Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Emergency Veterinarians

We had a bit of chaos in our house last week when our geriatric cat developed a sudden and severe abscess on Monday. The swelling was severe, and due to his age and the sudden onset (he showed no symptoms 24 hours prior), we were very concerned for his health. Unfortunately, we didn't see it until he came out from wherever he had been hiding to go to bed at 10 pm.

The geriatricat and abscess in question.

10 pm is a really inconvenient time to need a veterinarian. Everybody knows (or should know) where their local human emergency rooms are, but what about animal ERs? As good fortune would have it, I have had to find a late night vet once before in this town, and so I knew where to start to solve our feline emergency. The first time I needed one, though, I was well and truly lost.

I've found two good ways to find after hours vet care. The method I used the first time was a simple Google search for "24 hour vet [my city]." The other, far better way is to ask your regular veterinarian ahead of time. In conversation with our normal vet, after the chaos had settled, I learned that we actually have three after-hours vet clinics in town, and she was able to make recommendations for which ones have specialized treatment facilities. Being forewarned is being very forearmed!

Usually, the after-hours vet is kind of like an emergency room for humans: they address the immediate symptoms, buying you time to get to your normal doctor. In our case, they gave our cat painkillers and a broad spectrum antibiotic, and eased our concerns about his immediate prospects, but we still had to take him to our normal vet for further treatment and a complete diagnosis.

He'll be fine, by the way. He was diagnosed with an abscessed tooth, which my vet assures us presents exactly as quickly as we observed. I'm going to pick him up from getting his teeth pulled after my work shift, and the furry jerk is expected to grumble at us about the state of the world and his lot in life for years to come.

Talk to your vet, and find your local after-hours clinics. You owe it to yourself and your animals to have that information at hand.


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