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  1. Hillsborough

UrgentVet to offer urgent care clinic for pets in Westchase

UrgentVet will open the first of three Tampa Bay locations on Aug. 22. [Photo courtesy of UrgentVet]
UrgentVet will open the first of three Tampa Bay locations on Aug. 22. [Photo courtesy of UrgentVet]
Published Aug. 14, 2019

WESTCHASE — Pet owners will now have another option for veterinary care.

When founder Jim Doobies, a veterinarian who worked at his own primary care hospital in Charlotte, NC, became ill shortly after the birth of his third child, he called his doctor's office, which recommended he go to an urgent care clinic because it was after hours.

Something clicked.

"We need to do this in the vet space," he said.

Next Thursday, UrgentVet will open its first location in Westchase at 12950 Race Track Road. There are currently two other UrgentVet locations in Belmont, NC and Fort Mill, SC.

Doobies heard complaints from many of his clients when they had to take their pets to a veterinary emergency room over the weekends.

He started the concept in North Carolina with the plan to provide a more cost-effective solution to consumers by saving on overhead costs.

The clinic will cost about 40 percent less than emergency services, Doobies said, and the total visit from start to finish should take less than an hour. The footprint of their clinics are smaller, he said, and guests can save their place online to avoid wait times. They won't have a traditional reception desk, but patients check in directly in the room where their pet is seen. They won't have specialists, but they'll have a veterinarian, animal nurses and assistants. They won't have an MRI or CT machine, but they will have a full in-house lab suite and digital x-ray machines.

Their referral rate so far has been less than 10 percent, Doobies said.

"Studies show that sixty percent of pet parents can't afford an emergency," Doobies said. "We are providing a service that's going to open the door to many more pets and many more clients getting access to after-hours care."

After launching the two locations in the Carolinas, Doobies said he hoped to spread the concept and partnered with the American Veterinary Group, which is headquartered in Tampa. He plans to open another location in Brandon in November and in New Port Richey in February.

The clinic accepts many pet insurance plans and will be open 365 days a year, from 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 8 p.m. on holidays.

Contact Divya Kumar at dkumar@tampabay.com or follow @divyadivyadivya.

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