Frequently asked questions


We understand that this may be stressful time for you and your pet and we will do everything we can to put your concerns at ease. We hope that some of your questions may be answered below. Click a question to expand

My pet is sick or injured, what do I do next? +

If you are concerned about your pet, please phone us immediately. A friendly staff member will discuss your situation with you and advise you on the next action. If you believe your pet’s case is life-threatening please immediately bring them to River Country AEC. Please see driving directions and contact information for our centre here.

No appointment is necessary if your pet becomes ill out of hours. When you arrive you will be met by our experienced team who will assess your pet’s status. If your pet is critically ill he or she will be taken immediately to the treatment room and stabilised. If your pet is stable on arrival, you will be asked to complete a form with your details before being taken to a consultation room to await the vet on duty. The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination and recommend either outpatient treatment to be followed up with your local veterinarian, or hospitalisation with the appropriate treatment and diagnostic tests. The veterinarian will discuss all this with you. Please ask any questions about the pet's condition and treatment as it is very important to us that you feel comfortable with our proposed treatment.

Will my pet be seen immediately? +

Patients are generally seen in the order they arrive, however more life-threatening cases must take priority over others. If you believe your pet’s condition is life-threatening, please notify us immediately, and the doctor will perform an examination without delay.

My pet requires hospitalisation, how can I stay in touch or visit? +

While your pet is in hospital we welcome you to phone for an update on how your pet is progressing. We will always contact you if there is any change to the treatment necessary for your pet or any change in their condition. We also welcome visitation anytime day or night, a courtesy phone call is appreciated prior to visiting.

How is emergency care different from regular care? +

Emergency care is available at times when regular veterinary hospitals are not open. As it is impossible for a daytime veterinarian and his or her staff to provide service around the clock, an emergency centre allows for intensive after-hours care by a specially trained staff with extensive equipment. Veterinarians refer cases to River Country AEC to ensure their client’s pets receive the best possible after-hours care. An emergency centre, however, cannot replace the historical knowledge and valued relationship you have with your regular family veterinarian. After initial treatment, all follow-up care will be done by your family veterinarian.

How much will emergency treatment cost? +

A doctor must perform a thorough physical exam before we can determine what treatment, if any, is recommended. Following the exam, you will receive an estimate for the treatment plan that the doctor recommends for your pet. Upon approval, you will be required to leave a deposit in the form of cash eftpos or credit card for the lower end of the estimate. Please feel free to ask questions if you do not understand any aspect of the estimate or treatment plan. We want your pet to receive the best possible medical care.

Can I bring my pet in for routine care? +

We do not provide vaccinations or perform routine health care at River Country AEC. Our hospitals provide emergency care when your family veterinarian is not available or your pet requires intensive care — no appointment is necessary. Our doctors and nursing staff have advanced training and expertise in emergency medicine.

Do you do billing? +

River Country AEC does not establish ongoing relationships with clients because of the nature of emergency appointments, and experience has shown that a significant number of clients at emergency centres fail to pay balances as promised. Therefore it is not financially possible for our centre to facilitate billing. The extent of care given to any animal is determined by its owner, the value they place on their pet, and their financial resources. Our staff are always very willing to work with you to provide care within your budget.

If I leave my pet, when do I pick him/her up? +

If the doctor recommends that the pet be hospitalised due to his or her medical condition, you will need to make plans to pick up your pet for its return home or transfer to your regular veterinarian. The doctor should inform you as to an expected time of release. As the emergency doctor may be unexpectedly busy, we rely on you to call for periodic progress updates. We will, however, contact you at any hour if your pet’s condition should decline unexpectedly. Please provide us with an accurate phone number, and keep a phone by the bed at night.