The Oromocto Veterinary Hospital (OVH), like all veterinary hospitals and clinics in New Brunswick, is required to be available to provide emergency care to its patients when the hospital is closed.  The AAHA Accreditation standards require that OVH provides access to emergency care for its patients.  We do ensure that, at all times, an OVH veterinarian is available to provide emergency care to patients.

            How does this work?  If you are a client of OVH and have an emergency after normal hospital hours, call our regular telephone number, listen to the voicemail message and follow the prompt to contact the emergency veterinarian on call.  This veterinarian is busy providing emergency examinations and care to other patients; please save non-emergency issues and questions for normal hospital hours.

            During normal hospital hours, OVH has veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants working in the hospital.  Each staff member is contributing to patient care.  They do everything from answering the telephone, holding animals for x-rays, running blood chemistry and other tests or assisting in surgery.  After hours, there is no staff support until the emergency veterinarian has assessed the patient.  At this time, a veterinary technician or assistant may be called in for overtime duties. This can contribute to higher fees when pets are examined.

            What is a true emergency?  There are obvious things that come to mind… Trauma, automobile accidents, bleeding, collapse, first time or prolonged seizures, porcupine quills, being unable to urinate, issues with the eyes, severe vomiting and/or diarrhoea, sudden behavioural changes, and of course, pain.  It is impossible to list all emergency situations and there are many others. 

            Often the reason people call for emergency care is for issues and illnesses that have been ongoing for some time, and now the problem has become severe enough that the owner wishes for their pet to be examined.  Sometimes, it is difficult for the veterinarian to determine on the telephone if the pet has an emergency condition.  Veterinarians are not to diagnose a pet’s condition over the telephone; most often, an exam is needed.

            When your pet requires an emergency examination, Emergency Fees will be quoted and charged when the veterinarian meets you at the hospital.  These fees pay for overtime duties by the veterinarian and for hospital operational costs. You need to be prepared to pay all fees at the time of the examination.  Fees for any lab testing, x-rays, staff support, hospitalization or other medical treatments that are required for your pet’s condition will be over and above the emergency examination fee.

            How can you avoid an emergency visit?  “Prevention is the best medicine”.  Bring your pet for its’ Annual examination (Semi-Annual exam for senior pets).  This is when you begin to build a relationship with the hospital, your pet’s status and conditions will be noted and baselines can be established. This is also the time to evaluate and deal with any conditions that may be brewing.  Wellness blood testing can be done at annual visits to screen your pet for underlying, non-symptomatic illnesses that are best treated before your pet is ill or in distress.  Vaccinations prevent specific illnesses in your pet.  Heartworm and Flea prevention protect your pet from problems that are more difficult and expensive to treat than to prevent.  Further, chronic ear or skin conditions can best be controlled with ongoing medical management treatments rather than waiting until there is a flare-up and serious discomfort for your pet.

            Another way to avoid an emergency visit is to seek medical care when you first notice symptoms or signs that your pet is unwell or not her/himself.  Call and make an appointment right-away.  Taking a ‘wait-and-see if this goes away’ approach might lead to your needing veterinary medical care after-hours.

            OVH veterinarians and staff are dedicated to your pet’s well-being.  We focus on preventing disease and illness in our patients.  Our staff will help you with your questions and concerns about your pet’s conditions.  Of course, illnesses and accidents do not always happen during our normal operating hours and an emergency examination may be needed.  Please do not hesitate to seek medical care if you feel your pet is unwell.