What to do when your pet is sick after-hours

Winter, Dr. Sheri Schlorman’s dog. DR. SHERI SCHLORMAN

Ever heard or experienced that one’s pet gets sick only at night or on the weekend when we are not open? Well that happens to all of us, even veterinarians and their staff. We are lucky in this community to have the Emergency Veterinary Hospital at 103 W. Q St. in Springfield that is open 24/7. They let daytime doctors such as myself and our staff sleep at night and have days off rather than be on call.
Just like at an Urgent Care or Emergency Room for humans, the Emergency Veterinary Hospital (EVH) sees patients on a walk-in basis where patients are triaged, or seen according to the severity of their condition. This means that if your pet is stable you must wait while the more unstable pets are taken care of first.
Last Thursday night I was able to experience what a wonderful group of veterinary professionals we all have access to at EVH. When I got home I found one of my dogs semi-responsive in his kennel. He had been totally normal when I left in the morning; he vomited digested food sometime during the day. I wrapped him in a towel and headed to EVH.
The parking lot was full, the waiting room was packed. The staff member at the front desk immediately saw that my dog was unresponsive; I told her who I was, and she ushered me back to the treatment area. There were two doctors working, one of which continued to take care of the pets in the waiting room while the other doctor and two technicians spent the next hour and a half taking vital signs, putting an IV catheter in and giving IV fluids, getting blood work and getting an ultrasound of my dog’s abdomen, desperately trying to save him.
In the end, he was not responding to treatment and I chose euthanasia. In a matter of hours, he had had a gallbladder attack that caused him to become septic (body-wide infection) that also caused some brain injury.
I wanted to share my experience so that you know how awesome the group at EVH is and to also explain why sometimes there is quite a wait for your pet to be seen. I filled out the same forms all clients do, was given recommendations and options, and both I and my dog were treated with the utmost kindness and respect.
So if you find yourself needing to visit the Emergency Veterinary Hospital and have to wait hours to be seen, think about Winter and that if your pet was critical they would be dropping everything to try and save them.



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