Communicating with your Veterinarian

  • You will have an opportunity to discuss the plan for communication with your veterinarian at your initial visit. Typically, we call clients every day to discuss their pet's status and assist them in making any care decisions that are necessary. In many cases, particularly for pets that are quite ill, we will call more than once daily. For pets that are stable and not extremely ill update calls are often made by our fourth-year students; however, you should feel free to ask for a call from your veterinarian at any time. If the condition of your pet seriously deteriorates, we will call you immediately regardless of the time of day.

  • You can, and in some cases, our veterinarians prefer to have you call us, particularly if you have a hectic schedule and are often unavailable by phone. However, if you call us for an unscheduled update and your veterinarian is busy, our phone service may need to take a message and ask him or her to return your call later in the day. While the phone service may be able to provide basic information regarding the status of your pet they cannot provide detailed information or help you with medical decisions.

  • While we are happy to talk to more than one family member, particularly when the family is making difficult care decisions, our preference is for you to identify a single family member to be the <q>point person</q>. This allows our veterinarians to communicate with clients thoroughly but efficiently, allowing them more time to care for each of their patients.

  • When your pet is admitted to the hospital, you will be asked to leave each of your numbers, which we will enter in your pet's electronic medical record. You can tell us which number is best to use at each time of day. Having a good knowledge of the best way to reach you makes good communication easier for us and we appreciate having that information.

  • Yes. Your veterinarian will receive a written summary of your pet's care within two days of your pet's discharge from the hospital. This summary will provide detail about results of tests, treatment provided and the future needs of your pet. If we feel that a conversation with your veterinarian will improve the continuity of your pet's care, your Foster Hospital for Small Animals veterinarian may also decide to call your veterinarian on or after the day of discharge.

Hospitalization FAQs

  • After examination, you and your veterinarian may decide that hospitalization is best for your pet. Foster Hospital for Small Animals has 24-hour, 365-day staffing, including veterinarians, technicians and fourth-year students, and provides outstanding care around the clock. The intensity of care provided depends on how sick your pet is: it can range from simple observation, feeding and walking to constant 24-hour monitoring by the critical care veterinarians in our intensive care unit.

  • You can, but the hospital generally discourages this because these items tend to get mixed in with our own supplies and are sometimes lost.  Cummings School provides pets with excellent bedding, so you do not need to bring any. If you do decide to leave a personal item to provide your pet with a connection with home we will label it as yours and make every effort to return it to you at the end of your pet's stay. We will ask you to take your pet's leash and collar home with you during your pet's hospitalization and will fit your pet with a temporary identification collar to be used while he is with us. Dogs should always be brought to the hospital on-leash.

  • You can, but you should be aware that Foster Hospital for Small Animals stocks a wide variety of food brands and types, and we will likely have a food that is the same or very close to the food you feed at home. If your pet is on a special medical diet, we will be sure to continue it as appropriate, and you may provide us with the food if it is not something we routinely stock. Be sure to discuss any special feeding instructions or preferences with your veterinarian at the time your pet is hospitalized.

  • You should discuss this with your veterinarian when your pet is hospitalized. In most cases your veterinarian will want to continue the medications while your pet is in the hospital, although in some cases, may elect to discontinue medications. While the hospital stocks virtually every common medication, it may be a good idea to bring a few days worth of any medications your pet is on to your appointment, just in case. If you do not bring the medications themselves, be sure to write down their names and daily doses before you come.

  • Yes. You should discuss this with your veterinarian in advance, however. In some cases, the hospital discourages visits on the day of surgery or anesthesia as your pet may be groggy. The hospital is also more likely to encourage visits for very sick pets than for pets that are not seriously ill.

    Visiting hours are 5:00pm to 8:00pm weekdays, and 1:00pm to 3:00pm weekends and holidays. Visits outside of those hours may be possible to arrange through your veterinarian. There may be a short wait when you arrive for your visit if our staff is busy with patient care. Visits are generally limited to 20 minutes.

  • You and your veterinarian should coordinate the discharge of your animal to ensure that everything is ready. Hospital discharge hours are from noon to 8:00pm on weekdays, and 11:00am to 3:00pm for weekends and holidays. Special arrangement can sometimes be made but must be coordinated with your attending veterinarian.

  • Yes. Prior to discharge, your veterinarian or your fourth-year student will discuss the discharge orders thoroughly with you by phone, and answer any questions you may have. They will tell you how to administer any treatments, what to watch for and what to do in any situation that is likely to arise. Thorough written care instructions, along with a summary of your pet's case, will be given to you at the time of discharge. Your primary veterinarian will receive a copy of these, as well as a professional report from your veterinarian. Once your pet is home, if you experience problems or have questions, call your veterinarian as soon as possible. If your veterinarian is not available, and the problem is urgent, another doctor will take your call. For problems occurring after hours, your call will be taken by our emergency service.