When you and your pet visit Eastern Maine Emergency Veterinary Clinic, we will use a similar system to human emergency rooms to determine who needs to be seen first. This is called the triage method. In this method, we evaluate the severity of your pet’s symptoms rather than see patients in the order they are checked in
We understand that you are here because you feel your pet is distressed. I can be frustrating to see other pets be seen before yours. However, this is a standard practice across the country in both human and veterinary medicine.
This is the most efficient way to help pets in need. We use the triage system to help direct our limited resources to the patients who may pass away from their illness, if they are made to wait. You will receive prompt treatment regardless of the severity of your pet’s illness or injury if there are no other patients present.
Due to the limited space, staff, and doctor to patient ratio, at times we may need to divert patients to other clinics. This is not because we do not want to help your pet, but because we cannot offer the medical treatment they require in a timely manner. If your pet is stable, you are welcome to wait out the “diverting” period but it may be 4 to 6 hours due to critical patients or back to back emergency procedures.
What does TRIAGE mean:
The definition to triage according to the Oxford English Dictionary is: conduct a preliminary assessment of (patients or casualties) in order to determine the urgency of their need for treatment and the nature of treatment required.
Our dedicated emergency team is trained to assess and effectively triage your pet.
Priority 1 patients or red patients may survive with immediate lifesaving measures. These things can include things such as trouble breathing, traffic accidents, heat stroke, and active seizures. These patients will be seen as quickly as possible.
Priority 2, urgent care or triage yellow patients are likely to survive when medical care is given within hours. This can include acute or intense vomiting and diarrhea ( several episodes/bloody etc) lacerations/wounds, and birthing challenges.
Priority 3, stable triage green are patients with skin infections, lameness, minor wounds. Torn toenails or ruptured abscess. Theses patients could potentially wait until their regular veterinarian opens but are still uncomfortable so could benefit from medical care. Typically delaying medical care by hours will not affect the long term outcome of these patients.
Calling ahead is appreciated so that we can anticipate the needs of your pet and inform you if we are diverting cases or can accommodate an emergency surgery. In some cases, driving further south may result in faster medical care depending on patient load present at EMEVC.
Once you arrive at our hospital, we are still in a hybrid curbside system. This is due to the lack of space in our current location. We have prioritized making space for patient care. We typically ask that you call upon arrival and then bring in your pet to be triaged by our triage staff. Once you are triaged, your pet will likely wait in the hospital with us while you wait in your car or if space is available, in our lobby.
What happens to my pet in “the back” of the hospital?
On a typical emergency visit your pet will be weighed and the vitals will be assessed. Our triage staff will assess your pet’s history, symptoms and vitals and assign them a triage priority. Often, a doctor will briefly examine your pet to confirm the triage status. When in doubt, the triage staff will always alert a doctor to any concerns they have regarding your pet.
Once your pet has received a triage level, an outpatient staff member will be assigned to your pet. This staff member will work as a team with you and the veterinarian to help with diagnostics, administer treatments, fill medications, and go over discharges with you. The outpatient staff member will obtain a complete history and present this to the attending veterinarian.
After a complete physical exam is complete, the veterinarian will discuss the findings and make recommendations. Often times, an estimate is made for the cost of medical and or surgical care. Once you and your pet’s health care team have a set medical plan, a deposit may be requested to move forward.