After Hours / Emergency
Let’s address this contentious subject, and we do so with hesitation as it can be an extremely emotive subject.
Although we do offer an after-hours service to our clients, unfortunately the vet is not able to answer phone calls 100% of the time.
Our vet, Dr John, is a hard-working man that works a 9.5 hour day at the clinic, six days a week. Outside of these long hours, he makes himself available to answer phone calls throughout the night and on Sundays. On average, he will receive at least 2-3 phone calls every night.
While we realise that many pet-owners have an expectation that their vet will be available after-hours, this is no longer the case for many practices. “Misuse” of this service has meant that most local practices no longer offer after-hours availability. We still do; however, we want to remind everyone to have realistic expectations when it comes to our after-hours services.
Dr John’s working hours mean he does not get much time off for rest or spending time with his family. We understand that this is something that goes hand in hand with owning a veterinary hospital and providing an after-hours service, however, there is only so much one person can do. Sometimes, despite his best efforts, he may simply be unable to answer your call. We ask that you be understanding of this and leave a message or call back if your call is urgent (we will explain below what constitutes an emergency).
To enable us to continue to offer an after-hours service, we can now only offer it to our own clients that are currently seen within our clinic and are on our records. Our advice to clients who normally see another vet, is to make sure they have the conversation with their usual vet about, “What should I do if my pet has an issue after-hours?”; “What steps or protocols should I follow if your clinic is closed, or you are unavailable to see my pet?”
Always think BEFORE you call the after-hours phone number, “Is this an emergency, or is this something that can wait until the morning??” “Do I need to wake the vet??!”
This is a big question that people need to ask themselves before picking up the phone. Many clients are unaware of what constitutes an emergency and what circumstances require immediate veterinary assistance. Whilst John tries to make himself available during the night, as much as he can, he also does require sleep and rest to be able to function and run his business during daylight hours.
Some examples of non-urgent phone calls Dr John has received after-hours are as follows: –
2 o’clock in the morning – “Hi there, I need to speak to the vet. My pet has been vomiting for the past 3 days and won’t eat.”
4am – “I need a vet asap! My dog is limping and won’t put any weight on his leg!”- when the dog had been sore for a week.
The serial caller who can’t sleep and phones at 2am at least once a week
These are situations that are life threatening, either immediately or in the very short-term.
If your pet has eaten a toxin or poison within the last two hours, has been bitten by a snake, road traffic accident/been hit by a vehicle, not coming out of a seizure, bleeding that won’t stop (when pressure is applied continually), SEVERE eye injuries or is showing signs of bloat; these are all classed as an EMERGENCY and you need to call the after-hours phone number ASAP.
Vomiting, diarrhoea, not eating, sore eyes/ears or even a sore leg or lameness are all examples of things that are NOT classed as an emergency and DO NOT require an emergency call out. This also includes calling for lost/found pets or wildlife, or conditions that have been present for several days or could have seen a vet during normal hours.
Clients sometimes complain about the cost of a call-out if the vet is called into the clinic after-hours. As a unique service (not offered by every vet clinic), it is something we choose to offer to ensure your pet has professional and immediate care when needed. Our vet is foregoing family/recreational time or sleep to provide this service. In return, you are paying for his expertise and compensating him for his valuable time. All we ask is that you show respect and gratitude as Dr John does the very best he can to help you and your beloved pet in your time of need.
We always aim to provide the very best care in your time of need, however, we would like to remind everyone to have realistic expectations when it comes to our after-hours service and understand that our fabulous veterinarian, Dr John, is only human. He strives to answer calls WHEN he is available, when he is not enjoying his hobby of competitive sailing, attending family or school-related events, funerals, weddings, or even just trying to have a shower! All we ask is that you please leave a message if he is unable to answer the phone or call back again in 5-10 minutes.
If you have an emergency and no vet is available, please call one of the following emergency centres in the Metropolitan area:
West Coast Vets (Forrestdale) – 9393 3373
WAVES (Success) - 9412 5700
The Animal Hospital at Murdoch University – 1300 652 494
PVE (Yokine) - 1300 040 400
PVS (Osborne Park) – 9204 0400
Thank you for your understanding,
The team at Blair Street Veterinary Hospital