January 18, 2021

Lakewood Veterinary Service LLC

PO Box 126 Rushford, NY 14777    585-437-5120

After much consideration and discussion, we at Lakewood have reluctantly decided that we will soon discontinue our more than 35-year policy of after-hours emergency service for small animals. We certainly will continue to see emergencies during our regular hours of operation.

We did not come to this decision easily. We do realize how much your pets (and our patients) mean to you and your families. However, we have struggled for years to remain fully staffed to meet the demand, with a high veterinary turnover. Part of the difficulty in attracting and retaining new veterinarians is their disinterest in being “on-call” for emergencies at night, on weekends and the few holidays that we are closed. When we are short-staffed, those vets who remain are on call more often. When short-handed, the regular hours worked plus on-call frequently exceeds 100 hours per week of commitment. The situation is compounded by the fact that most other clinics in our region do not provide any after-hours services, resulting in frequent calls from their clients looking to us to help them.

To provide top-quality care, including emergencies, during our normal hours of operation, we do need to strike some reasonable work/life balance and have time to take care of our non-veterinary responsibilities.

Thankfully, the majority of you take outstanding care of your 4-legged friends. Because you emphasize preventive care and respond early to indications that your pet may not be well, after-hours services are rarely needed. While perhaps not as convenient, but certainly available and of high quality, are fully staffed emergency clinics in the Buffalo and Rochester areas.

We hope you never have need of after-hours care that requires you to drive the longer distance. To help avoid that situation, we recommend you continue good preventive care and timely regular vet visits to keep your pets healthy and catch any signs of health issues early. Not allowing your pets to roam freely will also help avoid injuries from being hit by cars or from scuffles with other animals.

We are working on filling the gap in veterinary staffing. We are optimistic that the policy change will help us in our search for new veterinarians so we can continue to provide quality care for your pets and perhaps expand our regular hours (already more than 50 hours per week).

Thank you very much for entrusting us with your family members and your support of our veterinary practice. The intended date of this policy change is February 26, 2021.


Matt Chuff, owner                                          Rob McNeill, owner