Advisors approve walk-in urgent care center for pets in Saugus

A urgent care center that prides itself on providing quality pet treatment at a reasonable cost has been given the green light to open on Route 1.

The Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 to grant the Veterinary Urgent Care Center a special permit to operate a veterinary center at 880 Broadway.

Dr. Christie D’Andrea, veterinarian and founder of the Veterinary Urgent Care Center, described the business as a walk-in center where pets can get relief for common illnesses and injuries.

D’Andrea launched the company in 2017 with five employees. The emergency veterinary care center now has locations in Quincy, Easton and Plymouth and more than 100 staff, she said.

According to its website, Veterinary Urgent Care Center offers care for cuts and scrapes, sprains and strains, urinary tract infections, skin conditions, mild to moderate vomiting or diarrhea, coughing/sneezing , allergies, eye problems, ear infections and intestinal parasites, among other mild to moderate conditions.

The Veterinary Urgent Care Center has an on-site diagnostic laboratory that offers state-of-the-art digital x-rays and ultrasounds.

D’Andrea said the company has received equity financing for significant expansion and plans to open half a dozen additional facilities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Saugus has been identified as a location that could benefit from the emergency veterinary care center, D’Andrea said.

Hours of operation for the Saugus Veterinary Urgent Care Center will be 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

D’Andrea said there was no overnight care at the emergency veterinary care center, noting that neighbors did not like barking dogs.

Anyone seeking off-hour pet treatment will be referred to the Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital in Woburn, D’Andrea said.

Breeder Jeff Cicolini said it can be difficult to find someone to treat a pet for an urgent care issue.

“The more options, the better,” Cicolini said, pointing out that the number of dogs and cats in town seemed to be on the rise during the pandemic.

Selectman Debra Panetta agreed that the city could use a walk-in urgent care center for pets locally.

Panetta remembers driving her dog to Woburn after eating grapes and spending thousands of dollars at the vet.

“We’ll do it for $200 in 20 minutes, I got you,” D’Andrea told Panetta.

Most of the company’s veterinarians have 10 to 15 years of emergency room experience, D’Andrea said. Another advantage is that pet owners can come without an appointment, she added.

The veterinary urgent care center has a lease ready to be signed pending board approval, D’Andrea said. She expects the 880 Broadway plot to be available within 30 days, and then it will take 16 to 20 weeks to build the care center, she said.