San Francisco 24-Hour Emergency Vet at a Glance

Once you have determined your pet is experiencing an emergency and you bring him or her to AIMSS/AES, you may wonder what happens next. Since knowing what to expect helps to alleviate anxiety, we’ve outlined what ensues when your pet enters our 24-hour urgent care facility. We have also assembled answers to frequently asked questions.

If at any point you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call us directly at (415) 566-0540.

Frequently Asked Questions: Urgent Care

How long is the wait to be seen?

The emergency case load on any given day or night is unpredictable. Within minutes of your arriving at our ER, a nurse will triage your pet. After this initial evaluation, the order in which patients are seen is determined based on the seriousness of each individual pet’s problem. Patients with life-threatening problems are seen immediately, while more stable pets are seen in order of arrival. However, please note that we make every effort to see all patients in a timely fashion, and we will certainly provide you time frames when at all possible.

What happens after my pet is triaged through the emergency service?

When you visit the emergency room at AIMSS/AES, you will be greeted by one of our friendly receptionists who will then call a veterinary nurse to triage your pet in the waiting room. During the triage process, the nurse will conduct a quick assessment of your pet’s condition by feeling the pulse, looking at mucous membrane color, and evaluating breathing and mental status, among other things. We typically do all of this while we are also getting a brief history from you.

Following this initial assessment, if we have any concerns regarding your pet, we will ask for your permission to take your pet to our treatment room, where an emergency doctor will begin their physical exam. Depending on the situation, we may also ask you for permission to obtain baseline blood work, place a catheter to start fluids, and/or obtain an X-ray. We ask this of you on triage only if we feel it is warranted and to help us better assess the status of your pet so the doctor can provide you with a better picture of what might be going on.

Alternatively, if your pet is deemed stable, we prefer to leave them with you until the doctor is ready to speak with you.

Can I go to the treatment room with my pet after initial assessment?

We ask that you do not accompany your pet to the treatment room on initial triage so we can better focus on the needs of your pet. Once you speak with the doctor, you are more than welcome to visit the treatment room. Of course we always strive to keep your pet with you during your visit because we know how scary or difficult it is to come to an emergency room. If we can put your mind at ease in any way during your visit, please let us know!

What kind of accommodations do you have for my pet?

Please be assured that we strive to make every pet as comfortable as possible. With a variety of cage sizes and locations throughout our treatment area, we are careful to take individual needs into account when choosing a temporary “home” for your loved one. All our cages are visible from all areas of the room, so your pet is never out of our sight. We have a large collection of sheets, comforters, fleece, and pet beds to warm up the cages, and we also yoga mats and large cushions when we think those items would be helpful. If you would be comfortable seeing where you pet will be staying while with us, just let us know and we’ll be happy to show you.

How much will the visit cost?

For an emergency visit, there is an emergency exam fee. All diagnostics, treatments, and medications are additional. If your pet requires hospitalization, you will receive an estimate of anticipated charges prior to admission. Hospital policy requires a deposit prior to starting treatment.

Should your pet require care and treatment that exceeds the initial estimate, a revised updated estimate will be provided to you. Payment in full is due at the time of discharge.

Please feel free to discuss any financial concerns with the veterinarian or any other member of the staff.

What payment methods are accepted?

We accept cash, cashier’s checks, Visa, and MasterCard.

If you require a payment plan, we offer CareCredit, a health care credit plan. You can apply in person or online at www.carecredit.com. If you are interested, please see a client specialist for more details and an application.

What updates will I receive regarding my hospitalized pet?

Once daily, you will receive an update from the primary doctor on your pet’s case. The timing of that update will be determined by the shift that the doctor is working. However, you will receive a call any time there is a change in your pet’s condition that requires further communication.

Additionally, you may call to talk to a nurse about your pet at any time, although only a veterinarian can discuss your pet’s treatment plan with you.

Can I leave something from home with my pet?

Many owners like to leave a blanket or favorite toy with a pet during his or her stay at AIMSS/AES. However, please be advised that should the blanket or toy need to go through our laundry facilities at any time, we cannot guarantee that the item will be returned to your pet. If you would like to leave something, consider cutting a corner off a favorite blanket or leaving a familiar toy.

Can I visit my hospitalized pet?

You can visit your hospitalized pet any time before midnight. Whether this visit will be in an exam room or cage side will be determined based on your pet’s condition at the time of each visit. Please call prior to visiting, as there may be a wait to visit your pet if we are busy with emergencies.

Please take your pet’s individual personality into account when deciding whether to visit him or her in the hospital. If your pet is especially anxious, even at home, he or she may get especially excited when you arrive—thereby making him or her difficult to calm after you leave. You are more than welcome to visit your pet during our visiting hours—just please use your judgment whether it will calm or potentially stress your pet.