Pet Emergencies After Hours – What Do You Do?


CULLMAN – Your dog just fell over and is having difficulty breathing or maybe your cat is lethargic and cannot get up on its own. It’s late at night and your veterinarian is closed until 8 a.m. the next day. You feel your pet won’t make it until that time. What do you do? Believe it or not, call Cullman Regional Hospital! The hospital and several veterinarians right here in Cullman participate in an “on call” program, which helps pet owners find vets in the area after normal hours or weekends in times of an emergency.

“Pet owners aren’t directed to the ER but rather to the CRMC main hospital telephone number 256-737-2000,” explained Lindsey Dossey of CRMC, “and our switchboard operator connects them with the veterinarian on call. We don’t keep specific statistics on the number of vet calls, but it probably runs about 150 per month.”

Animals are part of our families and we love them dearly. If there is an emergency, remain calm and make the phone call to the hospital, unless your veterinarian has other after hour instructions.

“What we tell people is to call us first, and if we’re not here, then call the main phone number to the hospital,” said the receptionist at Cullman Veterinary Hospital, P.C. “Let them know what’s going on and which vet you are with. Then the hospital will call the vet that is on call that night. The vet that’s on call will call them back and then meet them at the clinic.”

Currently there are five veterinarians in Cullman who are part of this on call group. They are Steven T. Murphree, D.V.M., Dana Kessler, D.V.M., Tara Bonds, D.V.M., John Crider, D.V.M. and Susie Dickerson D.V.M. Doctors Murphree, Kessler and Bonds are affiliated with Cullman Veterinary Hospital. Doctor Crider is affiliated with Tommy Little Animal Clinic and Doctor Dickerson is affiliated with Northside Veterinary Hospital. All of these veterinarians are well respected members of the community and are sure to take great care of your pet(s).

If your beloved pet is extremely sick or hurt, please don’t wait until the next day to call the vet. Animals, just like people, need to be taken care of as much as possible. If you are unable to contact your veterinarian, call CRMC at 256-737-2000 and find someone who can help. But most importantly, contact your vet before any emergencies arise and to understand the “after hours” process. A little bit of knowledge and planning ahead of time can prevent a host of problems in the long run.