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Oklahoma State University

The Hospitalization Process

The Appointment Process

Please arrive for your appointment on time, or 10-15 minutes in advance to complete admission paperwork. Once you have been entered into our system, a fourth year veterinary student will meet you in the lobby and escort you to an examination area. At this time, the fourth year student will collect a history regarding your pet’s overall health/illness and perform a physical examination. The student will then leave the room and discuss his/her findings with one of the doctors overseeing the case. In some departments of the hospital, this may be an intern or a resident.  After the student and doctor discuss his/her history and physical examination findings, both will return to the examination room. At this time there may be follow-up questions and the veterinarian will perform a physical examination.  The veterinarian will discuss his/her findings and recommendations with you. An estimate for the requested testing will be presented and explained at this time (if applicable). The veterinarian will also try to provide you with a general time frame for the completion of diagnostics.


We will frequently ask that patients be fasted (have no food) prior to their appointment. This is for several reasons. Many blood samples require fasting to prevent interference of elevated post-meal fat levels. If sedation or anesthesia are required, fasting will reduce the risk factors involved with these procedures. 

Finally, some imaging diagnostics, such as ultrasound, can be impossible to perform if there is a large amount of food or gas in the stomach. In some instances we prefer the patient not be fasted because it could affect medications, such as diabetics. All patients should always have access to fresh water at all times. We will never ask you to remove your pets’ water. 

If you are unsure about if your pet should be fasted prior to their appointment, please ask our customer care representatives for further assistance.

The Diagnostic Process

Blood and urine samples can be collected relatively quickly in most cases. Some samples are analyzed in our hospital, but frequently we have to mail samples to outside specialty laboratories for very specific testing.

We are very fortunate to have a wide array of diagnostics available (endoscopy, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI and others) in our hospital.  We are also very fortunate to have specialists to help support these areas such as radiology and anesthesiology. This allows us to perform the highest quality testing in the safest manner possible. Since our primary goal is to provide these tests in the safest manner possible, it is frequently not possible to perform all testing in the same day and many advanced tests are scheduled for the following day.

Following testing, some patients are able to be sent home the same day. Other, more ill or critical patients, may require hospitalization.

Please be mindful that it does take time to perform many of these diagnostics. For this reason, even outpatient appointments can take several hours. Again, a time estimate will be provided to you at the time of the consultation.


The cost of care is dependent on what problems are present with your pet and what testing and treatments are needed. We will discuss the expected cost with you in detail at the time of the consultation.

The Hospitalization Process

Patients who are ill and require supportive care, such as IV fluids, will be placed in our critical care unit (CCU). Here, patients receive 24-hour care by a staff of fourth year veterinary students and veterinary technicians.  A veterinarian is always in the building in the event of an emergency. Should there be a concern with a patient, the veterinarian overseeing the patient’s case is contacted (day or night) and an adjustment in the plan made. Should an emergency arise, the veterinarian in the building will immediately begin stabilization procedures as the clinician overseeing the case is contacted. You, the care-giver/owner, will also be contacted as soon as possible.

General updates are provided at least twice daily. You will be contacted in the morning and again in the afternoon/evening by either the fourth year veterinary student and/or the veterinarian in charge of the case. You will be updated on your pet’s progress as well as the plan for the day. Should problems arise, you will be contacted as soon as possible and notified of the situation. 

We try to provide your primary care veterinarian with daily updates, as well. This is to keep him/her up to date on our findings and the progress of your pet. Again, they are an important component of the treatment team and we want to ensure that they are kept abreast of the situation.

The Discharge Process

The discharge process is similar to the appointment process. The fourth year veterinary student will present our findings and recommendations to you and go over any medications or instructions to you at this time. They will attempt to answer any questions that they can. After he/she has discussed everything with you, the veterinarian will then discuss the findings with you and ensure that you do not have any further questions that have not been answered. If tests are not completed at the time of discharge we will contact you with that information once it becomes available.

All patients presenting to the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital will be provided with written discharge information and case summaries. If this information is not available to you at the time of discharge, it will be emailed or mailed to you as soon as it is complete. This process is almost always completed within 24 hours or less.

The Follow-up Process

Depending on the nature of your pet’s illness, some follow-up at OSU may be recommended/required. Whenever possible, we try to coordinate follow-up with your primary care veterinarian. The frequency of follow-up will greatly depend on your pet’s underlying illness and response to treatment.