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Emergency vet options have changed

Pet owners in Prince Edward, Cumberland and Buckingham counties have limited options for emergency vet care and might require a long drive to either Richmond, Charlottesville or Lynchburg.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted some of these clinics away from offering 24/7 emergency services due to staffing losses, so finding a viable option is difficult.

Locally, the three closest animal hospitals — Ridge Animal Hospital in Farmville, Cumberland Animal Hospital in Cumberland and Slate River Veterinary Clinic in Buckingham — only offer limited emergency services.

Ridge Animal Hospital advises clients who need after-hours or weekend emergency services to try Animal Emergency & Critical Care of Lynchburg or Virginia Veterinary Centers in the Carytown area of Richmond.

Pet owners should note that a previously active Midlothian branch of Virginia Veterinary Centers does not have full emergency services at this time.

Cumberland Animal Hospital offers emergency services to existing clients, Kathryn Davis, the hospital practice manager, said. “Dr. (Elizabeth) Hazelgrove is on call 24/7 for her clients, and they can call her at any time,” she said. “She will talk to them over the phone.”

The practice is taking new patients, she said, but emergency service “is a benefit for her established patients. You just have to be a current patient and have seen her within the past year or so. If you haven’t been around for three years, it’s a little bit of a gray area then.”

As for emergency service at other clinics, “We don’t recommend a specific after-hours emergency service because it’s so variable as to where they live and what they need,” Davis said.

When asked about referring patients to specialist centers due to circumstances that are beyond what animal hospital can treat, such as when a cardiologist or neurologist is needed, Ridge Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Andrea Kellum said pet owners may need to call around to see who is taking animals. 

“Everybody is backed up,” she added.

Slate River Veterinary Clinic in Buckingham County offers 24/7 care only for large animals such as cows and horses.

Slate River Office Manager Kelly Koldewyn said, regarding the service, “With a small animal like a dog or a cat, you can put them in your car and get them somewhere. Large animals are hard to move.”

In addition to the other options mentioned, Koldewyn said Slate River recommends Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital for clients who live closer to Charlottesville. Greenbrier is open 6 p.m.-8 a.m. every weekday and operates 24 hours a day on weekends, ending at 8 a.m. on Monday. They also operate 24 hours a day on major holidays.

Animal Medical Center in Midlothian is the former Deer Run Animal Wellness Center, which used to be a popular option for emergency pet care. The address name and street number were changed, but the physical location is the same, according to the clinic.

Animal Medical Center normally has after-hours emergency services but is currently only offering them Monday-Saturday., 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Intake stops daily at 5 p.m. The change was brought about due to loss of staff during the COVID-19 pandemic; the clinic does not know if emergency services will return.

Additionally, Veterinary Referral & Critical Care in Manakin-Sabot, a village in Goochland County, is open 24/7.

River Run Animal Hospital in Powhatan offers limited urgent care hours for patients. “We do this for our clients and new patients,” a clinic representative said by email. “We are taking new patients. We ask people to please call ahead if they need to bring in a pet for an emergency, so that we can make sure we are not at capacity for that day. We do not see any pets outside of dogs and cats. We do not have an exotic vet on our staff.”

River Run hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-10 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m.-5 p.m.. On weekdays they take their last urgent care patient at 8 p.m., and on weekends they take their last urgent care patient at 3 p.m.

However, the clinic said, “We are closed on holidays. We are not an emergency clinic, but we will work with patients that need the help.”

Area 24/7 Animal Emergency Services:

Lynchburg Area

Animal Emergency & Critical Care of Lynchburg

3432 Odd Fellows Road, Lynchburg, VA

(434) 846-1504    http://aecclynchburg.com/

Richmond Area

Virginia Veterinary Centers

3312 W. Cary St., Richmond

(804) 353-9000

https://virginiaveterinarycenters.com/

Veterinary Referral & Critical Care

1596 Hockett Road, Manakin-Sabot, VA

(804) 784-8722    https://vrccvet.com/

Charlottesville Area

Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital

370 Greenbrier Dr. Suite A-2, Charlottesville, VA

(434) 202-1616

https://www.greenbrier-emergency.com/