Critical Care

The PVSEC Emergency department offers emergency medical care 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, including all holidays, providing your pets with quality emergency care around the clock. The emergency department is staffed around the clock by at least two experienced veterinarians, and offers the added experience of a board-certified or residency-trained criticalist, who oversees the hospital ICU seven days a week.

Because of the urgent nature of emergency care, the PVSEC Emergency department welcomes walk-ins. Our team of experienced emergency veterinarians and technicians provide your pet with high quality emergency medical care, including hospitalization if necessary.

As in human emergency rooms, PVSEC Emergency triages the most acute, life-threatening cases first. During extremely busy periods, more stable patients may need to wait while these critical cases are stabilized. A veterinary technician will take a brief history and the patient's vital signs prior to the emergency doctor examining the patient. Should your pet require an additional evaluation, PVSEC offers access to specialists in the fields of cardiology, dermatology, dentistry, internal medicine, neurology, medical oncology, ophthalmology, radiation therapy, and surgery.


The PVSEC Emergency department welcomes both walk-ins and referral cases. Appointments are not required, although referrals and pertinent medical records assist the emergency doctors and staff in assessing your pet's condition. To refer a patient to the criticalist, your pet's primary care veterinarian should call PVSEC to speak with a criticalist directly to discuss your pet's case, and fax a completed referral form (PDF) to our office. Information from the referring veterinarian regarding your pet's medical history, previous treatments, lab work and x-rays may also be beneficial in the diagnosis and management of your pet's condition.

Many pets may require hospitalization. In the event of a hospital stay, please be assured that every effort will be made to make your pet comfortable. PVSEC offers fleece pads, blankets and pillows to provide a comfortable surface for your pet. Cats are provided with litter boxes and dogs are walked outside if appropriate.

HOURS: Emergency walk-ins are seen 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, including holidays. Critical Care cases are seen by referral only when criticalists Drs. Guenther, Rutter, Deitschel, Dickinson or Osterbur are in the office. Please call the office at (412) 366-3400 for availability.

Fee InformationShow

Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center is a unique veterinary hospital. There are fewer than 30 hospitals like us in the country. Because we are open 24 hours a day and provide specialized services in addition to emergency services, our fees for the care given and procedures performed may be higher than a normal veterinary visit.

We understand.

And that's why we make sure you are given an estimate during your initial visit. When you are dealing with a sick pet, the last thing you need is a surprise on your vet bill.

A deposit equal to the low end of the estimate is required for pets needing hospitalization. As we gather diagnostic information and assess response to treatment, we may find that your pet requires additional hospitalization and care. Our policy is to call the owners of all hospitalized patients once a day to inform them of the current charges. Estimates are updated when the charges start to exceed the high end of the initial estimate. We encourage you to ask questions so that you feel comfortable.

Pet owners may ask us for estimates to treat and diagnose their pet over the phone. Please understand that we are unable to give you an accurate estimate without first examining your pet at our facility. We feel that one of the most valuable services we can offer to you is the initial consultation with one of our veterinarians. The doctor will review the history with you, look over any prior medical records including laboratory work and radiographs, perform a complete physical examination and sometimes even consult with other specialists in the hospital. During the consultation we also want to determine your wishes and goals. We believe that this process is the best way to give you the most accurate information about your pets medical condition, the prognosis, options for care, and the costs associated with treatment.

Complete payment is due when your pet is discharged. We accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express and personal checks.  
If none of those methods are preferable, we offer third party financing through Care Credit.  With Care Credit PVSEC offers 6 months deferred interest on charges over $200 or 24 months fixed rate interest on charges over $1000.
If you are interested in this option please visit the Care Credit Website to fill out an application. Type in our hospital name (Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center) and our phone number (412-366-3400) when it asks for your doctor's information. We accept two different plans from Care Credit so that you can make the best decision for your current financial position.