Smooth Sailing at the Vet: Tips for Streamlining Your Pet's Urgent Care Visit

At L&L Animal Urgent Care, our goal is to get your pet seen promptly while providing high quality and individualized care. As devoted pet owners, you play a pivotal role in facilitating the care and assistance your pet needs during urgent situations. The actions you take, and the preparations made before arriving at L&L Animal Urgent Care can greatly aid our dedicated veterinary team in swiftly assessing and treating your pet. We know visiting urgent care with your pet can be stressful, so here are some proactive steps that you can implement to ensure an efficient and low stress visit for you and your pet!

Is your pet having signs of a urinary tract infection? You might see urinating in the house, frequent urination, or bloody urine. Collecting a urine sample is vital to helping diagnose a urinary tract infection. We have the ability to perform in house urine testing and sediment evaluation. If possible, prevent your pet from urinating prior to their arrival. For cats, this may mean picking up the litter box an hour prior to the visit or isolating them in a small room away from other pets and litter box access. For dogs, this means moving them quickly into and out of the vehicle or carrying them if possible; don’t allow them to walk in the parking lot and urinate prior to their visit.  

Ideally, urine is collected directly from the bladder via ultrasound guided needle collection (cystocentesis). This ensures there is no contamination from external genital skin and represents what is truly occurring in the bladder. Should a urine culture be required, this collection method also ensures we are only performing a culture on bacteria found in the bladder, not from bacteria found on the skin. If you know that your pet absolutely cannot hold it, collecting a urine sample at home may be an option. Urine can be collected in any clean, dry container. While a urine culture can be performed on urine caught at home, it may be more likely to yield positive growth that does not indicate infection. A cystocentesis may sound scary, but most pets cooperate with this common, low invasive collection technique, giving us the best sample for testing. It also allows us to see the bladder and can screen for stones, masses, or other abnormalities.  

If your pet is having diarrhea, we have the ability to test for intestinal parasites such as roundworm, coccidia, and we can also screen for giardia.  Bringing in a fresh fecal sample can help rule out parasitic causes of diarrhea. A fecal sample can be brought in in a plastic bag or other clean container. For kitties, it’s ok if the sample has kitty litter present. In dogs with watery diarrhea, you may wish to collect a sample by catching feces in a container instead of trying to pick up feces from the ground. We only need about 1 gram of feces, which is about the size of a grape.  

If your pet is vomiting, we can perform digital radiographs (x-rays) and get a report from a radiologist back within the hour. Radiographs can screen for ingestion of foreign objects (sock, rocks, toys) but can also find masses or other organ abnormalities. Because pet food may have the same appearance as cloth or other foreign objects in the stomach, fasting prior to radiographs is ideal. If possible, avoid feeding your pet 8 hours prior to having radiographs performed. If your pet was fed, knowing when and how much food was eaten is very helpful when interpreting radiographs.  

Finally, we know some pets are very scared for veterinary visits. If your veterinarian has recommended gabapentin, trazodone, or other sedatives, it is generally safe to give these sedatives prior to the visit; allow two hours if possible. If your pet needs a basket muzzle or other safety devices, don’t hesitate to bring these along or inform our team and we can provide one for the visit. Comfort items such as blankets or beds are also welcome. Treats may also be utilized, if appropriate to do so (we recommend avoiding treats if your pet is vomiting or having diarrhea). We do our best to accommodate the needs of all pets; please don’t hesitate to call us and we can help time your visit appropriately.    

At L&L Animal Urgent Care, we have extensive experience in managing a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. We also understand the importance of personalized care for every pet and will do our best to accommodate your pet’s individualized needs. If your pet is in need of urgent veterinary care, please give us a call so we can help ensure your visit goes as smoothly as possible!