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Emergency Vet Appointments

Saarrah Mussa
Written by  Saarrah Mussa
Alicia Hempsted
Reviewed by  Alicia Hempsted
5 min read
Updated: 22 Apr 2024

The worst feeling is not knowing what's wrong with your pet. If they are showing concerning signs and look like they’re in pain, it’s worth getting an emergency appointment. Find out what steps you need to take in this guide.

How much is an emergency vet appointment? 

The cost of an emergency vet appointment can vary depending on where you are in the UK. They can range from £200 and depending on the nature of your emergency, the bill can rack up pretty quickly.  

In general, it is normal to expect that an emergency appointment will cost more on bank holidays and out of regular hours of work, usually after 7pm. For non-registered clients of a veterinary practice, the price for your emergency appointment may be increased.  

cat with a vet

How do I know if my pet needs emergency care? 

Accidents happen when you least expect it and illnesses can creep up and cause havoc at the most unexpected times. If you are concerned about your pet, it is always a good idea to contact your vet and ask for advice.

It is important to seek immediate help if you pet is showing signs that something is wrong. Certain symptoms to look out for that may indicate your pet needs urgent care are seizures, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, extreme weakness, obvious pain, disorientation, ingestion of toxins, severe injuries or broken bones.  

Some pet insurance policies include a 24-hour number to call when you have an emergency, which could include over the phone vet consultation to help direct you on what to do next if you something is wrong with your pet. These helplines can be used to help you identify an issue or let you know if you need to seek help of an in-person vet.  

How do emergency vets work? 

Emergency vets work a lot like it does in A&E. During your vets usual opening hours, you can usually go straight there in an emergency, and you will be seen through their triage system.

If your emergency is out of hours, your registered vet may have a 24-hour emergency care facility or they can direct you to where you can get that care.

Here's what you need to know when you are in need of emergency care:  

Be prepared

It is important to be as prepared as you can be when the unexpected occurs. So be sure to know where your emergency vet clinic is and keep their number on hand in the event of an emergency.  

Call beforehand

In an emergency it is hard to think strategically, so it's common for pet owners to rush straight to the vet. If you do have the chance, it's always advised that call your vet before you arrive so they know what to expect and can prepare for your arrival.  

Be informed

Even when all you want is your pet to get better, there is usually some admin involved that can be very helpful in providing the appropriate care for your pet. If you are visiting a veterinary hospital that you aren't already registered with, they will need you to provide basic information about your pet. This can include:

  • your pet’s breed

  • age

  • medical history

  • current symptoms

  • any medications they are taking or have taken in the past

Is a vet available to me 24/7? 

Not every veterinary clinic will have 24 hour emergency care available. Most will provide emergency care during their working hours but not all clinics will have vets available at night or over the weekend.

If your practice doesn't offer 24 hour services, they should direct you to a separate clinic nearby for out-of-hours services over the phone.

Does my pet insurance cover emergency care fees? 

Pet insurance will usually cover emergency vet fees. Depending on your provider and the type of policy you have, what you can claim for and how much you will be able to claim will be depended on the fine print of policy.

A big detail to look out for is exclusions related to pre-existing conditions. If your emergency is related to a pre-existing condition, unless you have a pet insurance policy that covers pre-existing conditions, it’s unlikely that your urgent care visit will be covered by your insurance.

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