Except in the case of emergencies, appointments must be made in advance by contacting our appointment desk at (508) 839-5395. Appointment hours are normally 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, although the exact hours and days vary with specialty.
Your pet will initially be seen by a fourth-year veterinary student, who will obtain a medical history from you and conduct a physical examination of your pet. The student will leave the examination room and briefly discuss your pet's history with the veterinarian with whom you have made your appointment. That veterinarian will then come to the room and may ask some additional questions and re-examine your pet. The veterinarian will discuss your pet's problems with you and assist you in formulating a plan for your pet.
Although the veterinarian you see may be an intern or resident, all decisions regarding the treatment of your pet will be made under the supervision of the faculty member who heads the specialty service. Interns and residents are licensed veterinarians working on behalf of your pet.
First and foremost, bring your pet. If possible, you should also bring copies of any laboratory results or diagnostic images that your veterinarian has obtained. Be aware that occasionally the Foster Hospital for Small Animals recommends repeating tests that have already been performed if the initial results were borderline or if there is a chance that key results have changed since the tests were initially performed. You should also bring the name, address and phone number of your primary care veterinarian to the appointment.
For initial appointments it is fine to feed your pet as you normally do on the day of the appointment. Occasionally, for subsequent appointments that will entail sedation for minor procedures your veterinarian may ask you to withhold food the morning of the appointment.
Because our clients see a veterinary student before seeing the veterinarian, our appointments typically take more time than appointments at most primary care veterinarians' offices. If radiographs or other tests are necessary during the appointment the length of the appointment could increase. For an initial visit it is probably a good idea to anticipate that your appointment will require one to two hours.
No. You may simply come for an appointment, obtain the recommendations of one of our specialty services, then take your pet home to make decisions about your next steps.
A feature of teaching hospitals that may be new to you is that the veterinarians are often on rotating schedules. Our team service approach allows the veterinarians to rotate on and off duty and still ensure continuity of care. If you do not see the same veterinarian on subsequent visits, you will be seeing one who is very familiar with your pet's history. You may be asked to review aspects of the history with this veterinarian and you will have the opportunity to provide new information. In addition, even though the hospital uses a service concept, it is often possible to see the same veterinarian at subsequent visits, and you should feel free to inquire about this—we make every effort to accommodate clients' natural desire to see the same veterinarian at each visit.
Your primary care veterinarian can probably give you very good advice as to which service you should see and our appointment desk can also assist you with this. However, if your appointment should turn out to be with the wrong service, your veterinarian will recommend transferring your pet to a more appropriate service, or will assist you in making a convenient appointment with the correct service. Occasionally, when patients' conditions change during hospitalization, our veterinarians elect to transfer them to a different service to ensure that optimal care is delivered. You will be informed in advance if a transfer to another service is being considered and the new service will be thoroughly updated on your pet's condition.