On May 1, Bend Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Clinic cut back its hours in response to a staffing shortage, leaving Central Oregon without a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic.
The new hours are 2 pm to midnight on weekdays and 8 am to midnight on weekends. Without this critical service, some vets are stepping up and treating patients when an emergency arises.
- Courtesy Marco Verch
"There are regular vets in town that have stepped up and are seeing their patients in the middle of the night," said Dr. Shalet Abraham, a vet at Bend Specialty and Emergency Clinic. "There are several practices in town that are doing on-call emergencies in the night until we're able to step back up and hire and have full 24/7 service again."
Without an emergency room, Abraham said pet owners should establish a relationship with a veterinarian in town and discuss options for emergency care. The clinic isn't cutting hours permanently, but for now the change is indefinite.
"That is our ultimate goal, and our ultimate hope is to get back to 24/7 service, but we don't know exactly when the timeline on that will be," Abraham said.
The issue could be tricky for people new in town who haven't had a chance to meet a local vet, and for tourists who bring their pets to Bend.
"It's gonna be a little tougher for that for them, unfortunately, than the people who have regular vets here in town," Abraham said. "They may need to make some phone calls around to some regular events and see if somebody would be able to come in and see them. Or, worst case scenario they may have to drive to either Southern Oregon or Eugene. That's where the closest other 24-hour hospitals are right now."