The future location of the VetCheck Pet Urgent Care Center at Whitehall Plaza, 3251 W. 3rd St., on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

Whether Fido ate something he shouldn’t have or suffered a fracture from a nasty fall, many pet owners have had to consider an unexpected trip to the vet clinic. For Bloomington residents, getting urgent care for a pet is not that simple. It requires travel, and many worry if their four-legged friend can handle waiting an hour or two in the back seat before reaching the nearest emergency care site.

VetCheck Pet Urgent Care Center, based in Fishers, Indiana, is one such nearby site. While working there, VetCheck CEO Dr. Siva Nalabotu remembers being amazed at how many out-of-town pet owners walked through his door. When he asked customers where they came from, one place was repeated: Bloomington.

One day, he asked someone how far Bloomington was from Fishers. The answer turned her curiosity into concern.

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“It’s crazy. You’re driving like two hours with your pet’s emergency condition,” Nalabotu said. “You know, that’s so stressful and it’s not safe, to be honest.”

This prompted Nalabotu to take a closer look at Bloomington, where he noticed a gap in urgent care services for pets.

“Our goal is to help (pet) parents with this type of care,” Nalabotu said.

For a few years now, Bloomington residents have had to drive for hours to get unscheduled treatment for their pets. With VetCheck looking to expand within the city limits, these services are now provided directly to them.

The future location of the VetCheck Pet Urgent Care Center, at the former Colortyme location, at Whitehall Plaza 3251 W 3rd Street on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

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VetCheck’s Bloomington site is scheduled to open this April at Whitehall Plaza on West Third Street.

Nalabotu, a 15-year-old practicing veterinarian, opened his first care center in 2018. Now five sites, including the one in Bloomington, are set to be fully operational by the end of this year. Nalabotu notes that the speed of VetCheck’s expansion is driven by its mission to “help pets and pet owners” in struggling communities.

VetCheck is not intended to replace a general practitioner. Rather, it will provide urgent services, for example, if your pet experiences excessive vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or physical injury. Work on toxicology, vaccinations and some surgical operations will also be available. If the pet’s condition is too critical to be treated on-site, VetCheck can also arrange a transfer to a 24-hour emergency animal hospital.

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Before VetCheck opens in Bloomington later this spring, there are details that have yet to be ironed out. The company is still waiting for permits from the city before construction can begin. Once the permit is obtained, work on the site is expected to take 10-12 weeks.

VetCheck has hired the site’s medical director and is actively seeking veterinarians to fill at least one full-time and two to three part-time positions.

While the goal is to eventually be open 7 days a week, VetCheck Bloomington will begin with limited hours on the weekends. It will be open from 3 pm to 10 pm on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays and from 10 am to 6 pm on Sundays.

Contact Rachel Smith at [email protected]