Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes an animal emergency?
Emergencies: If your pet has experienced or is experiencing any of the following conditions, please bring them to South Metro Animal Emergency Care immediately.
This list is not complete, and it is important to remember that less obvious emergencies are not less important. You know your pet best, and we rely on your instincts. If you are concerned enough to call us, you should probably bring your pet in.
- Traumatic injury: hit by vehicle, puncture, bleeding, animal bite, burn
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Vomiting or diarrhea: repeatedly in a short period of time or consistently over a period of days
- Elimination issues: changes in frequency, straining to produce, any bloody discharge, increased thirst
- Possible ingestion of toxic substance
- Allergic reactions: swelling, hives, itching
- Lethargy: disinterest in food, water, or usual activities/toys
- Neurological abnormality: convulsion, seizure, unresponsive, unconscious, collapse, disorientation, inability to stand or walk, head tilt
- Pain: signs include limping, crying, sensitivity to touch, or excessive panting
- Post-surgery issues: slow recovery, irritation at incision site
- Breathing difficulties: coughing, choking, or gasping – watch for pale, blue, or gray mucous membranes
- Eye issues: any abnormality
What should I expect when I arrive at SMAEC?
What to expect when you arrive at SMAEC:
- Our Client Services Representative will greet you and your pet and assess the urgency of your pet’s condition. Although clients are generally admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, critically ill or injured patients will be seen immediately upon arrival.
- Our Client Services Team will gather basic information about you and your pet, ask you to sign a consent form agreeing to our general policies, and check you into one of South Metro Animal Emergency Care’s four exam rooms.
- After check-in, one of our skilled and knowledgeable Veterinary Technician’s will check your pet’s vital signs and talk with you about your pets history and current condition.
- Next, the SMAEC veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination. The emergency exam fee is $119.00; this does not include diagnostic tests, treatments, or procedures.If the veterinarian determines that further diagnostics or treatment are indicated, you will receive an estimate of additional costs involved and we will not proceed without your approval.
- If your pet needs to be admitted to the hospital, we’ll ask you to leave a deposit with our Client Services staff. We accept cash, checks processed through TeleCheck, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and CareCredit. You can call anytime, day or night, to check on your pet’s status or to arrange a visit. We will call you immediately if your pet’s condition changes, at shift change, or when your pet is ready to be discharged.
- When your pet is ready to be discharged, the Client Services staff will collect your final payment and a technician will give you any prescribed medications, and discharge instructions. At the end of their shift, the SMAEC veterinarian will complete your pet’s emergency record and fax or email it (and all diagnostics results) to your regular veterinarian.
What animals do you care for?
Patients: South Metro Animal Emergency Care provides services for domestic dogs and cats only. For avian and exotic pet emergencies, please contact AERC Oakdale @ 651-501-3766 or AERC St. Paul Animal @ 651-293-1800. For sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife, please contact the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota @ 651-486-9453 or WICCU @ 651-274-2610
Do I need an appointment?
Appointments: We do not schedule appointments, but appreciate a call to let us know you’re on your way. This allows us to answer any questions you may have regarding location, fees, etc. and gives our staff the opportunity to prepare for your pet’s specific needs.
How much does an emergency exam cost?
Costs: Our office visit fee is $119.00. This is the only price we can quote before seeing your pet. Once our veterinarian has had the opportunity to perform a thorough examination, we will prepare an estimate of recommended diagnostic tests and treatment. A certified veterinary technician will review all options with you and get your consent before proceeding with care.
What forms of payment are accepted? Can I be billed?
Payment: All services must be paid in full before your pet is released from the hospital. For your convenience, we accept cash, checks (processed through TeleCheck), Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Payment Banc and CareCredit. Please review our policies for more information.
What information do you need to treat my pet?
Pet Records: When you register, we will collect some basic information about you and your pet. For example, your name, address, and phone numbers, and your pet’s age, date of last vaccinations, previous medical problems, and current medications.
How long will I have to wait to be seen by a veterinarian?
Waiting Period: Unfortunately, waiting periods in emergency medicine can be very unpredictable. Although we strive to see you and your pet as soon as possible, your actual waiting period will depend on the quantity and condition of patients in the hospital (inpatient as well as outpatient). Our veterinarians are frequently interrupted to handle immediately life-threatening situations, and this will cause delays in administering to non-critical pets. We apologize for these unavoidable disruptions and promise that your pet will receive the highest quality care when it is their turn. Your patience and understanding of these challenges is greatly appreciated.
Why can’t I be present at all times when my pet is being treated?
Treatment Area: Admittance to the treatment area of the hospital is restricted to authorized personnel only. This allows our staff to tend to hospitalized as well as outpatient pets quickly and safely.
I got your number off my regular clinic’s answering machine. How can I contact them directly?
Partners: We are an independent emergency facility for the south metro area, and we are not directly affiliated with any specific clinic. Therefore we do not have access to your clinic’s doctors, records, or offices.
Can I give my pet human medications (e.g. benadryl, tylenol, ibuprofen, etc.)?
Human Medications: Please understand that South Metro Animal Emergency Care cannot give any medical advice over the phone. We are not familiar with your pet’s medical history or current medical conditions, and do not wish to endanger them in any way. Our general policy is to recommend NOT giving your pet any human medication without precise dosing instructions. Many OTC medications can be toxic and/or fatal to your dog or cat.
What should I do if my pet has ingested a substance that is potentially toxic?
Toxins: If your pet has ingested a potentially toxic substance, please contact the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680. For a small per-incident fee, a certified toxicologist is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide assistance and treatment recommendations.
My pet has died at home. What should I do with him/her?
Deaths: South Metro Animal Emergency Care uses the same cremation service as most local veterinarians. Therefore, we can provide the same options and services should your pet expire at home or require euthanasia when your regular clinic is closed. (Necropsy and rabies testing are also available as needed.)
When will I receive my pet’s remains?
Remains: Your pet’s remains will be returned to South Metro Animal Emergency Care within 10-14 days. We will call you when they arrive and you can pick them up during our normal business hours.
What should I do if I have found a sick, injured, or orphaned (wild) animal?
What should I do if I’ve found a stray animal?
Strays: South Metro Animal Emergency Care cannot accept or house stray pets. If you find a stray, please notify animal control or your city’s police department. The owner will be more likely to find their lost pet if it has been placed with the proper authorities. SMAEC is dedicated to helping animals find their way back home! Feel free to stop in with the pet and we can scan him/her for a microchip. We are happy to assist you in searching lost & found pet resources and provide you with information and assistance if needed.