Q: Can I call to check on my pet?

A: Yes. We know that having your pet in hospital is stressful for you and your family. Your TVEH veterinarian will update you daily on your pet’s condition but you are welcome to call in for updates from our staff about your pet’s progress.

Q: Can I leave special food for my pet?

A: TVEH stocks a wide variety of food brands and types. Your pet’s medical condition may require a specific prescription diet (low fat diet, urinary diet, etc) while hospitalized. Be sure to discuss any special feeding instructions or preferences with the veterinarian at the time your pet is admitted to hospital. If your pet is on a special medical diet, we will continue it, if appropriate. We may ask you to provide us with the food if it is not something we routinely carry. Note that we do not permit raw diets at TVEH for any of our inpatients.

Q: Can I leave toys, blankets or other items with my pet?

A: No. We discourage leaving toys or blankets with your pet as these items tend to get soiled and mixed in with our own supplies when laundered. TVEH has many different types of bedding ranging from blankets to fleeces to keep your pet warm and comfortable. If any toys or bedding have been left behind, we will make every effort to return it to you at the end of their stay, but cannot guarantee this.

All dogs must be leashed when brought into TVRH; cats should be on-leash or in a carrier. To avoid loss, we request that you take your pet's leash and collar or carrier home with you during your pet's hospitalization.

Q: Can I visit my pet in the hospital?

A: Yes. We understand that it is a worrying time when your pet is in hospital, especially if your pet is seriously ill or if the stay lasts several days. Many patients benefit from being visited by their families, so we do encourage this. However, for some pets, a visit can cause over-excitement or stress at a time when a calm recovery period is essential. We ask that you call the hospital shortly before your intended visit to ensure that our staff are available to assist with visit coordination.

Q: Do I need a referral from my family veterinarian for non-emergency cases?

A: A referral from your family veterinarian is strongly encouraged. It is important to have clear communication between all of your pet’s health care providers. Your regular veterinarian can provide the specialist with essential details about your pet’s health. This can include information about previous heath problems, test results, and response to treatment. With this information, unnecessary tests, or duplication of tests can be avoided, and a diagnosis is often reached more quickly.

As well, ongoing patient care is often provided by your family veterinarian. TVEH will communicate directly with your primary care veterinarian and will provide a complete written report regarding your pet’s diagnostic tests, treatments, and outcome. This continuity between specialist and family veterinarian ensures the best possible outcome for your pet.

Q: Do I need an appointment for emergency care at TVEH?

A: No. In an emergency situation an appointment is not necessary. TVEH is open 24/7 for emergency patients. You can also telephone us at 416 247 8387 to get directions or assistance.

Because TVEH is an emergency facility, patients are triaged when they arrive. “Triage” means that the most life-threatening cases are seen first. If more than one animal arrives at the same time, the most critically-ill pet will get examined first. Sometimes this means that an examination in progress may be interrupted, or a less critical patient may have to wait while the veterinary staff tends to another patient. Please be assured that we will work as quickly as possible to care for your pet.

Q: Does my pet need to be vaccinated?

A: Yes. It is essential that preventable contagious diseases and infections are not brought into the hospital. Please make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date.

We understand that this may not be practical in an emergency, but we do expect you to safeguard the health of our staff and other patients by ensuring that your pet’s vaccinations are current, and to inform us if they are not.

Q: How do I find the right specialist?

A: If your veterinarian feels that your pet would benefit from a referral, you should discuss this option and obtain the information you need to make a fully informed decision.

You have a choice about where or who to go to for a second opinion or specialty care for your pet. Your veterinarian will be able to make recommendations, but you can also research who to entrust your pet to. The specialty colleges for board-certified veterinarians can help you search for specialists in your area. Once you have chosen a specialist, your veterinarian will arrange an initial appointment and forward the necessary patient records.

It is important that you feel comfortable with the specialist who will be treating your pet. You should expect them to thoroughly examine your pet, explain the pros and cons of each procedure or treatment, discuss costs, and fully answer any questions you may have.

Q: How do I get updates on my pet's condition?

A:  It is important for you to stay informed about your pet’s progress while he or she is in hospital. We try to balance our time on the phone with our time by your pet’s side providing compassionate care. Your TVEH veterinarian will provide you with an update at least once a day, and usually more frequently, as procedures are performed and test results are received. If you wish more frequent updates, we encourage you to call and speak to the technician caring for your pet.

We understand that your whole family may be anxious about your hospitalized pet; however, answering phone calls from multiple family members detracts from the time we spend providing patient care. If several family members or friends are involved, we ask that you assign ONE contact person to receive updates and share that information with others.

Please be assured that in the event that your pet’s condition worsens, a TVEH veterinarian will contact you to discuss treatment options and help you make an informed decision about your pet's care. It is essential that you provide TVEH with accurate contact information, including preferred phone numbers. If we are unable to contact you, we will continue to provide your pet with the medical care that is in their best interest until we are able to get in touch with you.

Q: How do I pay for my pet’s care?

A: Once the veterinarian has examined your pet, they will discuss your pet’s condition and suggest options for additional tests and/or treatment. The cost of services will be part of the discussion of treatment options, and you will receive a written estimate of the expected costs.

If your pet is admitted to hospital, we require a payment equaling 50% of the high end of the estimate as a deposit. As treatment begins, new developments in your pet’s condition may change the treatment plan, and its associated costs. If this happens, your veterinarian will update you and once again discuss options for ongoing care. At the time that your pet returns home, we will ask you to pay the balance in full.

Your options for payment methods include:

  • Cash
  • Interact
  • Credit card (VISA, Mastercard, Amex)

Note: We do not accept personal cheques

Q: My pet is insured – will the costs of treatment be covered?

A: You should check with your insurance company about your level of coverage, possible exclusions you may have and what excess you may need to pay. We will assist with the completion of estimates and claim forms. In most cases you will be responsible for paying for your pet’s care at the time of discharge and will be reimbursed by your insurance company.

Q: What does “board-certified” mean?

A: A board-certified specialist is a veterinarian who has met the certification requirements of a veterinary specialty board. The American Board of Veterinary Specialties (ABVS) currently recognizes 20 specialties whose regulatory bodies are called “colleges.” Examples include the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, and the American College of Veterinary Radiology. A board-certified veterinary specialist is certified by one of these recognized specialty colleges. This is designated by the letters “DACV..” after their name, e.g., DACVS for surgery or DACVIM for internal medicine.

To become board-certified, veterinarians must complete an approved post-graduate residency training program in a specific specialty, must meet specific training and caseload requirements, and must generally perform research or publish case reports. After completing a residency (typically 3 years in length), the veterinarian must pass a rigorous examination. Only then do they become board-certified, and only then may they call themselves veterinary specialists.

Q: What happens after my pet comes home?

A: When we discharge your pet from the hospital, you will receive written instructions for aftercare and follow-up. Please read these instructions carefully before you leave the hospital. This is an ideal time to make sure that all your questions are answered, and that you are clear about your pet’s aftercare. If additional questions arise after returning home, please do not hesitate to contact us or your family veterinarian.

TVEH will contact your family veterinarian with an interim report at time of discharge to bring them up to speed immediately, and a full written report will also be sent to your veterinarian.

Q: What if my pet is already on medication?

A: You should discuss this with the TVEH veterinarian when your pet is examined. If possible, provide us with the name and dosage of each medication that your pet is being given. Some drugs may interact badly with other medications, and it is important for us to know if your pet is on any other medication or supplement, whether prescribed by your family veterinarian or not.

In many cases, we will continue the medications while your pet is in hospital. While TVEH stocks virtually every common medication, occasionally a pet is on a special medication that we do not carry. Please make sure to bring with you any medications your pet is already on.

Q: What information should I bring with me to the hospital?

A: Please bring any medical records that you may have, along with a list of any medications your pet is taking. If your pet is on a special medication or diet, please bring those items with you in case your pet needs to be hospitalized.

If you have been referred by your family veterinarian, your pet’s pertinent medical history should have been forwarded to us in advance.

Q: What is a Diplomate?

A: A Diplomate is a veterinarian who is board-certified in a recognized veterinary specialty college. For example, an ACVS Diplomate has been certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Only veterinarians who are board-certified may refer to themselves as veterinary specialists.

Q: What is a veterinary referral hospital?

A: Referral hospitals are specialty practices that work in partnership with your regular veterinarian to provide the highest level of care for your pet. Specialists combine both knowledge and skill to treat patients with complex problems. Additionally, specialists stay up-to-date on the latest research in their disciplines. They generally offer specialized surgical and medical procedures including orthopedic or cancer surgery, endoscopy and chemotherapy. Specialty hospitals are typically equipped to provide advanced, state-of-the-art services, including advanced imaging such as ultrasound, CT and MRI. They often have facilities such as Intensive Care Units or oncology wards. Referral hospitals do not provide basic care such as vaccinations or routine spay/neuter surgeries.

Q: What is a veterinary specialist?

A: A veterinary specialist is a doctor who has pursued advanced study in a specific area of veterinary practice. The American Veterinary Medical Association currently recognizes twenty board-certified veterinary specialties, including Internal Medicine, Surgery, Critical Care, Diagnostic Imaging, Neurology, Cardiology, and Ophthalmology.

Each specialty college has its own rigorous training program and certification process, including a comprehensive board examination. “Board certification” denotes successful completion of the requirements of each college. These highly selective programs are similar to residency training programs in human medicine. They typically require three or more years of advanced training beyond the veterinary degree and only those veterinarians that have earned Diplomate status in a specialty college are entitled to call themselves specialists.

Q: What makes a specialist different from my family veterinarian?

A: A family (or general practice) veterinarian is a skilled professional who can manage most of your pet’s health problems. However, some pets develop diseases or suffer injuries that need advanced care. In these cases, your family veterinarian may refer you to a specialist.

Board-certified specialists have spent at least three to five years after obtaining their veterinary degree focusing strictly on a specific discipline. The result is in an in-depth knowledge of advanced diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, which allows them to provide specialized treatment for your pet. In addition, specialists have access to diagnostic equipment not generally used by your family veterinarian.

Veterinary specialists in no way replace your family veterinarian. Instead, they work with your regular veterinarian to achieve the best possible result for your pet.

Q: When should I seek a specialist for my pet?

A: Your family veterinarian is a highly skilled professional who can manage most of your pet’s health problems. However, some pets develop diseases or suffer injuries that need advanced care. You should consider referral to a specialist if:

  • Your pet's medical condition is complex, uncommon, or remains undiagnosed after standard testing by your family veterinarian
  • Your pet’s response to current treatment is less than was expected
  • Your pet requires an advanced surgery, procedure or test that is offered by a specialty hospital
  • Your pet requires 24-hour monitoring or intensive care
  • You want a neutral, informed second opinion of your pet's condition with information on treatment options and prognosis

It is important to get a referral from your regular veterinarian, when possible, as this ensures accurate transfer of crucial medical information and helps your pet receive the best care. Early referral can often result in a better outcome and reduced cost.

Q: Who will be taking care of my pet while he or she is in hospital?

A: TVEH operates 24 hours a day and 7 days per week; as a result, more than one veterinarian may be caring for your pet. At the beginning and end of each daily shift, these veterinarians communicate with each other in meetings called “patient rounds” where all of the in-hospital patients are discussed in order to ensure continuity of care. Typically, your TVEH veterinarian will provide daytime care and most of the communications with you, while emergency veterinarians provide overnight and weekend care. For patients in the Intensive Care Unit, critical care specialists provide care 7 days per week.

Registered veterinary technicians are an essential part of your pet’s daily care. They are highly knowledgeable, skilled members of the veterinary team, who work alongside the veterinarians to help treat your pet and assist with communications. Animal care attendants play an equally important role in providing patient care and ensuring that your pet’s needs are met.

Q: Why should I consider TVEH?

A: The specialists and emergency clinicians at TVEH understand that many illnesses are complex and multifaceted. We use a multidisciplinary approach to diagnostics and treatment in order to provide top quality care. Our specialists and emergency clinicians also recognize that there may be more than one appropriate treatment option and are committed to taking a personal approach with each client and pet; to communicating diagnostic and treatment options, and to working with your family veterinarian to achieve the best possible result for your pet.

Q: Will my family veterinarian be updated about my pet's visit?

A: TVEH makes every effort to keep your family veterinarian updated about your pet’s condition and care while they are at the hospital. When your pet leaves the hospital, details of their medical record outlining every test and treatment will be faxed or emailed to your family veterinarian. The results of some tests may still be pending when your pet returns home. Once available; the results of these tests will be forwarded to your family veterinarian’s clinic.

Q: Will my pet be left alone at night?

A: No.To provide the best of care and attention a highly qualified veterinary team monitors every hospital patient 24/7 observing for problems, and giving scheduled treatments around the clock. At all times there is at least one veterinarian on duty in the hospital, and specialists are on call on weekends and overnight for advanced care.

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