For Pet Owners

What to Expect

Upon your arrival, if your pet's vital signs indicate he or she is unstable, a staff member will take your pet to our doctor for immediate assessment and stabilization. As in human medicine, every second is critical when dealing with an emergency; our staff is trained to triage quickly and act appropriately. You will be asked to stay with the receptionist so the information we need for your pet's medical record can be obtained. Do not be alarmed, a staff member or doctor will return shortly to inform you of your pet's status and discuss a plan for medical care.

If your pet is stable when you arrive, a staff member will obtain a history and physical examination. Following the initial exam, the doctor will complete a more thorough exam and then make recommendations for diagnostics and/or treatment.

While discussing your pet's care, the doctor will also discuss the cost of that care. An estimate will be given and when you and the doctor have made a collaborative decision on a plan, a deposit will be required. Any balance still due when care is complete is payable upon discharge.

For the duration of your pet's care we will communicate with you and your veterinarian regarding your pet's medical condition and progress. We will also keep you up to date on the status of your bill and we will do our best to work within the budget you have established for your pet's care.

Normal Vital Signs

It is important to know what is "normal" so you will recognize what is NOT normal in an emergency situation.

Heart Rate or Pulse

The heartbeat of a dog or cat can be felt at or about the point where the left elbow touches the chest. Place your hand or a stethoscope over this area and count the heartbeats for one minute.

A pulse can also be felt at the inner thigh approximately half way between the front and the back of the leg, just below the "wrist" of the front legs or just below the "ankle" of the rear leg.

Normal Heart and Pulse Resting Rates

Breathing Rate

You can watch your pet's chest rise and fall to calculate their breathing rate.

Normal Breathing Resting Rates


The most accurate temperature can be obtained by using a digital rectal thermometer. It is best to have someone restrain for you when taking your pet's temperature. You may use a lubricant such as KY jelly when taking the temperature.

Normal Temperature

Board Certified Specialists

What is a board certified specialist?

Following their undergraduate education and four years of veterinary school, a specialist must receive an additional two to five years of advanced education and training in an accredited residency program. They must then pass a rigorous national board examination to receive board certification in their specialty. When you and your veterinarian seek the next level of medical or surgical skill, a board certified specialist is the doctor most prepared to help.

Pet Owner Resources

For additional information related to your pet's health, explore the links below.