Frequently Asked Questions

Your Family Veterinarian may suggest a consultation with one of our Specialists in order to obtain a second opinion or to pursue more advanced diagnostics or treatment options.  A Board-Certified Veterinary Specialist is a Veterinarian with advanced education and training in a specific disciple of veterinary medicine just like their human (MD) counterparts.  Their training is standardarized and monitored by the American Board of Veterinary Specialties, and it includes a one year Internship, a three- year Residency, research, and passing a series of rigorous examinations.

We are the only integrated, comprehensive Specialty Hospital in the DFW Metroplex.  We truly have a “One Medicine” approach to our Patients and work together as a Team in the delivery of care.  Too often, a Patient may have several serious disease processes that require a multidisciplinary approach, and we are proud to work together to improve outcomes.  With Specialists in Critical Care, Neurology / Neurosurgery, Internal Medicine (including cardiology and oncology abilities), and Surgery – we are your Patient’s Specialty Care Team.  And, if a problem arises after-hours, our Emergency Services stand ready to help.

No, just like in human healthcare, you do not need a referral, but please realize we are not a family practice and do not offer general healthcare (dental cleanings, vaccinations, flea/tick preventative).  Our goal is to work as partners with you and your Primary Care (family) Veterinarian to provide the best care possible for your Pet.

A Specialty initial office visit is scheduled for 45 minutes.  This consists of not only the exam, but a comprehensive review of Patient records and discussions with the Doctor about potential diagnosis and diagnostics options.

Exam fees include a comprehensive physical exam, a careful review of the Patient's history and medical records, and a consultation with the Doctor about potential diagnosis and diagnostic treatment options.

Our exam fees depend on the service seen and time of day, as well as urgency of referral and complexity of case:

ER Exam (Day = before midnight) – $99 

ER Exam (Night = 12 AM to 8 AM) – $119 

Specialists – $169 to $281 (depending on urgency and case complexity) 

Specialist call-in / surgery after hours – $668

The Neurologic Exam is a systematic exam to help confirm and localize nervous system injury.  Evaluating all components of the exam, including appearance/symmetry, gait abnormalities, cranial nerve dysfunction, abnormal sensation, and abnormal reflexes, can help localize disease and assist in creating a differential diagnosis list and diagnostic plan.  There are six main categories involved in a complete neurologic exam:

Mentation can be determined by observing how the Patient interacts with the Client and the environment.

Posture and gait are assessed by watching the Patient walk and looking for signs of ataxia, paresis, or plegia.

Cranial nerve evaluation involves a series of tests to determine the functionality of the 12 cranial nerves.  These tests include Facial Symmetry, Facial Sensation, Facial Expression, Ocular Position, Ocular Nystagmus, Menace Response, Pupillary Light Reflex, and Gag Reflex.

Proprioception evaluates the awareness of position of the body independent of vision.  These tests may involve “paw placing” and ‘hopping” to determine sensory deficits or motor system abnormalities.

Spinal reflexes do not involve conscious awareness of the stimulation.  They are an evaluation of peripheral nerve function and local spinal cord segments using a scale of 0 – 4, with 0 describing absent reflex, and 4 indicating clonic activity (continuous repetitive response to a mild stimulus).

Sensory/pain perception does involve conscious awareness of sensation. Palpation is used to evaluate the vertebral spine, lumbosacral junction and tail base, as well as movement of the head and neck to determine range of motion and cervical pain.  Pinching the toes is also used to evaluate superficial and deep pain sensation.

There are many conditions that require more than a radiograph (plain x-ray) – often a CT or MRI is required to accurately diagnose the types of injuries or conditions presented to our Specialists.  A CT scan is suited for complex bone injuries, spinal disc disease (herniation), lung / nasal / or head imaging, cancer detection, and surgical planning. A CT scan outlines bones and organs inside the body very accurately. The estimated time for a complete scan is 30-60 minutes.

An MRI is better suited for soft tissue evaluation, such as spinal cord injury, brain tumors, or ligament and tendon injuries.  It allows excellent imaging of the brain and spinal cord, and is ideal for finding soft tissue tumors.  MRI services are provided by our partner in care, Animal Imaging. Both procedures require general anesthesia, and may be paired with other procedures (for example endoscopy).

Each morning, (including weekends and holidays), your Pet’s Doctor or Nurse will call you to give a medical update on how your Pet is doing.  They will begin making phone calls after all the hospitalized Patients have been evaluated and medical records have been updated (usually before 10:00 AM, but it can vary with Patient needs).  You may call throughout the day to receive additional status updates by speaking with one of our Nurses or our Patient Advocates. Please be advised they will be limited on information they can provide, and only the Doctor can discuss prognosis, diagnosis and laboratory results.  The Doctors may not be available for phone updates throughout the day, due to scheduled appointments, emergency procedures and surgeries.

Our telephones are staffed by our Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) from 7:00 AM to 12:00 AM, seven days a week.  If you would like to call and check on your Pet after Midnight, the telephones transfer directly to our ICU.  Please note that if all Nurses are busy caring for Patients, you may leave a detailed message and they will return your call as soon as possible.  Also, please be aware that, although our Nurses can give updates on your Pet’s general status, detailed medical information can only be discussed by the Doctor in charge of your Pet’s care.  All after-hours messages for appointments or prescriptions are relayed to us the next business day.

The hospitalization fees include care by a trained, experienced, designated Technician 24 hours a day monitoring by our Doctors, frequent monitoring of your Pet's vital signs, walks outdoors when appropriate and providing fresh food (including prescription foods) and water regularly.

Absolutely - we understand how difficult it is leaving your beloved Pet in the Hospital.  Therefore, we welcome you to visit them during scheduled times (from 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M).  Please keep in mind we are working around the clock with not only your Pet, but other Pets as well. To help us give the proper attention and care for all Patients, we request visitations be scheduled in advance so we can plan around any scheduled treatments or procedures.

We also have dedicated Patient Advocates to help you through the duration of your visit.  Please note, we strongly discourage visiting on the day of an anesthetic procedure as Patients recovering from anesthesia need to be as calm and quiet as possible, and the excitement associated with a visit can cause unwanted stress and may impede recovery.

Prior to your Pet being hospitalized for any diagnostic procedure, treatment, or surgery, you will receive a written estimate.  Due to the fluctuating nature of your Pet’s condition, and related variables such as length of anesthesia, types and amounts of medications administered, this is only an estimate, and not a final invoice.  The estimate has a range of potential costs, and we will do our best not to exceed the upper limit of the estimate without notifying you first.  If you wish to be updated daily, please let our Financial Service Representatives know of your request.

Before any procedures can begin, a payment of the lower end of the estimate is required.  At the time your Pet is discharged from the Hospital, a refund will be credited back to you if owed, or any remaining outstanding balance will require payment.  All checks are electronically verified at time of payment. Due to banking restrictions, if a refund is warranted upon your Pet’s discharge, there may be a 2-4 week processing delay.

Yes, payment is due at the time services are rendered.  If your Pet is admitted for procedures other than an exam, a deposit equal to the low end of your estimate is required at the time of admittance.  Should your Pet’s needs exhaust the high end of your deposit, an additional estimate will be provided and additional deposits taken.

Our fees are calculated to provide state-of-the-art 24/7 care for your Pet with skilled Technician staff 24 hours a day, as well as experienced Doctors who provide personalized treatment plans.  We have an extensive pharmacy as well as diagnostic equipment capabilities (including a full in-house laboratory with expanded testing options, two ultrasound machines, digital radiography, CT scanner), and have developed standards of care for our Patients based on the latest research.

This commitment to excellence allows us to obtain a diagnosis more quickly, improve Patient outcomes, and long-term complications, which can all add to increase costs for you.

Yes, We accept Care Credit.  We also accept all major credit cards and can send Paytrace payment links to family members or friends so they can assist with payment (www.carecredit.com).  You may apply on-line prior to your appointment.  We have listed additional information on our website under "Clients".

After your Pet is discharged from our Hospital, it may be necessary to continue with medications prescribed by your Doctor.  If you need a prescription refill from us, please know we ask for 48 hours notice before the prescription is ready for pick-up, as the Nurses are busy attending to hospitalized Patients.  We appreciate your understanding and cooperation; we will make every effort to ensure your Pet’s medication will be refilled in a timely manner.

Please be advised, because of state and federal regulations, you may not return prescriptions to us and/or receive a refund for dispensed medication once the medication has left the Hospital.  Also, due to legal requirements, we are unable to accept donations of previously prescribed medications.  Finally, many medications require monitoring, and if it has been over 6 months since the last recheck, an exam will be required for refill authorization.

We've prescribed a compounded medication for your Pet because the form of the medication your Pet needs isn't available as a commercially prepared, FDA-approved drug product.  In your Pet's case, the compounded medication is medically necessary.

Compounded medications are often used in situations like these because they can treat medical needs that are otherwise unmet.  These medications are formulated either by or under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, giving us the best opportunity to help Pets in medically necessary situations.

What you need to know about compounded medications:

  • When a medication is compounded, it is not identical in every way to an FDA-approved drug product.  Therefore, compounded preparations have not been reviewed or approved by the FDA.
  • Since compounded medications are not FDA-approved drug products, they have not been through the same testing processes for safety, efficacy and purity as an FDA-approved drug product.
  • As with any prescription medication, do not give this medication to any other Pets, and follow the prescription directions carefully.
  • When you receive the medication, please make sure the prescription matches the information on the Discharge Summary.
  • CONTACT US AND/OR THE PRESCRIBING PHARMACY IMMEDIATELY IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR IF YOU NOTICE ANY DISCREPANCIES.  You should also contact us or the pharmacy if the compounded medication seems to change color, odor, consistency, or other characteristics.

Compounding pharmacies we often utilize:

Pet Health Pharmacy

12012 N. 11th Avenue

Youngtown, AZ 85363

800.742.0516 [Phone]

866.373.0030 [Fax]

info@pethealthpharmacy.com

www.pethealthpharmacy.com

 

Wedgewood Pet Pharmacy

405 Heron Drive - Suite 200

Swedesboro, NJ 08085

800.331.8272 [Phone]

800.589.4250 [Fax]

www.wedgewoodpetrx.com

 

Statement adapted from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

 

Would you want to visit Rochester, Minnesota in February? Or Houston in July?  Probably not, but if you have a serious illness that the Mayo Clinic or MD Anderson has the best chance of treating, would you reconsider?  Even though it seems we are a distance away from you, we are easily reached via SH 121 or I-35.

We’re available 24/7 so Clients can come in via our Emergency/Critical Care (ECC) Service after hours and their Pet can transfer to one of our Specialists the next business day.  We have many nearby hotels that out-of-town Pet Parents can stay at while their beloved ones receive care.  We even have Client Service Representatives on site until 12:00 AM facilitating Patient care needs (picking up medications, providing Patient updates, etc.)

If you believe in what we’re doing, and know that we can help your Pet, please consider using our 24/7 Emergency services.  We believe it is important to encourage Pet Owners and Guardians to plan for an emergency before one happens.  Too often, we are faced with tough choices about our Pets when we are least prepared to make them.  To that end, we provide Pre-Registration for Pet Owners which enables them to map out their needs and desires calmly and decisively in advance of a visit to an emergency facility.  In addition, the information gathered enables boarding facilities, Pet sitters, and anyone else in charge of a Pet to act knowingly on the Client’s behalf in the event of an emergency.  There is no charge or fee for Pre-Registration; it is simply a constructive way for our Clients to channel their wishes for their Furry Family Members.  To Pre-Register a Pet, please visit the "Clients” section of our website.