- What is a veterinary specialist?
- What is the role of a board-certified specialist in my pet’s care?
- What should I expect from my consultation with a board-certified specialist?
- What emergency services do you offer?
- How long will my pet stay in the hospital?
- Can I visit my pet in the hospital?
- How is payment taken for services provided by Sage?
- Can I get a specific quote over the phone?
What is a veterinary specialist?
In veterinary medicine, as in human medicine, some doctors decide to continue their education by specializing in an area of interest. Ultimately, these doctors can earn the designation of “board-certified specialist” if they complete a one to two year internship, followed by a two- to four-year residency program. These residency programs require veterinarians to meet specific training and caseload requirements, perform research in their specialty field, and have that research published. In addition, the resident must pass a set of rigorous examinations administered by the board of the specialty college. Only then does the veterinarian earn the academic title of “Veterinary Diplomate” and become a board-certified veterinary specialist. Our staff at Sage includes doctors who are specialists in surgery, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, and cardiology. Our specialists’ dedication to their areas of expertise allows them to provide advanced surgical and medical care for your pet.
What is the role of a board-certified specialist in my pet’s care?
At Sage, we speak of a “triad” of caregivers: you, your pet’s family practice veterinarian, and our veterinary specialist. You and your family veterinarian are the first line of care in your pet’s health and well-being. In some complex cases, your family veterinarian may refer your pet to a specialist who has the advanced training, expertise, and equipment needed to continue to provide the best possible care for your pet. Sage is a referral-only hospital, which means that we accept only patients referred by a family veterinarian. When a referral is indicated, your family veterinarian will discuss this process with you and then provide us with all pertinent information regarding your pet’s history and current medical problem. Often they will call one of our specialists to discuss the case being referred. They will also fax medical records to us, send your pet’s imaging studies, or even ask you to bring x-rays to your pet’s consultation.
To maintain the triad of care, our specialists will keep you and your family veterinarian informed of your pet’s progress after your initial consultation and subsequent recheck appointments. This continuity between specialist and family veterinarian ensures the best possible outcome for your pet.
What should I expect from my consultation with a board-certified specialist?
Our specialist will review records from your family veterinarian, as well as any x-rays or lab results sent prior to your appointment. When you bring your pet in for the consultation, you will be asked to provide a thorough history of your pet’s problem. Your consulting specialist will also perform a physical examination on your pet. After reviewing all of this information, your specialist will discuss a treatment plan with you, which could involve further diagnostic tests, a surgical recommendation, or detailed home-care instructions. After you approve a treatment plan, your doctor will create a detailed financial estimate for your pet’s care. Your specialist can sometimes perform diagnostic tests or procedures the day of your consultation, so in general we request that you have your pet fast for the appointment. Diabetic patients, however, should never be fasted unless specifically requested to do so by the doctor or nursing staff. Please call us before your consultation if you have any questions about withholding food from your pet.
What emergency services do you offer?
Please note that After Hours Emergency services are currently available only at our Dublin facility. If you live outside that area, please call your family veterinarian and their after hours recording will list the closest emergency clinics to your area. If your pet is experiencing an emergency during regular office hours, please call your family veterinarian. If they feel that a referral to one of our specialists is warranted, they will call the closest facility directly and set up that transfer as an immediate referral.
Your pet does not need an appointment to be seen at our Dublin facility after hours or on the weekend and will be seen in the order in which you arrive. We practice triage, which is the process of sorting for those animals that cannot wait to be seen. Sometimes this means we must attend to animals not in their order of arrival, but in their order of need. We are committed to helping your sick pet and any delay in seeing you may be related to the doctor’s belief that another animal must be seen first. We ask for your patience in this process if it occurs during your visit.
If your pet is already a patient of Sage Veterinary Centers, we do offer after-hours and weekend phone access to our specialists. Please call the phone number of the facility in which you were seen and you will receive instructions on how to reach the specialists.
How long will my pet stay in the hospital?
During your consultation, your doctor will discuss the estimated time your pet will need to remain in the hospital. Some patients are able to have a workup and procedures performed the same day as the consultation. Overnight hospitalization is common for patients that undergo surgery. During their hospital stay, they will receive 24-hour care from our qualified nursing staff. Our nurses will make sure that your pet receives appropriate treatments and the best possible nursing care. If your pet requires hospitalization, we will update you at least once a day regarding your pet’s progress. Your doctor will also call you to discuss any changes in treatment plans during your pet’s hospitalization.
Can I visit my pet in the hospital?
Yes, we do allow brief, scheduled visits during regular business hours, so please call ahead to make sure we can accommodate you. For your 10 to 15 minute visit, we may show you to our “quiet room,” which will give you privacy with your pet in a comfortably furnished setting. If your pet cannot be moved from our critical care unit (CCU), we ask that you honor our request for brief visits. This will allow our CCU nurses to continue to treat other patients that also need critical care. When you are unable to schedule a visit with your pet, you can call and ask for an update during the day. Unfortunately, we cannot offer direct phone access after 6 p.m. in some of our facilities, but be assured that we will contact you if your pet’s condition changes during the night.
How is payment taken for services provided by Sage?
It is our policy to obtain a deposit prior to initiation of treatment, and payment in full is due when your pet is discharged to your care. We accept cash, checks, Discover, MasterCard, and VISA. We understand that veterinary expenditures often are unplanned, so we offer the option of CareCredit, a convenient payment plan that allows you to make installment payments at competitive interest rates. Applying for CareCredit is quick and easy. Please ask our client service coordinators at the front desk how to apply. The application form takes a few minutes to complete, and you will receive notification of your approval quickly. Or, you may apply online at www.carecredit.com prior to your appointment.
Can I get a specific quote over the phone?
Each estimate is based on your individual pet’s needs. It’s best to meet with the specialist for a specific estimate, as they will have a better idea of what tests or treatments your pet will need. By coming in to have our doctors meet with you and your pet, you will learn more about your pet’s health yet are not obligated or committed to any course of treatment.