New Canaan Veterinary Hospital Launches ‘After Hours Urgent Care’ for Clients

Saying they want to ease pet owners’ minds, officials at a local veterinary hospital are expanding hours and services to meet their clients’ emergency needs.

The ‘After Hours Urgent Care’ service at New Canaan Veterinary Hospital will see veterinarians on call through 11 p.m., seven days per week, to advise and care for injured or ill pets after the Vitti Street facility is closed.

Tina Socci and Dr. Paul Potenza of New Canaan Veterinary Hospital. Credit: Kim Devine

Spearheaded by chief veterinarian Dr. Paul Potenza, a New Canaan resident, the new service is for established clients of the business only, and those clients will incur no additional costs for emergency treatments, he said.

“Most emergencies that people are concerned about don’t require round-the-clock care, and they see a problem in the evening when they get home from work,” Potenza told NewCanaanite.com. “People want to fix it and not worry all night. They can now call us, at least for our advice, so if they need to be seen we can come in and take care of the problem.”

To this point, clients who phone the hospital after hours have been redirected to an automated voice message referring them to other places, according to Potenza.

These include the Norwalk Veterinary Hospital and Cornell University Veterinary Hospital in Stamford. For New Canaanites, the travel time and long wait in emergency clinics can increase stress in an already stressful situation, Potenza said.

“We’re doing this because we have a great client base,” Potenza said. “This increases our level of communication and gives them the option of coming to us.”

Depending on what’s needed, pet owners may well end up at a facility such as Cornell, but Potenza and other NC Vet Hospital professionals will be able to open the Vitti Street facility early or meet a client there late, as needed and appropriate.

Practice manager Tina Socci said the benefits of the new program go beyond mere convenience. In After Hours Urgent Care, clients are guided by a familiar person to determine whether the issue can wait until the morning or is an extreme emergency.

“Our clients are truly like our family,” Socci said. “There is a true level of trust between us and them.”

That’s why the new service is only available now, according to Potenza. He said he wants to make sure veterinarians are familiar with patients before offering after-hours care. Yet it’s a potential growth area for the practice, he said.
By addressing pets’ needs at the local hospital, care is bolstered because veterinarians are already familiar with their patients’ medical histories, and have remote access to it, Socci said. That helps to keep costs down for clients—emergency veterinarians would have to perform more procedures in making a diagnosis and laying out treatment plans.

“We want to combine the concept of a state-of-the-art facility with an old-fashioned level of care  where we’re just a phone call away,” Socci said.

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