The Pet Owner’s Choice: Animal Urgent Care or the Animal ER

The Animal ER is for Life Threatening Emergencies or Emergencies that need 24/7 care and specialist intervention.

Animal Urgent Care, is for emergencies that need immediate assistance but are of a nature that allow out-patient emergency treatment.

Corneal injury that needs an Urgent Care Examination

Benefits of URGENT CARE:

  • Get treated Silver Sands Urgent Care Service and most other Animal Urgent Care Centers are experienced in treating minor emergencies and are designed to promptly treat minor medical conditions before they become life-threatening. Life-threatening emergencies should always be directed to the ER.
  • Shorter wait times Waiting is reduced at most Urgent Care Centers because the problems are non-life threatening. At Silver Sands Veterinary Urgent Care, wait times are usually shorter than most patients experience at the Animal ER. If a life-threatening conditions arrives in our Urgent Care center it is treated first; stabilized; and then transferred to a 24/7 Animal ER and Specialty Center. Less serious cases such as respiratory infections, sprains, or minor cuts, ear infections; diarrhea patients; and patients with skin diseases are treated in order and according to the time the Urgent Care doctor allows.
  • Save money ER visits for non-life-threatening services may cost more than a visit to Silver Sands Veterinary Urgent Care and most other Animal Urgent Care Centers. Overuse of the Animal ER is common because pet owners do not understand that Animal Urgent Care is an excellent alternative. SSV Animal Urgent Care will generally cost you much less for the same service obtained at any Animal ER 24/7 Specialty Center. Animal ER’s are excellent resources but because of being open 24/7 with specialists on staff the routine emergency, in most instances, costs more than at an Animal Urgent Care Center.

Dr. DeForge and all other Urgent Care doctors at SSV Urgent Care will make referrals to specialty or 24/7 emergency care as indicated.

When you need an Animal ER: ER visits are necessary when a patient is suffering from a life- or limb-threatening medical conditions!
ERs specialize in managing catastrophic illnesses and injuries such as:

  • Heart problems-Cardiopulmonary collapse or shock
  • Stroke-and other vascular accidents affecting the Central Nervous System
  • Severe shortness of breath-Advanced Pulmonary Pathology
  • Poisonings that need 24/7 care after treatment
  • Major life threatening problems-Spinal-Vascular-Gastrointestinal-Urinary Problems
  • Severe wounds and limb fractures-especially compound fractures
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood and/or severe blood loss causing shock

When you need to visit an Animal Urgent Care:

  • Sudden lameness in any leg
  • Ear Infections and your LDVM is closed
  • Biting at skin or paws with bleeding and your LDVM is closed
  • Seizures that are not continuous
  • Diarrhea and Vomiting
  • Severe cough that is not associated with advanced already diagnosed heart disease
  • Viral and Bacterial Infections
  • Painful urinary tract infections
  • The male Urinary obstructed-“blocked” cat
  • Painful oral conditions
  • Non-life threatening trauma of any type
  • Eye ulcerations suspected-eye ulceratons are painful
  • Any other trauma to the eye-again eye trauma is painful
  • Cat and dog fights
  • Lacerations
  • Ear Hematomas
  • Possible slipped disc
  • Hip/shoulder/elbow luxations
  • Advanced Flea Allergy Dermatitis-with constant scratching and skin bleeding
  • Constipation
  • Non-life threatening intoxications
  • Broken and bleeding nail beds
  • Heat Stroke in warm weather
  • Hypothermia in winter weather
  • Frostbite
  • Broken and bleeding nails

Commentary by Dr. DeForge:

You now have a choice! Animal ER’s are an important part of each pet’s journey in a life threatening situation. Animal Urgent Car Centers are being constructed around the country as an alternative to the Animal ER. This report has been written to explain the indications and differences between Urgent Care and ER visits for the pets that we love.
Never forget your LDVM. If they are open ask them if they wish to see you first or do they wish you to seek Urgent Care or ER service for your pet. Never exclude the LDVM from decisions in the care of the pet that is part of your family. Many emergencies occur when your LDVM is closed and you will have to make a decision on where to go. As in human Urgent Care, the hours of Animal Urgent Care are not 24/7. There are many times when the Pet Urgent Care is open and your own LDVM is not available. This is the time to speak to an Urgent Care doctor and find out if they can help or if they feel you have a situation that needs 24/7 monitoring. Have the phone numbers of the closest Animal Urgent Care and Animal ER locked in your smart phone. Make sure that you know their addresses so that your GPS can get you to either site without time wasting. Whether it be Animal Urgent Care or Animal ER, time is always of the essence. Try to keep a file with all of your pets pertinent medical and surgical history in a safe place in your home. Bring this file with you to Urgent Care or the Animal ER!
You do not want to be looking through receipts seeking out Medical/Surgical/Laboratory/and other testing performed on your pet in a serious emergency situation. Keep all medical and surgical history in chronological order with the most recent being on top. Also, keep your Rabies Vaccination Certificate on the top of the Medical Records and check it every year to be sure you are up to date on Rabies Vaccine. This is especially important with bite wounds of unknown origin that find their way into Urgent Care and ER rooms many times per week. Call first before leaving for the Urgent Care Center or the Animal ER so that the doctors and nurses are prepared for what you feel is the serious problem that needs treatment. Bring an up-to-date list of all medicines that your pet is on and reports from any specialists that you have seen in the last 12 months.
Being organized before an emergency can many times be essential to a doctor saving a life or treating a serious problem.


Write Dr. DeForge at
Silver Sands Veterinary
Silver Sands Urgent Care
Milford Veterinary Hospital-our General Practice of Medicine and Surgery