Pet Owner FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
March 19, 2020
COVID-19 UPDATE: During this very fluid and scary time, we wanted to assure you of one constant: Our priority is to provide the very best care to the patients that need us, 24/7. To do this, we need to keep our doctors and staff healthy. To this end, we have had to make a lot of changes to operations.
Effective Wednesday, March 18th, and until further notice, only hospital personnel will be allowed inside CUVS. This is necessary to help keep staff, doctors, animals and clients safe and in compliance with CDC guidelines. When you arrive at the hospital, please remain in your vehicle with your pet. Call 203-595-2777 and press prompt #2 to check- in. A team member will meet you in the parking lot and get your pet into the building for evaluation. All communication thereafter will be by phone.
We will do everything we are able to make your visit as smooth and as stress-free as possible. But please understand that these are uncharted waters for all and we are trying to stay open and safe; bear with us. You can always contact us if you have any questions. 203-595-2777 / cuvs.org / firstname.lastname@example.org / 880 Canal Street, Stamford
Q: What are your hours?
- Emergency Service: 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year
- Specialty-Referral Services: Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Pharmacy: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Q: How do I schedule an appointment with one of CUVS’ veterinary specialists? Do I need a referral?
Simply call 203.595.2777 to schedule an appointment.
We strongly encourage a referral from your primary care veterinarian, whenever possible. This enables us to arrange the transfer of medical records, radiographs, bloodwork and any other diagnostic test results that will assist us in providing optimal care. We will communicate with your veterinarian, ensuring that they are included in the medical team.
Q: What will I need to prepare for my appointment?
- Medical Records. When you call to schedule your consultation, our Client Service Coordinator will ask you for all veterinarians your pet has seen. We will take care of obtaining your medical records and relevant information from those facilities.
- Withholding food. In some cases, you may be asked to withhold food from your pet after 10 pm the night before your appointment (water is okay). This is to enable certain testing or procedures that same day should they be deemed necessary. This is not recommended for all patients. Please let us know if your pet is diabetic, under 4 months of age, or cannot be fasted.
- Arriving at CUVS. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your consultation, to complete our registration form. If you prefer to do this in advance, you may find it here and submit online.
- Medications. Please bring in all of your pet’s medications - in their original containers - so that we can accurately record them. Also, if your pet needs to stay overnight with us for any reason, we will already have their medications with them for their stay.
- Insurance. If your pet has insurance, please bring a blank submission form with you. For more information, see Payments and Insurance FAQs below. Payment. You will also need to bring a form of payment, as it is due at the time of service.
- Payment. You will also need to bring a form of payment, as it is due at the time of service.
Please note that all dogs need to be leashed on our premises, and cats in a carrier. This is for the safety of your and other pets, and facilitates a calmer environment for all. If you have forgotten your leash, please ask the Client Service Coordinators on arrival and we will be happy to provide.
Q: What happens if I am late for my appointment?
Our appointment schedules are typically fully booked. As such, it may be difficult to accommodate you if you are significantly late. We will always do our best, but we do want to ensure that you are provided an unhurried visit and a comprehensive evaluation.
In some cases, we may have you wait until the next appointment/s are seen, or may need to reschedule your visit. If you think you will be more than 10 minutes late, please call us as soon as possible so that we can make any necessary adjustments
Q: What if I can no longer keep a scheduled appointment?
Your appointment time is reserved exclusively for you and your pet. If you are unable to make your appointment, and need to cancel or reschedule, please let us know with as much advance notice as possible so that we might be able to see another pet in need.
If you are calling after specialty hours, there is an option to leave a voicemail for rescheduling and cancellation; a Client Service Coordinator will call you back the following morning to reschedule.
Q: What should I expect at my consultation?
After check-in, you will be greeted by a member of our medical team (usually a veterinary technician). S/he will escort you into an exam room, weigh your pet, obtain a brief preliminary medical history and measure some of your pet’s vital signs (temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate). You will then meet the specialist, who will have reviewed all medical records from other veterinarians as well as the technician’s assessment. The specialist will take a detailed medical history from you, discuss your current concerns, perform a thorough physical examination, and then discuss clinical findings and options for further testing or treatment.
Medical Plan or Estimate. Once a medical plan is proposed by your specialist, and agreed upon by you, a member of the team (technician, assistant or liaison) will present you with a written Medical Plan that includes the diagnostic and treatment plan with associated costs. We will also discuss with you timing of this plan.
Length of visit. The length of the consultation varies, depending on your pet’s needs. However, you should plan for at least an hour for a first consultation and half an hour for recheck appointments. If same day diagnostics or procedures are to be performed, then the length of the visit will be longer than an hour. This timeframe will also be discussed with you.
Instructions. You will receive written Discharge Instructions with each visit – either before you leave, or emailed to you shortly thereafter. These will include a summary of your visit as well as medication and home care instructions.
Medications. If medications are prescribed, they may be dispensed at the time of your visit or you will be provided a written prescription to take to a pharmacy of your choice.
Q: Will the specialist explain everything to me
Absolutely. It is important that you are a well-informed member of the medical team so that you have a firm handle on what is going on with your pet, and can make decisions on his/her behalf. Our specialists are incredible in the time they spend with our clients, explaining everything and answering questions. Our initial consultations are always 1 hour (although the industry standard in many cases is 20-30 minutes).
Q: What if my pet needs more than one specialist?
One of our Core Values is close collaboration to enable seamless care. We feel that every pet who comes in to CUVS should benefit from the expertise that s/he needs. To this end, our specialists work seamlessly together. Your specialist will discuss with you the involvement of another CUVS specialist and will arrange consultation as needed.
Q: What if I can’t do everything that the doctor recommends?
That’s OK. We fully understand that everyone has different goals and limitations, and we are committed to working within these parameters to ensure that your pet gets the best medical care possible. Our doctors are experienced clinicians, and this experience enables us to tailor the diagnostic and therapeutic approach to the individual pet.
Please feel free to discuss any concerns with your doctor or a member of your medical team.
Q: I would like to proceed with the medical plan, what happens next?
Diagnostics and procedures will be done as soon as possible. In many instances, they may be done within the same day. You may need to leave your pet in the hospital for a few hours or overnight to allow for this. Should your pet need to be hospitalized, please see the Hospitalization section below for more information.
Elective surgeries will be performed at the next available surgical time or any available surgical time that is convenient for you. Emergency surgeries will be performed with minimal delay.
Q: How soon will I receive results?
Some diagnostic test results will be available the same day as the test is performed, such as radiographs, ultrasound and some in-house laboratory tests. Other results, with few exceptions, are usually available within a few days. You will be informed as to when to expect results. Your specialist will call you after s/he has received and interpreted the results, and will discuss findings and recommendations.
Please be aware that, in many cases, we will wait for all/most of the results so that they can be appropriately interpreted. As such, you may not receive a call until all test components (or at least the most vital) are received.
Q: Will my primary care veterinarian be involved and updated?
Absolutely. We partner closely with your regular veterinarian. Not only will your pet’s veterinarian/s be completely informed following your consultation but, in most cases, s/he will be actively involved in follow-up care. Your veterinarian/s will receive a detailed report from us after each visit, and on every day of hospitalization.
Moreover, s/he has real-time online access to your pets medical records, test results and imaging studies. We are committed to the philosophy that close collaboration and quality communication are essential to optimal care and better outcomes.
Q: What happens if my pet needs to be hospitalized?
Depending on your pet’s condition, s/he may need to be admitted to the hospital for stabilization, testing and or treatment, or in preparation for a surgery or procedure. As part of the hospital admission process, you will be required to complete a Consent Form, sign off on the agreed-upon Medical Plan, and leave a deposit. We will confirm your contact information and preferences, and verify other information we need to know about your pet while in our care. And we will thoroughly go through with you expectations for calls, visits, etc.
We fully understand that you are entrusting us with your pet. We take this responsibility seriously and will do everything in our power to ensure exceptional care. And to ensure that you are comfortable and secure in this knowledge.
Q: Will my pet have the same doctor throughout their hospitalization?
During your pet’s hospitalization, s/he will always have a primary clinician who is in charge of him/her each day. Wherever possible, it will be the same specialist. But, in that we are open 7 days per week, it might not always be the same doctor, and may be another specialist. Moreover, if your pet is here overnight, s/he will be cared for by an emergency doctor during these times. So, you may speak to different doctors throughout your pet’s stay.
Rest assured, each of these doctors is knowledgeable and up to date regarding your pet’s condition and care. Our doctors maintain incredibly detailed medical records. Moreover, they hold “rounds” at the end of each day and start of the next, to discuss our patients and transfer information. This ensures that your pet receives the collaborative expertise of many doctors at CUVS and each doctor caring for your pet is well informed.
Q: Will my pet be alone overnight?
Your pet will never be alone! Our overnight medical team consists of, at minimum, an emergency veterinarian and several licensed veterinary technicians and assistants. Some of this staff is dedicated only to our inpatients, to ensure that they receive close monitoring and an outstanding continuum of care.
Q: Will my regular veterinarian be involved?
Absolutely. We consider your primary care veterinarian to be a vital part of the medical team. Your primary care veterinarian will receive a call when your pet is first admitted to the hospital to discuss the case, and will subsequently receive a complete report. Thereafter, s/he will receive a daily report detailing the status, progress and plan for your pet. If at any point during hospitalization, your pet’s condition changes, we will notify your veterinarian.
At discharge, your veterinarian will receive a full report of your pet’s case while hospitalized as well as our recommendations and follow up care. In addition, you veterinarian has real-time online access to our medical records and test results, and is always free to call us.
Q: My pet was admitted through the emergency room, but now I am having a consultation with one of the specialists. Why do I need another consultation?
The Emergency Service provides care in urgent or emergent situations. Often, if your pet is stable, we may recommend follow-up with your primary care (family) veterinarian. In some cases, however, our emergency veterinarian (often in consultation with your family veterinarian) may feel that your pet would benefit from consultation with one of our board-certified specialists.
The role of the emergency service is to assess and provide stabilizing care for urgent and sometimes potentially life-threatening conditions. In some cases, a pet may have an underlying medical condition that requires further diagnostic testing or treatment, either by your veterinarian or a specialist. The emergency clinician may recommend consultation with, or transfer to, a specialist for further diagnostic testing and/or therapy, and to develop a longer-term management strategy.
Q: How will I get updates on my pet?
It is essential to our mission that we communicate regularly and effectively with both you and with your primary care veterinarian, while providing outstanding medical care. To facilitate effective communication, we recommend the family designate a family member to act as representative, to communicate with your specialist and to keep other family members informed.
The CUVS specialist will call the family representative each day – usually in the late morning, after s/he has performed daily assessments and rounds on hospitalized patients. If, for some reason, you don’t hear from us by 11:00 a.m., please feel free to call. You are also always welcome to call for a nursing update on your pet´s general condition. (Please understand that our technicians will not be able to discuss any diagnostic or prognostic aspects.)
Of course, if there are changes in your pet’s condition, or if there is new information to share, we will call you regardless of the time.
Regular phone hours: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Q: Can I visit my pet?
Yes. We are always happy to accommodate visits, and believe that they are good for your pet and for you. Visits are scheduled; please schedule a time when you speak with your pet’s specialist or technician. It is preferable, where possible, to coordinate visits of multiple family members, to minimize interruptions to your pet’s treatment schedule.
While our doctors will always do their best to be available to you during these visits, please understand that their schedule can sometimes preclude this. If you need to speak with the specialist during the visit, it is best to make these arrangements in advance.
Visiting hours: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., by prior arrangement
Q: Can I leave personal belongings with my pet?
Please know that your pet will be supplied with ample comfortable bedding while in hospital. You may choose to leave personal items (bedding, toys, etc.) and we will take utmost care to return them to you. However, soiled items will be laundered, and may occasionally be misplaced. If the item is uniquely special, we recommend you keep it at home for your pet.
It is best not to leave collars or leashes at the hospital. These need to be removed during hospitalization and we would prefer that you keep them safe at home.
We understand that being in hospital can be stressful. In order to maximize your pet´s well-being, please let us know about any particulars that may help us keeping him/her happier (such as specific food, routine, or name preferences).
Q: When can I pick up my pet?
We will discuss with you when your pet is ready to be released, and set up an appointment for a discharge time. We encourage discharge when your pet’s specialist or medical team is available to go through with you your pet’s medications, at-home care and recheck recommendations. (If this is not feasible, these can be discussed with you by phone prior to pick up.) You will also be provided with written detailed home care instructions.
All instructions, together with a detailed referral report, will be sent to your primary care veterinarian.
Pick-up times: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., by prior arrangement
PAYMENT AND INSURANCE
Q: What do you charge for services?
Our consultation fees vary between departments, ranging from $195 to $250 for a first-time specialty consultation. Please call one of our Client Service Coordinators for a more accurate pricing.
At your consultation, your specialist will work with you to determine the best course of action. You will then receive a detailed, individualized medical plan that outlines the anticipated costs associated with each recommendation.
The cost of veterinary care can sometimes be expensive because we use many of the same equipment, drugs and supplies as are used in a human hospital. We are committed to proactively communicating with you these anticipated expenses and to helping you make decisions that are respectful of your individual financial circumstance.
While it is our medical and ethical obligation to recommend what is medically possible and the best options currently available, we also work closely with families to customize a medical plan that is a right fit. Our specialists are experienced clinicians and are accustomed to finding the right solution for each pet and family. We will help you discuss and weigh your options, but the decision is ultimately yours. This is your pet. You can always decline some, or all, of our recommendations.
Q: Will the cost of my medical plan be my final bill?
Your medical plan only incorporates estimated expenses for expected charges at the time of consultation. It does not include prepayments for future visits, recheck examinations or post-operative treatments and services. Most of the medical plans are very accurate with respect to estimated costs for a particular hospitalization or visit. However, in some cases, a pet’s condition may change, or s/he may not respond initially, or we may discover something that requires additional treatments, imaging, testing or surgery that was not initially anticipated. Rest assured, we will keep you updated.
If your pet’s condition changes outside the scope of services covered in your original medical plan, you will be informed, and we will thoroughly discuss the implications and associated costs.
If, at any time, you want to know about your costs or your balance, please do not hesitate to call. A Client Service Coordinator or Service Liaison will be happy to provide you with account updates.
Q: What is your payment policy?
Outpatient visits and consultations require full payment at the time the service is rendered. For inpatient services (hospitalized pets), you will sign a medical plan authorizing the recommended testing and treatments. A deposit of 75% of the estimated cost of the medical plan is expected at admission to hospital, and the remainder at discharge.
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
For your convenience, we accept cash and all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express). We do not accept personal checks for Emergency Service visits.
Q: Do you offer payment plans or delayed billing?
Unfortunately, we cannot offer delayed billing; payment is due at the time of services.
We do not offer payment plans through CUVS directly, but rather through a third party provider. We accept Care Credit, a healthcare line of credit that enables delayed payments for veterinary care. For more information about this payment plan option, please inquire with one of our Client Service Coordinators or visit Carecredit.com.
Q: Can you keep my credit card on file for future visits?
Sorry. At this time, we are unable to store credit card information for future use.
Q: What if I have a question regarding my bill, payment or charges?
Please call 203.595.2777 and ask for our Billing Department or Associate. Hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. If you are calling outside of those hours, you can be directed to voicemail; calls will be returned within 1 business day.
Q: Do you accept Pet Insurance?
Absolutely. Bear in mind, however, that, unlike human health insurance, pet insurance is a reimbursement model. This means that you will need to pay for services at the time of check-out and submit your paid invoice to your pet insurance company for reimbursement.
CUVS will happily take care of the insurance submission process for you. Simply bring a blank claim form to your first visit and let the Client Service Coordinators know you have insurance at check-in. We will take care of the rest! For your first visit, and any subsequent visits, CUVS will complete your claim form and then send that along with an itemized list of charges and complete medical record to your insurance company to help facilitate rapid reimbursement to you. We keep copies of all claim submissions in your account file, so you may have them for your records at any time.
Q: My pet is on a Banfield Wellness Plan. Is my visit with CUVS eligible for coverage in my plan?
Banfield Wellness plans are not pet insurance; they are only acceptable within the Banfield network of hospitals and are intended to help spread the cost of your pet’s preventative care. Services provided at other facilities, like CUVS, are not covered.
Q: My pet insurance company denied my claim. What can I do?
CUVS is happy to assist you in appealing a denied claim. Please bear in mind that, in some cases, the claim is denied based on rules regarding eligibility and requirements for your specific plan.
Our Client Services Supervisor can help you determine whether an appeal is the next step. If you do decide to appeal your claim, we will happily write a clarification letter, speak with your provider or assist in any way we can. When you call to discuss your situation, please have your insurance documents and denial letter available for our review, so that we can expedite the process.
PHARMACY & PRESCRIPTIONS
Q: What are your pharmacy hours?
Our pharmacy is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., for refill requests and pick-ups.
You may request refills by calling the main line at 203.595.2777 and asking to be transferred to our Pharmacy. Because some refills may require a doctor approval or special compounding, please anticipate a 24 hour lead-time for approval and preparation of your prescription. We will do our best to accommodate each request in a timely manner.
Q: I have no more refills on my pet’s medication, but they need to remain on this current
prescription. How do I get additional refills?
In order to ensure the safety of prescriptions for our patients, and to remain compliant with current State and Federal laws, authorizations for drug refills can be performed only by the service that provided the original prescription. The Emergency Department CANNOT authorize refills for medications prescribed by another CUVS service or by your primary care veterinarian.
It is important to carefully monitor your pet’s medication supply. You are always free to call the Pharmacy Coordinator for refills, but please remember that these requests will not be authorized until the next weekday that the prescribing service is on duty.
- Internal Medicine: Monday – Friday
- Surgery: Monday – Friday
- Sports Medicine: Monday – Thursday
- Dentistry: Monday – Thursday
- Dermatology: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
- Ophthalmology: Tuesday – Friday
- Oncology: Monday – Wednesday
- Cardiology: Tuesday only
- Emergency and Critical Care: Monday – Sunday
Please note: Controlled drugs will not be dispensed until you are physically on premises to pick them up. Please allot extra time when picking up these medications.
Q: My pet’s medication refill is already approved, but I cannot make it to CUVS during pharmacy hours to pick up the medication. Can I come after-hours?
Yes! Once a refill request is received and has been approved, you may pick it up at your convenience.
If you have remaining refills already authorized on a current prescription, we will be happy to dispense. Please allow 24 hours (Monday through Friday) for the prescription to be filled.
Q: I forgot to call to refill my pet’s medication and now the pharmacy is closed. How can I get my pet’s medication before I run out?
If you have an urgent situation where you cannot wait for our regular pharmacy hours, or you have forgotten to call for your refill prior to giving your last medication dose and our pharmacy is now closed, please call 203.595.2777 to speak with a Client Service Coordinator. We will help find a solution.
Q: My regular veterinarian’s office is closed but my pet is going to run out of its medication. Can I get a prescription from CUVS?
State and Federal law prohibit a veterinarian from prescribing a medication to a patient not under their care. If your pet is not currently under the care of one of the CUVS specialists or emergency veterinarians, CUVS cannot dispense or prescribe any medication.
However, you are welcome to bring your pet in through the Emergency Service to have her/him evaluated by one of our emergency service clinicians. Once they have established a veterinarian-patient relationship, we will be able to prescribe and dispense medication.
Q: My pet is on a long-term medication, however, I am being told I need to come for a recheck prior to refilling my next prescription. Why would I need to have a recheck to continue a medication?
CUVS follows all Federal and State laws and guidelines when prescribing medications. In order to remain compliant, your pet must be physically examined on a periodic basis. Typically, this means your pet will need to be examined a minimum of once per year. However, for some medications, your pet may need to be reexamined more frequently. For controlled substances, Federal law requires an evaluation no less than every six months.
Other medications, such as chemotherapeutics and antibiotics may require more frequent rechecks.
Q: My pet went home with a prescription, but I am told I cannot refill the medication with CUVS any longer and will need to pick it up from a compounding pharmacy. Why can’t I get the refill dispensed at CUVS again?
For compounded drugs (drugs that are made into a form different from that in which they are manufactured), CT state law prohibits us from dispensing more than 7 days’ worth and from refilling prescriptions. As such, we will provide you with an amount sufficient for up to one week and with a prescription to be filled at a compounding pharmacy.
If you need a list of local or online compounding pharmacies, we would be more than happy to provide that as well.
Q: My pet no longer needs their medication. Can I return it to the CUVS pharmacy and get a refund?
In most cases - unfortunately, no. The FDA stipulates that, once a prescription has left the dispensing facility (our hospital), it cannot be returned to stock and cannot be represcribed. The ONLY exceptions are those medications in tamper-resistant packaging (e.g., blister packs and sealed bottles in which the seal is unbroken).
If a prescription has not left our building, then the medication can be returned to stock for resale, and the associated charge can be deleted from the invoice and refunded.