Pet owners: heads up!
Many of us came to Switzerland with our pets and for those of you who came from the U.S. or other countries where there are good after-hour, emergency-care services for pets, you may be in for a big surprise with the quality of animal emergency services in the La Cote area.
A couple of weeks ago, we had to use the after-hours pet emergency services for our dog for the first time. The way it works here, we found out, is that you call your regular vetís number and you hear an emergency number to call for the urgent-care vet on duty. This vet may be in a town close by or one quite a distance away. Fortunately, for us the situation wasnít too serious, but it turns out the vast majority of vet offices donít have the equipment to handle serious cases. Also, after calling the vet on duty itís considered normal if you have to wait for him (or her) to open the office and let you in. There is nothing like a 24-hour animal hospital or emergency clinic in the La Cote area. If your animalís case is serious, the closest animal hospital is in Bern, which is two hours away and could mean your beloved pet dying!
Some good friends of ours told me that they actually had a terrible experience with one vet on-call in Bussigny (I think he is the only vet in that town). Their cat was in a serious condition and when they got to the vet office, which was a 10 minute ride from them, they still had to wait another 10 minutes for the vet to arrive and open the door! When the vet did arrive apparently he was on the phone in a relaxed conversation while friends pleaded to him to look at their cat. It turned out that their cat had passed away (though later their regular vet said there was probably little that could have been done for him). But when in shock they asked the on-call vet how that could have happened, he yelled at them to calm down! Apparently, he showed no sympathy for their loss and no professionalism at all.
So before your pet has an emergency, find out what kind or services would be available and who would be providing the treatment. Letís hope you donít have to go to Bern.