Artemis VESS Brings Innovative 24/7 Pet Care to Bristow

| July 14, 2015 | 0 Comments | Bristow Biz
Photo by Michael Donovan

Dr. Melanie Galanis and Veterinary Assistant Kevin L. Larios tend to a patient in the new facility in Bristow. Photo by Michael Donovan

When better is possible, good is not enough.

This is the unofficial motto of the staff at Artemis Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Service, the new 24-hour emergency vet in Bristow. Armed with an innovative facility and meticulously trained staff, the practice seeks to provide a new level of patient care not seen before in the area.

The driving forces behind Artemis, which opened at the end of May, are Michael Donovan, the Chief Operating Officer, and Dr. Melanie Galanis, the head of medicine. Galanis, who graduated from Fauquier High School, realized the need for an emergency veterinary clinic in the area.

“I spent four years in Kentucky doing my internship, and when I came home I saw how much this area had boomed,” Galanis said. “There is a need for an emergency service, and we want to meet the needs of this rapidly expanding area.”

But the dream couldn’t be realized without the help of her business partner Donovan.

“Medicine is one thing, business is another,” Galanis said. “He really pushed for innovation, especially in our technology.”

Donovan’s vision is evident throughout every inch of the facility, and upon entering, it’s clear that every possible detail and situation has been considered. There are two separate waiting rooms for dogs and cats, the walls feature warm and inviting colors and even the floor is special.

“The floor was designed, among other things to help with a stressless/stree freeenvironment” Donovan said. “The special features in the hospital will help take their minds off of their pain, and give them something else to focus on.”

This kind of unexpected thinking has been applied to every surface of the clinic, such as the exam rooms, which include surfaces of varying heights and geometric decorations, because, according to Donovan, “A Cornell study shows that cats prefer horizontal lines.”

The facility is laid out in a circular pattern, where clients and staff can walk from the examination rooms to a long, brightly lit corridor housing dog runs. Each run features a glass door, and the hallway provides enough space to comfortably exercise animals on days with bad weather.

Photo by Hope Racine

One of Artemis Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Service’s innovations is an indoor, all-weather dog run. Photo by Hope Racine

At the heart of the practice is the emergency room, a vast and open space with easy access to all areas of the building. In the emergency room, all medical necessities like oxygen and crash carts are easily accessible, and an electronic whiteboard hovers over the room supplying schedules, medical information and client treatments.

Just off of the emergency area are a series of specialized rooms including a pharmacy, a lab and operating rooms. With their current technology, Galanis and the other doctors can do up to 98 percent of their laboratory tests in house.

The crown gem of the medical suite, however, is “Ruby,” a three-in-one imaging device that takes digital x-rays, CT scans and fluoroscopy.

“We call her “Ruby” because of the cost, but she’s irreplaceable to us,” Donovan said.

Because of Ruby, the staff are able to cut down on time spent running tests, and the seamless technology used throughout the practice ensures that all scans are sent directly to the patient’s file in real time.

“We’re still new, so we’re growing and adapting,” Donovan said. “We hope to be able to expand to do orthopedic or neurological surgery as well.”

According to Galanis, there are multiple goals the practice hopes to reach in the future, including adding specialty services like internal medicine, surgery and oncology.

“Oftentimes animals will come in for an emergency, but need further care from a specialists or a specialized surgery,” Galanis said. “We want to one day have that under one roof. And the hospital has been designed to meet that goal.”

For now, the Artemis staff is focused on their short term goals—specifically to maintain their high level of care and ensure that the facility offers the best experience possible to pets, clients and staff.

“We are rigorous about our training, and even before we opened we were running emergency drills,” Donovan said. “And after clients come in and we’ve handled the emergency, we always do after-action reviews to see what went well, what went wrong and where we can improve in the future.”

Donovan and the rest of the staff are also keenly aware of the needs of pet owners, as well as their pets.

“Every pet we see has an owner, and they’re always worried about what’s going to happen to their animal. We try to anticipate those needs, and educate them every step of the way to make sure they’re having the best experience they can have here,” Donovan said.

The approach appears to be working. Since opening, the facility has seen over 100 patients, and client feedback has been quite positive.

“We hear a lot that clients feel like they were taken care of almost as well as their pet,” Donovan said.

As the facility grows and adapts, these core values of care are unlikely to change.

“Yes, we’re changing, but we’re only adding onto the main values of our practice,” Galanis said. “We want to apply creative solutions to difficult situations, and most importantly be there for our patients. They can’t tell us what’s wrong, so we have to find out ourselves. And it’s a big responsibility, but one we’re dedicated to.”

Artemis Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Service is located at 7951 Gainsford Court #115 in Bristow and can be reached at 703-722-9159 or online at

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