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Fort Wayne veterinary hospital expanding

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 12:01 am

A 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital on Fort Wayne's northeast side will add services and more than 5,000 square feet in a $1 million expansion slated for completion in May.

The expansion of Northeast Indiana Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital, 5818 Maplecrest Road, will include a new surgical suite, a canine rehabilitation room and a dedicated internal medicine room, said hospital administrator Andrea Baker.

“Essentially, we are expanding and adding additional services, as well,” Baker said, adding that the hospital has steadily been adding more types of specialty care. “We wanted to be able to give people in Fort Wayne a resource aside from going to Purdue (University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in West Lafayette) for specialty care.”

The hospital plans to complete the expansion by late April or early May, Baker said. In the meantime, the facility has remained open 24 hours a day and will continue to offer all its normal services throughout the expansion, she said.

With the additional services, the hospital also hopes to attract new business and expand its staff from its current workforce of about 50, Baker said.

"There's a lot of sub-specialties that, once we have the expansion, we'll be able to recruit," said Dr. Brad Coolman, a surgeon and managing doctor with the hospital.

Coolman said the expanded surgical suites will allow the hospital to recruit another surgeon. The hospital also may start recruiting other types of specialists, such as a veterinary ophthalmologist and possibly a neurologist and oncologist, he said.

The hospital also will also improve its diagnostic imaging by adding CT scan capabilities, a service now available only in places such as Indianapolis, Purdue and Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., Coolman said.

Northeast Indiana Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital was founded in the late 1960s as a general practice, but its founders, which included Coolman's father, soon made the decision to specialize in services not offered by any other vets, he said.

"We do offer sort of a unique set of services, and the scope of what we offer isn't really typical of what you'd think of as a veterinarian," Coolman said.

The facility, which now encompasses about 7,800 square feet on two floors, will grow by 3,270 square feet on the ground floor and 2,010 feet on the second level, Baker said.

Coolman said the cost of the expansion would likely exceed $1 million.