When you call or visit your veterinarian, you can expect to be asked for information about your animal and details of its medical history, especially if this is your first contact with that particular vet.
You can expect to receive a fairly accurate estimate of costs for routine procedures such as vaccinations and desexing. If the situation is more complex, it may be harder to estimate what the ultimate cost will be. Your vet will give you an idea, though, and keep you informed as the diagnosis and treatment proceed.
Unlike your local doctor, veterinary hospitals have a wide range of equipment on-site, and can often offer all the necessary diagnostic tests and treatments in one place. If there's a serious problem, your vet might recommend a visit to a veterinary specialist who has particular expertise.
You can also receive prescription medication for your animal from your vet, along with helpful advice about how best to take care of your animal - feeding, socialising, exercise and training.
It's important that pets have regular health checks at the vet. Dogs and cats age much more quickly than humans, and it's important to catch problems early if you want to ensure a long and happy life for your companion animal.
If there's an emergency, most veterinarians have arrangements to take care of your animal after hours. As with any after hours service, this may cost more than you would pay during normal hospital opening hours, just as it does to call a locksmith or plumber in an after hours emergency.
Many pet owners take out health insurance for their pets so that they can afford to have their animal treated in an emergency or for a major illness.