Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit expands amid need for affordable pet care
By Summer Aguirre
Pet owners in North Phoenix now have a reliable, affordable pet vet in their backyard, thanks to Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit’s new brick-and-mortar clinic.
The specialized veterinary practice’s new clinic is located at 4727 E. Bell Road on the southwest corner of Tatum Boulevard. Its expansion is due to demand and its success operating primarily from mobile units, through which it pursues its mission to provide convenient, low-cost surgical and dental care for dogs and cats directly in their neighborhoods.
“This (expansion) means that we’re doing the right thing. It means we are finding people and pet owners who are in desperate need of care at a cost model that makes sense for them,” says Douglas Patriquin, co-owner and CEO of Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit. “It means a lot for us to touch that market, to help those people, to get those calls that say, ‘Thank goodness we found you. We really appreciate what you do.’”
Patriquin owns Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit alongside his wife, Dr. Kelly Patriquin, DVM.
The practice has five doctors across four locations in Phoenix, which includes the new North Phoenix location, a brick-and-mortar building in Peoria and two mobile surgical units. They also have two locations in Tucson, with another clinic slated to open over the summer.
Known for its mobile units, Dr. Kelly’s convenient-access model enables them to better serve the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas, thanks to business partners across the cities.
Patriquin said the addition of the brick-and-mortar practices allows their company even more flexibility and “gross potential.” With the expandability of the new facilities, they will be able to have more doctors to accommodate pet owners across a wider geographic region.
“We’ve located them close to highways and byways so it’s relatively easy regardless of what side of the Valley you’re in,” Patriquin says. “Because we would find people would drive from Surprise all the way out to Apache Junction just to come to see us the next day.”
Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit specializes in surgical care, including spays and neuters, dental work, extractions, bladder stones, mass and tumor removals, and surgeries like soft tissue and amputation.
The company’s mobile units provide amenities including an extensive surgical prep area, large surgical areas that accommodate two doctors, a recovery area for post-operative care and a floor plan designed to house specialized services.
In this space, each doctor can perform over 18 surgeries per day.
Patriquin compares their model to traditional human medical care, like a specialist in comparison to a primary doctor.
“The trade-off is that we’re not your (general) wellness practice, we’re not doing routine six-month bloodwork, urinalysis, ear infections,” he says. “For us, the high-value health intensive services are the trade-off of doing everything.”
Unlike most veterinary practices, Dr. Kelly’s offers surgical care at affordable prices.
The company’s goal is to allow owners to receive the treatments they want without having to make the considerable financial sacrifices requested by many traditional veterinarian offices — which is timely considering pet ownership’s costliness and increasing popularity due to people working from home.
“The vast majority of the clients we see take good care of their animals, but they bristle at big numbers, is what it comes down to,” Patriquin says.
In comparison to a traditional full-service vet, Dr. Kelly’s offers surgical care at a third to a half of the typical price.
A release stated that ER vet bills ranged from $150 to $1,200 in 2022.
“When you couple the efficiency of just doing surgeries, not adding on all of the fitness and wellness exams, we can be very efficient. So we found that to be fast, we can save our time and effort by the doctor and pass those savings on to clients,” Patriquin says.
“The fact that we’re able to continue to grow, continue to provide a low-cost, affordable model, and still survive and grow as a business is a testament to not only that the clients are there but that it’s possible,” he adds. “Not everything has to be a massive four-digit number just to get routine care.”
The Patriquins founded Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit in 2016.
Kelly, a 1997 Colorado State University graduate, worked for a number of clinics over the years but always had a particular passion for surgery.
The husband and wife team sought to establish a veterinary clinic that could serve more pets, and realized that there was a big market for the affordability model they had created. Quickly, they collected a handful of locations.
Over the past seven years, the clinic has performed over 100,000 pet surgeries, assisted over 150,000 clients and served over 80 different pet rescue organizations.
The clinic saw a 60% expansion in 2022, 50% in 2021 and 160% in the previous three years.
“The industry is growing, expanding, it’s getting expensive, doctors and staff are hard to find. That’s why you can’t get an appointment at a practice,” Patriquin says. “It’s hard — they’re all full, the pet space is growing, and the demand for vets is not really keeping up. But it’s great that we’re able to help as many people as possible get the care that their pets need at the surgical level.”
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