Objective – To interrogate the association of variables: day of week, time of day, day of the year (major holidays, Friday the 13th, and the full moon), and month of year with the caseload of an urban academic emergency service.
Design – Retrospective study.
Setting – Urban small animal teaching hospital emergency clinic.
Animals – Cats and dogs that were presented to the emergency clinic.
Interventions – None.
Measurements and Main Results – The hospital computer database was searched for all visits to the Emergency Service of the Mathew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from January 1, 1987 through December 31, 2002. Variables included in the electronic data were date of admission, time of day of admission, species (dog or cat), hospital service the case was transferred to for ongoing care and whether the case was discharged directly from the emergency service. The association of caseload with day of week, time of day, day of the year (major holidays, Friday the 13th, and the full moon), and month of year was described and statistically evaluated. Saturdays and Sundays were the busiest days of the week and significantly increased caseload was noted for the majority of holidays (except Easter Day and Thanksgiving Day) with Memorial Day being the busiest. Midweek evenings as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons were the busiest periods of the day. There was no association with caseload and Halloween, the full moon, or Friday the 13th.
Conclusions – The busiest times were midweek evenings, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and most major holidays.