Letter to the Editor: Lack of Emergency Animal Care in Door County

We are seasonal campers at Wagon Trail Campground in Ellison Bay and 2018 is our fifth camping season in Door County. My husband and I camp about twice a month, from May through October, with our three Labradors.  

On June 19, 2016, at about 9 pm on a Saturday evening, our young female Labrador had a horrible allergic reaction to a possible bug bite. Her face swelled up and her eyes were shutting! I was afraid her throat was going to close.

I called the Northern Door Pet Clinic, in Sister Bay, and the veterinarian stated that she had just finished seeing clients at her clinic and because we weren’t clients she wouldn’t see us. She told me to get on the road to the Green Bay Animal Emergency Center.  We had to drive 1 hour and 41 minutes to Green Bay for emergency veterinary care.  

During our drive from Ellison Bay to Green Bay we contacted many other veterinary clinics in Door County and they were all closed.  

Due to the skilled and urgent care administered at the Green Bay Animal Emergency Center our dog survived the incident. And, with the help of our at-home veterinarian, we now have medication for a canine allergic reaction at our camper.

I feel there is a huge problem with the lack of emergency, after-hours, veterinary care in all of Door County. Door County is advertised as a pet friendly destination – but where is the emergency veterinary care for all of the visiting pets?  

I have contacted several veterinary clinics in Door County and they all stated that they no longer offer after-hours emergency veterinary care, even for their own clients, since the Green Bay Animal Emergency Center became available. Liability issues and lack of expensive equipment were the main reasons given.

The Green Bay Animal Emergency Center has seen this urgent need for some time. The Green Bay center is the closest emergency veterinary center in all of northern Wisconsin and they have informed me that there is no emergency veterinary center in northern Michigan either!

If an animal is in critical condition sometimes they don’t make it to them. It is very sad.

And, after two years, nothing has changed. The concern is real. I was asked to write this letter about my experience for the Peninsula Pulse by an Ellison Bay native who has two dogs of her own.

These are my suggestions:  Ask the local veterinary clinics to rotate after-hours emergency care for animals; Advertise for and welcome a mobile veterinary service for all of Door County – at least during the high tourist season – especially now that Dr. Jim Johnson has retired; Inform tourists, in the main Door County publications, about the lack of emergency after-hours veterinary care in Door County and supply the address and phone number for the Green Bay Animal Emergency Center.

Tourists need to be aware of Door County’s remote location and they need to have a medical kit on hand when traveling the area with their pets.


Julie Wolf

Hartland, Wis.

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