In-Depth: Rochester’s only 24-hour animal hospital to start closing overnight

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BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WHEC) — A lot of pet parents are pretty upset. News10NBC was first to tell you the only 24-hour emergency animal hospital in our area will soon be closed overnight. We broke the news Wednesday.

For so many of us, our pets are family. What if our hospitals were closing at 10 p.m. and opening at 6 a.m.? Starting Monday, Jan. 27, that’s what’s happening at Veterinary Specialist and Emergency Service (VSES) in Brighton, the only 24-hour animal hospital in the Rochester area.

You can probably guess why. VSES officials say it’s because of staffing shortages and the growing demand for services.

News10NBC warned you about this back in November. We did an in-depth report on the pet care crisis and how hard it was to get an appointment even at your local vet.

We spoke with Dr. Bill Murphy from Westside Animal Hospital in Chili and asked with this change what can you do if your pet has an emergency?

First off, Dr. Murphy says make sure you have a relationship with your own local veterinarian.

"We will see our own clients for emergencies, but we don’t have the ability to see our non-clients on an emergency basis," Dr. Murphy said.

Second, plan ahead. Don’t wait until it’s a life or death situation.

"If your pet is sick at 2 p.m. don’t wait until 9:30 p.m. to say ‘I think I’ll call the emergency hospital’ because you’ll be driving to Cornell or Buffalo," Dr. Murphy said.

Here’s a look at the closest 24-hour emergency animal services to Rochester:

From News10NBC in downtown Rochester, they’re all more than an hour away. Of course, you also need to call ahead to see if you can even get in.

"We have had emergency hospitals say, ‘We are not taking anybody else in,’" Dr. Murphy explained. "They will just say, ‘We’re maxed out!’ You show up, but they’re not see you. Be sure to call first. Don’t just show up because they might say you drove all this way for nothing."

Lollypop Farm also offers Pet First Aid and CPR classes. Click here for information. It costs $75. The next session is Friday, Jan. 21, but that class is filling up fast. More classes are set for March, April and May.

VSES Employees for Change released the following statement on the situation: