Pet Owners

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my pet is experiencing an Emergency?

An emergency is an accident or a sudden illness. Animal Emergency & Specialty Center is able to provide intensive care for animals critically ill or injured. Your pet will be triaged upon arrival at AESC. Your pet will be examined and treated based on that triage exam. The most seriously injured or ill are always seen first.

Uncertain if your case is an emergency? It is often difficult to determine if your own pet is in crisis and needs to be seen immediately. Animal Emergency & Specialty Center can help your with your questions.

Call AESC at (360) 697-7771 and talk to a well-trained and experienced team member.
Routine vaccinations, worming, neutering, well health exams and all other maintenance health issues will not be seen at AESC.

Typical emergencies we see on a regular basis: Persistent vomiting or diarrhea, persistent cough, persistent sneezing, pale gums, rapid or shallow breathing, excessive thirst, excessive urination, straining to urinate or defecate, abnormal nasal discharge, labored breathing, sudden or severe lameness, convulsions or seizures, prolonged labor or dystocia, suspected poisoning, bleeding, injury or fight wound, abdominal bloating, hit by car or blunt trauma and severe facial swelling or hives.

Symptoms that require immediate investigation and treatment. If your pet: 

  • Has experienced some kind of trauma, such as being hit by a car or blunt object, bite wounds, or falling more than a few feet.
  • Is not breathing or you cannot feel a heartbeat.
  • Is unconscious and cannot wake up.
  • Has been vomiting or has diarrhea for more than 24 hours or there is blood in the vomitus or feces.
  • Has or may have a broken bone.
  • Is having trouble breathing or has something stuck in the throat.
  • Has had or is having a seizure.
  • Is bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth, or there is blood in the
    urine or feces.
  • May have ingested something toxic such as antifreeze, rat poison, any kind of medication, household cleaners, toxic plants, chocolate, insecticide, pesticide, or some other toxic agent.
  • Is straining to urinate or is unable to produce urine especially concerning in male cats.
  • Shows signs of extreme pain such as vocalizing, shaking, unable to lie down and get comfortable, refusing to socialize, head pressing or any other unusual behavior that concerns you.
  • Collapses or suddenly is unable to get up.
  • Begins bumping into things or suddenly becomes disoriented.
  • Has irritation or injury to the eyes or is suddenly blind.
  • Has a bloated abdomen and there is non-productive vomiting, especially a large dog.
  • Is showing signs of heatstroke or hypothermia
  • A pregnant dog or cat has gone more than three to four hours between deliveries and is still straining or you see a puppy stuck and protruding from the vulva.


What do I do when I arrive at AESC?

What To Expect If Your Pet Is Stable:

Reception check-in:
Upon arrival at AESC, you will be greeted by one of our helpful customer care specialists. After completing some brief paperwork, your pet will be weighed and taken to an examination room.

Technical check-in:
The first person you will meet in the examination room is a veterinary technician who will obtain an accurate history of your pet’s medical problem. Our technician will perform a triage exam which includes heart rate, pulse strength, body temperature, respiratory rate, mucous membrane color, and perfusion, and will note any other abnormalities.

Doctor examination:
The doctor on duty will perform a thorough physical examination of your pet and will ask for more detail if needed.

Diagnosis and Recommendation:
Upon completion of the exam, the doctor will discuss the medical findings and will answer any questions you may have. The doctor may recommend initial diagnostics and will discuss a recommended course of treatment. An itemized estimate is provided before treatment is started. After all questions have been answered and you agree to the medical plan, paperwork will be finalized, and a deposit will be collected.

What To Expect If Your Pet Is Not Stable:

If your pet is not stable, we immediately take action. We may need to put your pet on a stretcher or gurney. We may need to start medical treatment immediately and ask you to fill out a Critical Care Form which allows us to take your pet directly to our treatment area and begin whatever lifesaving procedures are necessary. As soon as the doctor can leave your pet’s side, you will be able to ask the doctor questions and will be given all the information currently available on your pet’s status. Sometimes the doctor is not able to leave a patient’s side in a timely fashion due to the seriousness of the problem. If that happens, a veterinary technician will talk with you and give you whatever update is available. As soon as possible, the doctor will talk to you, answer any questions you may have, explain what medical problems your pet is experiencing, and recommend a course of treatment.

PLEASE REMEMBER: The most severely compromised patients are seen first. Waiting times may vary and are dependent on the hospital’s caseload.

PATIENT ARRIVAL POLICY: For your protection, and that of others, all dogs must be on a leash and properly restrained while in the waiting area and exam rooms. All cats must be presented in an appropriate cat carrier, leash or other effective means of confinement. If nothing else is available, a pillowcase supported from the bottom can be a very good way to transport a cat. We can lend you a leash or a pet carrier while you are waiting.

IF YOU THINK YOU PET IS CONTAGIOUS: Please leave your pet in the car if you think there is any chance of a transmittable illness such as kennel cough, upper respiratory disease, or parvovirus. Please check-in at the front desk to complete the admission process. We have special handling procedures to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.

PLEASE ASK FOR HELP: We are trained to assist in moving injured animals. Ask for help if your pet has difficulty walking. We sometimes use a muzzle to protect our staff if the injured pet is in pain or scared. Let us know if your pet has bitten anyone or has a history of fractious behavior. Even the nicest pet can be unpredictable when injured, in pain, or scared.

Why did you move to a new location?

Animal Emergency & Specialty Center (AESC), formerly known as Animal Emergency & Trauma Center (AETC) proudly relocated to a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility in June 2022. We moved to our new hospital in order to expand our offerings to offer specialty services to the pets, pet owners, and primary care veterinarians in our community. 

What payment methods do you accept?

We will provide a good-faith estimate of the cost of our services before treating your pet. A deposit toward the cost of services is required. Payment in full is needed upon discharge of your pet.

We accept cash, some checks, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Scratchpay, and CareCredit. CareCredit is a flexible payment program, specifically designed for healthcare expenses so you can get the treatment and procedures your pet needs. If you plan to use CareCredit or ScratchPay to finance your bill, you may apply at our reception desk or online.

Pet Owner Resources

Pet Loss and Grieving

Rainbow Bridge

WSU College of Veterinary Medicine: Pet Loss

Pet Loss Support Center

Financial Arrangements

Animal Emergency & Specialty Center is committed to providing the finest veterinary care for all of our patients. We are dedicated to making your pet’s treatment and overall experience in our hospital a success.
The following is a statement of our financial policies.


We will provide a good-faith estimate of the cost our services before treating your pet. A deposit toward the cost of services is required. Payment in full is needed upon discharge of your pet.