GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Right now, there is only one emergency vet clinic in the Valley that’s open past midnight. But starting Nov. 21, they’re changing their hours and will no longer be open overnight. At a time when vet offices are already slammed, this could make it tough for both pet owners and those providing care.
MedVet Mahoning Valley in Girard currently operates from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday and 24 hours on weekends. On Nov. 21, those hours will change to noon until 10 p.m., seven days a week. Meaning that overnight, any animals needing care will have to be taken to Cleveland, Akron or Pittsburgh.
“There will be nobody that can see emergencies within 50 miles,” said Dr. John Daugherty of the Poland Veterinary Center.
Not having 24/7 emergency care available can become a problem, especially for the Mahoning County Dog Warden when pets or animals like Princess come in and need emergency care overnight hours where the minutes really count.
“It’s gonna affect us in the situation where, especially after 10 p.m. or even prior to that, if we have something emergent, we may have to make tougher decisions because we may not have somewhere to go,” said Diane Fry, the Mahoning Valley dog warden.
The change, according to a notice sent to the dog warden, is partially because the need during the day is so great.
“They’re beginning to make a transition from an emergency clinic where they’re open all night to an urgent care — somewhat like we have in human medicine,” Fry said.
And like everyone else, staffing is tough these days.
“Those are very difficult hours to man, so I’m sure a lot of that goes into it. In these kinds of jobs, you have to want to do these jobs, they’re not easy,” Fry said.
The dog warden’s office isn’t the only place being affected by this change, traditional vet offices will be too.
“The downside will be there will be no overnight care so we can’t transfer a patient up that’s critical and needs to be monitored overnight,” Daugherty said.
However, for the vet offices, there may be an upside.
“Positives will be those people that call that same day that we just can’t work in another patient, they’ll be there from 12-10 so they’ll be able to take some of that overflow,” Daugherty said.
Daugherty added that the important thing for pet owners to do is be understanding that vets are doing the best they can.
We reached out to the MedVet clinic but they weren’t available to talk today. We plan on talking with them about what led to the decision later this week.