We have all been there – our beloved pets are in need of late night, weekend or holiday veterinary care and the veterinarian clinic is not open. This is especially true in Northern Arizona, where it is common for pets to have an inconvenient run in with porcupines, skunks, javelina, coyotes, snakes, poisonous insects or sustain an injury from being outdoors. That is why a group of veterinarians joined forces to open the area’s only emergency pet hospital – The Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center of Northern Arizona.
The emergency clinic is open when other animal hospitals are not – nights, weekends and holidays. Established by veterinarian Scott Reed, D.V.M., the emergency center is a cooperative venture with area veterinarians. With buy-in from local vets, the center is able to provide after-hours emergency care for pets and give a break to the doctors who run weekday practices.
“There is a great need for emergency pet care,” Reed explained. “Yet, manpower and financial resources are limited, especially in smaller, rural communities, like those in Northern Arizona. The doctors and nurses are committed to their patients and their owners, but don’t always have the means to be available 24/7. Through the emergency clinic, both pet owners and veterinarians know care is always available.”
Before the emergency practice opened in Flagstaff, pets with medical or surgical emergencies that occurred after business hours had to rely on the availability of an on-call veterinarian or wait until the next morning or work day. Such delays meant many pets succumbed to their injuries or illnesses before they were able to get care.
The 3,000-square-foot hospital is fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including an X-ray machine, ultrasound equipment and lab.
Emergency surgeries can be performed onsite. The emergency hospital does not perform routine procedures that a family veterinarian practice would provide such as spay or neuter surgeries or vaccinations.
“People want immediate and quality care for their pets,” Reed said. “Within an hour, we will have completed the examination, have results from lab work and X-rays, have a diagnosis, consulted with the family and begun treatment.
If emergency surgery is needed, we get them straight in. There’s always a doctor or nurse monitoring our patients and family members can visit and stay as long as they’d like.”
Saying he does not want the cost of medical care to be a barrier to treatment, The Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center of Northern Arizona strives to keep emergency medical care accessible and affordable. “The examination and consultation is $89. The visit fee is the same no matter what time patientsneed our services.”
Beth Ann and Len Cooley brought their keeshond, Marnie, to the hospital on a Friday evening. “This is the first time we used this clinic and we are very impressed with the facility, the staff and the low cost,” said Len.
“Marnie has diabetes and took a sudden turn for the worse and she seemed to be in a lot of pain. Our vet at the Westside Veterinary Clinic recommended we bring her to the emergency clinic, and we are glad we did. It is comforting to know that someone will be with her all night watching her and she won’t be alone and in pain.”
In fact, Beth Ann says they may be back with their cat, Peaches. “She started vomiting and it looks like she may have a spider bite.
One pet at a time, but it is good to know that we can have both our pets cared for and not have to wait until Monday. Sometimes waiting until Monday is too long and the animals don’t make it. Now, we don’t have to worry about that. We are very grateful for this clinic.”
Reed and the specialty trained staff care for more than dogs and cats; they can also treat birds, exotics and small creatures such as hamsters and ferrets, which was a relief for Matt Bloomfield to find out.
Bloomfield brought his five-year-old ferret, Jello, to the clinic on a weekend evening. “He just stopped eating and he seemed lethargic, I didn’t want to wait until Monday. If he is sick, he may not make it until Monday. Dr. Reed and the nurses are very thorough. They are doing some blood tests and treating Jello for dehydration and then we will see what we need to do next.”
Bloomfield says the clinic was easy to find and very convenient. He plans on recommending it to all his friends. The clinic opened in May and is already meeting the projected number of patients in just a few short months. “We expected to see about 25 animals each weekend and we are already averaging closer to 30 animals each weekend, not to mention a high number on holidays,” Reed said.
“The plan is to be open on weeknights as well, probably starting in spring 2016.
“The Northern Arizona facility is the 12th practice started by the Denver-based physician through his Veterinary Emergency Consulting Services business.
Raised on a Oklahoma farm, Reed has always had an interest in the health of animals. With an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and his veterinary degree from Colorado State University, Reed has been practicing since 1995. He has started pet emergency hospitals in Colorado, Missouri, California and Arizona, including a clinic that opened in 2013 in the Prescott area. FBN