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Bend Veterinary Referral Center to offer 24/7 emergency pet care

Veterinary Referral Center of Central Oregon

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- After months of not having 24/7 emergency pet care in Central Oregon, Veterinary Referral Center of Central Oregon will begin providing 24/7 emergency pet care on Friday, Sept. 24.

Nobody imagined the Covid-19 pandemic would place a strain on the veterinary profession the way it has. The pandemic has resulted in people adopting more pets than ever before as well as seeking more care for their pets. This has resulted in patient overload and a subsequent staffing crisis, similar to the human medical field. So much so, that emergency veterinary centers around the country have had to turn patients away, drastically decrease their hours, or even shut down due to staffing difficulties and burnout. 

Dr. Mauricio Dujowich, DACVS, a board-certified surgeon at the Veterinary Referral Center of Central Oregon, says they have been aiming toward expanding their hours well before the pandemic, but the pandemic definitely made it more challenging to reach this milestone.

Unlike other veterinary facilities who have lost staff, Veterinary Referral Center of Central Oregon, located at 1820 NW Monterey Pines Drive, has more than doubled their staff to almost 100 employees since the beginning of the pandemic.

Dr. Dujowich explains that despite growing from a staff of 12 to close to 100 in the past three years, rolling out to 24/7 has been challenging as they have to make sure they can provide the essential care to hospitalized patients while having the additional bandwidth to provide care for incoming emergencies. Previously, the Veterinary Referral Center was open from 8 am to midnight and then recently expanded coverage to 24 hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays a few months ago.

This last push toward full 24/7 coverage is very welcomed and comes as a huge relief to the large population of animal lovers in Central Oregon. Additionally, the hospital has seen a large increase in caseload from pet owners in Portland, Eugene, Seattle, and Northern California. 

Veterinary Referral Center of Central Oregon attributes their ability to grow their staff in the face of this crisis to their dedicated staff and one-of-a-kind culture. The Veterinary Referral Center of Central Oregon opened in May of 2018 in Bend with three board certified specialists. They are not your average veterinary practice, and only provide advanced medical and emergency care. Along with providing emergency services, they have board certified specialists in Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, and Surgery.

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  1. I’ve had mixed experiences at Veterinary Referral Center. Once was average, once was horrible. Thankfully there are two 24 hour emergency vet clinics in Bend. Bend Animal Emergency and Specialty Center is locally owned and great. We recently had to go for our aging dog and the owner was the one that answered the phone and meet us at the car. He was fantastic.

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