Frequently Asked Questions:

I don’t have a primary care veterinarian for my pet, what do I do?

We encourage you to choose a primary care veterinarian for the optimal health of your pet throughout the year. Our specialists closely collaborate with primary care veterinarians because this bolsters the level of care your pet can receive. If your pet becomes ill before you choose a primary care veterinarian, we will gladly help you with your specialty and/or emergency care needs if necessary in the interim. Please call us at 815.479.9119 to determine the best next steps.

What are your hours of operation?

Specialty/referral care is available via referral, and by appointment. Our emergency services are available 24/7/365.

How do I make an appointment to see a specialist?

Your primary care veterinarian will discuss your pet’s case with you and determine whether a visit with a specialist is recommended. If so, your doctor will provide our team with your pet’s medical history, any test results, and a referral request, allowing you to call us at 815.479.9119 to schedule an appointment. Please note that immediate transfer to our hospital will of course occur in emergency cases.

How is a veterinary specialist different from a primary care or family veterinarian?

Both primary care and specialty veterinarians complete a four-year veterinary medical program. They both must pass national examinations and state-level licensing requirements. To become a specialist, one must complete additional training through an accredited program. This typically includes a one-year internship, followed by a three-year residency in a particular medical discipline. In addition to the clinical training, a veterinarian must also publish original research in a peer-reviewed journal and pass a series of rigorous examinations to earn this designation. Once these elements are successfully accomplished, they are considered board-certified, or a specialist, in their chosen field.

Primary care veterinarians are highly skilled to manage ongoing wellness and many medical problems. There are situations, however, requiring specialized or uniquely skilled doctors with expertise in a given area. As in human medicine, it is not feasible for one veterinarian to have a profound knowledge in every possible area of medicine. Therefore, specialists collaborate with primary care veterinarians to address the special needs of complex cases.

What are the typical signs of a veterinary emergency?

Since you know your pet, you may notice unusual signs that could mean your pet is ill or injured. Certain situations or signs can indicate an emergency situation, such as:

  • Abnormal stance or problems walking
  • Bloated, distended, swollen, or painful abdomen
  • Difficult birth
  • Difficult breathing
  • Discoloration of the gums (blue, purple, pale, or gray gums, etc.)
  • Inability to urinate or defecate
  • Ingestion of any poison, foreign material, or non-prescribed medication
  • Open-mouth breathing (cats)
  • Pain, shaking, or tenderness to the touch
  • Persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Sudden blindness
  • Trauma (hit-by-car, signs of a broken bone, fall, etc.)
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Vomit and/or diarrhea containing blood

If you are not sure if you pet is having an emergency, feel free to call 815.479.9119 or come to the hospital immediately.

If my pet has to stay in the hospital, can I visit him?

Yes, we encourage you to see your pet when they are hospitalized. Please work with our staff to coordinate the best time for your visit.

What is the cost to see a doctor at CASE?

Given the use of state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and the complexity of the procedures employed to address special veterinary medical cases, the cost of specialty care may be higher than that of general care. Once we have fully examined your pet and developed a personalized treatment plan, we will be able to review the scope of services necessary, along with their fees. If you choose to proceed with our recommendations, we will request a deposit. The balance will be due at the time of your pet’s discharge. You will be promptly notified of any changes that require additional costs.

Are payment plans available at CASE?

CASE’s policy is that payment is received in full at the time of your pet’s discharge. The payment methods we accept include cash, major credit cards, debit cards, or checks. You may also arrange credit via Care Credit a no-cost or low-cost financing program.

Do you accept pet medical insurance?

While we require that you pay your medical bill directly to us, we are happy to help you with any of the necessary paperwork that will streamline the reimbursement process from your insurance provider.