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Veterinary Care: UrgentVet vs. Emergency Vet – What’s the Difference?

My Pet Is Sick! Where Do I Go for After Hours Veterinary Care?

 When your pet falls ill or becomes injured, you likely first reach out to your primary care veterinarian for advice, or to schedule an appointment. However, general veterinary practices typically don’t offer late hours or open hours on holidays, so where do you turn? Your next step is finding a veterinary hospital that is open after normal business hours or on the weekend. A Google search shows urgent veterinary hospitals and emergency vets are in your area. Which one do you call? What’s the difference between the two? Read on, as our UrgentVet team shares important information that separates urgent veterinary care from emergency situations, so you know exactly where your pet needs to go when they become ill or injured after hours.

Pet health issues that require urgent care

Urgent Veterinary Care

The symptoms and behaviors of conditions that require urgent care often overlap with those that require emergency vet visits. We don’t expect you as the pet parent to be able to distinguish which is which, as our team of doctors will help interpret your pet’s behaviors to determine if an emergency hospital is more appropriate. These conditions may include:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Eye discharge and squinting
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Not drinking or eating
  • Toxin ingestion
  • Skin allergies
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract issues
  • Abscesses
  • Back pain
  • Mild lameness or limping
  • Minor wounds and lacerations
  • Difficulty walking
  • Ear infections
  • Vaccine reactions
  • Anal gland problems

In a nutshell, an urgent care veterinary facility provides treatment for minor illnesses and injuries—at a fraction of the emergency vet price—when your primary care veterinarian is unavailable.

Pet health issues that require an emergency veterinarian


Life-threatening emergencies are best handled by a emergency, 24-7 vet that is open overnight to provide advanced nursing care and treat serious injuries and illnesses. Some situations that require emergency, overnight care include:

  • Hit by a car
  • Amputation
  • Pneumonia
  • Kidney failure
  • Overnight hospitalization
  • Major wounds and lacerations
  • Uncontrollable bleeding
  • Multiple seizures

If you’re unsure whether your pet’s condition requires urgent care, or would be better suited for an emergency hospital, contact our team for advice.

The UrgentVet difference

You are the first to know if something is wrong with your pet, and a problem that bothers you or them also bothers our UrgentVet team. Here at our urgent care facility, we focus on non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries in pets that pop up after normal business hours. Essentially, we fill the gap between your primary care veterinarian and an overnight emergency veterinary hospital. We’re open every day of the year, and are proud that we offer pet owners savings of up to 40% compared with regular pet emergency hospitals, with a typically much shorter and transparent wait time. However, if your pet arrives at our facility and is experiencing a medical emergency, we will promptly refer you to the most appropriate place for treatment.


If your pet develops a health concern after your primary care veterinarian’s business hours, we’ll be happy to look at them, and determine what they need. As veterinary professionals, our job is to listen to your findings at home, determine appropriate testing and evaluation, and propose a treatment plan. This way, we can decide if your pet’s condition is an emergency versus a problem that needs minor attention now for immediate relief.

Our motto at UrgentVet is “Your Pet Can’t Wait to Feel Better.” This means we are here to help, whether we treat your pet’s condition ourselves, or—if the problem is more serious—refer you to a veterinary hospital equipped for overnight stays, extensive surgeries, or advanced nursing care. Together with your primary care veterinarian, we can provide the bulk of your pet’s veterinary care during normal business hours, evenings, weekends, and holidays, so your furry friend does not have to wait to feel better.

Are you unsure if your pet’s signs mean they require urgent or emergency care? Save Your Spot online to visit UrgentVet. Our team will be able to guide you to the best means of care for your pet—whether that’s at an emergency animal hospital or at UrgentVet.