2001-Tue Feb 21 14:15:14 EST 2017
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It’s cold and lonely in a veterinary emergency room — colder still
during the allegedly “cheerier” times of the year when everyone’s
out celebrating. The doctors are working on your pet, and you’re stuck in the lobby staring numbly at an
artificial tree’s unconvincing efforts to warm you from the inside
At times like these, I wouldn’t blame you for feeling despondent. After all, your loved one has just been injured or taken
ill at the worst time of year. This is when you’re least likely
to have friends and family with free time to accompany you, when
wait times are probably longest, and, of course, when you’re least
likely to have funds available for an unbudgeted
So much for a happy holiday! In fact, you’re so acutely aware of
all these issues you’re having a hard time keeping it together.
Never have you ever felt so incapable of playing the role of responsible pet owner.
But there is a silver lining. The truth is that the holidays
at the animal ER are often made out to be much worse than they
really are. In fact, it’s been my experience that even on the busiest holidays, veterinarians and
their teams still bring their A games to the table. And after-hours facilities are often quieter and
better staffed than anyone expects.
So forget the doom and gloom. Focus on the beautiful lights, that
sweetly inspiring nativity scene and the fact that you’ve got
highly trained personnel waiting to help you handle
your pets’ direst emergencies.
Before you speed off to the ER, here are nine tips that might help improve the experience.
1. Call your regular veterinarian first. You may be surprised to find that your veterinarian is in the office on Christmas Eve or New Year's Day. Some of
us are crazy like that. But call early in the day. Most of us who do
work on these holidays come in only for a few hours in the morning
(at least that’s what I do).
2. Know where your go-to ER is. This is crucial. Ask your regular veterinarian
which facility (or facilities) she recommends and which are open during
the holidays (some smaller ERs are not), and make sure you know how
to get there.
3. Understand the term “triage.” Medical teams treat the sickest patients
first. This reality, however, can exacerbate the stress of waiting for your pet to be seen (a sensation that seems most acute during the
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