FAQsBear Creek Veterinary Hospital

There is no question too big or too small for our veterinary team. Below are some answers to our most common questions.

We proudly serve the pets Albemarle, NC and beyond.

At Bear Creek Veterinary Hospital, we get a ton of interesting questions from pet parents. Below are some common FAQs that might help answer any questions or concerns. Please feel free to call us at 980-323-9056 for any other concerns you might have about your pet.

What is so special about Bear Creek?
Honestly answered…we care. Our doctors and staff care about you and your pets. Our doctors work very hard to stay current and practice good medicine. We want to do it right. We want to find you the answers about what is going on with your fur baby. We want to answer your questions and provide the information you need to understand how to take care of them. We want to cure disease. We want to alleviate pain in a way that does not cause harm elsewhere. We do not just want to cover up the symptoms, we want to fix the problem. We want to take the time be thorough and do an actual physical exam ,not just give you medicine.

This does not mean that we can see everyone at one time. For this reason we schedule appointments and devote time to you. We want to know why you are coming in ahead of time so we have time to look over your records. We can research new therapies, new recommendations. We understand that your pet is your baby. We have babies too.

We are not perfect. We may not have an appointment when you want one. We may not be able to answer the phone on the first ring. We may not be the cheapest priced. We may not be able perform non-medical services (boarding or grooming). There are several things we are NOT, but what we ARE is hospital full of devoted, caring, compassionate doctors and staff that will always bring their A game. We will always keep fighting for your pet and admit when we have exhausted our resources and it is time to refer to a specialist or ICU.

Should I call ahead for prescription refills?

We know that things happen and the last pill sneaks up on you, but we ask that you try to give us a 24hr leeway for prescription requests and refills. That way our doctors have time to review medical notes and be sure that all medications and doses are accurate and appropriate. Our staff will text or call you when your medication is ready for pickup. This helps keep you from waiting in our lobby unnecessarily. If you need to wait outside due Covid-19 exposure risk, a member of our staff can bring it out to your car and your payment can be taken over the phone.

Am I allowed in the building with my pet during Covid restrictions?

Currently, yes. You can come into the building. We ask that all clients social distance and abide by the state’s policies for face coverings. We ask that if you are a high-risk individual, you let us know so that you can wait in your car until you can be escorted directly into an exam room to minimize your time around others (even if they are socially distanced). You can also request to stay in your car and have your pet seen “curbside,” meaning that a staff member will bring your pet inside to see the doctor for you, and you can remain outside for the entire visit. Communications and payments can be made over the phone.

We ask that you limit the number of people attending your appointment. Please do not have any unnecessary individuals participate in the meeting, as our exam rooms do not allow for the social distancing of more than about two people.

How much does it cost to…..

This is a ubiquitous question, but not one that we can effectively answer here. We have some services that are “all-encompassing” and have a set price for everything included, like routine spays and neuters. Still, many procedures require multifaceted estimates only after an animal has been adequately evaluated and a treatment plan can be made. Some prices change based on current supply and equipment costs, drug costs, etc. We ask that if you have a question regarding current prices, please get in touch with us directly via one of the communication lines available (phone, email, or My Pets Wellness App). An appointment will likely be required if an exam or a more thorough discussion regarding the pet is needed to determine the cost. We try to keep client prices below standard in routine spays and neuters, rabies vaccinations, and heartworm, flea, and tick prevention, specifically to keep those items as accessible to the community as possible. Please remember that we do not receive grants or donations to provide a valid “low-cost” spay or neuter service with free vaccinations.

Can I get answers to pet question via social media or email?

Sometimes you want a quick answer to a pet question. In today’s highly connected world, it’s common to ask questions and get immediate answers over all formats: Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc.

We don’t discuss detailed pet questions over social media for client confidentiality. We also don’t have the doctors themselves monitoring the social media accounts all the time. Are you kidding? All the kitten and puppy photos on Facebook? They’d never get any work done!

You can email us!

If you have a pet question but it’s not convenient for you to call, or maybe you think of it after hours, you can email your question to our staff. The receptionists will route the email to the appropriate doctor (during business hours), and they’ll get back to you via email or phone, depending on your preference.

If you’re going to email us a pet question, please remember to include some information, so we know whom to look up in our database. Try to be sure to let us know things like:

  • Your Name (as the client)
  • The Patient’s Name, Species, date of birth, breed, age, and weight – or as much of this as you know.
  • What problem is your pet experiencing, how long has it been going on, and anything you think might have caused it?
  • If it’s a general question – such as what type of food might be best for XYZ condition, this information is still valuable.
  • How to get back in touch with you – feel free to include call-back times if you aren’t available during the day.

Bad Example:

“My dog is sick. He’s throwing up all over the place and pooping on my sofa. I don’t know what to do. Can someone please call me?”

You laugh… but we get those emails. They DO happen!

If you want to make the most of your time and the doctors, try something like this:

“Hi, My name is Abby Jones. My three year old German shepherd, Dixie, is a patient there. She started throwing up what looked like grass and water around mid-afternoon, and it’s been going on for an hour now. She’s pooped indoors, which she never does, and it’s not normal. It’s runny and watery. She seems tired and won’t eat or drink anything. Can you email me or call me? My number is 704-867-5309. Thanks.”

That kind of email tells our doctors a lot more. They know who you are, who the pet is, and what breed and age they are, and they can start looking up your furry companion in our database and get some facts together even before they get you on the phone. It makes diagnosis quicker and saves you, us, and your pet a lot of time going over information.

Email us anytime, day or night, at vet@bearcreekvets.com with your pet questions.

Remember: Never email about a suspected emergency. Our emails aren’t monitored 24 hours a day, but our phones are! Always call if it’s something you’re concerned enough about that you feel sure you need an immediate answer.

What is AutoShip and how does it work?

Auto Ship is just what it sounds like! We can automatically ship you things, even prescription medications, and foods, on a pre-defined schedule. Anything you set up for Autoship ships UPS Ground and shipping is always free! (a definite +1!)

To be sure you’re never charged for something you might have decided you don’t need anymore, you will always get an email one week in advance to remind you of the upcoming auto shipment. This will give you time to modify your order, cancel it, or do nothing, and your package will arrive as scheduled.

How it works:

The difference between a one-time and auto-ship order is the option you press when you add it to your cart.

If you want to purchase the item once, press Add to Cart. If you’re going to have it auto-shipped on a schedule, click Autoship, and the website will walk you through setting up a shipping schedule before you check out.

Stay Current!

We try to keep the website updated with new policies, but just in case you want to see the latest, most significant details about autoship, click this link to read the latest direct from Vets First Choice:


How long does it take to receive deliveries?

Due to Covid-19, many shipping times have been delayed across the board. Some companies have suggested expecting an additional seven days added to the standard delivery times. This is unfortunately out of our control, and we cannot rush items regardless of need.

Shipping times are dependent on the item you order. Many items, such as temperature-sensitive ones, will ship UPS overnight. More important things, such as foods, typically ship UPS ground, so assume 5-9 business days, depending on UPS.

  • AutoShip items and Remind-Me Items: always ship standard UPS ground, so expect them to arrive 5-9 days from the purchase date.
  • Free Shipping items:  always ship Standard, so expect 5-9 days.
  • Other Items: You can qualify for free shipping, or if you want them quicker, you can request 3-day, 2-day, or even next-business-day shipping.

See the Shipping Cost article above in the FAQ for rates and times.

What is the Home Delivery Return Policy?

Our partners that ship our home delivery products are great! The return policy is pretty awesome, we think! Here’s how it works:


Most OTC items can be returned for credit (not refund) if they are not temperature sensitive and returned within 30 days of the original sale date (not the date they arrived at your home necessarily.)

All returns must be pre-approved by Vets First Choice (not the staff at Bear Creek).

To get approval for a return and return shipping information, please contact Vets First Choice at 888-806-3336 to facilitate the credit to your account.

Pet Nutrition and Foods:

Our pet food return policy is pretty awesome! If, for any reason, your pet doesn’t like the food, or it doesn’t sit well with them, or it arrived in poor condition, etc. Whatever the reason, Vets First Choice will gladly facilitate credit for your purchase. They will not ever ask you to return the unused food. Shipping food is too much of a financial burden on the customer. All we ask is, as long as there’s nothing physically wrong with the food itself, that you either donate it to an animal shelter or animal rescue or even donate it to the clinic. We have many animals in and out, and sometimes they’re picky. We’ll try not to let it go to waste!

To facilitate a credit on nutrition items, please get in touch with Vets First Choice at 888-806-3336. Their friendly staff will walk you through the process.

Prescription Items:

Prescription items are the one area we can’t take returns on. It’s a federal law, and NO ONE can accept returns on prescription medication, whether it’s for humans or animals. It’s just against the law everywhere, whether it’s unopened and still sealed in the package or not.

What does it cost to ship?

Shipping rates are determined by our partner and supplier, Vets First Choice, but we can give you the broad overview here.


All Hills, Royal Canin, and Purina foods found in our home delivery section have free shipping, no matter how much or how little you’re ordering as long as it’s on autoship. One time shipments have a $14.95 shipping rate.

Temperature Controlled Substances:

If you are ordering something that has to be kept cool or frozen, it will ship UPS overnight, which can take 1-2 business days, and shipping is always $19.95.

Get shipping rates straight from the source:

If you want to verify shipping costs at any time, here’s how:

  1. Visit the Shop Now link, or any link that takes you to our online shopping portal.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Shipping Policy” for up-to-date information.

Here is an example so you can find the link easier:

Mobile App: Sign up with our Mobile App

Sign up using Rapport- My Pet’s Wellness App

Note: There is only ONE important thing to remember when signing up. Regardless of what email you use on your phone, you need to sign up with the My Pet’s Wellness App by Rapport using the email we have on file for you at the clinic. If you use any other email address, we won’t be able to synchronize your patient data. The Rapport App is tied to OUR database, not your phone, so whatever email we have is the one you need to use when you sign up!


What are your office hours? When are you open?

Our hospital facility is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Daytime emergency fees apply to clients that want their animals seen without an appointment (We are not a walk-in clinic).

Remember, outside these times, we are not available for “after-hour” emergencies.

We are closed for the following holidays:

Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, December 26th in observation of Christmas Day, and January 2nd in observance of New Year’s Day.

Do you Board or Groom?

Unfortunately, not at this time. Our hospital does not have sufficient space to allow for excess kennels. We need all available space for sick or surgery patients as they are our priority. We can provide you with referral options for grooming and boarding kennels upon request.

What vaccinations are required for my animal?

All animals have different needs. However, ALL dogs and cats are required by NC Law to be vaccinated against rabies. NC law allows for a 3-year tag to be issued to dogs and cats if criteria are met; otherwise, the vaccine is only considered current for one year. Stanly County (and most all counties) require the rabies tag to be worn by dogs and cats at all times.

Other recommended vaccines are based on the species and risk level associated with your environment. Please email or call to ask our staff what your animal may need for your situation.

Can you euthanize my pet at home?

We do not offer this service at this time.

Please refer to:
Lap of Love
(919) 439-5922

Do you bill? Can I pay later?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Our practice policy is that payment is due when services are rendered. We do, however, accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and Care Credit along with cash or checks. 

Some long-standing hospitalizations will necessitate a deposit to be left at the beginning and then paid in full when the animal is picked up.

How do I make an appointment?

You can send us an email at vet@bearcreekvets.com, or you can call our office (704-986-000) and speak to one of our receptionist staff members. They are more than happy to answer your questions and find the earliest and most convenient time available to get you seen. We are experiencing a large call volume at this time and sometimes it can take longer than ideal to get a staff member on the phone, but we are working hard to get to every call.

What do I do when there is an emergency?

Since we do not offer after-hours emergency services, our after hours and holiday voicemail will direct you to call:

Carolina Veterinary Specialists hospital in Matthews, NC

CARE–Charlotte Animal Referral & Emergency

Cabarrus Emergency Veterinary Clinic