BELLE VIEW—It was a late one evening in September 2019 when I heard my wife call from downstairs with worried tone. Our little Chihuahua mix, Monroe, had suddenly gone limp, not wanting to get up or move around. We pondered whether it was serious and how to respond; little did we know he was going into a life-threatening state of shock. To be on the safe side, we hurried him into the car and over to Belle View Shopping Center in Alexandria where we had seen a veterinary emergency care center had opened in the past year. And we are so glad we did!
When we arrived at EMMAvet Veterinary Urgent Care, the center’s friendly and proficient staff swiftly took Monroe back to see Dr. Veronica Jarvinen who began administering much-needed fluids. Once she stabilized our pup, she invited us into the operatory to see him. She explained he was in shock, but she wasn’t sure exactly why. Perhaps he had hurt his neck or maybe it was anaphylactic shock from an allergen, but additional tests would help us determine what was wrong. Fortunately, it wasn’t too long before he developed a rash on his belly—the telltale sign of an allergy. Dr. Jarvinen quickly gave him a shot of Benadryl, which saved is little life.
Dr. Jarvinen had launched EMMAvet Veterinarian Urgent Care just a year earlier, providing our community the option to receive excellent pet medical care during the hours general practice veterinary offices are closed. EMMAvet is open daily 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Angela and I were both so glad we had EMMAvet as an option, as we have three dogs. We’ve since brought our other pup Noah for an exam for neck pain, and he’s getting great care as well, including physical therapy! With our great experiences at EMMAvet, we thought we’d talk to Dr. Jarvinen and find out a bit more about her facility that opened in 2018 and let pet owners they have an urgent care option right in the Belle View Shopping Center.
Wanting to be a vet ever since she was about 4 or 5 years old, she received her veterinary degree at Virginia Tech before interning for a year at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Jarvinen told DCRegionRealEstate.com she really fell in love with emergency medicine at Angell.
“After working in ER/Specialty Centers for five years, I realized there was a niche missing in the veterinary world: Urgent Care,” Dr. Jarvinen said. “I wanted to be able to provide gold standard veterinary care in a convenient setting for pet owners, while also offering a sustainable career for my friends and colleagues.”
As such, EMMAvet was born. Think of it as a pet version of the many urgent-care facilities for humans around the area. Though not a 24-hour hospital, this local facility can often times bridge the gap between scheduling a checkup at your favorite vet and being a solution at the drop of the hat for many emergencies.
“Not every pet needs to wait for hours at a hospital to be seen! I knew there had to be another way,” Dr. Jarvinen said. “Additionally, I was experiencing some burnout working the overnights and long shifts in a 24-hour facility, and I saw others go through similar experiences.”
For pet owners wondering where the line is between going to EMMAvet and an animal hospital, Dr. Jarvinen provided some context. For starters, they can address a whole host of emergency issues but also provide help for your pet that might be a bit shy of an emergency but needs care quickly.
“We are all emergency-trained nurses, receptionists, and veterinarians, so we are also able to stabilize the more critical patients: vehicular trauma and fractures, larger-scale injuries, and more,” Dr. Jarvinen said. “If we are unable to get your pet home with you the same day, we can help refer you to a 24-hour hospital.”
Excessive urination, bleeding, vomiting, upset stomachs, coughing, sneezing, limping, vomiting? EMMAvet can help your pet in all those areas. After being open a year and a half, she said most of her patients actually are in for foot trauma.
Dr. Jarvinen noted, however, that if your pet has issues such as breathing problems, they could definitely help stabilize the pet, but a visit to a 24-hour hospital might be necessary.
That’s what happened to Monroe. He was in shock, and Dr. Jarvinen was able to get him stabilized until we got him to Hope Center in Vienna, but he was on the mend by the time we left the facility.
Along with urgent care, EMMAvet’s physical rehabilitation specialist Ashleigh is there to provide help and comfort to your pet, with treatments such as therapeutic laser, massage, and individually tailored exercises for your pet.
“Ashleigh treats many of my patients who experience trauma, are limping, have back or neck pain, and who suffer from arthritis or other joint disease,” Dr. Jarvinen said. “She also sees referrals from local veterinary surgeons and neurologists.”
In addition, EMMAvet will help your pet with anxiety, such as from thunder, fireworks, and other triggers. And they’ll even trim your pet’s nails.
One thing we were curious about is what Dr. Jarvinen thought pet owners might do sometimes that they think is right for the pet, but really is not.
“One reminder for people is that ‘old age’ is not a cause of rapid weight loss, increased thirst, or increased urination, or pain,” she said, noting that they can be caused by old age, but often are indication of another problem. “Chronic pain is itself a disease, and we should help manage pain in our older animals with medications and physical rehabilitation.”
Dr. Jarvinen added that the Belle View community has been wonderful and is full of dog and cat lovers.
“It has been lovely treating these beloved pets, because I know that I share a goal with their families: Make a positive difference in the lives of pets and their owners,” she said. “Our goal is to obtain a diagnosis, provide treatment, and get you and your pet home for more time together.”
Christopher Prawdzik, an Accredited Staging Partner® Real Estate Agent, and his wife Angela Logomasini are licensed Realtors® with Samson Properties in Alexandria. Operating as D.C. Region Real Estate, they serve the Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland real estate market and offer comprehensive real estate services, including 4½% full-service listings.
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