Recently opened at 5267 Linda Vista Road in a strip mall including Ballast Beer, the animal hospital is operated by husband-and-wife team Megan and Tom Gibbings. Their sphere of influence includes the Peninsula.
Megan is the family vet. Tom handles the business and marketing aspects of the animal hospital.
A third-generation Point Loman, Tom, a Point Loma High graduate, points out he's carrying on a family tradition: His grandfather, Dr. Raymond Gibbings, was the Peninsula's pediatrician in the '70s and '80s.
Megan got her career calling early on following the successful treatment of her pet by a local vet when she was about 8 years old.
“My cat's diaphragm was ruptured after being hit by a car, and my mom took him to our family vet who did a surgery and the cat lived to be 18 years old and I had him all through college,” Megan said. “I cared for him, stitched him. It's a very distinct memory I have growing up.”
Since age 16, Megan has been working in and around animal hospitals. She noted, “My goal has always been to own my own practice.”
What's different about being a vet as opposed to a human doctor?
“You have to learn about every species, everything from reptiles to birds to mammals and wildlife,” Megan said.
Of her veterinary practice, Megan said, “I'm really involved with educating people. I feel very strongly about making sure everyone understands that with animals, like humans, you need to practice preventative medicine.”
And being proactive with your pet includes adopting a holistic approach to their healthcare.
“Diet and nutrition, good-quality food, is paramount to the health of your pet,” Megan said. “Vaccinations are important as is weight. Weight is a huge indicator of their (health) status.”
West Coast Animal Hospital's core values include quality, communication, innovation and community.
Why did the Gibbings chose their present location?
“Because of this spot's great traffic,” said Tom. “We looked for several months all through Mission Valley, where there isn't an animal hospital between here and I-15. Here we can get all the customers along I-5 and I-8. I also wanted to be able to serve the Point Loma market. We're well connected within that community.”
A tour of the animal hospital facility resembles a regular doctor's office, except the jar of treats in treatment rooms contain dog biscuits instead of cookies.
West Coast offers a full range of veterinary services including lab work, dental treatment, surgery and boarding on a small scale.
Megan said dermatitis, itchy skin, is probably the condition she treats most. That's followed closely be dental work and flea prevention (needed year-round). She keeps her general veterinary practice open on weekends when “most other vets are closed.”
To advance her practice, Megan said she'd like to bring in a couple of other associates to work along with her.
“We strive to provide the best medicine for your pets,” states the animal hospital’s website. “We want to make pet care decisions easy to understand and include the client in every step of the care-giving process. We want our practice and staff to continually evolve to meet the demands of the current time, while always challenging the status quo. Through service, innovation, and education our goal is to support the veterinary community and be advocates for the animals we love.”