Frequent Q & A's

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you need any additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Emergency Services

Q: Do I need an appointment?

A: No appointments are needed for the emergency department. You can come in at any time; we are here 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We do ask that you try to call ahead to alert us that you are coming. Your call can help us prepare for your arrival so we can provide immediate care for your pet should he or she need it. For specialty appointments, we ask that you call your nearest Lakeshore location. Specialty hours may vary per service needed.

Q: How much does a visit cost?

A: During every visit, a doctor will discuss the recommended treatment options, present you with an estimate of fees for these services, and will answer all of your questions. To ensure our ability to provide the highest quality of care to each patient we treat, specialty appointments may acquire a pre-payment. For all visits, a deposit in the amount of the mid-point of the estimate is required at the time of admission. If any additional diagnostic tests or treatments are required beyond the scope of the original estimate, these recommendations and estimates will be discussed with you. Additional deposits or payments may be required. Any remaining balance is due at the time of your pet’s discharge. We understand that the costs of emergency and specialized veterinary care may be unexpected. Our goal is to help you make the best choices for your pet by offering several convenient payment options.

  • Cash
  • Credit Card – Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express
  • Personal Check* - All checks are processed electronically through an automated verification system *Certain restrictions apply, ask our Client Service team for details
  • Financing – available with approved credit through Care Credit

Q: Can you explain my pet's medical problems over the phone?

A: Without physically examining your pet, it is very difficult to tell what is happening. Seemingly unimportant things that you may not even notice at home are important to the doctor when trying to determine why your pet is ill. Sometimes even mild symptoms can be caused by major problems. We do not want to make the mistake of telling someone over the phone that his or her pet will be fine, without actually examining the pet. We recommend that an emergency veterinarian examine your pet in order to determine if the pet needs emergency care or if the pet can wait for a follow up with your primary care veterinarian. (Also, Wisconsin state law prevents a veterinarian who has not examined an animal from making medical recommendations or providing treatment for a patient.)

Q: What about my regular veterinarian? How do you work with him/her?

A: We communicate with your regular veterinarian on a frequent basis. We generate a complete written medical record for every patient we examine. This record, including all blood work and lab results, is faxed to your veterinarian. All radiographs taken at Lakeshore can be copied to a CD and provided to our clients for follow up with their primary care veterinarian. When your pet is hospitalized, the emergency department provides twice-daily updates for your veterinarian. If your pet requires ongoing care, our veterinarians will do everything we can to help your regular veterinarian continue care for your pet.

Q: Why can't you contact my regular veterinarian or access my pet's records?

A: Our hospital is completely separate from your veterinarian. We do not have access to their record system or the doctors after hours. We can communicate with them before your pet arrives here if they call to refer you or we can speak with them during their regular business hours.

Q: My regular veterinarian used to see me for emergencies; why doesn't he or she anymore?

A: Veterinarians who are not seeing after-hours emergencies are actually trying to provide your pet with the best care possible. We provide 24-hour supervised care—a veterinarian is in the hospital 24/7 and your pet will never be alone. We have a fully staffed and fully equipped hospital available to take care of your pet under any circumstance, even in the middle of the night. We are here to meet you and to provide emergency care for your pet if ever necessary.

Q: What constitutes an emergency?

A: If your pet exhibits any of the following symptoms, it's recommended you contact an Emergency/Critical doctor for immediate care:

  • Bleeding
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Birthing difficulty
  • Trauma (injury) of any kind, such as cuts, bit by an animal, hit by a car
  • Inability to move/walk
  • Ocular (eye) emergencies
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Lameness/Limping
  • Toxin or Poison ingestion
  • Complications of chronic illness
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty or inability to urinate
  • Diabetic crisis
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Pain
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Swollen or painful abdomen
  • Bruising
  • Wounds
  • Infection
  • If you are unsure if this is an emergency, please call.

Specialty Services

Q: What is a specialist?

A: A specialist is a veterinarian that has undergone an additional 3 to 4 years of training in their particular specialty, such as surgery or internal medicine. The specialist completes a 1-year internship in their chosen specialty and then 2–3 years of residency. Once complete, the specialist must publish a paper and sit for a series of exams. They receive the title of Diplomate and are a board certified specialist once they pass their exams and complete all the other requirements.

Q: Why would my pet need to see a specialist?

A: Your family veterinarian should always be the first person you turn to when your pet is ill or injured, the exception being if it is an emergency and your veterinarian’s office is closed. Your veterinarian will perform all the appropriate tests and if they believe your pet is in need of additional, specialized care, they will refer you to a specialty practice like Lakeshore Veterinary Specialists. Because a specialist has undergone the additional years of training and other requirements, they are experts in their field and will have more insight into your pet’s specific illness or injury. They will work with you and your family veterinarian to develop a treatment plan that is best for your pet.

Q: What should I look for when considering pet insurance?

A: We recommend you consider the following:

  • What is the maximum amount covered per condition under the policy?
  • Does the policy offer lifelong coverage with no time limit on claiming?
  • Are there any exclusions or situations where your insurance company will not pay?
  • What is the excess on the policy?

Q: How much are consultations, drugs, and procedures?

A: Our fees reflect the services, facilities, equipment, and expertise we can offer. We try to keep costs down as much as possible and to help us do this, we ask you to pay at the time of treatment. We are always happy to give an estimate of costs in advance. However, it is not always possible for us to anticipate how a case may progress. We will keep you informed if treatment costs are likely to exceed the estimate given.

Q: What is CareCredit?

A: CareCredit keeps your pet healthy with a card designed specifically for your and your pet's health needs. Whether it's an everyday checkup or an emergency surgery, CareCredit offers you convenient monthly payments options, no up-front costs, no prepayment penalties, and no annual fees. CareCredit works just like a credit card but is exclusive for healthcare services. For more information, please visit