Emergency Vet Care | What to Expect



August 20, 2020

No one wants to have a pet emergency, but at some point in their lives, your pet may need emergency care for an accident or illness. It’s best to be prepared so that you have a plan in place when an emergency does occur. By knowing what to expect when you take your pet to the vet for emergency care, the more you’ll be able to be relax and focus on your pet. 

How to be prepared for an emergency

There are many things that you can do to be prepared for an emergency for your pet, such as:

Having a Plan

Planning ahead for any unexpected emergency will make these incidents less stressful and easier for your pet to get the medical attention they need. It’s best to be prepared and create your pet-friendly emergency plan before an emergency occurs. Make sure that you have quick and easy access to your local emergency clinic’s phone number and address. Plus, have a list of all of your pets’ medications and an accessible file with their medical history to take with you to the emergency vet. This will help the emergency vet know of any past medical issues your pet may have.

Have a Plan to Pay for Emergency Costs

Most emergency clinics are a little more expensive than a standard vet, and emergency visits can become costly fast due to the medication and surgery that may be required. It’s best to try to plan ahead on how you would be able to pay for these unexpected vet bills. Pet insurance, such as our Bivvy coverage, is a smart option and will reimburse you for the covered costs of your emergency visit. 

Some pet parents will have pet savings accounts in addition to insurance for unexpected vet bills—no matter what option you choose, you will want to be prepared for an unexpected expense. 

What questions to ask your emergency vet about care and costs

When you get to the emergency vet, you’ll likely have many questions about the care and the cost of treatment. The vet should be able to give you a breakdown of costs associated with the testing and treatment your pet needs. 

Usually, emergency fees are more than your normal vet. It’s normal for an emergency clinic bill to be $800 to $1,500.  Many times, the emergency vet may be able to help stabilize your pet until your regular vet opens the next morning.  Discuss what care your pet will need and work with the veterinarian to develop a plan to help your pet feel better.

Unfortunately, not all emergencies can wait. There are many incidents where your pet may need lifesaving emergency surgery and you’ll need to make a snap decision on your pet’s care plan.

Payment plan ideas for large unexpected bills

There are many different ways that you can pay for unexpected emergency bills. These are a few different options:

Pet Insurance

Our Bivvy coverage option is a very affordable pet insurance for unexpected vet bills. We review claims in two business days or less, meaning you have your reimbursement back in record time. Plus, we don’t require a bill to be paid for you to file a claim. Your emergency vet may be able to work out a payment plan with you so you can use reimbursement funds to pay the vet. 

Credit Cards

In addition to pet insurance, pet parents may choose to put large vet bills on a credit card they then have to pay off with interest. This may be a solution for your pet’s vet bill if you don’t cash, check or need to pay upfront before your insurance reimbursement has been received. While an affordable pet insurance will help offset your pet costs without adding interest on top of the already high vet bill, you’ll want to ensure you use a low-interest credit card if that’s the route you take.

Pet Savings Account

Our Bivvy team always encourages small-dollar savings, but it’s not the sole solution you’ll want for your pet’s health costs. While some pet parents will set aside a certain amount of money each month for their pet’s care, when an emergency occurs, they may not have enough saved and will have to start back at zero for the next unexpected pet cost. Some emergency surgeries can cost multiple thousands of dollars depending on what needs to be done and how long your pet must stay in the hospital. Usually, pet insurance is a much better option than a saving account.

Vet Clinic Payment Plans

If your vet clinic does offer a payment plan, you can try to take advantage of these. This addition may even be a part of your pre-emergency research to ensure you have a payment plan option should an emergency occur. Many times, these are interest-free options. Most emergency clinics do not have these options, especially if you don’t have a history with the clinic, so do your research ahead of time! 

If you do end up needing a very expensive hospital stay or procedure for your pet, talk with the vet staff on different options they may have for payments.

Understanding vet options in your area

There are different types of vet clinics that may be in your area.  These all have different pros and cons. When looking for a vet in your area, make sure it’s someone that is both convenient and that you feel comfortable taking your pet. Good news – with Bivvy you can go to any licensed vet!

General Vet

This is your normal vet clinic where your pet may go for routine pet care. Many of these vets can do routine surgeries and even some advanced and orthopedic surgeries. They’re usually the cheapest option for vet care. These clinics aren’t usually open at night, on weekends or holidays.

Emergency Vet Clinics

These clinics are usually open when your normal vet is closed. Some emergency vet clinics are even open 24/7. These clinics usually cost more and can do more emergency procedures, however they don’t do routine surgeries such as spay or neuter.

Specialty Vet Clinics

These specialty vet clinics are usually located in larger cities or at vet schools. They can do many advanced procedures that a normal vet clinic or emergency clinic doesn’t do. Most of these clinics can be very expensive because the veterinarians working there have specialized training doing more advanced procedures. 

While of course no one wishes an accident or illness upon their pet, there will most likely be an emergency that arises during your pet’s life. By being prepared and making sure you have a plan in place to pay for the visit, you can focus on your pet. Pet insurance is a smart strategy to ensure you have support when emergencies arise. We never want pet parents to have to choose between saving their pet’s life and paying for the vet visit.