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Let’s Talk Worst Case

Every pet owner dreads the day when something tragic happens to their animal. Emergency medical situations happen, but are rarely something pet owners prepare for in advance. No one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, especially when that scenario involves our four-legged family member.

We have seen an extreme increase in emergency/non-routine medical cases in the past three years here at Journey Home. In 2023 our veterinarian, Dr. Weisbrod performed many remarkable non-routine surgeries. When we refer to a non-routine procedure, we’re referring to anything outside of a spay/neuter operation. A few phenomenal cases include three cats Leela, Tandy, and Lyssa.

Leela came to the shelter as a stray. She had an eye infection upon arrival. Her eye was very large and Dr. Weisbrod made the call to perform a Right Eye Enucleation. As you can imagine, this is an invasive surgery. Leela did fantastic and was adopted once she healed.

Tandy came to Journey Home as a surrender with her sister. When this happens, we don’t usually get much history on the animal. When staff pulled tiny Tandy, weighing less than two pounds, from her kennel they were devastated to see her hind leg covered in maggots. The hypothesis being that someone wrapped a rubber band or something similar around her leg, cutting off circulation. By the time Tandy came to us, her leg was so infected there was no possibility of saving her limb. Dr. Weisbrod performed an amputation, and Tandy came through surgery beautifully. She has been adopted and is thriving in her home.

Lyssa is Tandy’s sister. She came in with a massive hernia that had to be surgically repaired. The reason that Lyssa’s case is special is because she was so small upon arrival. Our staff had to care for her until she weighed enough to undergo surgery. Lyssa is also happy and healthy in her forever home.

These cases were extreme and they were shelter animals when their surgeries took place, but any animal, homeless or not, can find themselves in an emergency situation. The shelter is usually equipped to handle these medical cases for the animals in our care. Fortunately, because of our incredible donors, we have a wonderful vet staff and an inhouse surgery suite. Unfortunately, these types of situations often leave pet owners at a loss for what to do next. Something incredible that not many people think about is adding pet coverage to their insurance plan. This is a great way to prepare for unforeseen circumstances when it comes to your pets’ health.

Insurance Companies that Offer Pet Coverage:
● Gina Welker: American Family Insurance, (970-625-4742)
● Jesse Dalton: State Farm, (970-665-9770)
● Amy Baysinger: State Farm, (970-625-5678)

Our Director of Development, Kalli, had an unexpected scare when her dog Moose ate an entire plate of triple chocolate chunk cookies. She immediately called an emergency vet and they were able to quickly help her over the phone. There are a few veterinary clinics in our area that offer emergency services. A great place to start is by calling before you load up your animal. In Moose’s case, he didn’t have to take a trip to the vet. Kalli listed his symptoms over the phone and the vet instructed her on next steps.

Emergency vet clinics that you can call:
● Valley Emergency Pet Care in Basalt (970-927-5066)
● Grand Valley Veterinary Emergency Clinic (970-579-6718)
● Animal ER of the Western Slope (opening October 2023)
● Mountain View Veterinary Hospital (970-644-5552)

The biggest question we get at Journey Home when it comes to non-routine procedures is:
What do I do when there’s an emergency and I can’t afford it?

Ideally, you can call one of the emergency vet clinics listed above and they can take care of you, possibly even over the phone like with Moose. If you have pet insurance in place prior to an emergent situation, that will also take some of the burden. However, if you find yourself in a true emergency where you have to take your animal into an emergency vet clinic, CareCredit may be a good option for you.

CareCredit offers veterinary financing to help in these types of situations. CareCredit is a credit card and you can apply it to routine veterinary appointments, grooming services, emergency pet care, surgeries, and various treatments.

More information on the specific requirements to use CareCredit, the application for their card, and a quote on pet insurance from Pets Best, can be found on their website:


We pray that you never have to deal with any emergency situation. However, four in five pets will face an emergency in their lifetime. With these tips you can have peace of mind when it comes to the health of your animal and preparing for unplanned medical care.

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