Dog and cat

When—and Why—We Refer to Emergency Clinics

Among the most common sources of misunderstanding and disappointment we hear about from our clients are referrals to emergency clinics—particularly when we make them during our own office hours.

We know when you’re worried about a sick or injured pet, a referral from your “regular vet” to an ER can be upsetting. When you’ve depended on us as your primary care veterinarians for most, if not all your pet’s life, at the very time when you feel you need us most, instead of directing you to come to our office, we send you down the road to an emergency clinic.

When that happens, we understand you may feel we’ve let you down. Why would we do that? Here’s why:

As much as we’d like to care for our patients ourselves, we know the referral is in your pet’s best interests.

At Brownsburg Animal Clinic, we see patients by appointment only. While we do leave slots open for sick pets every day, those appointments often fill quickly, and our doctors and technicians are booked solid for the day—maybe even for the next several days.

When our schedule is full, we refer you to an emergency hospital if, in our judgment of the symptoms, our next available appointment is too long for you to delay getting help for your pet.

In addition to already-committed team members, facilities and equipment may also be scheduled for use by other patients. If we think your pet may need surgery and we know we already have back-to-back procedures planned for our surgical suite, we refer you to an emergency hospital.

We also refer you directly to an emergency hospital if, based on the symptoms, we believe your pet will likely need continuing care and monitoring after-hours.

Area Emergency Hospitals

Fortunately, there are four nearby emergency hospitals as well as the Pet Poison Helpline available to serve you and your pet when we feel the best option is to make a referral.

For your convenience, we list daytime and after-hours emergency hospitals in the right sidebar on every page of our website. Here are the emergency resources we recommend:

Daytime Emergency Hospital

Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center
6136 Crawfordville Road
Indianapolis, IN 46224
(317) 491-1900

After-Hours Emergency Hospitals

Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center
6136 Crawfordville Road
Indianapolis, IN 46224
(317) 491-1900

Airport Animal Emergi-Center
5235 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46241
(317) 248-0832

In Case of Poisoning

Pet Poison Helpline
(855) 764-7661

We suggest you familiarize yourself with these clinic locations and visit their websites to learn more about each one before you may need them.

Tips for Avoiding Referrals

  • As primary care practitioners, we recommend regularly scheduled exams, screening tests, vaccines and heartworm and flea and tick preventives as the best way to detect and prevent developing health problems before they become urgent.
  • As a general rule, the earlier in the week and the earlier in the day you call us, the better your chances of booking an appointment with us for a sick or injured pet.
  • When your pet first shows symptoms of illness, call us without delay so we can assess the urgency of the situation and help you determine your options for diagnosis and treatment. The longer the symptoms have been ongoing when you call, the more likely your pet needs immediate medical attention we may not be available to provide.

Thank You for Your Understanding

Rest assured, all of us at Brownsburg Animal Clinic are dedicated to seeing that all our patients receive the care they need, when they need it.

When we can provide that care, we do not hesitate to do so.

When we feel we are unable to provide the care your pet needs in a timely way, we do not hesitate to refer you to qualified, available caregivers who can.

We appreciate your understanding of our referral policies. Please know when we refer you to an emergency clinic, we are acting in the best interests of your pet. We encourage you to accept the referral without delay.