Columbia, South Carolina
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Important Terms about Emergency Service Veterinarians
Because you never know when your pet may become injured or seriously ill, it's best to figure out beforehand where you will take the animal if and when that happens. Many locales have emergency veterinary hospitals, usually open 24 hours, for just these occasions. They can provide surgery to dogs, cats, and other animals. As you research the 24 hour veterinary clinics in your area, you may be confused by some of the terms you encounter, so below we'll define some of them.
Rabies - An extremely dangerous viral infection that is almost always fatal if untreated. Usually spread by the bite of infected animals, often bats, it can be cured if treatment is promptly sought.
Heartworm - A parasitic worm that can damage internal organs. Though most commonly associated with dogs, it can afflict cats as well.
Euthanasia - The process in which a veterinarian administers a lethal injection to an ailing animal, as a way of allowing it to die peacefully. Colloquially, this is known as "putting to sleep" an animal.
Triage - The method, used in hospitals and clinics, of determining the order in which animals should receive emergency services.
Neutering - Removing an animal's reproductive capacity. In males, this is called castration. In females, it is called spaying. Dogs and cats are frequently neutered to prevent animal overpopulation.
DVM - Short for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
Microchip - A tiny computer chip with tracking capabilities, usually injected with a syringe, implanted in domestic animals to ensure they can be recovered if they become lost.
Endoscopy - A procedure where the veterinarian looks inside an animal's body to see its internal organs. The device used to do this is called an endoscope.
If you have a dog, cat or another pet it is important to have a regular clinic or animal hospital that you take your pet to for standard health check-ups. It is also important when you move to a new area to know where the nearest 24 hour animal emergency hospital is located.
Emergency veterinary hospitals are open 24 hours a day and act as an ER for dogs, felines and other pets. You never know when your cat may get sick in the middle of the night or your dog may chock on something and need emergency services.
When searching for an urgent care clinic for your canine or cat, see if any friends with pets can give you a referral. You want to make sure the veterinary hospital where you bring your animal is run by someone who has his or her DVM (doctor of veterinary medicine) degree. Although there are often assistants and other people at the clinic who can help to care for your pet, some procedures can only be done by a person with the proper degree.
In some towns, vets still make house calls if you have an ill pet. If your animal becomes injured and your are afraid to move him, it is best to call and see if someone can come to the house. Some places may even have a portable x-ray machine. If the injury is critical they have may a special create they can transport your pet in if surgery needs to be done.
It is important to bring your pet in for regular scheduled check-ups with a specialist from time to time to check for heartworm, fleas and other common problems.