Part Two: Animal ER treats all sorts of sick and injured pets

WOOLMARKET, MS (WLOX) - They provide after hours animal care for more than 100 veterinarians in South Mississippi. Doctors Jeff and Jennifer Sutton, owners of Gulf Coast Veterinarian Hospital, opened the brand new facility just a few weeks ago. It was designed and built to human standards.

The brand new, multi-million dollar facility is the finest in Mississippi. Whatever the emergency is with your pet, this Animal ER is prepared to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Over the past 12 years, the Sutton's and their team have provided care for more than 40,000 animals.

"We have several isolation wards. We have several different wards in the hospital which allows the animals to be comfortable and in a healing environment," said Jennifer. "We really value the animals in the community that we serve. We want them to have something as nice as you would have if you went to the human hospital."

Along with state of the art equipment and facilities, Jennifer says a caring staff is their most important asset.

"We have about 20 employees. Our staff is so important to us. We're so thankful to have them," said Jennifer. "They really do care about the animals as they would their own, and they're real important to us in our business. It is essential. It's essential to their caring, their healing process. Jeff and I know that the animals are in good hands, and again, we want them to be treated just as well as their own pets would be treated here in the hospital."

Though we see mostly dogs in for treatment on this Easter Sunday, an ailing cat arrives at mid-afternoon with a possible spinal cord disorder. While dogs and cats make up the majority of animal ER patients, this hospital treats all sorts of critters.

"The only things we do not treat here in this hospital are venomous snakes or monkeys, but we do see exotics, wildlife," said Jennifer. "We'll occasionally see some pocket pets like hamsters, gerbils, birds. We'll also see the occasional goat, sheep or chicken that's kept as a pet."

The Director of the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center, Alison Sharpe, relies on this animal hospital.

"Without this ER, there's a lot of animals that we wouldn't be able to retrieve. A lot of them get dropped off here because a lot of people in the community know that the ER is here. Dr. Sutton calls us, and we come over and pick the animals up from them," said Sharpe.

A Yorkshire terrier came to the Suttons to undergo surgery for a badly broken hind leg.

"They had an estimate to fix it, which was about $2,500, and they're going to opt to amputate the leg instead, said Jeff.

He says such surgeries are not uncommon, though some may cringe at the thought of amputation.

"Little dogs unfortunately get in trouble and have bad fractures. Sometimes the most economical way and very practical way is to amputate, and they do wonderful," said Jeff.

Sammy is a lucky dog this day. His wounds from a run-in with a kennel mate are not too serious.

A few well-placed staples later, and he's reunited with a thankful owner.

"It was nice to be able to have somewhere to go in the afternoon, on Easter Sunday, exactly. He's good. He's good. They took good care of him," said Sammy's owner Rob Malick.

I hope you never have to take your pet to the Animal ER, but it's comforting to know they're available 24 hours a day. Again, the hospital is located just south of Interstate 10 at the Woolmarket exit.

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