Providing Essential Care to Pets in Need
WOBURN, MA – August 21, 2022: The human healthcare system provides many options for people needing medical care, depending on the severity of their condition, and veterinary medicine is starting to offer similar services. Urgent care facilities are designed to treat pets with non-life-threatening health emergencies, caring for those who are in stable condition, but who shouldn’t wait to see their regular veterinarian. Ethos Veterinary Health feels strongly that urgent care clinics are much needed in the veterinary industry to alleviate the strain on primary care veterinarians and emergency clinics struggling with increased patient caseloads and staff shortages. In May, Ethos opened an extremely successful urgent care clinic in Rancho Peñasquitos, California, that is already looking for more veterinarians and veterinary technicians to meet its growing demand.
“Most clients are just very happy that we’re there. They are in that spot where they can’t get in to see their primary care veterinarian, but they don’t want to wait three to seven hours to be seen at an emergency clinic. We’re able to provide that bridge to support them and provide the care their pet needs when they need it,” said Lauren Boyd, RVT, Ethos’ center manager, Rancho Peñasquitos Urgent Care. “We offer quality, convenient care, and work to build strong partnerships with referring veterinarians in the area to ensure continuity of care for the patient,” she added.
Two more locations in California are slated to open this month—in Irvine and Oceanside, on August 21 and September 8, respectively. Ethos currently has a specialty hospital not far from Oceanside, and pet parents will benefit from these practices working in conjunction to care for their four-legged friends.
Southern California isn’t the only area that would benefit from having more veterinary urgent care facilities. Later this year Ethos will expand its urgent care facilities into the northeast, opening new clinics in Medford, MA, in the fall of 2022, and Nashua, NH, in early 2023. These areas were specifically chosen because they are within 30 miles of two of Ethos’ emergency and critical care facilities. Opening these urgent care clinics will help those overburdened emergency hospitals by providing care for non-emergent cases.
“The northeast has been seeing a huge increase in patients presenting at emergency hospitals. This started at the beginning of the pandemic. I was working in general practice at the time, and we would send pets that we couldn’t see to the emergency clinic, and the ER would send them back because they were overloaded, too. These new urgent care clinics will allow our emergency hospitals to focus on the patients with life-threatening conditions and allow those pets that are in a less emergent situation to receive care in a timely manner, in a less stressful environment,” said Lori Morris, PHR, SHRM-CP, Ethos Senior Director of National Urgent Care.
The northeast locations will open with two full-time veterinarians at each urgent care clinic and a minimum of three veterinary technicians and support staff. Receiving hours will be Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.
“These hours were chosen intentionally to overlap general practice and emergency hospital hours. This way, the urgent care clinics open just as general practices are beginning to divert end-of-day patients to emergency hospitals, and when people get home from work and realize their pet needs medical attention,” Morris said.
“We’ve needed something like this in veterinary medicine for a long time, to give clients another option when they can’t see their primary care veterinarian, but their pet doesn’t require emergent care. These urgent care facilities are filling a gap to improve the quality of care for pets in the area,” Boyd said.
Urgent care practices provide an alternative option right in the middle between primary care veterinarians and emergency hospitals. Ethos plans to open more urgent care clinics to alleviate some of the pressure on emergency veterinary teams while continuing to provide needed care to stable patients.