Everyone at Hope was so nice and compassionate. Strangers I met in the lobby consoled me. You knew everyone who stepped through Hope's doors loved animals.
Ilona and Bill
Why might my pet need Hope Veterinary Specialists?
For any emergency situation, we are uniquely qualified to provide your pet with the services and care he or she needs now. While we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we truly hope you never need us. But if you do, we’re here, and we’re ready to help.
As far as our specialty services go, maybe your primary care veterinarian suspects, or has actually detected, a problem that needs more advanced care or diagnostics than his or her clinic can provide. Or maybe your pet continues to not be him- or herself despite the best intentions of your primary veterinarian.
Except in cases of emergency, your first call when you suspect your pet is ill should be to your primary veterinarian. He or she can recommend the best course of action for you given your particular problem, individual pet, and personal circumstances. If your veterinarian decides a specialist is in fact in the best interest of your loved one, Hope VS is ready to welcome you with open arms and wagging tails.
What do I need to bring or do before a specialty appointment?
If you have been referred by your primary veterinarian to see one of our specialists the receptionist will review what you will need prior to your first appointment. This can include your pet’s medical history, blood work results, or x-rays from your vet. We can also review restrictions in food or water prior to your visit depending on what procedure may be needed.
What does “specialist” mean?
Most simply, a veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who has chosen to continue his or her education and “specialize” in a specific aspect of animal care.
Currently, there are 21 American Veterinary Medical Association-recognized veterinary specialty organizations comprising 40 distinct specialties. Veterinarians who have been awarded diplomate status in one or more of these 21 recognized veterinary specialty organizations have completed rigorous postgraduate training, education, and examination requirements. The length of time to attain a specialty certification varies with each individual, but such study usually takes at least two additional years after veterinary school.
Among the many areas of specialty are those available at Hope VS: anesthesiology, acupuncture, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging (radiology), emergency, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, radiation, and surgery.
It is important to note that veterinary specialists usually do not provide basic care, such as vaccinations, spays/neuters, check ups, and the like, and this is true of the specialists at Hope VS.
How do I know if my pet is in an emergency situation?
You know your pet better than anyone, and if you believe he or she is sick or hurt, this is usually the case. Types of emergency situations include the following:
- Animal fights
- Collapse episodes
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty urinating
- Hit-by-car incidents
- Ingestion of medications, poisons, or objects
- Severe diarrhea
If you are unsure whether your pet has an emergency, please do not hesitate to call and speak to a member of our knowledgeable staff.
Will you give me medical advice over the phone?
Medical advice can rarely be given over the phone; we cannot give meaningful advice without being able to examine the patient. If you have a concern about your pet, our advice is usually to bring him or her to the hospital so that you can meet with a doctor.
If you are concerned that your pet may have gotten into something poisonous, you should call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1.888.426.4435 for specific instructions. If they instruct you to bring your pet to the hospital, they will provide you a case number that will allow our doctors to contact them for further information on your individual pet upon your arrival. Be sure to bring this case number with you to Hope VS.
Why is the emergency service more expensive than regular veterinary care?
The emergency and critical care department is staffed with highly trained doctors and nurses 24 hours a day. Maintaining the staffing, equipment, and facilities necessary to provide emergency and critical care services 24 hours a day costs significantly more than running a routine veterinary practice. We understand that emergency care is almost always an unforeseen expense and do everything we can to work within your budget to provide the best care for your pet. You should feel free to discuss your financial concerns with the veterinarian responsible for the care of your pet or with an employee of our business office.
Do I need a referral?
The emergency and critical care service is available 24 hours a day. No referral is necessary. If possible, please call the hospital at 610.296.2099 and let us know that you are coming so that we can be best prepared for your arrival.
Although a referral is not strictly necessary for any of our other services, it is advisable to get one from your primary veterinarian. Our specialists work closely with primary veterinarians and getting a referral helps improve our ability to provide care to each patient and owner.
How do I make an appointment to see a specialist?
Most likely, your primary veterinarian will refer you to Hope VS. Along these lines, if you believe your pet requires the services of a specialist, please contact your primary veterinarian first. While it is not strictly necessary to get a referral prior to seeing one of specialists, doing so helps improve our ability to provide the best care to your pet.
To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call Hope VS at 610.296.2099 between 8am and 10pm, 7 days a week.
Where do I go for follow up care?
We partner with your primary veterinarian to provide comprehensive health care for your pet. After each visit to the ER or to one of Hope VS’s specialty services, we will send a full report to your primary veterinarian. Depending on your pet’s requirements, you may be asked to follow-up with your primary veterinarian or with our hospital.
Why doesn’t Hope Veterinary Specialists provide routine services such as vaccination?
We strongly believe in the importance of the relationship that exists between our patients and their primary veterinarians. Our goal is not to replace your primary veterinarian but rather to provide emergency and specialty services that they are not able to provide. We work closely with primary veterinarians to ensure the care we provide is an extension rather than a substitution.
Is there someone to talk to at Hope if I am faced with difficult decisions regarding my pet's care?
Jennifer Durn, MSW, LSW, the Support Services Coordinator is on hand to answer questions and provide a listening ear during trying times. Jennifer can answer questions you may have about different treatment options and end-of-life care for terminal patients.