Rochester gets its only 24 hour emergency veterinary hospital

Emergency Vet Care

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Rochester Emergency Veterinary Services or REVS opened its doors Thursday night. It is the only overnight facility within an hour of Rochester.

The opening comes months after Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services in Brighton, once the area’s only 24-hour emergency vet clinic, closed permanently. It closed in November due to staffing shortages.

With the closing, the nearest emergency care options to Rochester became Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center in Buffalo, Veterinary Medical Center of Central New York in Syracuse, and Cornell University Hospital for Animals in Ithaca.

Dr. Brenda Buck helped found the new space. She and two other vets are running REVS as a nonprofit because in their words, they know the community needs it.

Right now, there are barely four services in the Rochester area offering emergency walk-ins. And none of them operate overnight.

REVS is running right now out of Burns’ other business, the Animal Hospital of Rochester. But the goal is to eventually get REVS its own space.

Even though they had a facility, Buck said they needed to raise $200,000 minimum to pay for staffing and equipment for REVS.

They got that in donations alone and, were approved for a $100,000 grant from the county. So, with nonprofit status, how much will it cost? Fair market price is how Burns described it. Because the goal is to create a space that serves this community need. Now just like in many industries, animal care is experiencing a severe worker shortage. That, coupled with high turnover, was what helped send the last 24/7 clinic under.

“It was corporate medicine that kind of took over and after that happened, we lost our emergency care,” Buck said. “And we wanted to really make this about our community, about helping our community, our local pets and our staff. We wanted the staff to feel valued. We wanted to put our resources and our revenue back into the staff, into the facility, to be able to provide more care and then eventually back out into our community.”

The corporate medicine that Dr. Buck mentions is Thrive Pet Care. They own a large minority of the nearly 40 clinics in Rochester, but they have hundreds nationwide. They bought the clinic in 2021. Dr. Buck says she believes a nonprofit format will help them take care of staff and keep this ship afloat for hopefully many years to come.

The clinic will be open overnight from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekdays and 24 hours on weekends, according to its website. You can get more information and donate here.