What to expect when you visit Lort Smith

*Please note these processes have been adapted to ensure Lort Smith is COVID-19 compliant.

Coming into Lort Smith for an emergency or simply a visit, we’d like you and your pet to be as prepared and comfortable as possible. We’ve put together some tips below to help you arrive safe and sound with everything you need to know before you head in to see us.

North Melbourne is an emergency hospital

As we are seeing animals that are injured or in need of emergency care we do have to prioritise and triage so that we treat patients that require critical medical attention, and our most urgent cases will be seen first.

This means there may be delays to elective procedures on occasion. We appreciate your patience and understanding if you’re visit is impacted due to an unforeseen emergency case.

  • We suggest you arrive 15 minutes prior to your booked appointment
    The admission appointment can take about 15 minutes. This ensures our staff have your correct contact details, and allows time for the admitting nurse to answer any questions you may have.
  • Ensure you are contactable throughout the day
    Just in case we need to contact you during your pet’s procedure or to get extra information please make sure your contact details are current and include any emergency contacts. Also, keep your phone close by and on loud so we can reach you easily.
  • No personal items

Despite our best efforts, special items like toys and blankets can be misplaced in our busy hospital. We ask you to keep these precious items at home.

For routine consultations

  • When you arrive, check-in using QR codes displayed at hospital entrance and sanitise hands.
  • Present at the reception desk initially – but you may be asked to wait outside or in your car.
  • Wait for your name to be called over the loud speaker and follow directions, or a nurse will come to you.
  • Currently, clients are NOT allowed in the consulting rooms. Conversations with the vet will be held via phone.
  • Visit reception again to settle your account and book next appointment (if required).

Should your pet need to be admitted at time of consultation, a 24-hour estimate and a daily hospitalisation fee will be provided. Please note that this is an estimate only, not a quote. For many cases, the extent of the treatment may not be fully known until diagnostic tests are performed. There are ongoing costs which may vary depending on the results of diagnostic procedures and the nature of the condition being treated.

In an emergency

  • Emergency cases will be prioritised at North Melbourne, meaning that the most severe and life threatening cases will be treated first.
  • If possible, please call us on 03 9328 3021 to let us know you are coming to Emergency.
  • Emergency parking is available immediately outside reception.
  • Do not feed your pet until you have spoken to a vet. Some procedures must be performed on an empty stomach and feeding your pet may cause delays.
  • If your pet has eaten an object, plant, food or medication that has made them unwell, bring the item with you. This helps us identify the ingested item and provide the best treatment.

Non-emergencies and elective procedures

Elective procedures are classified as ‘non-emergency’ and need to be scheduled. They may include; long-standing lumps, dental procedures, corrective surgery, and some orthopaedic surgery including luxating patellas or cruciate ligament tear. A consultation is required before we can schedule your pet for surgery.


We use a text message service to update clients on the status of pets so our vets can focus their attention on their patients. We may need to call you if your pet’s treatment plan changes, so please keep your phone with you and on loud. You can expect an update on your pet once your vet has done morning rounds, usually after 12pm.

Our vets work as part of a team that create a treatment plan together so your pet achieves the best possible outcome. It is possible that you will speak with multiple vets while your pet is in hospital.

If you would like to speak to your vet, please call after 1pm. If your vet is unavailable, leave a contact number where you can be reached.

What you need to know about surgeries


An estimated cost for the surgical procedure will be discussed with you at the time of the consultation. While we make every effort to provide an accurate estimate, please keep in mind that no procedure is the same and many factors can result in a variation of costs. These factors may include the size of your pet, duration of surgery, unforeseen complications, medication requirements, and duration of post-operative stay.

Up-to-date vaccinations are essential if your pet is being admitted for any procedure. It protects both your pet and the other patients if your pet is at risk of an infectious disease. If you are unsure about the vaccination status of your pet please speak to our veterinary staff at your pre-surgery consultation.

It is essential that your pet fasts (does not eat) if it is undergoing any procedure that may require sedation or an anaesthetic. For elective procedures that are booked for a morning admission, fasting is required from midnight the night before. If you are admitting your pet the day before the elective procedure, fasting is not necessary as we will ensure they are fasted overnight. Water should be made available at all times.

Our vets perform elective procedures from Monday to Friday only. We have four operating theatres working each weekday to keep up with the demand for our surgical services.

If you have decided not to proceed with a booked elective procedure or need to reschedule, please call us as soon as possible on 03 9328 3021 so that we can offer your booking to another patient.


When your pet is ready to go home, you will receive a call from the veterinary team to arrange a discharge time.


  • Most surgical patients will go home with stitches, staples or sutures at their surgical site. These generally stay in for two weeks, and will be removed at your follow up visit.
  • Specific care instructions will be given, but in all cases, please monitor for any signs of infection. This includes discharge, bleeding, redness and swelling. If your pet is showing any of these signs, or you are concerned, please contact the hospital on 03 9328 3021.
  • Your pet should wear an Elizabethan collar (also known as a cone or a buster collar) to prevent them licking, biting or chewing at the surgery site.


  • If your pet has been prescribed medication, please read the instructions carefully and ensure you are dosing correctly. Even if your pet looks better, please complete the course of medication your vet has given.

Post-operative rest:

  • For most surgeries, a post-operative rest of two weeks is recommended for your pet while the surgical site heals. Excess activity and movement including jumping, running and even walking, can delay the healing process and cause pain, wound breakdown, or fluid build-up.
  • Orthopaedic surgeries often require more than two weeks of rest and confinement. You will be given specific information at your pre-surgery consultation.


  • We will need to see your pet two weeks after surgery to check on their progress and ensure there have been no complications. We will also check the surgery site and remove stitches or staples as necessary.
  • If any biopsies have been sent to the lab, we can discuss the results with you at that time.
  • Call the Animal Hospital on 03 9328 3021 if you have any concerns about the progress of your pet’s recovery.

Visiting your pet

During COVID-19 restrictions we are regretfully unable to offer hospital visitations.

How our fees work

We will always do our best to give you an accurate estimate of costs. In some cases, costs may vary if further investigation or treatment is required during your pet’s stay.

We will provide you with account updates while your pet is in hospital and we encourage you to ask for account updates regularly. We also ask that you keep us informed of any financial circumstances impacting on you.

In most cases a deposit of 50 per cent of the estimated costs will be required before we can proceed with any surgical procedure. If you anticipate that there may be difficulties meeting this requirement, please speak to our customer service staff as soon as possible.

Lort Smith