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The Difference Between Veterinary Urgent Care & Emergency Care

If your pet becomes ill or injured outside of your primary vet's hours or on a holiday, you may need to bring your pet to the hospital for urgent or emergency care. In today's post, you will learn about the differences between emergency and urgent care and how injuries, illnesses, and more can be addressed. 

My pet is sick - where can I go for after-hours veterinary care?

As a conscientious pet owner, you do everything you can to keep your pet safe and healthy. However, pets of all ages sometimes fall ill or become injured and need medical care. 

When this happens, you're most likely to call your primary care veterinarian first to request advice or book an appointment. But what if your pet is sick after your local vet has closed, or is injured on a holiday weekend? You'll then need to find a veterinary hospital that's open after normal business hours and on weekends. 

A quick Google search reveals urgent care veterinary clinics and emergency animal hospitals in your area. At Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson, we provide compassionate urgent and emergency veterinary care to pets with a variety of health issues. 

In this post, we'll explain which situations warrant urgent veterinary care, and which are life-threatening medical emergencies that need attention right away, so you'll know what to expect when you come to our facility. 

Pet Health Issues That Require Urgent Care

Knowing which behaviors and symptoms of conditions require urgent care can be confusing, as these often overlap with those that warrant emergency vet visits. When you contact our veterinary hospital, we will assess your situation and interpret your pet's behaviors to help determine which level of care is appropriate.

Essentially, urgent veterinary care is for minor injuries and illnesses that are not life-threatening. They are often not as costly to treat as medical emergencies. Conditions in which urgent care is needed may include:

  • Abscesses
  • Anal gland problems
  • Back pain
  • Coughing and sneezing 
  • Difficulty walking
  • Ear infections
  • Eye discharge and squinting
  • Minor wounds and lacerations
  • Limping or mild lameness 
  • Not eating or drinking 
  • Reactions to vaccines
  • Skin allergies
  • Upper respiratory infections 
  • Urinary tract issues
  • Vomiting and diarrhea 

Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson's urgent care hours are Monday through Wednesday, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm. If you think your pet may require urgent care on another day, call us to find out if we are available. 

Pet Health Issues That Require Emergency Veterinary Care 

Life-threatening emergencies require immediate medical attention. Our experienced vets are here late nights, weekends, and holidays to triage and treat seriously ill and wounded patients. We also provide overnight monitoring if necessary. Situations that usually require emergency, overnight care include:

  • Amputation
  • Ingestion of toxins
  • Being hit by a car 
  • Choking, difficulty breathing, or continuous gagging or coughing 
  • Fractured bones, severe lameness, or inability to move legs
  • Heat stress or heat stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Major wounds and lacerations
  • Staggering
  • Multiple seizures
  • Overnight hospitalization  
  • Pneumonia
  • Uncontrollable or severe bleeding 
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Snake Bites

If you're not sure whether your pet's health issue requires emergency care, or would be better suited to our urgent care team, contact us for advice. 

Urgent & Emergency Veterinary Care in Tucson

You are the expert on your pet's normal behavior, and will probably be the first to notice if something is wrong with your four-legged companion. At Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson, our dedicated team works together to provide quality emergency veterinary care, urgent care, and specialty referrals for pets throughout Arizona. 

Our emergency services are available 7 days a week, 365 days a year. While you do not need an appointment to bring your pet in for an emergency, we do ask you to call ahead if possible. If the situation does not allow time for you to call, please do not hesitate to bring your pet to our clinic for immediate attention. 

If your pet develops a health concern after your primary care veterinarian's business hours, or if you are not able to reach your primary vet, we can assess your pet and determine which type of care they need.

As veterinarians who specialize in emergency medicine and triage, our job is to listen to your observations and concerns about your pet's conditions, determine appropriate testing and diagnostic assessment, and propose a treatment plan. This is how we'll decide if your pet's health issue is an emergency, versus a problem that requires minor attention now to provide immediate relief. 

We will also update your primary care veterinarian with your pet's medical history and files to ensure your pet receives the highest quality of seamless, integrated care possible. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

At Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson we provide urgent and emergency care for pets in need. Contact our Tucson vets if your dog or cat is experiencing a medical issue that needs attention and your primary vet is unavailable.

Emergency Care 7 Days a Week

Our board-certified critical care specialists and skilled emergency veterinarians are here for you and your pet. If your dog or cat needs emergency care, get in touch with us right away.

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