WestVet Emergency & Specialty Center has started construction on a two-story, 32,000-square-foot new small animal hospital next to its existing hospital at Chinden Road and 50th Street in Garden City.
The new hospital will have five operating rooms and 16 exam rooms, and an intensive care unit designed for pets and their visiting owners. It will be bigger than a few of the human hospitals in Idaho.
Veterinary surgeon Jeff Brourman established WestVet in 2005. His 35 vets and 80 other staff now operate in an 11,000-square-foot hospital with two operating rooms and nine exam rooms. Brourman expects to add six more specialists and increase overall staffing to 200.
When the expansion was in the design phase a year ago, Brourman first thought about adding to the existing building. But the concept grew, and now Brourman expects to have only about 1,000 square feet to spare when the new pet hospital opens next November. The existing building will be sold.
WestVet treats more than 23,000 pets a year, about 90 percent dogs with the remainder an assortment of cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds and the occasional snow leopard, Komodo dragon or monkey from Zoo Boise.
“We are building this out of need, not because we want a big building,” Brourman said.
The American Veterinary Medical Association and Diane Rich, a Kirkland, Wash., dog trainer who writes a blog called Spokesdog, didn’t know for sure how WestVet would compare nationally, but they confirmed that WestVet would be large.
“Just a guess, 32,000 square feet is huge by industry standards,” said Rich, who wrote a blog in 2003 that the VCA West Los Angeles Pet Hospital at 42,000 square feet was “the largest small-animal hospital in the western United States.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association ranked Idaho at No. 9 in 2011, its most recent survey, in highest percent of pet ownership at 62 percent. Oregon and Washington were even higher than Idaho with Vermont, New Mexico and South Dakota topping the chart.
WestVet describes itself as “Idaho’s only team of board certified veterinary specialists” with 18 specialist veterinarians and 35 veterinarians overall. Specialists who are certified by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s American Board of Veterinary Specialties do an additional one-year internship and three-year residency. Among other things, there’s a dermatologist, a dentist, an ophthalmologist, and a physiotherapist.
The typical veterinary hospital has two or three veterinarians, not necessarily specialists, said Kate Wessels, senior communications manager at the American Animal Hospital Association.
WestVet draws patients from throughout southern Idaho, eastern Oregon, Utah, Wyoming and Mountain Home, owner and veterinary surgeon Jeff Brourman said.
Larson Architects of Boise designed the structure and BDA Architecture of Albuquerque, N.M., designed the veterinary space. HC Company in Boise is the general contractor.
Brourman is a familiar name to old-time symphony fans
If the name Brourman sounds familiar to long-time Boiseans, it’s because Brourman is the son of Jacques Brourman, who was music director of the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra from 1960 to 1966. But by the time Jeff was born, the family had moved to North Carolina.
Brourman attended The Ohio State University as an undergraduate and for veterinary school training and then he started his career at a veterinary specialty hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
But throughout his growing up there were visits to Idaho.
“I loved the West. I wanted to go fly fishing,” Brourman said. “I wanted to start my own veterinary hospital.”
A group of 26 Treasure Valley veterinarians calling themselves the Animal Emergency and Referral Center of Idaho (AERCI) sent a mailer to board certified veterinary surgeons across the country to recruit one to Boise. This was the ticket to bring Brourman to Boise in 2003.
AERCI didn’t hire Brourman but he started his own specialty clinic in AERCI’s building – the same structure WestVet currently occupies. AERCI was only open nights and weekends, while Brourman functioned in the same space during the day.
“It was a challenge to have two separate businesses in the same building,” Brourman said. “We acquired AERCI and rebranded it as WestVet.”
Specialties offered at WestVet: