FAQ – General Information for Pet Owners

  1. How do I arrange for my pet to receive care at VSCNL? Our Surgical Specialty Services, Diagnostic Imaging Specialty Services, and Emergency Services can be accessed in a variety of ways. A licensed veterinarian may refer a patient. To learn more, please read Referrals – What to Know & Expect. Also, pet owners can access our walk-in, 24/7 emergency service at any time.
  2. What is a board-certified veterinary specialist (Diplomate)? In addition to completing undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school, board-certified veterinary specialists are similar to their human medical counterparts in that they have completed an internship and residency in their specialized field (an additional 3-5 years of training). In addition to this extensive training, a board- certified veterinary specialist must pass rigorous examinations to achieve Board certification.
  3. What is an intern? An intern is a fully licensed veterinarian who has chosen to pursue additional postgraduate clinical training. Our interns are selected by our specialists in a highly competitive international application process.
  4. When is the best time to seek a referral? This will vary upon the type of problem. Your primary care veterinarian will be able to help you make this decision and may well be the first to suggest it. We accept emergency referrals and your veterinarian will indicate the degree of urgency to us.
  5. My pet was referred to see a specialist. Why am I meeting with an emergency veterinarian? Our Emergency Services handles all incoming emergent patients, even if referred for a specialist. The emergency veterinarian on duty will consult with our Specialty Services departments as needed to develop the best diagnostic and treatment plan for your pet. We will perform all diagnostics/treatment necessary in an emergency setting, and non-emergent diagnostics and/or procedures to be transferred to one of our specialty services are prioritized on a case-by-case basis. Non-emergent procedures and therapies will then be performed during regular hospital hours, which may occur the following business day.
  6. Can VSCNL provide my pet with primary care? We are not equipped like a primary care practice. For instance, we do not stock vaccines nor sell food. Secondly, our specialists are qualified and skilled in their own specialties, just like your family veterinarian is qualified and skilled in primary care medicine. Some primary care problems are best tackled by a primary care veterinarian. In addition, our ability to provide specialty services would be compromised with primary care inquiries.
  7. What should I expect during my pet’s appointment? Whether your pet has a specialist appointment or is requiring emergency care, our staff will ensure that you both are well taken care of. Based on your pet’s physical examination and medical history, the veterinarian may recommend treatment/diagnostic options with you to determine the best plan of action for your pet. Please refer to our Client Preparation Guide for further information.
  8. Why does my pet need blood work? Laboratory blood tests are a vital part of the diagnostic process, helping veternarians make the correct diagnosis and determine the appropriate course of treatment. Learn more by reading our CBC/Blood Chemistries – What to Know & Expect fact sheet.
  9. Why does my pet need a urine test?  Your pet’s urine sample can be analyzed using a number of different tests. These tests can help veterinarian’s diagnose certain diseases or to monitor your pet’s progress. Learn more by reading our Urine Testing – What to Know & Expect.
  10. Why does my pet need to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit? If your pet requires minute-to-minute evaluation and/or a specific treatment, ICU admittance may be recommended. Our patients often require intensive heart or blood pressure monitoring, oxygen therapy, blood transfusions, or advanced pain control options.
  11. Is there a veterinarian there all night long? There is a minimum of one veterinarian onsite at all times. Each ICU patient is fully evaluated by one or more of our veterinarians daily and our registered veterinary technicians are always in the ICU.
  12. Can I visit my pet? Circumstances vary with each case and we welcome requests to visit. Our visitation policy is designed to protect the safety and health of all of our patients. Refer to our Terms & Conditions for further information.
  13. We saw the veternarian – why do we have to wait? We understand visits can be stressful and information provided by our veterinarians can be overwhelming. Each patient’s personalized discharge plan summarizes the information provided, including necessary in-depth details regarding medications, diet, activity restrictions, and other pertinent care. It may take the veterinarian time to write your pet’s discharge plan; however, it can significantly ease your pet’s transition home and back to your primary care veterinarian.
  14. What happens after my pet is discharged? Your referring and/or primary veterinarian will receive your pet’s medical report. Depending upon your pet’s results and the underlying condition, as well as practicalities (i.e., out of town clients), subsequent management may be achieved with your referring/primary veterinarian or at VSCNL.
  15. Will my pet require a progress evaluation? Progress evaluations depend upon the nature of your pet’s condition and may be performed with your primary care veterinarian or at VSCNL. The schedule and estimated costs of progress evaluations performed at VSCNL will be discussed during your pet’s discharge. If we recommend returning to your primary care veterinarian for a progress evaluation, you are responsible to make such arrangements.
  16. Will my primary veterinarian be updated on my pet? Our goal is to provide your primary care veterinarian essential insight into the medical management of your pet. Upon discharged, we send a copy of your pet’s medical record to your primary/referring veterinarian within 24 hours.
  17. Does my pet need to finish all of their medications prescribed if they are feeling better? Follow the medication schedule exactly and give prescribed medications for the length of time indicated! For further information, refer to our Patient Home Allergy & Prescription List.
  18. What purpose does my pet’s medical record serve? Keeping a copy of your pet’s complete medical record in a manner that you can access anytime (i.e, email format) can be extremely valuable. The record may contain information pertaining to and/or impacting your pet’s current condition, could be cost-effective to owners (i.e., avoid repeat testing), and imperative to the care recommended by the veterinarian.
  19. Why are you more expensive than my primary care veterinarian? As a private business, veterinary practices incur high operational costs without external funding. To remain successful, fees must be set in order to provide enhanced and/or new services as medical techniques advance. Costs of continuous education for staff must also be incurred. Just like a human hospital, VSCNL requires medical staff onsite 24/7 and advanced equipment to conduct urgent diagnostics/treatments. Specialty and critical care veterinary services are expensive to provide and we must pass these costs on to those who benefit from them.
  20. How does payment work? The veterinarian will discuss and review recommended diagnostics and/or treatment, including estimated costs. The estimate has a low to high end range because we know medicine is not an exact science. Some elements may change, such as your pet’s physical response to treatment, length of hospitalization, etc. We require a 50% deposit of the high range before the services you approve are conducted. Any remaining balance is due when your pet is discharged. For further information, please refer to our Terms and Conditions.
  21. Why do I need to restrict my pet’s food and/or water before their appointment?Some procedures and blood work may need to be performed on an empty stomach. Fasting ensures that the stomach is empty, minimizing gas patterns that would otherwise decrease the quality of diagnostic imaging.Patients receiving surgery are also required to fast, as having a full stomach may cause complications.
  22. Is there food and water available for my pet while I wait? Please ask our customer services representatives if you would like a bowl to offer your pet water. However, we do advise not feeding your pet. Many procedures require sedation/anesthetic or medication that could upset your pet’s stomach if there is food present. If your pet must eat for medical reasons (i.e., diabetes), please inform us immediately.
  23. Should my pet be vaccinated? There is always a risk that a contagious disease may spread where animals are housed in close quarters. It is a good idea to check your pet’s vaccination record before you come; however, we understand this may not be practical in an emergency. Talk to your primary care veterinarian if you have further questions about vaccinating your pet.
  24. What if my pet passes away? Sadly, in some cases a pet may pass away or be humanely euthanized (‘put to sleep’). We understand there are often feelings of anger, guilt, and sadness and make every effort to make this time as comfortable as possible for both the pet and owner. To assist you with any questions or concerns, please refer to Euthanasia – What to Know Now Even if Your Pet is Healthy.
  25. Do you board pets? It is imperative we conserve our intensive care unit space for critically ill and post-operative patients.