Forest Hills gets 24−hour animal E.R.

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Queens’ first referral−only veterinary hospital opened in Forest Hills Monday and the chief medical officer said hospital officials were looking forward to caring for the pets he expects to come from all over the borough.

“We have a hospital in Manhattan, but it was hard for folks in Queens to travel to western Manhattan with their pets,” said Dr. Neil Shaw, the chief medical officer at NYC Veterinary Specialists. “So we are opening a 24−hour specialty and emergency hospital in Forest Hills.”

A trek to western Manhattan could prove especially disconcerting for residents whose dogs or cats — or even rabbits and ferrets, as Shaw said is sometimes the case — have been hit by a car, which he called a more frequent occurrence in Queens than Manhattan.

“In Manhattan, high−rise syndrome is more common than in Queens,” Shaw said. “High−rise syndrome is if a pet is sitting on a windowsill, it creates a draft or the cat can fall out. In Queens, there’s a lot more vehicular traffic. Dogs are out in yards, and if they get out, they have a higher frequency of getting hit by cars than in Manhattan.”

Located at 107−24 71st Road in Forest Hills, NYC Veterinary Specialists will offer doctors who specialize in emergency and critical care, ophthalmology, neurology, internal medicine, oncology, orthopedic and soft tissue surgery, dermatology, neurosurgery, cardiology, and behavior medicine.

“The patients we see are referred to us either for after−hour emergency care when their family veterinarian’s office is closed or for specialized care,” Shaw said in a prepared statement. “So almost everything we do, including where we locate our offices and which services we provide, are the result of the suggestions of our colleagues.”

The hospital will not be a general practice facility, Dr. Shaw specified.

“There won’t be vaccinations like folks would get at a family veterinari­an,” he said.

Shaw said hospital officials selected Forest Hills for its newest site because it was “easily accessible to residents in Queens.”

“It will serve the community well in that location,” said Shaw, who is also the co−founder of Florida Veterinary Specialists in Tampa, the largest private veterinary practice in the southeastern United States.

In addition, Shaw said there is ample parking in the area, including a parking lot next door.

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