What to expect

Learn more about how to make an appointment, what our services cost, etc.

At our hospital, we pride ourselves on being leaders in the field of veterinary medicine. We offer top-of-the line veterinary care, while also being compassionate and supportive of our patients and clients. We would love to be a member of your animal’s care team, and we hope you find the below information helpful. You can also call us at (706) 542-3221 if you have additional questions.

Making an appointment

Our hospital operates similarly to a human specialty referral hospital, especially on the small animal side. What this means is that for some of our services, you must be referred to us from another veterinary practice before you can make an appointment. See below for more information.

Emergency services

No appointment or referral is required to utilize our 24/7 emergency services.

Small animal services (cats and dogs)

Many of our small animal services require a referral from your primary care veterinarian before you can make an appointment.

Please visit our services’ individual webpages to determine if a referral is required.

Large animal services (horses, cattle and other farm animals)

No referral is required to make an appointment with the large animal side of our hospital. Just call 706-542-3223.

Exotic animal and wildlife services

No referral is required to make an appointment with our zoological medicine services. Just call 706-542-3221.

Costs for veterinary care

While we are part of the college of veterinary medicine, our hospital is a self-sustaining unit that uses state-of-the-art technology, offers advanced treatment options, and has full-time clinicians and staff members. To offset these costs, our services are competitively priced with other specialty care private practices and are not discounted.

Estimate of cost

Either at the time of your referral or when you call in to make an appointment, we will give you a rough estimate of what it will cost to treat your pet.

At the actual time of your appointment, our veterinarians will work with you to develop a specific treatment plan for your animal and will give you an updated cost estimate at that time. If anything changes during the treatment that effects the estimate, you will be notified.

Paying for services

Please be aware that payment for all services is expected in full at the time of discharge. The University of Georgia does not offer payment plans. However, we do accept all major credit cards as well as Care Credit.

If your animal is hospitalized, please be prepared to pay half of the high end of the estimate for care as a deposit. You will be notified if any revisions in your pet’s treatment plan will change the original estimate.

Using insurance plans

If you have an insurance plan on your animal, please note that we cannot bill them directly. You will still be responsible for paying for your animal’s medical care and will then need to be reimbursed by your insurance company.

Client support funds

Thanks to many generous donors, the hospital does have a limited amount of support funds to help pay for an animal’s veterinary care.

To qualify, the animal must have an owner (it can’t be in foster care or with a rescue group), the owner must demonstrate financial need, the animal must have a good long-term prognosis, and there must be available funds at the time of treatment.

Please note that if the animal does qualify, the owner would still be responsible for the initial exam fee and a portion of the total bill. We currently do not have any funds that cover the whole cost of treatment.

For more information, please talk to your veterinarian at the time of your appointment.

About your visit

Our location

We are located at 2200 College Station Road across from the Kroger on the east side of Athens.

Our campus is fairly large, so please follow our directional signs once you turn in off of College Station Rd. to find your correct parking lot and entrance. You can also reference our parking map.

Your animal’s care team

Your animal will be cared for by a talented and diverse team that consists of veterinarians (i.e., an intern, resident, and/or a board-certified faculty member), senior veterinary students, highly trained veterinary nurses, and hospital staff members.

One of our veterinary students will typically serve as your main point of contact. However, please know that all care decisions are being made by a licensed and experienced veterinarian. We are passionate about what we do, and that shows in the excellent veterinary care that we provide.

The length of your appointment

We take a team approach to each case, which ensures that your pet receives the highest-quality care possible. However, it also means that your appointment may take longer than it would at a traditional veterinary clinic.

Additionally, it may be determined that more diagnostic information is necessary to determine the best course of action for your animal. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day to complete, so please plan accordingly.

Also, please don’t feel like you have to sit at the hospital and wait. Once we have all of the information we need, you are more than welcome to head back to work (if you live locally) or take the day and explore all Athens has to offer! All we ask is that you leave with us a good cell phone number that we can reach you at.

If you would prefer to stay at the hospital, we do have waiting areas with free wifi and a small eatery.

Visiting your animal in the hospital

We understand that it can be difficult to be away from your animal if he/she needs to be hospitalized for care, which is why we have visitation options for interested owners.  Specific visitation availability may vary depending on your animal’s illness and the constraints of the attending service.

Please view our visitation guidelines for more information.

Additional instructions for small animal appointments

Making sure your pet is secured before entering the hospital

All dogs should be on a leash and other pets should be in a secure enclosure when you come for your appointment. While your pet may be friendly, you cannot assume that our other patients are. Please be respectful of other animal owners and of their pets’ personal space during your visit.

If you know your dog tends to be aggressive towards others, please let us know when you arrive so that we can make any necessary accommodations.

Fasting your pet before your appointment

For most of our small animal services, we ask that you fast your pet the night before just in case we need to run any diagnostic tests. This means no food after 10:00 p.m. the night before their appointment, but water is fine. If your pet takes any medications in the morning, he or she may have a meatball-sized amount of food with the medication. If your pet is diabetic, please give a morning meal and insulin as usual.

If you are unsure if your pet needs to be fasted, please check with one of our client care team members by calling (706) 542-3221.

Bringing additional animals

We encourage all clients to only bring with them the animal that is being seen at the hospital. However, if you need to bring an additional pet with you for any reason, we request that you bring it inside with you, as temperatures in vehicles can rise quickly. Leaving animals unattended in vehicles, especially during the hotter months of the year, is not recommended.