East Bay Veterinary Emergency

Photo by Tony Kukulich

The team at East Bay Veterinary Emergency, from left; Hospital Manager Cari Darmer - holding Mocha the Cat - Dr. Taylor Slabaugh, Dr. Jennifer Lew and Operations Manager Frances Quizon.


East Bay Veterinary Emergency (EBVE) is the only emergency animal hospital serving East County.

For residents of Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay and surrounding areas, EBVE is a one-stop shop for surgeries and crisis situations.

“We do critical cases, and we take care of transfers from other vet hospitals who can’t handle the cases,” said Cari Darmer, hospital manager for EBVE. “We can perform all diagnostics from ultrasounds to X-rays; we have a full in-house lab and can send more difficult lab work out to another lab if necessary.”

Darmer has worked in veterinary hospital administration for 28 years but is relatively new to EBVE, having joined their team in January. She said the hospital has remained open since the shelter-in-place began, but some protocols have changed to protect staff, clients and patients.

“We are doing curbside pickups, and clients are not allowed in the hospital right now, except for euthanasia,” Darmer said.

She noted EBVE is singular in making that exception, causing their euthanasia appointments to spike.

EBVE is also a teaching hospital — groups of intern veterinarians join the staff for a one-year program to be supervised by the hospital’s senior doctors. Devon England joined the program 11 months ago and is nearing the end of her internship. She said she appreciated having the opportunity to work with so many different animals.

“It was a really great program,” England said. “We get to work here and be creative, because there is a lot more diversity of clients. I loved it, and I’m staying on as a doctor here.”

England also said the vets at the hospital, both new and senior, work hard to offer their clients everything they can while understanding budget restrictions.

“We understand financial limitations, and we do the best thing we can for the pets within those limitations,” Darmer said.

Darmer added that her vets and staff come to work every day because they love caring for animals, but many deal with an issue called compassion fatigue. With increased wait times caused by the coronavirus, a job that requires almost as much training as a medical doctor but far smaller salaries, many vets get burnt out.

“Vets give 125% every day, knowing people don’t have the money to pay and get badgered about wait times and costs … people think we are in it for the money, but we do it for the love of animals,” she said.

East Bay Veterinary Emergency is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is located at 1312 Sunset Drive in Antioch. For more information, call 925-754-5001 or visit https://bit.ly/30MGoGB.