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Pet Emergency & Referral Center


At Pet Emergency & Referral Center, we can answer any questions you might have regarding your pet and the service you can expect to receive from our hospital. We have provided some frequently asked questions that may answer your own below. Feel free to contact us anytime for more information.

What constitutes an emergency/should I really bring my pet in?

This is one of the most common questions asked by pet owners calling our facility. Sometimes, it seems that your dog or cat is just not doing right or maybe you realize that it is a rather minor problem that you are dealing with such as itching or an ear infection. Either way, while we here at PERC are a full-service emergency room, ready to handle the most critical of patients, you can think of us as an urgent care clinic as well. We are more than happy to assist any medical ailment no matter how big or small. As a general rule, if you are concerned or if your pet is uncomfortable, it is worth coming in to get the problem evaluated and taken care of.

Do you take payments? Do you bill? Can I pay later?

Unfortunately no, all payment is due at the time of service, and hospitalized and surgical patients are required to have a deposit, which is based on the estimate given for services. We realize this can sometimes be difficult as illness and injury are sudden and unplanned events. We will try our best to present a plan for care that is amicable for both you and your pet. We have tried payment plans and billing in the past and unfortunately, it has not worked to the point we can no longer offer this courtesy. We do currently accept Care Credit and Scratchpay.

My pet had test samples sent out to the reference lab. When can I expect results?

This will largely depend on what type of test was ordered. Most blood samples will have a turnaround of 24 hours or less (except on weekends or holidays), with few exceptions such as PCR testing and certain antibody titers for infections which may take 2-3 days. Culture results will typically take 3-5 days for turn around and biopsy and cytology results being read by the pathologist may take anywhere from 2 to 7 days to return. We will contact you and your primary care veterinarian with results as we get them but feel free to call and check with our staff at any time regarding test results.

I found a pet wandering the streets or in my yard, what do I do next?

First and foremost, use caution if trying to corral the animal. Remember that even owned pets are scared and may bite or scratch. Also, it is possible it may be a feral animal (not a lost owned pet - especially regarding cats), so please be careful not to get bit. Next, check the animal for a collar with a tag or some kind of identification and see if there is a number that can be called. If there is no I.D. we are more than happy to scan the pet for a microchip at no charge. If there is a microchip we will supply you with the contact info and see if an owner can be reached. Unfortunately, in cases where no owner can be reached, we cannot take the pet into our facility as we are not a shelter or boarding facility and do not have the space or resources for taking in stray animals. At this point, it would be best to contact Animal Care and Control (ACC) as owners are likely to contact them when looking for a lost pet. Their main telephone number is 561-233-1200.

My pet HAS prescribed a medication or is on a long term medication that has run out and my vet is not open. Can I get a refill?

This is a simple matter to address as the law is clear. We must have an established relationship with you and your pet to prescribe and dispense medications. Therefore, if we have recently examined your pet and/or prescribed the medicine in question, then if medically indicated, we can refill the medication. Otherwise, we MUST see your pet and perform the necessary exam, and tests if applicable, to dispense ANY medication, even if you have a written note or prescription from your veterinarian. Even if your veterinarian calls us, we MUST see your pet, as we are not a pharmacy but rather a hospital, and while we would love nothing more than to accommodate all requests, the distinction between hospital and pharmacy is very clear and the law is taken seriously for reasons of various checks and balances. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes but it is a matter of law that is there for the safety of you, your pet, and the public.

My pet died at home. What do I do now?

First off, our condolences for the loss of your pet. While it may go without saying, make sure that your pet is definitely deceased. Check if there is breathing, a heartbeat, or a blink reflex. The easiest way to very quickly assess if an animal has passed away is to gently touch the eye, if there is a retraction of the eye and a blink, then get to a vet right away. If there is no response and you do not see any breathing or if rigor mortis (stiffening) has set in, then unfortunately the pet has passed away and for that, we offer our sympathy.

Next, you have several options of what to do. You may bury your pet yourself but please check with your area's laws and codes as this is prohibited in many municipalities and nearly all HOA governed neighborhoods. You may also bring the pet to your veterinarian for cremation services or to a crematorium directly. If this happens after business hours, you may want to keep the body on ice in a cooler or in a freezer. Probably the easiest option is to bring your pet to us as we offer cremation services. There will not be an emergency exam charge but there is a charge for cremation which we can quote you for upon your arrival or over the phone. Cost will depend on various factors including the size of the pet as well as whether or not you desire the return of the cremated remains. If you have any questions, please call us at 561-691-9999.

My pet is sick and I am very limited in funds! What am I to do?

Please call us and we will try our best to see if this is something that can wait to see your primary care vet or a low-cost veterinary facility in order to save you money. If the situation calls for immediate medical attention we will have you come in and we will make an assessment and present various options to see if we can reach a plan that is acceptable for everyone. We will always try our best to make accommodations for everyone and we will never simply stand by and allow an animal to suffer. We accept CareCredit which can be applied for online here.

My pet is sick and I do not have a ride. Can someone come out to my house and treat my pet?

We do not offer that service, however, there are some vets in the area that do. Here are a few:

Creature Comforts 

Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice & In Home Euthanasia

Pet Calls Animal Hospital

Dr. Lori Minteer Mobile Veterinary Service

My Animal Vet Mobile Service

Healthy Pets Housecalls

Also, if there is no family member, friend, or neighbor available to assist you in transportation to our facility and no mobile service is available, here are links to taxi services UberPalm Beach Yellow Cab. Note that Palm Beach Yellow Cab has told us that pets must be in a carrier.

My pet had recently had surgery and has yet to have a bowel movement, is that normal?

It is common after anesthesia, surgery, and even after hospital stays for pets to not have a bowel movement for several days. The main concern regarding this phenomenon is not so much the lack of bowel movement but rather if your pet is trying to go and can't or if your pet is showing other signs of illness. There is no set number of days following discharge from the hospital that it becomes dangerous if your pet has not had a bowel movement but absolutely call us if your pet is straining or posturing to defecate and nothing is happening or only produces a small amount or if your pet develops diarrhea, blood in the stool, begins to vomit, stops eating, has abdominal bloating or pain, or becomes lethargic.

What are signs of pain or discomfort and when should I be worried?

Dogs and cats show pain and discomfort differently from us and it is important to recognize the signs in order to know if there is a problem. 

Cats will typically show pain and discomfort by vocalizing, refusing food, open mouth breathing, drooling/salivating, and most commonly hiding. You may appreciate pain when picking up your cat by noticing a tense or distended abdomen and crying when being picked up. Some cats will hiss or bite if touched in a place that hurts. Limping is a good indicator of pain of a limb or of the back, neck, or pelvis. Constant licking of a specific area, especially to the point of hair loss or skin lesions can also indicate pain in that area or marked pruritis (itchiness).

Dogs will often be less subtle than cats but certain, more stoic, dogs can still make it difficult to recognize a problem. Limping, of course, is an indicator of pain in the extremities, neck, back, or pelvis. Just like cats, licking and biting at a location may also indicate pain or itching. Panting, pacing, not being able to get comfortable while laying, drooling, refusing food, and whimpering are most common. 

If you notice any of these signs, please contact our office. For postoperative patients, it may be within expectations for some patients to exhibit some of these signs. That being said, if you are unsure or if you have not been specifically told to expect certain signs following discharge by one of our staff members, please call us any time of day or night to see if there is any further action that needs to be taken.