Taking care of your pet is a lot like caring for a child. You should take your pet to a clinic regularly for grooming, check-ups, vaccinations, and other basic animal care. Minor injuries and illnesses are also dealt with at a standard pet clinic. However, there are situations in which the vet's office isn't the best place to get pet care. There are 3 situations in which an animal hospital – or emergency pet clinic – should be utilized.

Situation #1: When Your Pet Needs Immediate Care

Veterinarian clinics tend to be lightly staffed. Many vet clinics have 5 or fewer employees working each day – a veterinarian and some technicians that also double as receptionists are the only ones at some locations. With such a small staff, it is hard to see an animal without a prior appointment. Instead of immediate attention, you may have to wait a week or two just to get in to see the veterinarian.

If your pet is in critical condition and needs immediate attention, you should take them to an emergency clinic. These clinics are open 24 hours a day and include a large staff. You can walk in without an appointment and feel confident that you will be seen same day. Your wait time is also greatly reduced before you can take your pet back into an examination room for treatment.

Situation #2: When Your Pet Needs a Complex Procedure

"Vet clinics are equipped with standard materials that enable on-site veterinarians to perform minor surgeries, such as spays, neuters, and stitches; dock tails; and drain cysts. They can also give vaccinations and take blood samples. However, they are not equipped to do X-rays or run diagnostic tests on samples taken.

If you are concerned about an injury, you should take your pet to an animal hospital because they have radiology equipment and can perform X-rays. If you think a major surgery is necessary – perhaps to remove a growing tumor – you should go to an emergency clinic. If you know blood work or tissue samples will be necessary in order to diagnose your pet's condition, you can bypass the standard clinic and head straight to an emergency center. Onsite labs ensure quick results and more immediate treatment. Lastly, many emergency pet clinics have a pharmacy in their facility or close by. You can end your visit by picking up any prescribed ointments and medications without having to plan another trip.

Situation #3: When Your Pet Needs Extensive Monitoring

At a vet clinic, you may be able to leave your pet for a few hours for monitoring. You may choose to do this when the animal has a mild respiratory illness or has been given some medication and needs to be watched for adverse effects. However, vets at a standard clinic expect you to take your pet home same day – they are not available in the evenings to watch your pet and the office isn't typically large enough to house an animal overnight.

In an animal hospital, your pet can be monitored overnight or even for a few days. There are always staff members available to track your pet's progress. If your pet needs extensive monitoring while battling an illness, recovering from an injury, or adjusting to medication, an emergency pet clinic is a better place for them to be. Some animal hospitals even require a 24-hour stay following surgery to ensure the animal's well-being.

While standard clinics provide valuable everyday care for your pet, they are not fully equipped for all situations. Emergency situations in which your animal needs immediate care, complex procedures, and possibly extensive monitoring are situations where an animal hospital is necessary. If your pet isn't well and needs care, contact a clinic like Animal Emergency Clinic.