Finally, Santa Barbara Is Getting an Urgent Care for Pets
New Clinic Will Fill Long-Standing Need for
Quick, Non-Emergency Services
By Tyler Hayden | March 16, 2023
Read all of the entries in our “Pets & Animals, 2023 Edition” cover here.
What do we humans do when we have a medical need that requires quick attention but doesn’t rise to the level of an ER visit? We go to an urgent care clinic, of course.
Our pets, however, don’t have that option. If they get sick or hurt, they either have to hold out for an appointment with their vet, which could take days or weeks, or brave one of two emergency animal hospitals in town, where wait times can get lengthy.
But not for long.
In the next few weeks, veterinarian Dr. Addie Crawford and her husband, Dan, will open a new clinic on De la Vina Street called Urgent Veterinary Care of Santa Barbara, effectively bridging the gap in service.
“We’re going to offer that middle ground,” Addie explained.
“We saw the need for a walk-in facility that can treat patients quickly,” Dan elaborated. “And if we can’t, we’ll stabilize them and refer them to an emergency vet.”
Foxtails, bites, lacerations, torn nails, coughing, gastrointestinal issues, and allergic reactions are the kinds of things the new clinic will treat, Addie said. What it won’t do is offer dental treatment, give vaccines, or conduct checkups. “You would still see your regular veterinarian for those,” she said.
The fully renovated 2,800-square-foot facility, located across the street from Handlebar Coffee, features a waiting room, three exam rooms, a large treatment area, and radiology and surgical suites. There is also a private room for euthanasia, should the need arise. “If that time comes, we don’t want you waiting any longer than you need to,” Dan said.
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Addie went to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine before completing an internship in San Diego. She returned to town and has worked at an animal ER, Advanced Veterinary Specialists, for the last five years. Dan, also native to S.B., sells real estate.
The lightbulb moment for their joint venture, Addie explained, came during the pandemic. Every vet in the city was getting backed up with newly adopted pets, and Addie found herself working 14-hour overnight shifts for days on end. Clients were frequently difficult and angry. She was burning out.
Not wanting to give up a career she “knows and loves,” Addie started exploring other options. She and Dan met with the owners of a couple of urgent-care clinics down in Los Angeles — the concept is apparently catching on — who confirmed there was a serious need for their services.
The Crawfords plan to hire another staff veterinarian in addition to two or three technicians. They hope other vets in town won’t see them as competition but instead as a resource to alleviate some of the load. “We don’t want to step on toes,” said Dan. “We just want to help take the pressure off.”
At first, the clinic will be open every day from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., which in Addie’s
experience covers the bulk of the peak hours. “Right after lunch and before dinner,” she said. Their focus will be cats and dogs, Addie said, and they’ll take pet insurance.
Depending on how things go, they may start opening at 10 a.m., but there won’t be any overnight shifts. So, hopefully, there will be less burnout. And the Crawfords said they’re committed to paying their staff a livable wage. “We want this to be a place where people are happy to work and are compensated fairly,” Dan said.
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