The Sun News

Emergency room for pets coming to Middle Georgia

When a human needs emergency medical care in the evenings or on the weekends, it is not a problem — there is an emergency room at every hospital.

But until now, when an animal needed emergency services, there was no immediate care facility for your dog or cat. This fall, that will change here in Middle Georgia.

In an effort to provide better care for the small animals of Middle Georgia, 29 local veterinarians have come together and combined resources to form the Middle Georgia Veterinary Emergency Center.

While 29 specific veterinarians were involved in the planning and funding of the clinic, the clinic will serve the owners of any small animals in the area.

The project is led by Fayetteville veterinarian Dr. Mike Younker, CEO of South Atlanta Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center. A board of directors will help oversee the business and will make sure the emergency center will serve all Middle Georgia veterinarians and their clients with the best emergency care for many years to come.

“It is a big deal for the community and very exciting for the pet owner in the area,” Younker said.

The Middle Georgia Veterinary Emergency Center will be a fully staffed stand-alone clinic with quality emergency-trained veterinarians, veterinary technicians and support staff. The center expects to hire at least two veterinarians that are trained in emergency and critical care.

For years and years, if your animal was hurt or seriously ill after regular business hours, you called your vet’s answering service, wait for a return call and then if necessary meet the doctor at his own office.

But in the 1970s, emergency clinics started to form, mainly in large cities where there are a lot of veterinarians. Now the idea has spread to Middle Georgia.

The Middle Georgia Veterinary Emergency Center will actually serve as an extension of the pet owner’s regular veterinarian and provide specialized emergency care for pets.

Pet owners can still call the clinic and speak to someone to determine whether the animal needs to be brought in, but just like an emergency room, you can just show up as well.

“We call it treat and street,” said Younker. “They don’t necessarily stay very long usually, but the pet owner gets peace of mind.”

Dr. Stuart Slappey of Westmoreland and Slappey Animal Hospital in Perry is one of the 29 veterinarians involved with starting the emergency center.

“It is going to be high quality medicine at an affordable price that will give after hours care to patients in a 100 to 200 mile radius,” said Slappey.

Slappey said that peace of mind for pet owners was a chief concern behind starting the emergency center.

“Most offices close around 5; you come home from work at 6 to find your dog vomiting or their leg cut, you can go straight to the emergency clinic, and they will take care of you,” said Slappey.

Last week, a ground breaking ceremony was held at the new site of the clinic — the corner of Russell Parkway and Oxton Court in Warner Robins. Construction will start soon, and the clinic is expected to up and running by the fall.

Alline Kent can be contacted at 478-396-2467 or