| Danielle Eaton
GREATER SPRINGFIELD – Nearly one year after stopping 24-hour emergency services, the VCA Animal Hospital on Boston Road in Springfield will close its doors for good.
According to an announcement on the Dakin Humane Society’s website, the VCA announced in the fall of 2019 that they would no longer be offering 24/7 emergency care for pets. The hospital stopped offering emergency services on November 25.
Senior local marketing manager for VCA Animal Hospitals, Meighan McNally, said a significant reason for the location’s closing is also why they stopped offering emergency services; there was a lot of competition in the Springfield area.
“The industry is super competitive. We’re surrounded by six other primary care [practices], so it didn’t make sense,” she said. “We decided to merge in with our sister hospitals to be less competitive for the Western Mass. market.”
As of July 13, the Boston Road location will close their doors for good. McNally said after that all pets’ medical records will be sent to the VCA Animal Hospital in Palmer on 1028 Thorndike St. However, if clients wish to have their pets’ medical records sent to one of the other five VCA Animal Hospitals in Western Mass. or another vet, they can call the Boston Road location before July 10 at 783-1203.
The five other VCA locations within the Western Massachusetts area are located in Palmer, East Longmeadow, South Hadley, Westfield and Southwick. McNally said each of the other locations offers the same services, however none of them offer 24-hour emergency veterinarian care. “All of the VCAs offer the same services, offer primary care, none of the sister hospitals have 24-hour emergency services,” she said.
Should pet owners find themselves needing 24-hour emergency vet services, the closest practices are the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital in South Deerfield, Tufts New England Veterinary Medical Center in North Grafton and New England Veterinary Center & Cancer Care in Windsor, CT.
McNally said the staff were informed of the closing and the hospital has been in contact with them to see if they have a preference as to which of the other five VCA locations they’d like to transfer to. “We have opportunities to continue at [our] sister hospitals, but ultimately that is up to them,” she said.
She added that the clients at the Boston Road location handled the news well. “They are handling it awesomely, they’re rockstars, they’ve always been the best,” McNally said. She said due to the fact that their “clientele comes from all around the Western Mass. area,” where their pets’ medical records are being transferred to is “dependent on where they’re located.” However, she said there have been a “handful” of clients that have asked for the files to be transferred to the Westfield location.
While McNally said she wasn’t sure if VCA owned the Boston Road location or not, she was confident the location would not be left vacant. “I can tell you from past mergers that we have had, if we own the building we will sell the building,” she said. McNally said often VCA buildings that close are sold to similar practices that need a medical-grade building such as another veterinary practice or doctor’s office. She added that “VCA tends to lease a lot of the buildings,” so that was another possibility for the Boston Road location, should it be owned by the VCA.
McNally said that due to the organization still abiding by recommended practices during the coronavirus, it may take clients transferring to other locations or just looking to get their pet in for a wellness checkup a little longer than usual to get an appointment. “We tend to be booked out a little further for wellness appointments, so we’re asking clients to be patient for wellness-type services,” she said. She added that the wait time, currently, was about a “six-week, month-long wait.”
Additionally VCA is doing curbside services, such as not allowing people to enter the building with their pet. McNally said while “it’s great,” it “also takes a little bit longer to perform those exams.”
However, those needing prescriptions, pet food or preventative care such as flea and tick and heartworm treatments for their pets can order them online at https://vcahospitals.com/shop. Items ordered online can be picked up via curbside pickup at the customers’ local VCA or can be delivered to the home.