As the concept of urgent care moves from human medicine into veterinary medicine, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital has launched an Urgent Care Service to ensure veterinary students gain experience with urgent care medicine during their professional development at Colorado State University. The Urgent Care Service, which began Feb. 1, is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“Prior to urgent care, our services consisted of general and specialty practices by appointment, as well as emergency services after hours and on weekends, and a triage service to help direct clients when they had concerns about the health of their pet,” said Gail Gumminger, Hospital Administrator. “What we were finding was that, more and more, clients wanted to have their animals seen on the same day, but on a non-emergency basis and we just weren’t equipped to handle that.
“The new Urgent Care Service helps us not only relieve the concerns our clients have for their pet’s health, but also gives us an opportunity to keep pace in our academic world with what is happening in private practice so our students have that practical experience when they graduate.”
For clients of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the Urgent Care Service provides a new and timely way to deliver quality veterinary care, letting the client decide whether or not they would like their pet seen immediately. If a dog has been up itching all night, that might not be an emergency, but a client may wish to have their dog seen sooner for a sanity check and treatment rather than wait for an appointment with a specialist. The Urgent Care Service also relieves pressure on the Emergency Service, freeing up valuable resources needed to treat more critically ill animals.
Three levels of care are available through urgent care, depending on the patient’s medical condition. In the first level, the animal is assessed, stabilized, treated and sent home, sometimes with an informal consult with a specialist. The second level of care is the same as the first, but with a formal consult. In the third level of care, the patient is assessed and, if it’s determined a specialist is needed for treatment, the animal may be admitted to the hospital on an inpatient basis. Oversight of the Urgent Care Service is through the Critical Care Section.
“We have had great support from all of our hospital services to make this work, and it’s something our clinicians tell us is definitely needed,” said Gumminger. “The Urgent Care Service gives us more flexibility in how we take care of our clients and their pets, helping us deliver on our commitment to excellence in service to our clients. With our levels of care, we can be proactive when taking care of a patient rather than reactive.”
The Urgent Care Service is available for same-day appointments as well as walk-ins (and slither-ins, fly-ins, or hop-ins). For additional information, or to make an appointment, contact the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at (970) 297-5000.