Frequently Asked Questions: Pre-Visit
Becoming a board certified veterinary specialist is a rigorous process requiring four to five years of advanced training after completion of a four year veterinary degree. Veterinarians wishing to become board certified must complete a one year medical and surgical rotating internship, a three year residency program, meet specific training and case load requirements, and perform research and have their research published. This process is supervised by current Diplomates, ensuring consistency in training and adherence to high standards. Once the residency has been completed, the resident must sit and pass a rigorous examination. Only then does the veterinarian become a board certified specialist.
Entrusting your pet to the care of an ACVS (American College and Veterinary Surgeons) Veterinary Surgeon ensures that you’re pet in the hands of a highly trained professional with advanced knowledge and skill in veterinary surgery.
A surgical resident is a licensed veterinarian in training to become a board certified surgeon. A surgical residency typically lasts at least three years and the program is designed to provide veterinarians who wish to specialize with clinical training, experience and educational opportunities. These residents are supervised by board certified specialists and must follow specific requirements. Following a successful completion of their residency, they are then required to successfully pass a comprehensive exam to obtain diplomate status and become board certified.
A surgical intern is a licensed veterinarian who completes a one year internship that provides them with intense learning experiences in various areas of small or large animal medicine and surgery. The internship is designed to prepare these veterinarians for residency training programs if they wish to continue to become board certified in a specific area of medicine.
All of our locations are located in multi-specialty facilities that include other veterinary businesses, sometimes each individually owned and operated, equipped with board certified specialists in the disciplines of oncology, radiology, internal medicine and more. We routinely collaborate with our colleagues at the Arizona Veterinary Specialty Center, Scottsdale Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center, Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center, and Canyon State Veterinary Specialties in order to assure that all aspects of your pet’s medical and surgical conditions are carefully considered.
Many veterinarians can perform surgery as part of their primary care. Referrals to board certified surgeons are provided because they have specialized training, understand more advanced or uncommon procedures, have specialized or more advanced surgical/diagnostic equipment, can provide for pets that require intensive monitoring, and are better suited for procedures that pose a higher risk to your pet.
We always communicate with you and your primary veterinarian before, during and after your visit with us. We provide your veterinarian with diagnostic results, surgical reports, and discharge instructions. We develop collaborative relationships with veterinarians all throughout Arizona and beyond and prioritize timeless communications for a seamless alliance.
No, we are a specialty surgical hospital that only completes surgical diagnostics and procedures. While we do work in partnership with your primary veterinarian, we do not offer vaccines or preventative care. We can complete spay and neuter procedures for high-risk patients or in conjunction with another procedure they are scheduled with us for, although it is not similarly priced to that of a spay and neuter clinic or your general veterinarians pricing.
Consultations, Estimates, and Payment
Unfortunately we do not offer any payment plan options at this time. Due to the investment in time and materials, we require a significant deposit at the time your pet is admitted for surgery. Payment in full is required at the time of hospital discharge. For your convenience we accept all major credit cards, cash, or checks with the required identification. We also accept CareCredit and can assist in processing pet insurance claims. Please be aware that if you have pet insurance, you still have to pay in full at the time of discharge and your insurance company will reimburse you later. For more information, please ask one of our client service representatives or visit the respective financing website.
When you call and schedule your pet’s first appointment, we will provide you with the initial consultation fee. Sometimes additional diagnostic tests are recommended during your consultation. If surgery is the prescribed treatment, we will provide you with a comprehensive estimate including all prior costs before any definitive care is given.
We do our best to provide general estimates for those looking into different surgical options for their pet’s. Although, all procedures we complete are specified and individualized for each pet, so not all estimates are the same for a single procedure. Most estimates are given at the time of your pet’s consultation with us, so we have a better understanding of your pet’s condition and can provide a more accurate estimate for your recommended plan based on their weight, age, and other health conditions that might be involved. If you wish to receive an estimate before a consult, please know that it is a very rough generalized estimate.
When your pet is admitted for surgery we take a significant deposit based on the estimate you are provided. Once surgery is completed if there were materials or expenses that were not needed or additional funds were required, upon discharge you are either notified of a refund or made aware of additional costs.
In some instances, surgery can be done on the same day as your consultation. This is dependent on many factors, including staff availability, the type of procedure, current case load, available diagnostics, etc. When appropriate and with advanced notice, we may be able to reserve same day surgical time.
We see a limited number of consult appointments each day during morning hours and perform our surgical procedures in the afternoons. Our client service representatives will do their best to schedule you as soon as possible. During this time most of our locations are booking out at least 2-3 weeks for consultation appointments. In most cases if your pet has a minor injury like a CCL tear or ongoing lameness, we can schedule you on our next available appointment date. We do offer a cancellation list if you would like to try to get in sooner. We try to fit in urgent cases like fractures and emergent life threatening conditions as soon as possible for surgery. If you think your pet needs to get in sooner, please give us a call and we will do our best to work with you.
While your primary veterinarian may have made a diagnoses of your pet, a consult is still necessary for our surgeons to complete their own exam to ensure a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan for the presenting condition. The State of Arizona requires veterinarians to establish a current client and patient relationship before administering any treatment plans.
I was told my pets lab results would come back in 3-5 days, why aren't they back yet and why can't the receptionist just give me the results?
Many of our diagnostics are sent to a third party laboratory. These tests take additional time to process and can even extend in processing times during holidays. Our doctors will contact you as soon as they are notified that we have received your pet’s lab work and they will discuss the findings and further recommendations for your pet’s treatment options.
Preparing for Surgery/Consultations
You will receive texts/emails in the few days leading up to your appointment to ensure you have all the information and paperwork you require before your pet’s consultation.
Even for our consults we recommend your pet come in fasted (without food) after 12 midnight the night before. Water is allowed until 7 am the next morning. This is recommended in the case we have to complete imaging or diagnostics that require sedation. If they are fasted they are less prone to experiencing any complications or stomach upset from the anesthesia. Sedation is sometimes recommended in most cases for x-rays as well to ensure we get accurate imaging and manipulation of the limb without causing any discomfort. If your pet is scheduled for a tentative same day surgery, it is very important they come to their consult fasted as well.
Along with this we ask that you bring any medical history including x-rays, medication list, and lab results if we have not already received them from your primary care veterinarian. It is important for our doctors to have a thorough understanding of your pet’s medical history prior to your consult so they are able to provide you with the best information and recommendations for your pet’s condition.
We ask that your pet is fasted to minimize any anesthetic complications. Please do not feed your dog after 12 midnight the night before their procedure. Water is fine throughout the night, but it is best to pick up their water bowl the morning of their procedure at 7 am to avoid excess drinking. Ask our technician or surgeon about administering certain medications the day before or the day of surgery. Please bring any special diets and medications in their original bottles with your pet to their procedure.
We ask that you please avoid bringing any personal items with your pet as they may become soiled or lost while your pet is at the hospital.
We also highly recommend you prepare a small confined area (or kennel) with a non-slip surface and no furniture before your pet arrives home from surgery. It is extremely important to ensure your pet stays in this confined area for a recommended period of time. No running, jumping, or playing is allowed during the recommended restriction period. Your pet should be taken outside on a leash to urinate and defecate and brought immediately back inside. We also recommend purchasing some puzzle toys, Kong’s, snuffle mats, etc. for enrichment after surgeries with longer recovery times, such as TPLO and MPL repairs to help with boredom associated with confinement.
Yes, in most cases our patients stay at least one night in the hospital so we can manage their pain and monitor their vitals throughout the night. Along with our overnight staff, we have our on call team as well as our emergency colleagues available should a critical emergency arise.