Rehoboth Beach Animal Hospital offering urgent care

Cape grad vet Ritter helps provide expanded services
April 3, 2024

Dr. Amanda Ritter knows there is a critical need for urgent pet care in Sussex County.

In many cases, pet owners who move to Delaware’s Cape Region cannot get established with a veterinarian for months because the demand exceeds the availability of services. 

The Harbeson native and Cape Henlopen High School alum is the newest veterinarian at Rehoboth Beach Animal Hospital. Adding Ritter to the staff in January has allowed the hospital to expand emergency services and relieve stress for local pet owners.

“It’s been a huge need in the area. The impact that we’ve had on just a few patients has been pretty major,” Ritter said.

RBAH Manager Lynsey Mohr said she got her entire team of doctors and technicians on board to try emergency care two days a week in November and December. It was a huge success.

The hospital launched its urgent care services March 18, with hours five days a week, Monday through Friday at its location on Route 1 near the entrance to Rehoboth Beach. Appointments are available to both current pet clients and the general public on a limited, first-come, first-served basis. 

“We say it’s scheduled urgent care. You can call starting at 8 in the morning. We fill appointments until we’re fully booked,” Mohr said. “When you get here, call from your car. A technician will come outside and get your pet.”

The current care has its roots in the curbside services RBAH provided during COVID.

“It worked out pretty well. We have limited space, so we were able to provide care without an exam room,” said Mohr, who is also a local.

Mohr said the most common ailments they see are dogs getting sick from eating something they shouldn’t have, along with cuts from fences and scuffles with other dogs.

“We just had a cat the other day who ate a feather off one of those play toys. Luckily, it was able to throw it up and we didn’t have to do surgery,” Mohr said.

Mohr said she hopes to hire another doctor to eventually expand emergency care to weekends.

Currently, the closest emergency veterinary care facilities to the Cape Region are Delmarva Animal Emergency Center in Dover or Pets ER in Salisbury, Md. Both are open after normal business hours, and on Saturdays and Sundays. Blue Pearl Christiana in Newark is open 24 hours a day for emergencies and by appointment for specialty services.

Mohr said it is hard to find vets, as fewer people are going into veterinary school each year.

“It’s expensive. I just had one of my doctors explain to me that they will be paying off loans until retirement age,” she said.

Mohr said finding affordable housing in this area is hard for vets just coming out of school.

Ritter admitted vet school is tough, but the job is worth it.

“I love every minute of it,” she said.

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