Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Urgent Care Delivery at the Veterinary Emergency Service

The deliver of veterinary critical care can be a very emotional event. The staff at VES does their best to inform clients of the specifics of the care provided. Today science and technology have advanced veterinary surgery to a point where understanding is difficult. The following are frequently asked questions developed from extensive client surveys. Please review in detail. I also suggest you visit where many other topics are discussed in depth. Thank you for selecting the Veterinary Emergency Service as your veterinary critical care provider.

Richard Lanier DVM
Founder and CEO
Veterinary Emergency Service

Q... I should have brought my pet in sooner. How do I know when they are sick?

A.... Most of us know when our pet is not right. In people you tend to know when you are not feeling well. By the time you realize it in a pet the condition is more advanced. If a pet is in pain, not eating for 12 hours or vomited more than 3 times it should be seen now. Certainly trauma and other obvious conditions need care immediately. Many times we see patients that are sick for days dramatically impacting multiple organs via dehydration.

Q.... Why couldn't you tell me what to do over the phone?

A... Because it is impossible. We would most likely be wrong and we do not want to put the patient at risk. Example... We will get calls on how to control vomiting. I can list many medical conditions where one of the symptoms is vomiting. Until we make a diagnosis, I can't tell it from simple gastritis to life threatening kidney failure.

Q..... Why aren't there more 24 hour emergency facilities available?

A..... Part of it is the law of supply and demand. A veterinary ER needs to draw from a community of over 500,000 people to provide enough veterinary critical care patients to justify an investment of many millions of dollars and employ a large staff to cover 168 hours a week including holidays. This is the reason that veterinary critical care facilities only exist in urban areas.

Q.... It took an extended waiting time to get my patient seen and treated..... why.

A.... We are not an appointment business. Emergencies are not scheduled. We are a triage business. One of the challenges in the veterinary critical care industry is that we cannot predict who will be presented or when. Most people call ahead and that does give us time to prepare for a specific need. When multiple patients are presented at the same time we must utilize triage logic. The patient with an immediate life threatening problem is cared for first. That is the way you would want it I am sure.

Q..... I had to wait and they did not seem to be busy.

A.... Many times there are involved procedures going on in surgery and/or treatment areas that occupy the entire staff. Example... A big dog presented with acute hemorrhage of the spleen must go to surgery immediately occupying the efforts of 5 or more people. We apologize for the delay, but time is critical.

Q.... Why do veterinary critical care services cost so much.

A.... It really doesn't. Fees at VES are very similar to those of our leading full service referring hospitals if you look at them one by one. The issue is that in a critical care patient you are buying a great number of services and they can mount up. It must also be stated that VES provides specific skills, services, diagnostics and equipment that is not available in traditional general practice. Items like state of the art blood diagnostics, coagulation determination, ultrasound, latest cloud based high definition radiography, IV pumps, warming devices, oxygen therapy chambers ETC. Referring practices send cases needing these services because having these items in every general practice is NOT cost effective and would not be affordable to you.

Q..... It seems it is all about money. I was asked for payment after the exam. Please explain why.

A... After the exam the process moves forward in two parts. The first is diagnostics followed by treatment. In most cases the diagnostics contain extensive blood work and multiple radiographs. There may be other tests needed. You will be presented with a detailed list of these services and asked for a financial commitment including signature. I agree this does happen fast, but many of our patients are critical and it takes time and people to get the blood drawn and processed in our laboratory. If radiographs are needed it requires multiple people to position properly. Now the diagnostics will be reviewed and a treatment plan developed. The diagnostic part of patient care delivery is very comprehensive and the financial cost significant. We have had cases where clients walked out after diagnostics to avoid paying.. This places a great financial burden on our business model, forcing those costs on to future patient care and that reflects in higher fees. That is not fair.

Q.... Why are so many blood tests run?

A... Today we have wonderful technology. To provide proper patient care, a Complete Blood Count is essential along with a comprehensive blood chemistry panel including electrolytes. This information is necessary to identify the issues, the organs impacted and determine the course of treatment . When I first founded VES in 1972 this technology did not exist. In 1979 dry reagent blood analyzers came on the market. VES was the first veterinary facility to provide this service. Since then many lives have been saved. Imagine, in less then 20 minutes we can produce complete blood analysis from as little as 2 mls of blood.

Q... Why do I need to call or visit my pets doctor immediately after care at VES?

A....We want your doctor to be fully informed of the VES event. In most cases there is followup care that may be required even the next day. You will have a digital copy of the patient care sent to your email. If you identified you veterinarian they will already have a copy of the record. If not you can forward him a copy.

Q.... Will my pets doctor get a copy if the medical records.

A.... Yes VIA email

Q.... Will my doctor get a copy of the x rays

A... Yes … The high definition radiographs are stored in the cloud and the URL link is available in the medical record. VES utilizes the most advanced radiography called the Cuattro. When your veterinary hospital views these xrays they will be able to enhance, augment, enlarge and anoint.

Q... Why must I call first.

A... So we have advanced notice and can prepare for your specific need.

Q.... Does VES have financing/payment plan?

A... Absolutely.. We have acquired the Wells Fargo Healthcare Advantage program that on approval allows clients 12 months interest free. See

Q..... What are the qualifications and education of the people VES employs?

A... The VES Team is made up of people educated in our colleges and universities and licensed in the State of Michigan. They include doctors with 8 years of college and a technicians with 2-4 years of specific training and education. They are committed to “Delivering the best possible patient care while the patient is under our direction”. They care dearly about the patients they serve and make great personal and family sacrifices to provide patient care 24/7/365 including holidays. These are people with advanced skills not commonly found in the veterinary profession. They are to be applauded. If we are to be successful, it is not about us; it is about the patient.

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