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Frequently Asked Questions: Emergency Services

Emergency Services


Do you close on holidays?

VRC is open 24/7, 365 days a year; rain or shine. Our doors never close and you can always count on us to be available for your pet’s needs at all times!

Does it cost more to bring my pet through the ER?

The ER consultation fee is no more expensive than consultation fees of other departments within VRC. Fees associated with a given category are equal across all departments (e.g. hospitalization, medications, and diagnostics).

How does the process work when I arrive?

When you arrive you will be directed to speak with one of our emergency nurses. They will first ask you a few questions about your pet and will later bring him/her to the back for our doctors to perform a physical exam.

Will there be a long wait in the ER?

When the ER is busy, your pet will be seen on the basis of need. A triage nurse and ER doctor will make an initial assessment of your pet’s needs within minutes of your arrival. Pets that are experiencing emergencies and need immediate attention will take priority.  If all of our current patients are equally stable, they are seen in order of arrival. If other pets are being seen before yours, this is good news as it means your pet is not as sick as some of our other patients.

Who will be seeing my pet?

Our excellent and experienced emergency doctors or critical care specialists will personally perform a physical exam on your pet. They will also be sure to come out and speak with you afterwards with an initial diagnosis.

Is anyone caring for my pet during the night?

We have veterinarians and nurses available in the hospital 24/7, 365 days a year. Your pets are always being looked after and cared for while they are in our care.

How often will my dog get walked while (s)he is in the hospital?

Our patients are walked regularly. We have areas surrounding the hospital that allow for seamless transition from inside care to bathroom breaks and appropriate exercise outside. Typically, our patients on IV fluids are walked at least every 4 hours.

Can I visit my pet if he/she has to stay in the hospital?

We encourage visiting with your pet while (s)he is in the hospital and always do our best to accommodate those who wish to do so. Your pet misses you as much as you miss him/her! We do ask that you discuss a visit with your doctor or call ahead to arrange a time so that we can best accommodate you.

Should I bring my pet’s own food, medicine or blankets/personal items?

It is helpful to bring your pet’s food and medicine while (s)he is in the hospital.  If you do choose to bring personal items, we recommend not bringing anything of sentimental value.  We have plenty of comfortable bedding here, so there is no need to bring your own.  Please understand that if any items become soiled, they will go into our laundry and we cannot guarantee their return to you. We also suggest asking your veterinarian prior to bringing any toys to make sure that they won’t interfere with your pet’s treatment.

Will my veterinarian be kept updated on my pet’s care?

Your veterinarian receives regular updates from our emergency/critical care doctors during hospitalization. Our goal is to work closely with your veterinarian to ensure seamless care for your pets while they are at VRC. Your primary veterinarian will receive the details regarding our physical exam, any diagnostic tests performed with the results, and the recommended treatment plan. If your pet is admitted to stay overnight, then your primary veterinarian will receive twice daily updates.

What if I cannot afford my pet’s care?

Here at VRC, we understand that medical costs can be extremely difficult, especially when they are unexpected. Should you choose to do so, you may apply for CareCredit. This is a healthcare credit card designed for payment of your veterinary needs. It’s a way to pay for the costs of treatments and procedures in manageable monthly increments. Please talk to your doctor or a member of our client services team at reception to learn more.

What Should I do When My Dog Has Been Bitten by Another Animal?

One of the best things about having a dog is the way they get you outside. It can be easy to spend too much time indoors these days, but when you have a dog you always have a good excuse to take walks through the city streets or down country roads. You make time for play dates in the park, or for a little trail running through the wilderness. But while spending time in the great outdoors can be a tremendous benefit to you and your dog’s health, it’s important to remain aware that other animals, wild and domesticated, are also out and about—and sometimes those animals may be inclined to bite your dog. It’s not particularly likely to happen, but one should be realistic about these things. A little preparedness can go a long way when it comes to protecting your dog from animal bites—and a little information can help you to avoid panicking if your dog is bitten.

Most animals your dog will meet outside, like other people’s dogs, are perfectly friendly. Others, such as neighborhood cats and wildlife such as squirrels, rabbits, and foxes, will want to get away from your dog. It’s not always easy to know what other animals will do, however—especially animals such as raccoons, which are prevalent in most parts of the country. So, the best way you can prevent the risk of your dog being bitten by unfamiliar animals is to always walk your dog on a leash. A leashed dog can’t run off to engage with animals that may or may not be aggressive.

Even if you do everything right, however, your dog might someday receive an animal bite. And most animal bites are rarely lethal—though if your dog is bitten by a snake, seek help immediately.

If your dog is bitten by a cat, dog, or member of an urban wildlife population, here’s what to do:
  • Stop the bleeding. Apply pressure to the wound with a clean washcloth or towel.
  • Go to the vet. Make an immediate appointment to see your primary veterinarian so he or she can look at the wound and prescribe care for it. They will definitely clean it, and will typically either prescribe antibiotics (if small) or a surgical drain (if large).
  • Home care. Usually, your vet will give you aftercare instructions for your dog. Continuing oral antibiotics until they’re finished, gently cleaning the wound, and monitoring your dog for signs of infection are common recommendations. You may also be required to restrict your dog’s activity level until the wound is healed.

Animal bites aren’t necessarily the worst injury your pet can sustain, but neither should they be taken lightly. Don’t assume you can treat even a small bite at home—animal mouths contain bacteria that can cause infection. It’s like the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” So, take your animal into the vet first thing if they are bitten. They will know if it’s something they can take care of easily, or whether you should seek out the care of a veterinary specialist near Philadelphia.

VRC is a veterinary hospital in Malvern, PA. If you suspect your dog has been bitten, or you see another animal bite your dog, contact your primary veterinarian to see if a visit to a specialist at VRC veterinary hospital is a good idea.

Daily Exercise for Your Dog May Help Prevent Serious Diseases

When it comes to keeping your dog healthy, people often think of choosing the right food, regular visits to the vet, and making sure your dog gets enough play time. But play time or brief walks don’t always provide your dog with enough crucial aerobic exercise—and dogs that don’t get enough exercise are more likely to become overweight or obese.

Overweight pets are becoming more and more common. We’re all busy these days, and most of us barely have enough time to exercise ourselves, much less ensure that our animals get adequate activity. But it’s crucial for your pet’s health (just as it is for our own!) to make sure they’re up and moving briskly every day. Your dog probably wants to exercise every day, hard enough to make them pant. And making sure your dog keeps active can help prevent a host of serious conditions and diseases.

When dogs become overweight, they suffer from the same sorts of problems as overweight humans do. Overall, they have a shorter life expectancy, and overweight dogs are at risk for diabetes, bone diseases and joint pain, diseases of the heart and the lungs, and cancer. While, as is the case with humans, daily exercise is no guarantee against chronic illness, the evidence suggests that it helps. Staying at a healthy weight can also help your dog once he or she gets older. Aging dogs can have a difficult time getting up, jumping into cars, and playing. Obesity puts extra strain on their joints, which compounds these struggles.

Of course, not all dogs are the same. The exercise your dog needs will vary based on its breed, age, size, and general health. A border collie will need a lot more active time to remain healthy than a teacup terrier, for example. But, an average dog will need between half an hour to two hours of activity every day.

Walking is a great way to get your dog up and moving, but that’s not the only way you can exercise them. In fact, your dog can be a great motivator for keeping you and your family active! A nice family hike can be a great way to get you and your dog’s heart rates up, as can a few runs a week. Even playing a game of fetch is great for you and your pet. You’re up off the couch or away from your desk, moving; they’re running happily to and fro, getting in the heart-healthy exercise they need.

Of course, it’s good to be cautious. Like older humans, older dogs may not be up to every challenge. Before embarking on a weight loss program for your pet, consider a visit to your primary veterinarian. Just like you’d consult a doctor before trying to lose weight, it’s a good idea to talk to a professional about your dog’s unique needs. Your pet can’t tell you when he or she is tired, thirsty, or hurting, so it’s good to know everything before changing up a routine.

VRC is a specialty veterinary healthcare center in Malvern. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Ways Your Family Can Give Back to the Animal Community

Americans love animals. Most American households have at least one pet. 49.5% of U.S. households have one or more dogs, and another 30% have cats. And, of course, there are plenty of families out there with more unusual pets—fish, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, and other exotics. But most animal lovers don’t just think about cuddles, belly rubs, walks, playtime, selecting nutritious food, and scheduling regular veterinary visits for their pets. They also think about the welfare of animals outside of their own homes!

News & Events-2If you love animals and want to make a difference in the lives of dogs and cats, it’s easier than you think. Most animal shelters are constantly in need of additional funds, so a donation to a local animal rescue group around the holidays, or whenever you can spare it, can go a great way toward helping animals.

A donation of time is also invaluable. If your pet-loving children need community service hours, why not suggest a local shelter or animal charity? A few hours cleaning litter boxes, taking dogs for walks, or playing with attention-needing animals is always a very rewarding experience. And, if your children are younger, you could always suggest sponsoring a classroom pet and offer to help out with food and supplies, as public schools are always on a tight budget these days. For animal lovers like you, teaching the next generation about the importance of proper animal care is a fantastic idea!

If you’re looking to teach values or volunteer a bit closer to home, there might be opportunities in your own neighborhood. Elderly people may not be able to walk their own dogs as often as they’d like to, or bend down to brush their cats, so volunteering in that capacity helps animals in need, as well as aiding your community.

Perhaps the biggest commitment you can make to helping animals in need is adopting a new animal from a shelter or rescue. Most shelters are overcrowded with animals, and especially older animals. While puppies and kittens always seem to find a good home, dogs and cats a few years past their most adorable age often languish in shelters. It’s a shame, because there are many advantages to adopting an older animal! Older cats typically don’t require litter box training, and older dogs often know how to walk on a lead or wait to go outside to use the bathroom.

They’re also a bit less spirited, which can be nice for families who don’t want to risk scratched curtains, couches, and hands—or torn-up pillows and frequent wake-ups to take a puppy outside in the night. Older animals are often on their second chance, and can be so excited to find a new “forever home” that they go through a second puppy or kittenhood, so even if you want a rambunctious new companion, an older animal may provide you with just that!

We are a specialty veterinary healthcare center in Malvern that loves animals as much as you do. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so give VRC a call at (610) 647-2950.