William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Frequently Asked Questions

Emergency Medicine

Q: How do I know if my pet is having an emergency?
A: Owners know their pets best. If you see a change in your pet's behavior or appearance that you are seriously concerned about, you should consider having a veterinarian examine your pet. You can call us to discuss your concerns.

Q: Can I bring my pet to the Emergency Service without a referral from my veterinarian?
A: Yes. However, if your veterinarian is currently caring for your dog or cat, it's best to discuss a referral. Your veterinarian may wish to call us to arrange an orderly transfer of care. If you can, please call ahead to tell us of your estimated arrival time.

Q: Do I need to bring anything with my pet?
A: Yes. Bring containers of medications you are giving or any suspected toxins you think your pet may have eaten. If your dog or cat has recently seen a veterinarian, bring medical records and x-rays, if you can.

Q: Who will examine my pet?
A: An emergency veterinarian and a senior veterinary student will examine your pet. Students are involved in all aspects of patient care, under the supervision of veterinarians. Our emergency team will triage all incoming patients to determine medical needs. Patients in life threatening situations are treated first, even if they didn't arrive first.

Q: Can I visit my pet in the hospital?
A: Yes. Visiting is arranged as an appointment between you and the veterinarian caring for your pet. Visiting time is limited so that visits don't interfere with patient care.

Q: Can I call at any time to get an update about my pet?
A: No. We will make appointments to call you with an update at mutually convenient times, usually once or twice a day depending on your pet's condition. If there is a sudden deterioration in your pet's condition, we will call you immediately.

Q: Is UC Davis more or less expensive than other veterinary hospitals?
A: Our prices are comparable to the prevailing costs in the region for similar levels of care. Costs depend on the individual needs of the patient. We will provide a written cost estimate and discuss these charges with you. We require a deposit, usually 50% of the estimated costs if your pet is hospitalized.

Q: What facilities do you have?
A: This is a level one emergency and critical care center and is staffed around the clock with veterinarians, nurses, and students. It is supervised by 5 faculty veterinarians with extensive training in the specialty of Emergency and Critical Care. We have all the necessary equipment and staff to provide the highest quality care for your pet. Hospitalized patients are put under the care of the most appropriate specialist, depending on the patient's problems. You will be advised if your pet is assigned to a new doctor.

Q: Does the Small Animal Emergency Service provide house calls?
A: No.

Q: If I chose to stay in the area while my pet is in the hospital, are there nearby accommodations?
A: Downtown Davis is nearby and there are many hotels, some which allow pets, within a short distance of the VMTH. Our reception staff can provide information about local accommodation.

Q: Since you are a Teaching Hospital, will you experiment on my pet?
A: No. We do have approved clinical research trials in the VMTH but your pet will not be included in these trials without your written consent. You might choose to enroll your pet in one of these trials after discussion with the veterinarian in charge.

Q: How do I know if my pet needs a specialist veterinarian in Emergency and Critical Care?
A: Any pet that is seriously ill or injured might benefit from having a specialist manage his or her care. Your veterinarian can help you make this decision; you may also call us for advice.