Riverside Animal Clinic & Holistic Center Policies

We truly appreciate your trust by choosing Riverside.  To help guide you in your pet’s medical journey with us, we are sharing some of our guidelines with you. Please, at any point, if you have questions, reach out for more information. We’re always here to help. 

Financial Policy

Our veterinarians ask that you discuss your financial needs with them at your pet’s appointment. Everyone’s needs are different and there is no judgement about financial concerns from our team.  It’s important to understand your perspective as a pet owner so we can find ways to help you and your pet.

Payment is required at the time of service.  We accept the following payments:

  • Cash
  • All major Credit Cards
  • Care Credit

Riverside Animal Clinic & Holistic Center does not accept checks. 

We offer a cash discount of 3% on invoices over $50.

Payment Plans

We do not offer payment plans for medical care but encourage you to use Care Credit as a resource.  First Midwest Bank also has a personal loan program for pet care bills.  We apologize for any inconvenience but when we offered payment plans, the rate of repayment was less than 3%.  

Veteran and Senior Discount

For those who’ve served our country or our valued clients of 65+, the clinic offers a 5% discount.  Pair that with the cash discount and you’ll receive 8% off your total bill over $100 in the clinic only.  Not valid on pet store items.  Valid military ID is required and if you’re lucky enough to have tapped into the fountain of youth, please don’t be upset if we ask for proof of age as well.

Pet Insurance

Filing of your pet’s insurance claim is performed by the pet owner.  We will provide you with invoices and records for the filing.  With the signed consent form, we will release your records to the pet insurance company of your choice. If we can assist you in any way, please call or email the office.  Your pet insurance company reimburses you for payments made to the clinic.  


Our office issues refunds on a case review.  We do not refund services, medical supplies or drugs. You have the option of leaving a credit on your account or receiving a refund check from the clinic. 

Estimated Costs for Treatment

Our team provides estimated costs for our treatment plans in writing upon your request.  All surgical and hospitalization procedures require a signed, written estimate prior to surgery or hospitalization.  Hospitalized patients will require a 50% deposit upon admission to the hospital.  If you’d like a written estimate for any other treatment, please let us know prior to the initiation of the treatment plan.  We highly recommend a written treatment plan to help you understand your pet’s care and to bring clarity to your pet’s condition. 

Clinical Expectations

Our goal is 100% resolution to your pet’s case whenever possible.  Case resolution will come in many different forms because each animal’s needs and eventual outcome are dependent upon many things: genetics, prior care, exposure to vaccines, toxins or the unknown, prognosis.  Our team will work diligently on your pet’s case through the standard steps of conventional medicine while adding in holistic treatments. 

Follow Up Questions

Current diagnostics in veterinary medicine can be complex.  We understand the need for clarification.  Please contact us at any time for help in understanding your pet’s care.  Following up is important and we do want to know how your pet is feeling. Our team will follow up with you via phone or email to find out where your case stands.  Most follow up calls will take place in a matter of days and are limited to one or two calls or emails.  If you have more questions, it might be time to schedule another appointment. 



Pharmaceutical drugs require specific care and handling which is an added expense to the practice.  All payments for pharmacy are due at the time of service or before filling medications.   If you need a refill, your account will be billed and payment received before we fill the medication.  

Returning Medication

It is a violation of federal law to return prescription medications to our office.  We do not reimburse pet owners for prescription medications taken home or used and returned.  

Pharmacy Pill Cutting

It is a violation of federal law to cut your pet’s pills for you and we have discontinued this service.  We apologize for any issues this may cause.

Prescriptions for Online Pharmacies

While we encourage you to purchase locally in our own pharmacy at Riverside Animal Clinic & Holistic Center and we do price our products as competitively as possible, online and outside pharmacies can be attractive to clients.  Riverside offers an online pharmacy on our website www.riversideanimalclinic.net.   

If you choose an outside pharmacy, we will provide a written prescription for you to pick up.  Due to excessive calling, harsh sales tactics and medical mistakes made by offsite pharmacies, we are now simply providing the prescription to you.  Written prescriptions are available at our front desk. Please do not have your pharmacy of choice call the office or expect a fax from our team. We will not respond to those requests. 

Prescribing medications accurately takes a tremendous amount of time in the practice.  To streamline the process, it’s important that you ask for written prescriptions at your pet’s appointment annually if you’ll be using an online pharmacy. 

Laboratory Results

Please allow up to 48 hours for our doctors to communicate with you regarding standard laboratory testing.  We will send information about your pet’s case to your email address on file.  Written communication can be more thorough, allows you the opportunity to review the information when needed and also provides you with the chance to share this information with others in your household.  We offer communication Monday- Friday on lab results.  We do not provide Saturday emails on labs.

Be advised that some laboratory tests take much longer than 48 hours. 

Appointment Policy

Our goal is 100% resolution whenever possible in your pet’s care.  Here is a guideline to our appointments

  • For any new or escalating problem, you will need to make an appointment to see your pet’s provider.  
  • Remember our team must have a valid veterinarian-client -patient relationship to provide care to an animal.  
  • If you have questions about supplements or other holistic items, please ask those questions at an appointment.  Emailing the clinic with complicated supplements, diet protocols or other changes you’d like to add to your pet’s treatment plan means it’s likely time to see your veterinarian again.  
  • If your pet’s problem isn’t resolved and  you were recently in to see our veterinarians, we will offer a case review immediately to help you come to a resolution whenever possible. 
  • If your pet had surgery, the price of a recheck is included. Be sure to schedule a recheck within 10 days to allow us to examine your pet’s incision and optimize recovery. 

Waiting Room Policy

We do not allow retractable leashes in the waiting room.  While they do have their place, a retracted leash is a hazard to other humans and their pets in a waiting room situation.  Your dog or cat should remain on a leash or in a carrier in the waiting room.  Additionally, please consider the comfort level of those around you while waiting for service. 

Client Civility Expectations & Kindness

We believe everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and compassion.  Respect and dignity are a two way street.  Please consider your relationship with us a cooperative venture and approach it with the spirit of finding the best result for your pet.  

If you have a concern, please reach out to our team on the numbers and email addresses provided.  There may be times you don’t agree with your treatment plan, don’t like the wait, don’t like the staff or a doctor or have a complaint about a team member.  Our practice is extremely busy and we do our best to stay on top of our business but disagreements will happen.  We have a lot to consider when it comes to disagreements or concerns and we take them very seriously.  Some of the questions we ask ourselves when a situation arises are:

  • Have we had this concern before?
  • Do other clients express a concern with a similar issue?
  • Should we consider a policy or operational change to our business due to this complaint?
  • Is there further action we should take within our organization to help in the future?
  • How can we do better?

Here are our standard operating procedures when handling a disagreement that has escalated:  

  1. We will immediately call the McHenry Police Department for instances of the following:
  • Rough language
  • Aggressive behavior 
  • Belligerent behavior
  • Insults based on race, gender, intelligence, etc
  • Degrading or humiliating comments
  • Intrusive or threatening body language or gestures
  • Disrespectful communication
  • If an employee feels afraid

The safety and happiness of our team is top priority and we will immediately dismiss any person who violates this policy from the practice.  We will also seek a no trespassing order for any person who repeats undesirable communication with the office.

With veterinarian suicide rates the highest of any profession, we have to consider and protect the mental wellbeing of our team members while making all attempts to accommodate you.  Please don’t think for a moment that we don’t care.  We do and we are always here to help.

Valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship

A relationship must consistently occur between a veterinarian, the client and the patient.  To explain the need for a valid relationship and how it works, the following explanation comes from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

A Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship, or VCPR for short, exists when your veterinarian knows your pet well enough to be able to diagnose and treat any medical conditions your animal develops. Your part of the VCPR is allowing your veterinarian to take responsibility for making clinical judgments about your pet’s health, asking questions to make sure you understand, and following your veterinarian’s instructions. Your veterinarian’s part of the VCPR involves making those judgments; accepting the responsibility for providing your pet with medical care; keeping a written record of your pet’s medical care; advising you about the benefits and risks of different treatment options; providing oversight of treatment, compliance (your follow-through on their recommendations) and outcome; and helping you know how to get emergency care for your pet if the need should arise.

Q: How is a VCPR established and maintained?

A: A VCPR is established only when your veterinarian examines your animal in person, and is maintained by regular veterinary visits as needed to monitor your animal’s health. If a VCPR is established but your veterinarian does not regularly see your pet afterward, the VCPR is no longer valid and it would be illegal and unethical for your veterinarian to dispense or prescribe medications or recommend treatment without recently examining your pet.

A valid VCPR cannot be established online, via email, or over the phone. However, once a VCPR is established, it may be able to be maintained between medically necessary examinations via telephone or other types of consultations; but it’s up to your veterinarian’s discretion to determine if this is appropriate and in the best interests of your animals’ health.

Q: Why is a VCPR so important?

A: For one, it’s required by law in many states – in order for a veterinarian to diagnose or treat your animal, or prescribe or dispense medications, a VCPR must be in effect according to the state’s Veterinary Practice Act (if you have questions about your state’s Practice Act, contact your state veterinary medical board). Two, it’s the best thing for your animal’s health. Your veterinarian should be familiar with your animal’s medical history and keep a written record of your animal’s health so they can provide your animal with the best possible care. The AVMA’s Principles of Veterinary Medical Ethics also requires a VCPR for a veterinarian to prescribe medication or otherwise treat an animal.

Sincerely, Dr. Jim Carlson