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In Defense of Emergency Vet Clinics, From a Pet Owner's Perspective

For her blog, writer Felissa Elfenbein talks about how emergency clinics are not charity clinics.

Try not to "eat your pain." It's not the best coping mechanism.

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It's not often that you'll have an owner stand up for a veterinary clinic, but Felissa Elfenbein of the blog Two Little Cavaliers did just that in her blog, "Emergency Veterinary Hospitals Are Not Charity Clinics." As she writes in a Pinterest post, "Why is it that people say that a Veterinarian is only in it for the money if they refuse treatment for lack of payment or lack of ability to pay?"

Elfenbein wrote about her experiences when she had to bring her dog, Davinia, in for emergency treatment. While she was there, she witnessed a family bring in a dog who couldn't breathe, and who even stopped breathing while waiting for care. Unfortunately, the dog could not be saved, and the family refused to pay for any treatment, even leaving before the clinic could ask what they wanted to do with the dog's body.

Elfenbein also writes about the people who come into the clinic demanding their animal be treated for free or let it die. It's not a choice any veterinarian wants to make, but sometimes they have to, and it can have consequences. "The decision is made and the next day the Emergency Hospital and Veterinarian find themselves in the paper or bashed across Social Media because they didn’t give free emergency care to the family and the pet is dead," Elfenbein writes.

In her final point, she writes:

"This is the same person that probably helped 10 – 15 maybe more other animals that day. They did everything in their power to help each of their patients and then someone comes along and accuses them of being heartless. No actually they probably go home that night and cry because they could have helped but they can’t make their staff donate their time, or ask the electric company to chip in their part, or say sorry equipment provider I can’t make payment on the Ultrasound or X-Ray machine this month because we treated half of our patients for free (but used your equipment to diagnose many of them). The entire staff want to help you and help your pet but they need the resources to do so."

Elfenbein recommends that owners get pet health insurance or have a savings account specifically for pet emergencies.

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What do you think of Elfenbein's piece? Do you agree or disagree? How should veterinarians work to help those who have emergencies? 

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