The Emergency Veterinarian and Veterinarian Specialist

Emergency Veterinarian and Veterinarian Specialist

Why they are not a bad thing

How would you feel if your regular veterinarian advised you to take your dog, cat, or pet to an Emergency Veterinarian or a Veterinarian Specialist? What are your thoughts? What goes through your mind?

I have been fortunate to date that I have not been put in this situation, but I’m sure if my dog or cat’s vet advised me to take my pets to another veterinarian or veterinarian specialist, I would be worried, have  concerns and lots of questions, even wonder why my regular vet can’t do what’s needed to help my pet.

So when Dr. Llera suggested discussing the Emergency Vet and Veterinarian Specialist in this episode of Vet Chat, I was interested to hear more. Maybe this would put my mind at ease and help others understand that just like humans, occasionally our pet’s need to see a specialist as well.


Dr. Ryan Llera discusses,

Emergency Veterinarian’s and Veterinarian Specialist

Why they are not a bad thing

The Emergency Veterinarian and Veterinarian Specialist

Why the Emergency Vet and Veterinarian Specialist are not a bad thing for you and your pet

So you’ve got a pet….and therefore also have a trusted family veterinarian! Right? If you don’t have that relationship yet, it’s time to establish one. Your veterinarian can do a lot of things to help your pet but they don’t do it alone. You can’t overlook the hard work put in by the vet techs, reception, and kennel staff also. Sometimes though, they can’t help you and there’s some words you don’t want to hear.

“You need to take Fluffy to the ER vet (or specialist).” These are not bad words consider these extra vets like bonus lifelines or friends. Unfortunately, many people are afraid to go to another recommended veterinarian clinic whether it be due to cost, location, prognosis, or fear of the unknown. But I want to encourage you to be open to this venture because it’s only in your pet’s best interest.

There are only so many hours in a day or so much your veterinarian and their staff can do. Emergency veterinarian clinics are there for those times when you local vet hospital can’t be there. Often though, I see pet owners waiting 2-3 days over a weekend or a holiday until their clinic opens up again or they can get in for an appointment. Rarely have I seen this tactic work out well for some pets. A delay in pet care often leads to them becoming sicker, suffering more, and sometimes costing more financially in the long run. This is why it’s important to not “wait and see” for too long if things are going to get better for your pet.

The Emergency Veterinarian and Veterinarian Specialist

Don’t “wait and see” for too long before having you pet checked

I understand there is a trust you have built up with your family veterinarian and that they are probably pretty good at figuring things out and keeping your pet healthy. But sometimes, we general practice people get befuddled and we’ll recommend a trip to a specialist. This is not necessarily because we don’t like the situation and are trying to pawn it off, but rather we want what’s is best for your pet and know that’s it’s better for us to not waste anymore time in some of those critical cases. In fact, if your vet shuns the idea of referral, I think it’s time to take a hard look at your relationship. Most vets aren’t too proud to know when something is beyond our particular skills. I’ve even taken my own pets to a specialist which also allowed me to have a first hand experience and the confidence in knowing my patients were getting additional top notch care if they needed a referral.

I understand being sent somewhere else for your pet’s care can be a scary thing….but it’s the right thing if it’s being suggested. Pet care is a team effort from you to your veterinarian and their staff to ER vets and specialists. Rover or Fluffy might need that extra care and will be grateful for any help you can give them.

Have you been referred to any Emergency Veterinarian clinic or Veterinarian Specialist?

What has been your experience with the ER Clinic or a Veterinarian Specialist?


Thank you to Dr. Llera for continuing to share and inform pet owners on the topic of pet health and wellness.

Dr. Ryan LleraDr. Ryan Llera is a small animal veterinarian at the Kingston Veterinary Clinic in Kingston, Ontario. Though originally from Florida, he married a Canadian (who is also a vet!) and they share their home with 2 cats, 2 dogs, 2 horses, and a rabbit. Ryan is also a regular guest writer for the Ontario SPCA blog. You can find more of his writing at or see what else he is up to on Facebook & Instagram

Author: Kelly Harding

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  1. My sister’s cat is not feeling well because it’s not eating or playing around. It was mentioned here that going to an emergency veterinarian is not a bad thing because some veterinarians have specialties that will help us and our pet. Moreover, it is not advisable to wait for too long but instead, it will be best to see an emergency veterinarian as soon as our pet is not feeling well.

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  2. I think of it this way. Your regular Doc might send you to a specialist so it should be expected that your pup might need a specialist. I must admit my daughter is a Vet Tech so … I am kinds bias.

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    • I totally agree with you! I think it’s easier to accept and understand when we look it as if it was our Doctor telling us that we need to see a specialist.

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