The Oyster Bay Animal Hospital has inhabited the same space at 64 Pine Hollow Road since 1964, but after a merger with West Hills Animal Hospital and Emergency Center in Huntington last year, the hospital reinvented itself.
Dr. Jeremy Lancer, who worked at West Hills for seven years before the purchase of the Oyster Bay location, is now one of two veterinarians primarily serving Oyster Bay along with Dr. Rebecca Lonardo. Now considered a satellite location of the West Hills facility, Lancer said the proximity of the Oyster Bay Animal Hospital to many of his West Hills patients has been a major benefit of the merger.
“A lot of my clients have followed me here, and on my day that I’m back in West Hills, I’ll see them there, of course,” he said. “We also have clients who went to West Hills that lived in this area and now they have the benefit of having a practice with the quality of West Hills that’s closer to home.”
As part of the “West Hills Family,” Lancer said, patients of the Oyster Bay Animal Hospital have their digital records on file and can now use the 24-hour emergency services offered at the West Hills location if a pet needs to be hospitalized overnight or during the hours when the Oyster Bay location is closed.
Among other benefits of the merger, Lancer said, is that the Oyster Bay Animal Hospital was able to replace outdated equipment, phones and computers throughout the hospital, which had not been replaced since the 1990s. Now equipped with a surgical suite, X-ray machines and an in-house pharmacy, the Oyster Bay Animal Hospital provides dozens of services for dogs, cats, rabbits and other small mammals, ranging from routine check-ups to advanced dental care.
Lancer said offering all of these services under one roof is both convenient and helpful for pet owners who don’t have to venture elsewhere for treatment or medicine.
“Some practices outsource their surgery or bring somebody in but we really do everything we can within the outpatient setting,” he said, “and for anything that goes beyond the ability of the practice we have the 24-hour hospital and specialty hospital in Huntington as well.”
After a year of “rebuilding and refurbishing” the practice, the hospital now has the ability to do more community outreach. Along with an open house and adoption event the hospital held in the spring, Lancer said moving forward, the practice’s outreach will also involve more participation in local events like Oyster Fest.
“My goal here is to really be integrated into this community,” Lancer said, “and because we are the original practice in the community, we have to keep the traditions of the practice while providing really advanced medicine on an outpatient basis.”
Lancer, 38, was born in Melville and currently resides in Huntington, but his journey to the Oyster Bay Animal Hospital is an unconventional one. Growing up reading the work of British veterinarian James Herriot, Lancer knew he wanted to complete his graduate veterinary studies overseas.
After graduating with a degree in psychobiology from Binghamton University in 2003, Lancer fulfilled his dream by attending the five-year veterinary program at Massey University in New Zealand. Calling the decision the best of his life, Lancer eventually returned to the U.S., where he worked at the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island before joining West Hills.
Lancer said while the job has its “ups and downs,” his work at West Hills, and now the Oyster Bay Animal Hospital, has been “very rewarding” for both him and his staff.
“Ultimately it comes down to our passion for helping animals and helping the people who take care of the animals,” he said. “It’s a difficult career, it’s a difficult job, and it can be very challenging, but when you’re able to take a patient, make them better and help the family in the process, that’s what it’s all about.”
Receptionist Lauren Pastolove, 28, of Oyster Bay, said that although she is a fairly new employee, and new to the area, she is enjoying the work.
“Everyone’s very friendly here,” Pastolove said. “It’s a great place to work, and it’s a very happy environment.”
Receptionist Julia Stanwycks, 27, of Huntington, worked with Dr. Lancer at West Hills before coming to Oyster Bay with him last year to help with staff training and procedures. Stanwycks said the fast-paced environment at West Hills did not allow for as much personal time with each patient, something the smaller Oyster Bay location helps address.
“West Hills was extremely busy so the pace that this location runs at is very good,” she said. “It means that we can have quality time with the clients and really get to know everyone on a personal level to make sure that we’re addressing everything thoroughly.”