Humans can choose between the hospital or an after-hours clinic when they need to see a doctor on weekends and evenings. Why shouldn’t pet owners have the same options for their pets?
That’s what practice manager Debbie Newhouse and veterinarian Doris Starks were thinking when they decided to open Urgent Pet Care in Papillion at the southwest corner of 72nd Street and Highway 370. The clinic will open for business May 6 to serve pets with maladies that can’t wait until their regular veterinarian’s office opens, at a cheaper cost than other emergency vet hospitals, Newhouse said.
The space, formerly a gym, will be located next to an Urgent Care clinic for people, but that was pure coincidence.
“We picked the space because of the visiblity and because there’s a lot of pet owners in this area,” Newhouse said.
Starks is the primary veterinarian, but Newhouse said she plans on adding another full-time vet in the future.
Most emergency vets are overnight facilities, but Urgent Pet Care’s hours will be 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays, noon to midnight on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays and holidays. Newhouse said the limited hours will allow Urgent Pet Care to serve pet owners at a cost comparable to daytime vets.
“We want it to be affordable for people so they don’t have to worry all night if they don’t want to go to an emergency clinic or they can’t afford to,” she said.
The only services the clinic won’t offer are regular checkups and vaccinations. Pets with other illnesses or injuries are welcome. It will accept walk-ins, but Newhouse asks that pet owners call to let the staff know before they are coming.
Newhouse said she hasn’t heard of any other similar operations in Nebraska or other states, but felt it was a need that wasn’t being served in Omaha.
“We think that people need that option.”