We are open 24 hours across our 2 Auckland Emergency Veterinary Hospitals. Call us on 09 849 2121

FAQ

We aim to provide our patients with the very best experience when they are at our emergency hospitals for care. 

It can be a stressful and emotional time for both the pets and their families and we are committed to making this as stress-free and calm as possible for everyone. 

What To Expect

Emergency animal care can be stressful for pet owners and you may have a lot of questions. We want you to feel comfortable and as calm as possible.

Pricing

We are an Emergency and Out of Hours service and our pricing reflects this. Please see our pricing page for further info

We offer 24 hour emergency care.

Animal Emergency at our Sylvia Park hospital is open 24 hours Monday – Friday

Animal Emergency at our Mt Albert hospital is open 6pm – 8am  Monday – Friday

Currently, due to critical staff shortages, our weekend services are managed across the hospitals, with one hospital being open at the weekend. 

Check our status update to see our weekend status

It is helpful if you are able to call us, or complete our referral form so we know to expect you.

We understand that in an emergency this isn’t always easy, but it will ensure that we can give you any critical instruction, for example, which hospital to go to.

Being an emergency department, we never know what cases will come through our door.

We run a triage system, just like in a human hospital to make sure the most urgent pets are seen first.

In addition, there is a critical shortage of vets and nurses in NZ currently that means wait times may be increased.

We ask all our clients to please be patient. Our reception team will be able to give you an indication of wait times, but this can change at any time. 

Please bring your phone charger, water, snacks and something to help you pass the time and please be kind to our staff.

Like the majority of veterinary practices in NZ, VSA is a private business. We don’t receive funding to provide veterinary care – it is provided on a user pays basis.

It is your obligation under the Animal Welfare Act to provide your pet with veterinary care, but as veterinarians we have a moral and an ethical obligation to prevent pain and suffering. This obligation is laid out in the NZ Vet Council Veterinarian Code of Professional Conduct.

If you can’t afford our consult fees, and you are declined for all of the finance options that we have available, a nurse can triage your pet using the history and a basic physical exam. They will decide whether it is urgent that he or she is seen treated by the veterinarian.

If your pet is thought to be stable and non or minimally painful, and you cannot afford a consultation, then we will recommend waiting for your general practice veterinarian to open.

But, if we believe that your pet will suffer without intervention then we will provide emergency veterinary outpatient care. This care is not free; you will still have to pay for the consultation and treatment. There is a process involved, so please be prepared.

If your invoice is not paid within this time frame, then the account will be forwarded to Baycorp for collection.

If outpatient treatment isn’t appropriate, for example if there is significant trauma, or requires urgent intervention to prevent suffering (eg being unable to breathe, having a suspected stomach twist or a urethral obstruction) then we are also able to provide humane euthanasia to prevent suffering.

Unfortunately, no New Zealand pet insurance companies have the ability to process claim acceptance out of normal business hours. For this reason, we are unable to accept direct claims as payment for services provided through the Animal Emergency service and you will have to pay for this up front. We do recommend that you carefully check your policy coverage if it is after hours.

We do provide you with a full copy of your pet’s clinical notes as well as an itemised invoice during our shift, so that you can submit your claim as quickly as possible. Our in-house insurance team are able to assist you with your claim during normal business hours. Please contact them directly on insurance@vsnz.co.nz or phone 09-320 5645. Our Animal Emergency staff are not able to assist with insurance claims after hours.

Please do feel free to talk to our staff about any financial difficulties that you may have in the meantime. We know that veterinary care can be an unexpected cost that you may not have budgeted for, and we will work with you to ensure that your pet is still able to receive the best care possible.

Standard Consultation

The standard consultation includes initial triage, collection of history, a physical exam, assessment and discussion around diagnostic and treatment recommendations. It also covers basic procedures such as an ear or eye exam, or clipping and cleaning a small wound.

It does not include medications, any diagnostic testing or procedures that are recommended, or any inpatient care.

 

Nurse Consultation

If you are not sure whether your pet needs to see a vet, or your pet is under your regular vet’s care but needs nursing assistance on the weekend, our nurse can perform a triage assessment and some basic veterinary procedures.

Things they can do:

  • Recommend a veterinary consultation
  • Administer medications or subcutaneous fluids, if previously prescribed by either our vet or yours.
  • Check surgical or other wounds
  • Replace some bandages or wound dressings
  • Perform timed blood tests, when under the care of a veterinarian and provided sedation is not required
  • Check your pet’s bladder for a urinary obstruction

Things they can not do:

  • Perform a veterinary consultation
  • Prescribe medication, or administer medication that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian

 

Euthanasia Consultation

When you know that it is your pet’s time, we can work with you to provide this service without a full veterinary consultation.  We do have to be sure that euthanasia is an appropriate choice for your pet, and that your pet is correctly identified. Choosing what to do with your pet’s remains are also done at the time of your consult.  

If you feel a little unsure, you would like a second opinion about whether there are any other options, or you simply would like to talk with a veterinarian about whether now is the right time to consider euthanasia, then we can schedule a standard consultation instead.

 

Native Wildlife : For native animals call DOC on 0800 362 468.

Non-native Wildlife: During the day, call the SPCA (09 256 7300) or your local wildlife rehabilitator for advice. At night, call your nearest emergency veterinarian.

Injured or dead cats/dogs: You can contact the SPCA (09 256 7300) or Auckland Council Animal Management (Dogs only) (09 301 0101) for advice; depending on resources they may be able to attend the scene. However, if this is not possible and the owner cannot be found, a member of the public may need to bring the animal to the nearest open veterinarian so that it can be checked for a microchip and receive appropriate treatment. You will not have to pay for this care.

Healthy stray and feral cats: Please do not bring healthy stray unowned or feral cats to an emergency veterinarian, as we cannot accept these into the hospital. Contact your local veterinarian, the SPCA (09 256 7300) or your local cat rescue during normal business hours for advice.

Healthy stray dogs: If you cannot find an owner by knocking on nearby doors, and the dog is friendly you can bring him or her to your nearest open veterinarian to check for a microchip. You can also contact the Auckland Council (09 301 0101) for assistance.

It is difficult for you to prepare yourself and your pet for a stay in the emergency hospital; these are often not planned. Although we know that nothing can replace the comfort of your own home, please be assured that our veterinary hospital is a safe and comfortable place for your pet to stay overnight.  Our staff are experienced, and work hard to make sure their stay will be as stress-free as possible.

 

Before You Leave

Make sure you take the opportunity to ask any questions before you leave. Tell the vet about special diets or regular medications that your pet is on. We may not always have these in stock, and you may need to bring them in. Don’t forget to tell us about any tips and tricks we should know about handling your pet, such as toilet signals or things that they might be worried about.  

You won’t be able to see the treatment room or hospital wards unless your pet is very unwell and unable to be moved. We have plenty of photos available of these areas for you to see on our website, but we are generally too busy to allow owners to spend time out there.

We do not take blankets, clothing etc from home into the hospital. This is partly for hygiene reasons as some of our patients are immunocompromised, and partly to prevent them getting lost. However, we have plenty of soft, comfortable padded bedding available for your pet – he or she will be very snuggly in hospital.

Before you leave, you should also have received an emailed estimate for the costs of care, and some additional inpatient information. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time by phone or email: animalemergency@vsnz.co.nz

 

In Hospital

While in hospital, your pet will have 24-hour care by a team of veterinarians and nursing staff. Dogs are walked overnight with security in attendance, and our staff perform observations and treatments all through the day and night. We do try to perform the majority of work through daylight hours so the lights can be dimmed overnight but if we are busy overnight in the treatment room it can be less restful for them, so don’t be surprised if your pet needs to catch up on sleep when they first come home. 

We know that having your pet in hospital is very stressful for both of you, and for most of our patients regular visits are reassuring and help with their recovery in hospital. Please speak with the clinic team about organising an appropriate time to visit. Try to remember that your pet will always seek guidance from you, so try to be as calm and relaxed as possible while you are spending time with them – if you are stressed and anxious, your pet will think that the situation is stressful as well.

We allow visits between 8am and 6pm on weekends and public holidays, and on weekdays by prior appointment. Visits outside of these hours or on the same day as surgery are only in exceptional circumstances. We apologise in advance if we cannot accommodate you immediately for a scheduled visit; our emergency caseload is unpredictable, and sometimes we need to pay attention to another patient in the hospital with little notice.

Please note that for safety reasons, we are unable to accommodate visits or stays overnight.