Capitola Veterinary Hospital’s Dr. River May and staff of ten – that includes Dr. Katie Volat and Dr. Tiffany Mitchener – are on a mission to “Treat our patients and guide our clients as Family.”
As it happens, providing the best care intersects with making the lowest environmental impact. “We try hard to be green in all our business decisions,” said owner Dr. River May. “It’s really a win-win – we’re reducing the impact on the environment as well as providing better client service and patient care. For example, our digital x-rays eliminate toxic chemicals needed for processing as well as your pet’s exposure to radiation. Plus, the x-rays are higher quality and easier to share with specialists.”
Digital record keeping is another environmentally friendly initiative that benefits pets and their families. “We’re 100% paperless; all of our medical records are digital,” Dr. May pointed out. “The digital records allow us to respond to clients’ questions immediately.” The office generates virtually no paper thanks to Dr. May’s system of wet-erase communication cards that serve as message notes as well as a place to keep surgery and anesthetic notes. “We scan the surgery and anesthetic records and use the cards again. It feels strange to write on paper anymore!” Dr. May also worked for Capitola Veterinary Hospital to receive certificiation by the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program. “It took a while to be certified,” he said. Besides the switch to deigital x-rays and medical records, other green initiatives include proactive and creative recycling, retrofitting all lights to LED or high efficiency fluorescents, switching to EnergyStar computer monitors and servers, and securing a wind power purchase agreement.
They were rewarded for their efforts by the State of California this year; they became the first small business in Santa Cruz County to earn the “Cool California” award, and honor bestowed to climate action leaders. “All the business decisions we make are based on what’s best for our patients,” said Dr. May. Capitola Veterinary Hospital provides a full spectrum of services to cats and dogs: emergency and critical care (during office hours), a pharmacy, dental care, behavioral medicine, nutritional counseling, laser therapy (for treating arthritis and pain), endoscopy, surgery, X-rays and ultrasound, and stem cell therapy.
The high-level, compassionate care provided by Dr. May and his staff covers all of those services and more. For example, all X-rays are reviewed by a board-certified radiologist who offers a second opinion. Board-certified surgeons are brought in for specialty procedures such as cruciate ligament (ACL) surgeries on dogs. And they have an in-house ultrasound; a device Dr. May has extensive experience with. “It’s a much more sensitive device than x-rays,” he said. “It’s helpful to identify the presence of foreign bodies in the pets’ intestines, to diagnose cancers, and to monitor chronic disease without surgery.
“All of these things help with our goal of excellent service,” explains Dr. May. “We take care of our clients so we can take care of their pets. We always follow up after an appointment to ask if they have any questions that were not answered. We have lots of educational materials we send over email, resources to learn more about taking care of your pets. We want you to see us as a partner in improving your pet’s health.”