Veterinary Triage: Why Your Pet May Not Be Seen Right Away

If something is wrong with your pet, you’ll bring them to an emergency clinic or call your vet as soon as possible. 

But sometimes, you might not be able to be seen right away. You try to be patient, but if your furry friend needs help, you might be wondering why they can’t be seen immediately.

There are many reasons why your pet may not be seen right away, such as a shortage of staff, or too many patients needing care at once. If this is the case, the veterinary team will use triage to allocate care most effectively.

What Is Triage?

Triage is a medical process of determining the order of care patients receive, with  priority given to the patients in the most severe conditions. It is used not only in the human medical system, but in the care of pets as well. 

When you make the phone call or arrive at the hospital, the receptionist or veterinary technician will ask you a list of questions to determine the condition of your pet. This may also come with a physical evaluation, but not a diagnosis. 

Depending on the level of severity, discomfort, and risk posed to your pet, he will be designated a category: crucial condition, urgent, or non-urgent.

How Does Veterinary Triage Work?

Pets in critical or crucial condition will be seen by the vet first. These pets are at highest risk for serious damage or even death, which is why they receive priority. This might include conditions like collapse, choking, difficulty breathing, and serious physical trauma. 

Pets determined to be in less crucial condition, but still requiring urgent care, will be placed in the second category. This might be the case if your pet is vomiting, has swallowed something, sustained bites, has minor injuries, or is having difficulty walking. These pets will be seen as soon as all critical patents have been stabilized and a vet becomes available. 

Finally, the patients with least urgent conditions will be seen last. This might include pets with small cuts, a limp, fleas and parasites, skin conditions, sneezing, etc. 

The best thing you can do to minimize your wait time is to call ahead. The receptionist will be able to determine the severity of the issue over the phone and let you know when your pet will be seen.

Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD

If your pet is going through a medical emergency, you need a veterinary team you can trust. Bring your pet to Old Farm Veterinary Hospital!

As a locally owned business in Frederick, Maryland, we treat your pet like family. From surgery to wellness exams, we have the experience needed to diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions in your furry friend. Call now to learn more!