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December 2, 2020

Rarebreed to open Portland urgent-care clinic for pets

exterior of vacant office space with glass front Photo / William Hall An urgent-care center for animals will open in Portland next to ConvenientMD, an urgent-care center for humans.

An urgent medical care center for animals plans to open in Portland, next to a similar clinic for humans.

PetMedic Urgent Care Vet Clinic will open in March 2021 in 2,200 square feet of leased space at 191 Marginal Way, next to a ConvenientMD walk-in clinic, according to a news release.

The new clinic is a joint venture between PetMedic, an urgent-care veterinary practice in Watertown, Mass., and Rarebreed Veterinary Partners, a Portland startup that invests in and operates animal-health care facilities. Terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

The Portland PetMedic will provide care for non-life-threatening conditions and will offer same-day scheduling. Build-out of the site will begin in January, and when complete the clinic will include four exam rooms, a surgical suite, laboratory, pharmacy and space for radiology services.

But PetMedic won’t provide routine care such as wellness visits and vaccinations. The new facility is intended to complement the work of an animal’s veterinarian and alleviate overloading at hospital emergency rooms, according to the release.

In March, Rarebreed acquired Maine Veterinary Medical Center, a Scarborough specialty hospital for pets.

Rarebreed CEO Dan Espinal told Mainebiz the two facilities serve different purposes.

“The Scarborough facility is like Maine Med, equipped with large-scale equipment and specialists,” he said. “PetMedic is designed to have state-of-the-art equipment on a smaller scale, but beyond the capability of most general practices in terms of ability to triage and treat urgent and emergent cases. PetMedic will be the equivalent of ConvenientMD or AFC.”

Coincidentally, ConvenientMD abuts the future PetMedic site, in a complex owned by Earle W. Noyes & Sons.

The owner of PetMedic in Massachusetts sees urgent care for humans as a good example to follow.

"The urgent care model fulfilled a critical need in human medicine by allowing emergency rooms to concentrate on treating critical cases and allowing urgent care clinics to treat non-emergency cases in a timely manner," Nir Ben-Ari said in the release. "I spent several years as an emergency veterinarian and saw first-hand that many of these patients' needs could be met in an outpatient, urgent care environment."

In addition to ConvenientMD, PetMedic may have other like-minded neighbors. A pet supply store, Bayside Bark, is at the corner of Franklin Street and Marginal Way. Back Cove Animal Hospital opened last year nearby on Baxter Boulevard. And the area is home to a growing number of medical offices including the 10-store headquarters of InterMed P.A. 

Rarebreed was launched in October 2018 by Espinal, a Cape Elizabeth resident who previously led corporate development and strategy at IDEXX Laboratories Inc. (Nasdaq: IDXX), the Westbrook-based provider of veterinary diagnostics.

Earlier this year Rarebreed announced it had raised $40 million in equity financing, and in September received a “substantial minority investment” from a New York private equity firm.

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