Richard Churchey fiddled nervously in his chair as he waited for the nurse’s permission to say goodnight to his “fur baby” whom he would have to leave overnight. His “baby,” a chihuahua named Bella, started walking in circles shortly after slipping down a few stairs in the rain outside of Churchey’s home.
Churchey said he tried to nurse Bella back to health on his own but it was not until his friend, Cathy Simmons, saw Bella and recommended that she be seen by a doctor that he learned of Mountain View Animal Emergency Hospital. He took Bella there immediately.
“You feel better knowing you did what you could instead of giving up right away,” Simmons said. “I’m very pleased. I think your pet is worth it. They’re your fur babies.”
After receiving the doctor’s report that Bella had suffered significant head trauma, Churchey said he was glad Simmons encouraged him to visit the emergency hospital.
“It’s nice to know if your dog gets hurt late at night you’ve got somewhere to bring it,” Churchey said.
Once a dog or cat is in the emergency hospital’s exam room, the doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to the animal’s heart and lungs, and then carefully checks their gums, eyes and ears before proceeding with the rest of the examination.
Mountain View Animal Emergency Hospital on Maugans Avenue in Hagerstown was established in 2008 and provides emergency services for dogs and cats on weeknights, weekends and holidays.
“We operate very much like a human emergency room,” said Sean Williams, the hospital’s administrator. “We do triage (on) all patients. Serious cases go first.”
Williams said cases can range from a broken toenail and troubled breathing to bite reports and animals that have been hit by cars.
In a veterinary emergency room, a hit-by-car incident could cost a pet owner more than $5,000 according to a 2014 article from Preventive Vet, an online resource.
An animal being treated for vomiting and diarrhea could cost about $3,000 and toxin ingestion could cost more than $6,000, according to Preventive Vet.
In some instances, owners will leave the hospital without their pet, either because the animal has to remain hospitalized overnight for treatment or because it has died.
Shawn Wilson, one of Mountain View’s veterinarian doctors, said the staff does all they can to support the owners of admitted pets.
“I think that is probably one of the worst things that an owner can ever go through, and it’s really taking time to be there for them,” Wilson said. “It’s time, patience and understanding.”
Jeff Jones took his dog to the emergency hospital for nausea and vomiting. He said his dog perked up quickly after the veterinary technicians administered fluids and antibiotics.
“They (the staff) are very kind, very compassionate,” Jones said. “Thank goodness they’re here. Thank goodness they stay open late because the animals don’t always get sick 9 to 5.”