What To Expect When You
Bring in a Sick or Injured Pet:
I'll try to put approximate prices down where ever applicable so you can know what to expect from a cost stand point as well.
Reception: We have bright, competent, and personable receptionists that love people as well as pets, and they will be glad to get you (and us) organized and squared away. Veterinary techs will do an initial work up of your pet, and if your pet is being dropped off for hospitalization, lab tests, radiographs, dentistry, or surgery, he or she will address any concerns you might have and go over any consent forms, treatment options and so forth. After that, one of our vets will see you shortly.
History: Try to tell us about how long your pet's been sick, about whether or not there have been similar problems in the past, any big changes lately in diet, other pets in the household, recent boarding or vacations, and whether or not your pet has been drinking or urinating excessively. All this information helps a lot.
Stool and urine Samples: If your pet is sick, it would help if you can bring in a stool sample and, if possible, a urine sample.
Initial Exam: this is where we try to determine what's going on, to list all the problems we detect or suspect, determine the severity of the injuries or illnesses, and come up with an appropriate plan. We'll examine your pet from head to tail looking with an experienced eye and hands for what ever is wrong. We'll ask a lot of questions. We'll get vital signs. Usually we can get a pretty good idea about the cause and extent of the problem with this initial exam. Sometimes we have to look a little harder. $40
Diagnostic Lab Work: If you were a pretty young woman thinking about dating a certain fella, lab work compares to getting a credit report, a police report, and a reference letter from the ex girl friend. The information we get from doing blood work and other tests tells us ALOT !
It's amazing what we find when we look below the surface. We have a fully equiped lab and certified technicians that help us quickly rule out what is and isn't wrong with your pet. Our most expensive blood panel that we commonly recommend is $85. Most of our other tests and panels are much less. Regardless, the information we get from testing is worth it and a very important part of helping your pet live have the best quality of life possible. Click here is you'd like to go to our page about our laboratory or here if you'd like to go to our page about interpeting lab results.
Imaging: Crystal Clear digital radiography allows us to detect not just fractures and bladder stones, but all kinds of internal problems of the spine, kidneys, liver, bowels, lymph nodes, gall bladder, spleen, uterus, stomach, heart, lungs, sinuses, and throat. $85 for multiple views. We hope to be able to offer ultra sound imaging soon. We will recommend radiographs if we think they might be helpful.
Hospitalization or Intensive Care: Some illnesses and injuries require a few days in the hospital. This could be for IV Fluids, aggressive antibiotic and supportive care by injection, bowel evacuation, or for surgery and post-op wound care. $24/night A little more for intensive care patients.
Medications while in the hospital: Most hospitalized patients require things like antibiotics, medications for pain, inflammation, and nausea. Or wound flushing and bandage changes. Typical costs are usually $20-60 a day.
Fluid Therapy: Pets that are seriously ill or injured usually need IV Fluids. The difference in improvement rate and comfort is incredible. $45-60/day
Anesthesia: Local or general anesthesia will usually be needed if your pet has a wound. And sometimes we need sedation to allow certain tests and treatments on sick patients. Cost varies widely depending on the case (we daily have pets coming into the clinic with everything from simple lacerations, to having a fish hook embedded in the tongue, to gun shot wounds, to car accidents) but the range is $10-100
Surgery: Most injured pets need surgical repair. (putting all the pieces back together again is my favorite type of surgery) Sometimes what needs to be done is extremely simple and other times not only is the surgery long, major, or complicated (unfortunately we have to do a lot of limb amputations due to car accidents or cancer) but sometimes multiple surgeries need to be done. So, the cost involved varies a lot but it's rare that the surgical fee if over $300
Laser Therapy: Extremely helpful with wound healing. $10-15 per treatment which is usually done daily for 1-3 days.
Discharge Medications: Most sick and injured pets aren't instantly cured, of course. Full recovery may take days or weeks, and some diseases or injuries require life-time management.
It's easy to be cynical about this subject, but we live in an age where it's quite miraculous to have such an arsenal of medications that are quite effective at controlling diseases, pain, allergies, and especially infections.
Antibiotics, recovery meds, pain management, special diets, and other medications designed for managing specific problems will probably be needed. The cost will vary widely depending on the case. As far as costs are concerned, a good ball park estimate would be about $25 for minor cases, $60 for more serious problems, and several hundred dollars a year for long term problems like diabetes and joint injuries.
Follow Up: A lot of medical conditions respond well to initial treatment. On the other hand, many problems require retreatment, rethinking, an adjustment to treatment, or monitoring. Follow up testing, maintenance care, or even follow up surgeries may be needed.
Recheck exams and follow up visits after we treat your pet are usually free for several weeks.
This is a pretty nice policy at our hospital not practiced by most clinics.
Removing sutures and surgical staples, bandages and splints is also usually free.
But be realistic; follow up tests and additional treatment or surgeries are not free.
Referral: Some cases would do better with specialized expertise or equipment. Just so you know, such care tends to cost several thousand dollars, but we have an incredible referral center available to us in Greenville as well as the Georgia University Veterinary Hospital in Athens.
They have board certified internists, surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, cancer specialists, eye surgeons, dermatologists, socialists, democrats, and you name it.
They have Cat Scans, MRI's, Endoscopy, UltraSound, and radiation therapy for cancer.
I will always let you know when your pet would benefit from such services or if we simply can't figure out what your pet's problem is.
Hopefully this page covered most of the major steps in treating sick and injured pets and has given you an idea of the costs involved.
Thanks, Roger Ross, DVM
P.S. If you've read this page, it may have sturck you that the costs of treating pets with injurines or illness' can add up. Even at a clinic like ours where the fees are very reasonable and where our products are about the same price as at online pharmacies.
So, this is a good time to make a plug for pet insurance. I have 2 main comments in regards to pet insurance.
My main motivation for recommending it is to reduce the high number of pets have to "put down" instead of being treated because the poor pet needed expensive surgery or treatment. (If you have a policy from TruPanion, there is no limit... even if your pet needs a hip replacement or transplant costing tens of thosands of dollars...)
My second observation is that over the life of your pet, the $25-50 monthly premium will end up costing you several thousand dollars. But think about it. It's quite likely that your pet will sustain an injury or two during it's younger years. And very likely that it will develop expensive problems like arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, or a myriad of other problems later in life.
If you had insurance, you will probably get much of those premiums back in paid vet bills, you will be able to say yes to all recommended tests and procedures without worrying about the cost, and of course, the main reason for purchasing any insurance policy; you'll be covered should your pet develop a really expensive problem. Just saying. Click here to go to our page recommending pet insurance.
If Your pet is badly injured 0r very sick:
Simply say out loud to the receptionist that you have a critical case and we'll get right to work. But otherwise, get checked in and together we'll figure out what needs to be done
When I finished my Animal Husbandry degree in the late 1970's and then got into veterinary school, I dreamed of being a country farm vet. And in my senior year of vet school I did 3 month long externships working under the supervision of experienced large animal veterinarians, first at a race track, then at 2 different mixed animal practices doing a lot of dairy and beef cattle work. One of these practices was in the incredibly beautiful area near the Canadian border in northern Wisconsin.
But something happened during that senior year in vet school; I became fascinated with small animal surgery.
Small animal surgery was getting nearly as sophisticated as human surgery, and just like in human medicine, surgeons are the "rock stars" of our profession.
Well, that was many years ago and I never did become a country farm vet. Nor did I go on to become a board certified surgeon (this requires another 3+ years of intensive schooling and residency after vet school).
I was married with a child on the way, and I ended up being a general practioner in my own small animal practice. In hindsight, it all ended up for the best ... I love what I do and I still spend several hours every day in surgery.
But guess what?
I still enjoy the intensity and precision of surgery, but it's not my favorite part of practice anymore.
What I really find rewarding is the detective work of firguring out what's wrong with sick patients and getting them better again.
That's what this page is all about.
To your right is an outline of what to expect, including approximate costs, when you bring in a pet that is sick or injured.
If you have curiosity or questions about a specific disease or injury, and how we treat them, we also have a large web site about this very subject atAnimalPetDoctor.com
If your pet will need to be hospitalized, we will ask you to fill out a consent form.
If your pet is likely to need anesthesia/surgery while at our hospital, we will ask you to also give us consent for this serious undertaking.
Speaking of surgery, we have several pages about what to expect when your pet needs surgery or dentistry.
If your pet needs any of the following services, please click:
And finally, I comment and write about our practice philosophy in regards to surgery. Please take a look.
Thanks, Roger Ross DVM