“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,” said 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 with his wife, Dr. Kelly Patriquin, DVM. The prices range from eCollars at $15 to leg amputation starting at $550.
The team is remodeling its new clinic with plans to complete it over the summer. While the new location is under construction, a fully operational mobile unit will be parked on the lot.
The practice also has a presence in Phoenix with five doctors across four locations, which includes a new North Phoenix location, a brick-and-mortar building in Peoria, and two mobile surgical units.
Known for its mobile units, Dr. Kelly’s model enables them to better serve Tucson and Phoenix, thanks to business partners across the areas.
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.
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 said. “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 said.
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 said.
“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 added. “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.
A 1997 Colorado State University graduate, Kelly 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 more than 150,000 clients and served nearly 80 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 said. “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.”
Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit