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pet emergency
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pet emergency

Overnight Care

At Veterinary Specialists of the Rockies, providing compassionate care can sometimes extend into the evening hours. Your pet’s health and comfort following surgery can sometimes feel overwhelming, and we remain with pet patients who need post-operative care during evening hours following a procedure at our hospital. We also offer care after regular business hours for stable pet patients from other veterinary clinics who don’t have the 24-hour staffed services that we do.

Overnight Care to Assist with Stable, Post-Operative Patients from Our Referring Veterinary Partners

We welcome stable pets that are able to move on their own following operations. We will work with your primary care vet to be sure that your pet comes to us without surgical or anesthetic complications from their surgical or other veterinary care procedure. One of our goals is to provide pain management, which may require administering additional medication during overnight hours as we monitor and keep your pet comfortable with supportive care. We will then discharge your pet from our care the next morning to you or your family vet, as arranged.

Your vet should provide your pet’s medications and other supplies (like IV fluids) that we need to administer or monitor for your pet overnight. Upon arrival, our care team will examine your pet. During your pet’s stay, we will follow your veterinarian’s care plan unless there is a major change in your pet’s health or condition that we need to respond to immediately overnight.

To be eligible for overnight care at our 24/7/365 Castle Rock vet hospital, please refer to these recommendations and requirements:

  1. Your pet must have undergone a straightforward procedure, for example:
    • Orthopedic surgery
    • Stable enterotomy
    • Stable gastrotomy
    • Stable elective procedure
  2. Your pet’s anesthesia and recovery must have been completed and uneventful:
    • Normal blood pressure after procedure/during recovery
    • Pet’s temperature is at least 98 degrees F before transfer into our care
    • Pet patient is alert and breathing on their own
  3. Your pet should be able to move and walk on their own. If they are unable to move or walk on their own, your primary care vet may contact us to ask about overnight care, as exceptions may be made.
  4. Your veterinarian should provide our emergency veterinarians (who will be caring for your pet) with your pet’s overnight care plan, medical history, and any other specific needs, as well as with information on any previous or current medical conditions.
  5. Your pet’s medical records should be emailed to us at or sent with the person who is dropping off your pet. Records should include anesthesia information and notes on times when medications were given or must continue to be given.
  6. If your pet is to be on IV fluids overnight, they should arrive with a usable pIVC (peripheral intravenous or “IV” catheter). If the IV catheter needs to be replaced following transfer of your pet into our care, our staff can also take care of this.
  7. Your pet should arrive with any oral medications and discharges, as we can give them oral medications overnight if indicated.
  8. Your pet will be discharged the next morning by 10 AM into your care or the care of your primary veterinarian, unless your pet is not ready to go home or requires supportive care from our emergency or specialty staff members. At that time, we will provide a new estimate to you and make arrangements for your pet’s continued care with us or for transfer back to your veterinarian.

Fees for overnight care are assessed from 5 PM to 10 AM and include:

  • Our emergency veterinarian’s physical exam(s) and care during overnight hours
  • Dedicated space in our hospital’s patient area specifically for dogs or cats
  • Any other veterinary care from our veterinary technicians
  • Fluid therapy, vital signs and blood pressure monitoring. If additional equipment is needed, there will be an additional fee.
  • Additional procedures, tests, medications, or supplies that are requested or needed. If this happens, we will contact you for approval and then share the records with your family vet.

Pets who arrive at our Castle Rock vet hospital for after-hours post-operative care and are not stable may be admitted under the care of our emergency veterinarians or veterinary specialists, who may revise your patient’s treatment plan based on new or emergency situations, and this may update their discharge instructions.

Primary Referring Veterinarian and Pet Owner Procedures

  • Your referring veterinarian should email your pet’s medical records to us at Any hard copy x-rays/radiographs should be sent with the pet patient when they arrive at our 24/7/365 vet hospital.
  • Your vet should also please email a complete treatment plan to be used for the specifics of your pet’s overnight care or at a minimum, include a note with treatment recommendations with your pet’s medical record, or have a phone call to discuss plans with our on-duty vet.
  • Your vet is also encouraged to call and speak to our on-duty emergency veterinarians about your pet. If our emergency vet is not available at that moment, then your vet is invited to speak with one of our experienced vet technicians.
  • You and your pet, or your veterinarian and your pet, should arrive with all of your pet’s medications, supplies, x-rays, etc. at or after 5 PM, or after your primary veterinarian’s closing time.
  • If your pet’s care plan includes that your pet is to be released to you to take them home in the morning, then your referring veterinarian’s discharge instructions should include this and have already been explained to you as the pet owner. A copy of your pet’s discharge instructions should be included in the information emailed to us with your pet’s other medical records.

Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic Veterinary Specialists of the Rockies has specific rules about visits from the pet’s family. We are here to provide the safest, most compassionate care, and we will work with you by phone to provide requested updates beyond any visits you pre-arrange, and we agree to, for your pet.