Appointment times should be considered approximate. Why? Well, we always do our best to keep everything on schedule. However, we do also tailor our recommendations and treatments to fit each pet’s unique problems as well as the family’s love, insights and veterinary care preferences. Therefore, a given appointment may be a little longer or shorter than anticipated.
Furthermore, being primary care veterinarians, we accept and treat emergencies among our patients as they occur, regardless of whether they had a scheduled appointment or not. We appreciate your understanding.
Lastly, we maintain a 15-minute grace period for all appointments. If you are going to be more than 15 minutes late, we may ask to reschedule your visit to a later time.
If you are worried that your pet might have an emergency, please come on in. Call ahead if you can while in route. Don’t send us an email. Don’t contact us through Facebook or Twitter. Don’t call and wait to hear back from the doctor first. Just come in.
In a non-emergency situation, the doctors on duty at each facility will do their best to return all non-emergency telephone calls and telephone messages before they leave for the day. Emails are typically answered within about 24-48 hours.
Please be aware that some veterinarians work at multiple locations. Therefore, voice mails and written messages left for them at a given location may not be reviewed or answered for several days. So, if your inquiry is urgent, please discuss it with the veterinarian on duty.
Veterinary visits can be fun for some. Some dogs just love to get out about, no matter what the reason. But for other dogs, probably most cats, and even some humans, veterinary visits can be a bit stressful. If you or your critters are in this latter category, don’t worry; you’re not alone.
The good news is that a lot of the stress of a veterinary visit can be reduced with just a little pre-planning. Here are 12 tips, compiled from our vets, nurses and receptionists that should go a long way toward helping create a stress-free vet visit.
Avoid Peak Times – We will always do our best to get you and your pet an appointment at a time of your convenience. Still, certain times are better than others from a speed of service point of view. Our clinics are typically at their busiest first thing in the morning (e.g. 7 – 8 AM) and a pick up time (e.g. 4:30 – close). Saturdays can also be very hectic and very unpredictable. If you can schedule your pet’s appointment at a time other than these peak times, you’ll likely be in and out much faster.
Bring only One Pet at a Time – Our average client has 2.3 pets. Naturally, it is very tempting to bring them all in at once for their check-ups – one trip and you’re done for the year. Common sense says that’s the most efficient way to do it. Of course you are certainly welcome to do so. We even offer a multi-pet discount. Do be aware though, that it can be difficult to have a conversation with the vet and keep up with multiple “kids” on the ends of the leashes.
Bring a List – If you bring multiple pets or if your pet has multiple problems or concerns to be addressed, please write them all down ahead of time. That way, nothing gets overlooked. This can be doubly important if the person bringing the pet in is not the primary pet care-giver.
Bring Your Reminder Letter – If you received a reminder letter or post card, please bring it with you.
Allow Time for Paperwork – In today’s world, there will nearly always be some paperwork to be signed-off on when a dog or cat is brought in for surgery, dentistry, boarding or grooming. Please allow about 10-15 minutes for this. Grooming appointments often also require a brief meeting and discussion with the groomer who will be grooming your pet.
Allow time for a Patient Release Discussion – When you pick your pet up after surgery, dentistry, boarding or grooming, the Vet or a clinic representative, will likely want to talk to you about how things went. This is typically only a 5-10 minute discussion and it is important. Please do be patient with us on those rare occasions when a late afternoon emergency puts us behind a bit. We know you would expect our full attention if your pet was having the emergency.
Expect the Unexpected from Your Pet – Remember your pet is not in his or her normal surroundings when in the clinic. Funny smells, odd sounds, strange people, medical procedures – any or all of these could cause even the best behaved pet to react unpredictably. It’s natural, of course. Be sympathetic and supportive of your pet but also be in control of your pet.
Please keep Cats in Travel Carriers and Dogs on Leashes – We love all of our patients, but the truth is they don’t all play well together.
Avoid Retractable Leads in the Clinic – Retractable leads or leashes are fantastic when you are out for a long walk with your buddy, but they can become problematic if the catch loosens or if you need to bring your dog under control quickly in a crowded area for some reason.
Call Ahead for Prescription Refills – If you’d like to pick up a pet medication refill, calling ahead could save you a 10-20 minute wait.
Ask for Estimates for everything – Avoid surprises at check-out. All reputable clinics will gladly provide pre-treatment estimates.
Bring any Previous Veterinary Records – If you are coming in as a new client or if you are seeking a second opinion, you can save a lot of time, by bringing with you any previous veterinary records that your pet may have.
Before we do anything for your pet, we can work out fairly accurately, based on our past experience, what it will cost for your pet’s care.
In general, fees to hospitalize and treat a moderately sick dog or cat should be expected to run between about $200 – $400 per day, after the initial office call and diagnostic work up.
For a more accurate cost estimate, our computer system can generate estimates and calculate the charges for diagnostic tests, surgery, hospitalization, special foods, medication and other treatments. However, please understand that these are only estimates – not firm price quotes. Why not? Medicine is a complex process, not merely complicated. Sometimes it is difficult or impossible to predict how an animal will respond to treatment or what complications or additional unforeseen problems may be revealed by starting treatment.
If something unexpected arises while your pet is hospitalized, we will do our best to contact you as soon as practical, with an updated prognosis and cost estimate.
We ask for payment in full at the time of treatment. This helps us all in two ways: First, prompt payment helps us keep our fees as low as possible. Second, prompt payment allows us to go ahead and look after the health care of all our patients when they need it, rather than having to pause and deal with financial matters first.
An itemized receipt will be issued detailing all services. We accept several payment methods, including cash, check, all major credit cards, as well as Care Credit. We accept and will help you file for all the major types of Pet Health Insurance, such TruePanion, Pet’s Best, etc.
We also offer a payment plan called the Good Health Easy Payment Plan that can be used for preventive health care, annual checkups and certain surgeries.
If your pet is admitted due to an accident, illness or injury, or if your pet is boarding with us for more than two weeks, we ask for a deposit at the time of admission. This is 33% or $200, whichever is the greater, and is due at the time of admission.
We are not being heartless or difficult, just practical, and it does reduce the burden of having to make one big, overall payment at the end.
All unpaid balances are subject to a monthly billing and financing fee equal to 1.5% of the unpaid balance.
As always, we welcome the opportunity to discuss and clarify any financial concerns that may threaten to get in the way of your pets health care. Please feel free to speak to one of our Office Managers or read through our Financial Policies page.
Good Health Easy Payment Plan
In order to make it easier for pet owners to provide their pets with life enhancing annual checkups, preventive health care, and important surgeries, we have developed a simple program that allows the cost of a pet’s annual physical exam, vaccinations, recommended diagnostic screening tests and certain preventive surgical procedures (e.g., spays, neuters) to be spread over six (6) months. This program is called the Good Health Easy Payment Plan. More information is available here.
Patient Updates & Progress Reports
Whenever a pet is hospitalized, the attending doctor or a hospital team member will attempt to contact the pet’s owner with an update, once the pet has settled in and some preliminary results become available.
Whenever a pet is hospitalized for more than 48 hours and/or the attending doctor is unable to reach the pet’s owner, it is the pet owner’s duty to call the hospital at least once every 48 hours to inquire as to the medical status of the pet and the fees incurred for medical services up to that day.
When a pet is admitted for surgery, a hospital team member will attempt to contact the pet’s owner after the pet’s surgery is finished, so that needless worry is avoided.
Of course, pet owners are always welcome to call in themselves to check on hospitalized or admitted pets or those in for surgery. Our telephones are staffed during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, with reduced hours on the weekend.
If a change, problem, or concern about your pet’s condition arises, we will attempt to contact you no matter the time of day.
Please be sure to leave a valid contact telephone number and disable any call forwarding or call blocking services.
Hospitalized pets are monitored continuously by trained veterinary assistants and evaluated as often as indicated by the attending doctor. Occasionally, your pet’s veterinarian may offer to take your pet home for observation throughout the night or to maybe to continue important medical treatments. As there is an addional cost for doing this, we do it as seldom as possible. However, we do take our responsibilities very seriously, so when it becomes necessary we will gladly give up a little more of our time.
Please note that we cannot provide after-hours supervision or after-hours nursing care for pets hospitalized with us. For the vast majority of sick pets, this works out just fine. If your pet is sick and happens to need more intensive care than we can provide, we may suggest that he or she be taken to a near-by animal emergency clinic for night time care.
Visiting and Keeping Track
Hours can seem like days when a loved one is sick, hospitalized or having surgery. We understand completely, and we know from experience that visits from friends and family often seems to speed up recovery, or at the very least, make everyone feel better. So, please feel free to visit your pet.
The actual day of surgery, however, is not a good time for visitation. Why not? Well, your pet will still be recovering from anesthesia and very likely under the influence of pain killers or connected to intravenous lines or electronic vital signs monitors etc. It can all be a bit unsettling and tends to encourage the pet to move around more than he/she probably really should.
Otherwise, come on in! Visiting hours are between 10:30 am – 12 pm and 2 pm – 4 pm, Monday through Friday, and 10:30 am – 12 pm on Saturdays. We do not maintain visiting hours on Sundays. In order to reduce treatment delays, we request that visitors limit their stays to no more than 30 minutes each day.
Please call ahead if you plan to visit. Most pets are excitable little critters at the best of times. Therefore, visits need a little preparation and perhaps a little patience. Most often, we’ll bring your pet to an examination room with any equipment and monitors that may be needed. If your pet must be kept still or under constant treatment, we will take you through to the kennel or ICU area, provided no other patients are being treated at the time.
Please be aware that veterinary care during nighttime hours and/or weekends is provided at the discretion of the attending veterinarian. The continuous presence of veterinary personnel generally is not provided during these hours.
Patient Release – Going Home At Last!
We understand: You and your pet can’t wait to jump in the car and race off. But just a few minutes first, please! Please spare a little time for a patient release discussion. This is so very important because that’s when we can discuss and explain the treatment your pet has just had, review dietary recommendations, home care instructions, and medications and ease any concerns you may have. Pets are released or discharged during regular business hours only.
Because of our hours of operation, the person who meets with you during your pet’s release may not be your pet’s regular attending veterinarian. Nevertheless, he or she will be fully aware of the situation. If you have specific questions or concerns, please call and speak to your pet’s attending veterinarian directly.
Rechecks – Please Come Back And See Us!
This is not just for fun; it is very, very important that we re-evaluate some pets after certain illnesses, surgeries, treatments or hospitalization. This is especially true for very sick pets and pets requiring orthopedic surgery or repair of broken bones with splints or casts.
Outpatient recheck appointments are billed at a reduced fee.
Generally, there are no additional office-call or examination fees charged for the first two (2) recheck appointments for pets that have had SURGERY with us. Any tests, treatments or medications dispensed during those first two re-check appointments will be charged at regular price. Please be aware that some pets may require more than two follow up visits after their original surgery, treatment, or hospitalization. In these cases, the costs of any further or additional recheck appointments and the costs associated with any tests, treatments, or medications are also charged at regular price.
For more information on this, please see the “Estimates and Payments” tab.
Boarding Reservations and Priority
You don’t have to be a regular client of the Chastain Veterinary Medical Group to board your pet with us, but it does help a little. Our boarding facilities are finite, so we give priority in boarding to our regular clients. Please plan ahead! Otherwise this could become an issue around the major holidays, such as Christmas, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, etc.
Minimum immunization and parasite control requirements: To help prevent the spread of infectious or contagious disease within the facility, all pets must be properly and completely immunized and dewormed or tested negative for intestinal parasites. Minimum immunization requirements vary by species. Our staff can fully explain these requirements to you in detail.
At Chastain Veterinary Medical Group, we maintain a complete record of the immunizations of all pets in our care; however, if your pet has been vaccinated elsewhere, we must ask for proof of vaccination by noon on the day of hospital admission. Pets overdue on the minimum required vaccination and those with an unknown or unproven vaccination history will be need to be vaccinated by our doctors. Any pets found with internal or external parasites will also be treated by our doctors.
All boarding pets must also be free from external or internal parasites such as fleas, ticks and worms. To help insure that nothing nasty spreads from one boarding pet to another, all incoming boarding pets are treated with Capstar (nitenpyram).
Though this may sound a bit strict, it’s not that we’re being heavy handed, we promise! It’s just that vaccination and freedom from parasites are so very important for your pet’s health and well-being.
Toys & Personal Items – Those Cuddly Things!
Yes, we know! Your little friend can’t do without that squeaky toy or that special blanket. Our pets are the same way, so do go ahead and bring the toys and blankies in if you wish. We will try and look after them, but please don’t be too upset with us if they go astray or get messed up.
If you really feel strongly about leaving something personal and special with your pet, that is OK, but please understand that we cannot guarantee the condition or the return of personal items like pet toys and favorite blankets, although we will do our best to keep track of them.
For simplicity’s sake, we suggest that you take all leashes, collars and pet carriers back with you after you’ve dropped your pet off with us. Trust us; we’ve already got plenty of those things!
During your dog or cat’s stay with us, he or she will dine on an Iams, Hills or Purina brand dog or cat food. They like these foods AND they’re good for them. However, if your pet needs a special diet or you would rather they receive something else, please bring it along at the time of admission or boarding check in.
Boarding something with us other than a dog or cat? A parrot, turtle, or prairie dog maybe? Well come on down, but please be sure to bring along a suitable enclosure and whatever food items your pet may require during its stay with us.
Boarding Pets – Home Away From Home!
Just bring your pet – we supply all the usual food and bedding and toys and leashes – in fact, we have everything your pet will need for a stay with us.
Here are just a few things you should know about pets spending time away from home. First of all, diet may vary and behavior and activity levels may vary. For example, some dogs bark incessantly while here – talking to each other every waking moment – others pace all day long and still others remain glued to the front of the enclosure, taking in all that’s going on around them. No doubt, the temperature and humidity will be slightly different from that in your own home. Any or all of these things can create problems such as sore throat, tonsillitis or diarrhea. Even with the very best of care and our constant drive to prevent problems, some problems will sometimes develop. Because of this, we reserve the right to examine and treat any pet that develops an illness while boarding with us. We feel certain you would expect nothing less.
We are very proud of our pet boarding facilities and we invite you to come in and have a look before you make a decision.