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Hagerstown gets emergency vet

December 30, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- Pet owners who worried that their animals might fall ill on weekends when local veterinary care was hard to find can put their minds at ease.

Mountain View Animal Emergency, at 17747 Virginia Ave. in Hagerstown, opened its doors in late September. It sees animals from 6 p.m. Fridays through 8 a.m. Mondays.

Dr. Shawn Wilson said in an e-mail that the response so far has been much better than he expected.

"I always knew this area needed its own ER, but I thought it would take much longer to get busy," Wilson said.

Mountain View is leasing space from Cumberland Valley Veterinary Clinic but is not affiliated with the clinic. Wilson is operating Mountain View with a staff that is on site and available for emergency care for 58 hours each weekend.

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"We've heard from a number of our clients and they are very happy with the service," said Dr. Tracey Barlup of Long Meadow Animal Hospital.

"I've talked with Dr. Wilson, and he and his staff are amazed at the number of patients they've had," Barlup said.

Wilson said he has been working on this project for about three years and it was time to get the ball rolling, despite the current economic conditions.

"Oh well, there is never a perfect time to open a business or have a baby. I threw caution to the wind and opened on Sept. 26," Wilson said in an e-mail.

Mountain View has entered into agreements with veterinarians in the area about the services it will offer, Barlup said.

The role of the clinic is strictly to serve emergencies.

"No vaccines will be administered and no routine surgeries like spaying and neutering will be performed," Barlup said.

She stressed that the clinic is emergency-oriented and is not trying to take clients away from other vets.

Before September, the nearest emergency veterinary clinics were in Frederick, Md., and Winchester, Va.

"This has been a long time coming and I am very happy it is here," said Angie Harsh, a local animal advocate. "My animals are all precious to me."

Harsh, who operated Pet Hotline for many years, said she hopes Mountain View's services will be cost effective and that the staff will work with people who need those services.

Barlup and Dr. Dennis McCullough of the Waynesboro (Pa.) Veterinary Clinic were part of the effort to recruit an emergency veterinarian to the area.

Wilson was managing veterinarian at Frederick Emergency Animal Hospital for a year and was lead veterinarian of Central Carroll Animal Emergency in Westminster, Md., for two years.

Wilson, formerly of Hanover, Pa., graduated from Virginia Tech and earned his veterinary degree from Louisiana State University.

He hopes to someday expand the practice to seven days a week for after-hours calls and to hire two more veterinarians.

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