Preparing for your visit

A visit to a Neurology and Neurosurgery specialist can often be an unsettling and worrisome experience.  Your pet may be acting strangely or experiencing sudden, dramatic signs that you have not seen before, which can be very stressful.   At Chicago Veterinary Neurology and Neurosurgery, the health and care of your pet is our number one priority.   Below is an outline of information to help you feel more comfortable as you prepare for your visit.

Neurological Emergencies

We are available on a 24/7 emergency basis either directly through our service Monday through Friday 8 am-6 pm or through the emergency service at CVESC at other times.  The following is a list of signs that require urgent attention.

  • - Acute onset weakness, circling, falling, or imbalance
  • - Seizures
  • - Collapsing episodes or exercise intolerance
  • - Head tilting, turns or tremors
  • - Spinal pain
  • - Spinal or head trauma
  • - Acute onset vision or hearing loss
  • - Behavior changes: disorientation, aggression or other personality changes

Prior to Your Visit

You will be contacted prior to your visit to confirm your appointment.  Please notify us as soon as possible if you cannot keep your appointment.  We will be happy to help reschedule the appointment as needed.

We offer several appointment types to help your pet receive the attention required:

  • - New appointment: This appointment slot is reserved for new patients not previously seen by our service.  During this appointment, you will meet with the doctor to discuss your pet’s condition, followed by an examination and discussion of options.  These appointments are typically 30-45 minutes in duration.
  • - Recheck appointment:  This appointment slot is for patients previously seen by our service.  During this appointment, you will meet with the doctor to review your pet’s condition, medical treatment, followed by an examination and discussion of future plans. These appointments are typically 15-30 minutes in duration.
  • - Drop-off appointment: This appointment slot is for patients that require either further diagnostic testing or treatment for the day (e.g., MRI scan, additional laboratory testing, or surgery) or for recheck appointments that cannot be seen during a recheck appointment slot.  A drop-off appointment must be pre-arranged with the neurology service.  These appointments are typically for the entire day.
  • - Technician appointment: This appointment slot is for patients that only require certain blood tests for follow-up treatment.  These appointments must be pre-arranged with the neurology service. You will meet with a technician who will obtain the tests, but you will not meet with a doctor.  These appointments are typically 10-15 minutes in duration.

To help expedite your visit and care of your pet, we request that you please bring the following items to your visit:

  • - All pertinent medical records, radiographs and CDs of any imaging tests (e.g., MRI scan, ultrasound) performed from all hospitals previously visited.  Although we do request these records prior to your visit, from your doctor, it is still helpful to insure that we have a complete set of records for review.
  • - All current medications that your pet is taking.
  • - A list of all prior medical problems and diagnoses.
  • - Information regarding any known diseases from littermates or sire (father) and dam (mother).
  • - Calendars and descriptions of any prior seizures or unusual events.
  • - Video of any unusual behaviors, events or seizures that you would like the doctor to review.
  • - A list of questions that you may have regarding your pet’s condition.

What to Expect At Your Visit

The moment you walk through the door, you will be greeted by one of our knowledgeable and friendly Client Service Representatives (CSR).  Any pet clearly exhibiting an unstable neurological or medical condition will be immediately taken to the Neurology treatment area by a Neurology Technician.  Less critical patients will be directed to our waiting area until they can be seen by one of our neurologists.

Please keep in mind that neurological emergencies can be some of the most critical in the veterinary medical field.  Much like a human hospital, all patients are triaged and seen based on the severity of the case.  If you have an appointment at a set time and your pet is stable upon arrival, you may unfortunately have to wait to see the doctor if another case requires more immediate attention.  We will make every effort to see you as close to your appointment time as possible.

Once a Neurology Technician is available, your pet will be taken to the Neurology treatment area to obtain a set of vital signs, including weight, temperature, respiratory and heart rates and blood pressure.  This information is then given to the doctor to assess before he sees you and your pet.

The doctor will most often perform the examination in the room with you present, but for your own safety a technician or assistant will help restrain your pet for the exam.  On occasion, the exam will be performed in the treatment area so that the doctor can simply go over the findings with you at your appointment time.

If your pet’s condition does not require hospitalization, you will then receive a written discharge detailing any medications and further recommendations.  One of the Neurology Technicians will then meet you at the central front desk to review your discharge and treatment and to complete the check-out procedure.

If your pet is hospitalized for the day and diagnostic testing is done, you will then receive a call from the doctor once results of the testing are obtained.  While you may call at any time for an update on your pet’s condition, you may have to speak with a CSR or ICU Technician, as the Neurology staff could be in procedures or attending to patients.  If your pet stays in the hospital overnight, you can call for an update from an ICU technician on your pet’s condition between 7 pm and midnight.

The doctor examines every hospitalized patient each morning, and also looks at cases that have been transferred overnight from the Emergency veterinarians.  You will receive a call before 11 am with an update on your pet.  The doctor will then discuss testing and treatment recommendations with you.  We will make every attempt to update you on a daily basis if your current invoice exceeds your estimate.

Please keep in mind that every case is different.  Some days are busier than others and some days there are many more emergencies.  Our top priority is to make sure the most critical patients are cared for first.  Every pet is special to us, as each and every one is special to their family.  We strive to provide the highest quality of compassionate care for your loved one while keeping you informed and updated on a regular basis.  We are always here for you, to address your questions or concerns.  Your patience and understanding is much appreciated in helping all of our special patients.

Communications and Records

A medical record report will be forwarded to your primary doctor or any other medical facility that you request within 24 hours after new patient appointments, and after test results are received for recheck appointments.  We make every attempt to ensure that your primary doctor is kept informed of all aspects of your pet’s condition.  You may request a copy of your pet’s records through the front desk staff at any time.   Please do not hesitate to contact us if you any questions regarding your pet.   Please be aware that you may be contacted by a Neurology Technician who has communicated with the doctor to review your questions.