toxicity.
What are my options if wait times are excessive?
You do have some options:
- Priority 3’s can be seen by your regular veterinarian if you have one and can get in, as these cases are not as time-sensitive. We will be happy to see a Priority 3, and you will never be turned away, but please be cognizant of the wait times for such cases.
- You have a second option of requesting a drop-off. This means that you can leave your pet until such a time that we can treat them. This does mean your pet will be with us in a cage for an extended duration, but it will allow you the comfort of not having to wait in a vehicle.
- A third option would be to come back in off-peak hours if you have a Priority 3 designation.
- Last, there are other emergency veterinary sites in Turlock, Stockton, and Tracy. It is common for our staff to communicate with them when maximum capacity is reached, and vice versa. If time is a factor, you can always call another emergency clinic to assess their wait times. If it is truly emergent, the important thing is to be seen as quickly as possible, and there are days when all of the emergency clinics may have 10-15 people waiting to be seen.
When will I receive an update?
- Once the doctor has examined your pet, you will be contacted by a clinical team member with a Treatment Plan and estimated costs. Contact will not occur before this unless the status of your pet has changed or we need more information.
- Payment is then collected, allowing us to proceed with the prescribed treatment plan.
- If your pet is hospitalized, you will likely receive an update when each shift change occurs. This is when the incoming shift is rounded on each patient, and communications begin with the next clinical support team. Please feel free to call and check in any time you want an update.
- If your pet is hospitalized, you may call and request an update from an ICU nurse. They can provide you with the latest status.
When will Curbside Service end, and when can we come inside with our pets?
In short: not soon enough! We monitor COVID trends daily and are hopeful for a limited opening soon. Opening safely is our preference as well: we want to get back to normal operations. As pet owners ourselves, we do not want to isolate you from your pet and understand the need to want to be with them. We want to be able to engage with our clients on a more personal level and reduce the stressors we currently face. Plans are currently underway to initiate this on a limited basis and progress back to more familiar and efficient methods.
In conclusion, we hope this clarifies some common scenarios you may come across in an emergency visit. For further inquiries, we ask that you request the contact information of our ER Manager, Hospital Manager, or Director. Our support staff will gladly provide this to you (likely an e-mail address), but their immediate focus should be on your pets.
We thank you for all your patience and ongoing support,
Doctors and Nurses of Standiford Veterinary Center