Written by: Meagan Fernandez, Radiology Veterinary Technician at Bulger Veterinary Hospital
One night you’re at home going through your normal routine and you notice your dog or cat seems off. Maybe he/she isn’t eating, seems lethargic, or is even having diarrhea or vomiting. So you grab your keys, get your pet into the car, and drive straight to the 24-hour vet.
After an exam and diagnostics (perhaps blood panels, urinalysis or imaging), the veterinarian has recommended keeping your pet overnight for continuous monitoring and supportive care.
Just like that, you’re going home alone while you wonder what is going on with your best friend. It’s a feeling that leaves a pit in your stomach. Will they be comfortable? Are they scared? How will they fall asleep in a strange place?
We want you to know that if your pet is hospitalized overnight at an Ethos hospital, we are here for your baby. They are constantly monitored, given so much love, and treated as if they are our own.
Your Pet’s Overnight Hospitalization
As soon as you say your goodbyes for the night, our technicians get started right away to begin healing your pet and making them comfortable.
Each patient is different, and they are treated as an individual while in the hospital.
For a sick pet, we usually place an IV (intravenous) catheter to begin fluid therapy and administer medications intravenously so that the medications begin to take effect quicker.
Some pets may need a mild sedative to help them feel more at ease, or just a blanket wrapped around them and a hug from one of the technicians while another technician places the IV.
If your animal had any kind of surgery or procedure, the technician who recovers them ensures that they are not feeling any pain for the night.
There is always a veterinarian in the building and technicians are constantly keeping an eye on all patients. When shifts change, our overnight technicians round over their patients to the incoming technicians discussing important details of each patient to ensure a smooth transition.
Our technicians are trained to read the body language of all animals. Of course, we never want to get bitten or scratched by a pet, but we also don’t want them to be so anxious that they reach that point. Creating a stress-free environment by moving slowly and talking softly is always a priority, whether the patient is nervous or not.
All of our hospitals are moving toward becoming Fear Free Certified Practices, which you can read more about here.
Keeping your pet comfortable
Comfort and love is just as important as medical care for your pet’s healing. That can mean something different for every pet and as technicians, we take the time to figure out what that is.
Big squishy comforters, soft blankets, heating pads, pet beds, toys, and stuffed animals; we have it all! Some animals need a blanket hung over the front of their kennel to provide a sense of privacy and safety. Some pets need human companionship or some time out of their cages, while others prefer a technician sitting in their cage with them. We’ve shown patients movies on iPads, created hiding spots for them, and even hung up pictures of their family in their cage! And for their owners who are worried, we call with updates and even send pictures if asked! Whatever we can do, we will do.
Words of reassurance from an ER veterinarian
Bulger Emergency Veterinarian, Dr. Cioffi, says: “We will dim the lights, give a mild sedative if needed for nerves, and walk the dogs every 2-4 hours. Some patients we let stay out of the cages with us if they have never been in a kennel before and cannot get comfortable. Each technician is specifically assigned to a patient so that they really get to know them well. The technician will report back to the doctor with any changes or important news so we can make changes to the treatments as needed.”
We Couldn’t Do it Without Our Our Overnight Teams
Overnight technicians are very special. There are less people in hospitals overnight, so the overnight techs must be well-rounded in many different types of procedures and care.
Bulger Emergency Technician Corey explains how she stays up all night: “We’ve all trained ourselves to be extra awake all night to make sure everyone’s taken care of”.
As a daytime technician, I have so much admiration for those who spend their nights loving someone else’s pet while their pets are at home. Veterinary technicians choose this career because we want to be the voice for those who do not have one; we are their advocates.