Our full-time RVing dog Wyatt is a true road-warrior if there ever was one. From his early puppy days to his current age of ten, the road life is practically all that he knows. But on those rare occasions when he needs to see a “dogtor,” here’s what we’ve learned about providing him with the best emergency pet vet care on the road.
Three Tips for Emergency Vet Pet Care on the Road
In the old days of pet parenthood, our dogs and cats only saw the vet for vaccines, or when something seemed wrong. That was then. Now, we know that our pets are better off with annual check-ups. A happy, healthy traveling animal happens when preventive pet vet care at home is a priority. I mention it here because preventive care really is the best way to avoid any emergency vet visits. If by some chance your pet still needs to get to a clinic in a jiffy, here’s what you need to know:
Keep your pet’s health records on-board
You didn’t leave home without your pet’s health records, right? As a savvy pet parent, you’ll have copies of your pet’s health records with you in the RV. Whether you keep them in paper or electronic form, your pet’s health history is an important treatment tool if hospitalization is necessary while you’re away. I keep mine in a hard copy file, but if you want the convenience of electronic files, check out helpful pet record keeper and organizer apps for smartphones. Vitus Vet and PetFetch are two popular choices.
Know how to find a high-quality pet hospital
As much as we love our pets, it’s a sad fact that veterinary hospitals are not required to meet any sort of accreditation criteria in order to stay in business. Unlike human hospitals, any licensed veterinarian can run a pet hospital without ever being inspected by an accrediting agency. Thankfully, there are ways to pick the best pet hospitals while you travel.
If your pet needs a vet when you’re away from home, the only way to know they will get medical care of the highest, most modern standards, is to choose clinics accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). This is the only organization that accredits veterinary hospitals in the United States and Canada. It means that every AAHA clinic agrees to follow the same rigorous standards of modern veterinary medicine, and they must be re-inspected every three years. AAHA-accreditation ensures your pet gets the same gold standard care, no matter which AAHA practice you choose on your travels. Use the AAHA Clinic Directory to find one near you.
Finally, be clear about your budget (and prepare for sticker shock anyways)
Good communication with clinic staff is always important but it’s critical during an emergency. Nobody likes to put a price on their pet’s life, but it’s a fact that money matters. Always be upfront with the veterinarian about what you can or are willing to pay for treatment.
Finally, remember to go easy on the hospital staff when you see the bill. The average cost of pet health care varies from region to region, state to state. For example, when our Wyatt needed 48-hour emergency hospitalization for an aspiration pneumonia diagnosis while we were wintering in Southern California, his Palm Springs hospital bill came to a whopping $4400! We compared the costs of those diagnostics to previous times he received those tests in Colorado, and the price difference was staggering. Thankfully we didn’t have to pay it since we have pet insurance. But the incident was an important reminder to keep paying those premiums.
Take it from me. After Wyatt’s two foreign object retrieval surgeries and an equal number of mystery illnesses, sometimes no matter how much we care for our pets, emergency hospitalization happens. When it does, at least now you have some tools to choose a great vet wherever you roam with your furry co-pilot.
About the author: Rene Agredano
Rene Agredano, a Coach-Net member since 2015, is a self-employed full-time RVer who enjoys writing, jewelry design and animal advocacy. Her adventures with a three-legged dog and husband Jim are chronicled at LiveWorkDream.com
Sandra L. ~ “Both times we’ve had to call Coach-Net, they have been very friendly, compassionate and helpful. This last time the representative even called me back to say he talked to his manager and they would help us even more by paying part of the second service call fee. Unexpected and amazing!”