Dec. 4 — Jared Lyons has a new idea for pet care in Santa Fe: an urgent care clinic.
Lyons and two local veterinarian business partners expect to open Turquoise Trail Veterinary Urgent Care in May or June at 5131 Main St., Suite 102, on Herrera Drive near the Walmart Supercenter.
Turquoise Trail will not be a primary care center or an emergency room. It also won’t be open 24/7.
“It’s still a little bit of an open question (what services will be offered), but, in general, what we won’t be doing is primary care things like annual exams, spay or neuter, dental cleanings,” Lyons said. “We will not make life threatening situations. The space between these two is where we will exist.”
Turquoise Trail will offer treatment in the realm of vomiting and diarrhoea, skin and ear infections, wound healing, rattlesnake bites, urinary problems and ‘dog and cat cleaning’.
“A lot of times a limp is a soft tissue injury,” Lyons said. “If it’s a fracture, we can splint it. The majority of fractures don’t require surgery.”
Lyon offered a basic rule of thumb for what his urgent care does and doesn’t do.
“If you look at it and realize it’s broken, it’s probably going to be an ER visit,” he said. “If you need an X-ray to figure it out, we can probably do that.”
The line’s commitment to urgent care will inevitably lead to pet owners bringing animals beyond the scope of Turquoise Trail Veterinary Urgent Care.
“What we’re really going to try to do is train our staff on phone triage to determine if you’d be better off going to an ER,” Lyons said.
Lyons hopes to prevent real emergencies over the phone. However, he recognizes that there will be some emergencies.
“We would stabilize them and transport them” to a veterinary emergency room in Albuquerque or Algondon, Lyons said.
Santa Fe has been without a 24/7 veterinary emergency room since Pathway Vet Alliance closed its emergency and specialty center in 2020. Santa Fe pet owners have been clamoring ever since for a new one 24/7 ER.
“I would be shocked to see a 24/7 veterinary hospital in Santa Fe again,” Lyons said. “The cost to run a practice like this is at least four vets and you really need five. It’s probably $2 million in direct salaries before benefits and operating expenses.”
Lyons said the market share for pet urgent care versus urgent care and primary care is small. He estimates that primary care makes up 60% and Turquoise Trail could represent 35% of pet care needs.
Lyons believes Turquoise Trail can play a critical role because it will focus exclusively on urgent care, while primary care and hospitals have more areas of focus.
“In an ER, people wait hours and hours because they’re not sick enough,” Lyons said. “Our goal is to take some of the pressure off the ER people.”
Turquoise Trail will have three exam rooms, two patient rooms, four treatment tables, a radiology suite and an operating room. Lyon secured a 10-year lease for a 5,000-square-foot former Mattress Firm space in June, but is currently building out only 3,700 square feet.
“We completed the floor plan at the end of September,” he said. “Plans accepted for permit review (on November 27).”
Lyons has been involved in veterinary care since 2008, primarily as a veterinary assistant but also as a practice manager at a Santa Barbara, California veterinary emergency clinic that he describes as “the smallest in the country.”
Lyons has been at VCA Arrighetti Animal Hospital since November 2021 and was previously at VCA Veterinary Care Animal Hospital in Albuquerque. Prior to that, he was a veterinarian assistant and assistant superintendent at Smith Veterinary Hospital in Santa Fe.
Lyons isn’t naming his two vet partners yet, as they still work at veterinary hospitals, but he said all three are excited about being an independent business rather than a corporate chain.
“One big factor is that there is a huge trend toward consolidation in veterinary medicine,” Lyons said. “My partners and I feel lucky to have found each other. Our ethos is that we love what we do. We want a place to be our best selves. I really need purpose. This gives me a sense of purpose.”
This urgent care has been on Lyon’s mind for two years. The biggest challenge was finding the right location. He said that if he could have chosen any location in the city, he would have chosen the one he has.
“I like that it’s on the south side,” Lyons said. “We like that it’s highly visible. It’s clearly the direction the city is going.”
(tagsTo be translated)urgent care