Pet owners need backup veterinary plan for emergencies
Thank you for posting the letter from Misty Briscoe, “Local vets no help with puppy emergency.” First, let me express my sympathies to Misty and her family over the death of their puppy. Losing a pet is very hard under any circumstance.
Living in our valley brings many benefits, but it also imposes a few limitations. One of those limitations is the availability of emergency veterinary care. As a pet owner, it is extremely important to know your veterinarian’s policy on emergencies in advance of any problem. Also have a backup plan if your vet does not offer emergency care or if they are not available.
Call around and talk to each veterinarian’s office to understand their policies. Tell them you are looking for emergency care and ask if they will help you if you are not a “regular” client. Ask specifically what to expect if you call after hours.
Ask for referrals and keep a copy of your pet’s health records in your home. Most veterinarians are wonderful, hard-working professionals, but some are not in a position to offer emergency care. Knowing where to turn is critical.
Many veterinarians in our area dedicate themselves to their profession. They help with their clients’ animals, with homeless animals, with the feral cat population, with research that will help our animals in the months to come. They often do their work quietly over long hours and with little recognition. They devote not only their time, but financial resources.
My experience with our area veterinarians has been very positive, including emergency care. Recently, my cat was diagnosed with cancer. Her care required six or seven emergency visits, often on weekends or after hours. Each was handled promptly and with great care and concern.
My horse has required emergency care, including once on Christmas Eve. Again, the response has always been timely. I have been provided with home phone numbers to call should my pet take a turn for the worse.
For the safety of your pet, please know your veterinarian’s policies. And, know what you will do if your vet is not available in an emergency. Have a backup plan (or two, or three).
It’s hard to think that any of us will go through what the Briscoe family did, but it can happen. Perhaps our lesson is to be prepared and know in advance what we will do.
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