By Tom Layman, Director of Communications, Veterinary Urgent Care Center

“How quickly can you get to my hospital?”

Those were the words that no pet owner wants to hear. But that’s exactly the words that were coming from Dr. Christie D’Andrea, CEO of Veterinary Urgent Care Center, when we discussed the discovery I made when my dog, Reggie, got into a bottle of ibuprofen. 

Reggie was about 6 months old when he took a pill bottle that I left on the coffee table and shredded it to pieces with his puppy teeth when I was at the gym downstairs in my complex. When I came back upstairs, it looked like a crime scene…plastic everywhere, ibuprofen liquid gel tablets all over the ground, and a very curious puppy staring me in the face. 

As a new pet owner I had no idea that ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), can be poisonous to dogs due to their inability to metabolize it effectively. Even small doses of ibuprofen can lead to severe gastrointestinal issues in dogs, including ulcers, stomach perforation and bleeding. In more serious instances, it can be fatal.

Basically, time is of the essence when you suspect your dog may have ingested ibuprofen. So, off we went to Veterinary Urgent Care Center, then in Quincy, on a Sunday morning. Had I waited longer, Reggie could have started to have symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and maybe even gone into kidney failure. Without quick medical intervention, my journey as a dog dad would have lasted approximately 6 months. 

Urgent care was a great resource for us in our time of need. We were able to get right into VUCC Quincy. Dr. D’Andrea and staff induced vomiting and took Reggie’s vitals and ran diagnostics to get me ready for a trip to the critical care unit. As an urgent care facility, VUCC is not open 24/7, but they were able to do all the tests and coordinate with the local 24/7 emergency medical center to give Reggie the best chance we had at a full recovery. 

After two very long days, and trust me there is no worse feeling than walking into your apartment with a leash and no dog, Reggie was back home and resting comfortably. The damage that could have been done internally could have led to his digestion issues that we still monitor daily. But that pales in comparison to what could have been if we waited and did not take action. 

It’s important for new and current pet owners to understand the dangers of everyday things around the house. Mistakes happen and education is so important for folks to learn, both what precautions that can be taken and where they can go to receive the best care and hopefully have the best results. 

I can honestly say that the team at VUCC saved my dog that day. And if you need it, urgent care can be a great tool for you too. 

If your pet needs to see a veterinarian today, the team at Veterinary Urgent Care Center is available 7 days a week in Braintree, Plymouth, Easton, Saugus, Dedham and East Providence, RI. Book online or view our hours before you walk-in at

*Tom Layman is the Director of Communications at VUCC. His experience happened before he worked for the company.