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the Cost of Emergency Veterinarian Care

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$ 185
Jun 2007
Tucson, AZ
Stitches and antibiotics  more... close row

Description of service

After returning home from a groomer that I had not used before (barely two hours before my sister was to arrive from out-of-state), I noticed that my dog had a red mark on his back leg. After looking closer, I saw that it was blood. I examined it closer to see if it was small cut that could be treated at home. Unfortunately, it was actually a two-inch gash just above the knee joint. I phoned my vet and they said to bring him in immediately (he was still bleeding). They cleaned the wound (which involved shaving his leg in that area) and determined that he would need stitches. He was given a shot of antibiotics and a local anisthetic and then received four stitches. I was also given a prescription for antibiotics that he was to take for a week.

The vet had the antibiotics in stock, so I was able to get them there. The cost for the oral antibiotics was $85.00, the office visit fee was $35.00, the antibiotic injection was $20.00, and there was $45.00 for for the stitches, exam, and materials. Their $30.00 emergency service fee was waived. The follow-up visit to remove the stitches also at no charge.

Review of Service

Although the total cost was far more than I had planned on spending for the weekend, the quality of care was excellent. They were able to see my dog right away (it took 20 minutes to get there and he was still bleeding) and he received immediate attention. The vet and assistants took extra time to make sure we were both comfortable before performing any services on him. I had only had him a couple of months at the time and we were not sure how he would react to the needles and stitches so taht was a concern.

The cut was carefully examined to make sure that there was no damage to ligaments or the joint. He was kept calm throuhout and the entire visit only took 20 minutes (the visit to remove the stitches took less than five minutes). I was given detailed instructions on cleaning the wound and giving the antibiotics. The vet also gave me an emergency number to call for another vet (we were there on Saturday, their office is closed on Sunday and Monday) if needed, as well as her cell phone number to call if there were any questions. In addition, she phoned the groomer and argued on my behalf that they should cover the cost of the vet visit. The groomer reimbursed my expenses the following week (as well as the charge for the grooming). The personal attention that we receive there makes it worth the extra money it costs.


Emergency vet care can be extremely expensive. Check with your vet's office to see what their policy and charges are as well as who their referral vet is should you need them when the office is closed. Ask for more than one number if possible. In an emergency, you'll want not only the one closest to you, but the one who can see you the fastest. Try to build a relationship with your vet and their staff. My vet waived the emergency fee for and has also waived office charges on occassion.

Make sure you are comfortable with your vet so that in emergency situations you and your animal are not unduly stressed. If the injury was caused by someone else, don't be afraid to ask them to pay for it. Although I had to wait a couple of days, I was reimbursed. If this is the case, ask for a written statement from your vet as well.

Ask any questions that you might have before you leave the office, no matter how silly you may think they are. It's much better do it now than to have to come back later (and incure more charges). Vets understand that people view their animals as children, and they've probably heard far sillier questions that any you can ask.

Finally, invest in a pet first aid kit, book, or course. Some injuries can be treated at home.

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