What To Expect When You Arrive

Upon arrival, you will be asked to fill out an information sheet about your pet.

While this is happening, one of our nurses will triage your pet and assess his/her stability by measuring preliminary vital signs (e.g. heart rate, respiratory rate, mucous membrane color, overall mental status) and taking basic history into consideration.

If your pet is deemed “stable”, the nurse will leave your pet with you until your information is entered into our computer system and one of our doctors is available to discuss your pet’s case.  At this time, you will be escorted into an exam room where your doctor will perform a complete physical examination and discuss your pet’s needs.  There are situations when a pet will need to be taken to the ICU area for their physical examination if the pet is in severe pain, in need of restraint or becomes aggressive. A pet may need to remain in the ICU area to receive immediate emergency treatment should the need arise.

Following triage, there are several reasons one of our veterinarians may perform a physical examination on your pet in the ICU area.

—The doctor may have another critical, unstable pet that cannot be left alone.

—Some pets have conditions or are in emotional states that may be best evaluated away from their owners. 

—Pets that are sick and /or in a strange environment may react unpredictably, in which case it is often safer for them in the ICU.

Should your pet be experiencing a life-threatening emergency when you arrive, our staff will help you fill out an “Emergency Consent Form” which gives us permission to perform preliminary diagnostic tests and treatments to aid in potentially life-saving stabilization of your pet.  In these cases, it is deemed vital that the doctor start diagnostics and treatment prior to speaking with you in order to put your pet’s best interest first.  As soon as your pet has stabilized, the doctor can safely leave the ICU and update you on your pet’s condition.

If your pet’s condition should drastically change once you leave the hospital, you will be contacted immediately.  Your pet can be transferred to your veterinarian in the morning for continued care in many cases.  Please call your veterinarian prior to transferring your pet so that they are prepared to see you.  We will also communicate with your veterinarian about your visit to VSH.  Should you decide to keep your pet at VSH, one of our specialists will assume the daytime care of your pet.

Effective communication between pet owners and hospital staff is paramount to getting an accurate diagnosis and initiating proper treatment.  We view the diagnosis and treatment of your pet as a partnership between you, your primary care veterinarian and VSH. 

We strive to provide the best care possible for your pet while helping you make informed decisions during this difficult and stressful time.