Urgent care clinics have been popping up left and right across the Region and the nation at large.
A local veterinarian saw the opportunity to bring the same quick, convenient service urgent care is known for — faster and more accessible than a primary physician's office but less expensive than an emergency room — to the realm of animal medicine.
Earlier this year, Dr. Jane Lazzara opened Animal Urgent Care at 1494 ½ N. Main St. in Crown Point. It employs five people to treat dogs and cats.
"We are an urgent care veterinary clinic like a human urgent care clinic," she said. "We're not an emergency center. We provide preventative care in-house between when the veterinarian offices close and when the emergency centers open overnight. The emergency centers can be very expensive."
The clinic offers in-house diagnostic services, including radiology and ultrasound, as well as initial hospitalization and stabilization. Most commonly, it treats vomiting, diarrhea, dog bites, lacerations, eye infections and other such common ailments.
Lazzara saw the need for an urgent care veterinary clinic in the area after working for 15 years in emergency medicine.
"Most people seek veterinary care in the evening between 6 p.m. and midnight because they got home and found out something happened during the day," she said. "Some vets will see you after they close and in most cases it doesn't rise to an emergency or an ER visit. It's often a cut or broken toenail or something like that. And the emergency centers are expensive."
The 1,400-square-foot clinic has three exam rooms, a large treatment room and 12 kennels. It draws customers from as far away as Hobart, Lowell, Cedar Lake, Wheatfield and Rensselaer because of its central location.
"We're the only urgent care clinic in south Lake County," she said. "It's just north of the square and gets a lot of traffic from U.S. 30 and Interstate 65."
Animal Urgent Care gets referrals from many local veterinarians for after-hours care, Lazzara said. Customers often find it on search engines like Google when looking for where to get help when their usual veterinarian's office is closed for the day.
She expects the urgent care concept will take off in the veterinary world and aspires to eventually open addition locations across Northwest Indiana and greater Chicagoland.
Animal Urgent Care is open from 4 p.m. to midnight on weeknights and from noon until midnight on weekends.
For more information, call 219-310-8315 or visit www.animalurgentcarenwi.com.