Frequently asked questions before surgery

How do I get a referral to the Asheville Veterinary Specialists ?

  • Please contact your family veterinarian if you are interested in potential referral to the AVS for consultation with our veterinary staff. Your veterinarian has the most complete medical information on your pet and will often diagnose the condition prior to referral. When you and your veterinarian decide to pursue referral to the AVS they will complete a referral form and direct you to call us for an appointment.
  • If there is an emergency then your family veterinarian should contact the appropriate personnel at AVS or R.E.A.C.H. of Asheville (for after hours emergencies) and arrange an immediate referral. Once an initial evaluation has been performed we will be able to update your veterinarian on your pet’s condition.

How do I make an appointment at the AVS for a surgical consultation ?

Once the decision to pursue referral is made with your family veterinarian and they have provided referral information to the AVS staff then feel free to call the AVS at (828) 665-4399 and ask to make the appointment. We understand that your pet is a special family member and try to accommodate all patients as soon as possible. If your pet needs to be seen on an emergency basis and the surgical staff is unavailable, another member of the R.E.A.C.H of Asheville veterinary staff may admit your pet, perform the initial examination and then transfer the case to the surgical staff at the earliest opportunity.

What should I bring to my pet’s consultation ?

Please bring all pertinent medical history, laboratory results, medications and special diets if necessary. If there are any radiographs that will assist the AVS surgical staff please bring them with you. 

What does the estimate I receive mean and include?

During the initial evaluation the surgery staff will provide you with an estimate for your pet’s care. This estimate is usually for the entire pre-operative and operative care that they will receive while at the AVS. The estimate normally has a low and a high end, and in most cases, if there are not complications requiring additional treatments or extended hospitalization most final bills are within this estimate range. This estimate provided at the initial consultation is good for a period of 30 days. In some cases there may be post-operative costs that are not included at the time of surgery (radiographs/bandage changes etc..) as many clients may utilize their veterinarian for these services and we do not want to have folks charged twice for some of these services.

Why are the services at the AVS more expensive than my regular veterinarian’s office?

  • Because of the specialized care, procedures and in many cases additional equipment requirements our fees may be higher than your regular veterinarians.
  • Payment is due at the time of discharge. A deposit of 60% of the low-end of the estimate is required for patients admitted for hospitalization and procedures. Additional deposits may need to be collected during the hospital stay as estimates are updated or the patient’s condition changes. We try to make every effort to keep clients informed if there are changes to the original estimate. You are encouraged to ask questions regarding all financial matters until you are comfortable.
  • We accept cash, check and most major credit cards for payment. In addition, there are other financing options available through the Care Credit option.  If you are interested in additional information regarding this financial aid option and are having difficulty with the on-line information please contact the AVS staff.

How long will my pet be hospitalized?

Hospitalization times vary tremendously based on the surgery performed, the medical status of the pet, their recovery from general anesthesia, etc… In general, most orthopedic patients are discharged 1-2 days post-operative. During their stay you may visit at any time, but we generally discourage visits immediately post-operative as most patients are still recovering from the anesthesia. 

Can I visit my pet while they are being treated at the AVS?

You may visit your pets at any time while they are a patient at the AVS. There are no set “visitation hours”. To ensure that there is available personnel to accommodate your visit please contact either the clinician responsible for care of your pet or the AVS/REACH staff  to set up the visitation time. 

Are after-hours and weekend visits and discharges a possibility?

Evening visitation can be accommodated but we prefer that clients visit prior to ~ 8:00 PM. After this time period visits can be arranged with the attending clinician and/or the AVS/REACH. Weekend discharges are not a problem at all and many pets are discharged either on Saturday or Sunday. In these cases Dr. Wood will have prepared the discharge instructions and your pet will be discharged by the REACH staff/clinician. If there are any questions please let the clinician know and in most cases may be able to contact Dr. Wood prior to discharge. 

What communication will I receive while my pet is a patient at the AVS?

While your pet is a patient at AVS/REACH  the minimum communication would be at least one daily call. For surgical cases Dr. Wood will call the client after surgery to update them on the procedure, and how your pet is doing at that time. If you wish, follow up calls can be made or you may call at any time to get an update on your pet. Your veterinarian receives several notices on your pet's stay including usually an initial phone call regarding the surgical plan and  follow-up referral letter and discharge instructions that describes the services provided during your pet's visit and covers post-operative recommendations.

What are important questions to ask any provider prior to them performing surgery on my pet?

Questions to ask your provider include:
  • What additional training have they had to perform the necessary surgical procedure if it is not a routine surgical procedure?
  • How often has the veterinarian performed this type of surgery?
  • Does this surgery potentially require special equipment and is that equipment available if necessary?
  • Does my pet’s surgery require, or potentially benefit from a specialist?
  • What should I expect the outcome of the surgery to be?
  • What are the potential complications associated with this surgery? 

How is my veterinarian involved in the patient care process?

Your veterinarian is an important aspect of the both the pre-operative and post-operative care for your pet. The Animal Care Team is made up of the owner (client), the family veterinarian and the AVS surgery staff.  Difficult cases in most instances may be best managed by a specialist. When a referral is indicated, the family veterinary practitioner should discuss this process with the client. In most cases the referring veterinarian can contact the AVS surgery staff for consultation regarding the most appropriate care of your pet. If referral is warranted then the necessary information is a gathered and a consultation visit is established. Due to your veterinarian’s training and knowledge of your pet it is usually much better for them to discuss the case directly with the surgery staff member. In this way, the surgical specialist can be properly informed as to the patient's history and the scope of the current problem. Once the referral is made, the AVS surgery staff will provide state-of-the-art surgical patient care. As part of the healthcare team, the surgeon will keep the referring veterinarian and client informed of the patient's progress throughout the specialized care. After patient discharge, the referring veterinarian may also provide additional postoperative follow-up care. This continuity between surgical specialist and primary care veterinarian ensures the best possible outcome for the patient. 

Is my pet receiving 24 hour care?

Asheville Veterinary Specialists/R.E.A.C.H. of Asheville is staffed with a trained veterinarian and nursing staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

Can the Asheville Veterinary Specialists or R.E.A.C.H of Asheville be my regular veterinary clinic?

No. AVS and R.E.A.C.H of Asheville are here to be an extension of the care provided by your family veterinarian. AVS/REACH provides no routine veterinary services such as vaccination, well-puppy/kitten checks etc…

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