When you think of an urgent-care veterinary hospital, you likely don’t think appointments are needed. After all, how can you schedule an appointment when you don’t know when your pet will be sick or injured? While we understand that waiting for a scheduled appointment time if your pet is unwell is not easy, we have an excellent reason—decreased waiting time. Our Urgent Pet Care Omaha hospital still accepts walk-in patients, but we strongly encourage pet owners to schedule an appointment if at all possible. 

Why we recommend pet owners schedule appointments

Although we are an emergency and urgent care facility, we recommend scheduling an appointment instead of showing up at our hospital. While we still accept any pet who arrives at our doors—with or without an appointment—scheduling an appointment will be much easier for you, your pet, and our team. If you choose to walk into our hospital, your wait time can vary from a few minutes to several hours, depending on our current number of patients, and whether they are stable or in critical condition. When triaging our patients, we see them in this order:

  1. Critical patients with life-threatening emergencies
  2. Scheduled appointments
  3. Non-critical, stable patients

While we understand that you want your pet seen as soon as possible, you should consider that they are blessed that they don’t need to be rushed to the front of the queue when you arrive. Unfortunately, you’ll likely experience long wait times at Urgent Pet Care Omaha, and you may become frustrated and irritated if you see other clients who arrived after you, being seen before you. When patients arrive at our hospital, we triage each pet to determine the severity of their condition, which in turn determines their position in line. So, while pet owners may have arrived after you, their pets will move to the front of the line if they are in more dire need of veterinary care.

A behind-the-scenes look at the overwhelmed veterinary industry

Urgent Pet Care Omaha isn’t the only veterinary practice affected by the pandemic. In fact, veterinary practices nationwide are struggling with an overwhelming demand for pet care, but, unfortunately, a nationwide shortage of trained and qualified veterinary professionals is further compounding the issue. Although this staffing shortage is also affecting Urgent Pet Care Omaha, we are grateful to have an amazing team who provides gold-standard care for your pet. Our team is passionate about emergency veterinary medicine, and works to continually expand their knowledge and skill sets by attending specialized emergency medicine workshops and conferences.

With this nationwide staffing shortage, other urgent care and emergency veterinary hospitals across the country are limiting their hours or closing their doors. General practices are booking appointments weeks out because of their increased patient loads. Since pet owners can’t schedule an appointment in a timely fashion for their ill or injured pet, Urgent Pet Care Omaha has seen a greater number of sick pets who would typically be seen by their regular veterinarian.

To keep up with this increased demand, the Urgent Pet Care Omaha team is working harder than ever to care for the hundreds of pets who need our help. Our staff is working well beyond their scheduled shifts, and taking on extra shifts, holidays, weekends, and overnights, yet we are still sometimes short-staffed. This additional work greatly compounds the typical stress felt by veterinary professionals. Long hours and the mental, emotional, and physical demands of the job can lead to burnout and exhaustion. 

Our team is making long phone and in-person conversations with pet owners to explain medical options, and help guide them through exceptionally difficult decisions. Behind the front desk, our team is often managing 20 or more hospitalized patients in our ICU at a time, including oxygen-dependent patients, vehicular trauma cases, emergency surgeries, toxicities, patients who were transferred from other hospitals, and much more. So, while our lobby may not seem busy, rest assured our team is working their tails off behind the scenes.

During these difficult times, we ask that you please be kind and compassionate toward our dedicated, overachieving team. Without them, your pet would have to travel far to receive emergency care. We try our hardest to help every single pet who comes through our doors, to the best of our abilities, and with resources we have available. We put our all into our patient care and client experience, so a negative review about the care or choices we carefully and meticulously provided affects us more than you think.

We also ask that you call us if you do need to come to one of our hospitals without an appointment. We sometimes have only one veterinarian on duty at each location, and we rotate surgery times between the locations so a veterinarian is always available to attend to emergencies. However, if you show up without calling, the one veterinarian at the location you visit may be in surgery, and unable to help your pet immediately. A quick phone call will allow us to direct you to whichever location has an available veterinarian.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased our dedication to pet care

During the pandemic, we never stopped caring for the pets in our community. While many businesses and veterinary practices reduced their hours and services, or closed their doors, our hospital remained open. In the more than eight years we have served the Omaha area, we have never closed for bad weather, holidays, or COVID-19. We’ve doubled our staff in the past year—reaching more than 80 team members—to ensure we can remain open 365 days per year to care for your pet.

To minimize your wait time and to keep your pet comfortable at home prior to visiting our hospital, we ask that you please schedule an appointment if possible. If your pet is experiencing a life-threatening emergency and cannot wait for an appointment, please call us on your way, and give our Urgent Pet Care Omaha team a heads-up, so we can prepare for your pet’s arrival.