Pet Owners

At Charleston Veterinary Referral Center, we recognize that your pet is an important member of your family, and we pride ourselves on caring for them as we would one of our own family members. You have entrusted us with the care of a family member, and we take that responsibility very seriously. Bringing your pet to CVRC often means that your pet is sick or injured, and we strive to be compassionate and sensitive to the needs of you and your pet during these difficult times. Please let us know if there is any way that we can better serve you or meet your needs.

Strays & Wildlife

Pet Safety Library: 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect when I bring my pet for emergency care?

On arrival, a veterinary nurse will greet you and your pet.  They will get a brief history from you, obtain your pet’s vital signs and report this information to our emergency doctor.  While we make every effort to see patients in the order they arrive, patients are seen by our doctors based on severity of condition, not always on a first-come, first-served basis. 

What are your operating hours for emergency care?

Our hospital is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including all weekends and holidays for emergency care.  If you call after normal business hours, please follow the prompts to speak with an onsite staff member.

Can I preregister in case my pet ever needs emergency care?

We encourage you to fill out our New Patient Registration Form to preregister in our system. This can help expedite your visit to CVRC.

Is someone going to be caring for my pet 24 hours a day?

All patients have round-the-clock care.  We always have doctors and veterinary nurses on premises to monitor and care for your pet.  No pet is ever unattended.  

Do I need a referral from my primary veterinarian to be seen at CVRC?

While referrals are recommended to see on one of our specialists, they are not required. It is always better to speak to your veterinarian about a referral so we can collaborate to ensure the best care for your pet.

We do not require a referral for emergency care.

Will you keep my family veterinarian informed of the care my pet receives at CVRC?

Of course. We work closely with your primary veterinarian and make sure they receive copies of our medical records.  We also communicate by phone and they can access a portal into our medical record system.  

What is an emergency/specialty hospital and how is it different than my primary veterinarian?

A specialty hospital does not offer any routine or preventative care. Our veterinarians have advanced training in specific disciplines such as emergency and critical care medicine, surgery, oncology, internal medicine, critical care, physical rehabilitation and neurology among others. We also have equipment that most primary veterinarians don’t have such as CT scans, MRI, endoscopic equipment, and specialized surgical tools. We work closely with your primary veterinarian to offer these services to you.

Can I visit my pet while it is hospitalized?

We always allow owners to visit with their pets.  Please call and speak with your doctor or nurse so we can coordinate a time that is best for your pet and you.  We try to limit visits to twice a day for 15 minutes so as to not interfere with your pet’s treatment.  We usually discourage visiting on a day when your pet underwent general anesthesia because this can be disruptive to its recovery. 

If you feel there is an extenuating circumstance, please discuss this with your doctor.   

When can I call to check on my hospitalized pet?

It is best to call after 10 am for an update.  The doctors are in rounds from 8 to 9 am every morning.  After rounds, every patient is examined by their doctor.  If the situation warrants, we will call you before then.

Can I bring special items from home (blankets, tee shirts, toys) to keep with my pet during its hospital stay?

Yes, you are welcome to bring things from home to make your pet feel more comfortable.  Please note, however, we cannot guarantee the return of these items as they may get soiled, lost or damaged.

Should I bring my pet’s prescription medications and/or prescription food when my pet is admitted to the hospital?

Yes, please bring all prescription medications/foods you are currently giving your pet.  You and your doctor will determine if these should be continued during your pet’s stay. 

We have a full range of diets to feed our hospitalized patients.  However, if your pet is on a prescription or special diet we will gladly continue if you provide it for us.  

Can I bring my pet to CVRC for routine care (wellness, spay/neuter, declaw, flea/tick/heartworm medications) or vaccines?

We do not offer primary care. Please see your primary veterinarian for these services. We are exclusively an emergency and specialty care hospital. If you do not have a primary veterinarian in the area, please call us and we can suggest veterinarians that are nearby you.

My pet feels warm to the touch. Does that mean he/she has a fever?

Not necessarily. Dogs and cats have a higher body temperature than people so they often feel warm. You can purchase a rectal digital thermometer (doesn’t need to be animal specific) and obtain your pet's rectal temperature. This is the most accurate assessment. Normal temperature for dogs and cats is 99.5—102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

How can I request a copy of my pet's medical records and/or diagnostic images?

Please email us at [email protected] with your request. If the request is urgent, please contact us via phone. Records can be sent via email, fax, or regular mail, while images can often be sent via email, web link for download, or physically on a CD.

Can you tell me how much a certain procedure or workup will cost before seeing my pet?

We will try to give a rough cost estimate for the treatment plan for a specific patient or procedure prior to meeting you and your pet.  Please be aware that this will be a rough approximation of the cost and the actual cost can vary significantly once your pet is examined and assessed.  Please contact us at (843) 614-8387 to inquire, email us at [email protected] (for non-pressing questions), or use the contact us link.

Which animals do you treat?

We predominantly treat dogs and cats, occasionally others.  

What should I do if I found a stray dog or cat?

Please bring the animal directly to the animal shelter in the county it was found. 

Charleston County
Charleston Animal Society
(843) 747-4849 

Berkeley County
Doc Williams SPCA aka Berkeley County Shelter
(843) 761-0683 

Dorchester County
Francis Willis SPCA
(843) 871-3820

If these shelters are not open, you may bring the stray animal to CVRC and we will facilitate transfer once they open. We cannot accept any stray animals during times the shelters are open.

Do you treat wildlife at CVRC?

We do not treat wildlife at CVRC. If you find an injured wild animal, please contact one of the following rescue groups right away.Each has an emergency hotline. Leave a message and they will call you back.

Can you recommend any pet friendly hotels near CVRC?

Please follow this link for a list of pet friendly hotels.

Can you provide a list of hotels near CVRC if I need to stay overnight?

Please follow this link for a list of hotels near CVRC.

Do you offer any military or public servant discounts?

We offer discounts to all members of the US military (active or retired), police and firefighters.

Continuing Education Events

April 2024