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Dr. Chris Hoolihan
Dr. Chris Hoolihan reviews an ultrasound of a dog’s heart at his new Neighborhood Veterinary Hospital of Oceanside. Photo by Samantha Nelson
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New Oceanside animal clinic focuses on community, education

OCEANSIDE — A new, downtown veterinary clinic is striving to bring financially friendly and educational services to families and their beloved pets right here along the coast.

Over the last 20 years, Dr. Chris Hoolihan has been a staple figure in the Oceanside theatre world, playing Daddy Warbucks at least 15 times in the Star Theatre’s annual production of “Annie.”

Hoolihan and his family are big into theater and have been performing for the Star Theatre for quite some time, which was a big reason why he decided to open his new Neighborhood Veterinary Hospital in downtown Oceanside.

Previously, Hoolihan owned Pacific Beach Veterinary Clinic from 2009 to 2019. After he sold that practice, he stayed on as the medical director until March 2020 — right when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Just as the pandemic started, Hoolihan bought the Penasquitos Pet Clinic in March 2020 then later in November bought the Bonsall Pet Hospital.

Still, he wanted something a little closer to his South Carlsbad home. Due to his involvement with the Star Theatre tied with the revamping of Oceanside over the last decade, he started searching for property from South Oceanside up to downtown.

Hoolihan noticed there was a big need for a neighborhood veterinary clinic among the growing family-oriented community of downtown Oceanside.

“This is the only veterinary clinic west of the 5,” Hoolihan said about his new practice, located at 215 S. Coast Hwy. “The closest one south of us is in Carlsbad on State Street, and the nearest Oceanside veterinary hospitals are five or six miles inland.”

According to Hoolihan, a lot of clients prefer a practice that’s closer to their home and is familiar with the neighborhood.

“We’ll be their neighborhood veterinary clinic,” he said.

Having a practice in downtown Oceanside is an extra bonus for Hoolihan, who won’t have to be late to theatre rehearsal due to a long commute from work. Now, he’s only a short walk away from the Star Theatre.

As a veterinarian with a background in cardiology and specialized care, Hoolihan can offer more care options at his practice including surgery, x-rays, ultrasounds and more. He also has two on-call veterinarian surgeons who can perform orthopedic procedures on broken bones and other issues instead of having to refer them out to other practices, which he said ultimately saves money for his clients.

“Veterinary care is expensive but we’re trying to be as economical as possible for our clients,” Hoolihan said.

Hoolihan’s clinic offers an online pharmacy and other featured services for cats and dogs that include dermatology and allergies, dental care, digital radiology, emergency services, lab services, nutrition and weight management, prevention services, senior pet care, surgery and internal medicine, ultrasound and vaccinations.

“We’re about 100 percent full service as you can be,” Hoolihan said.

Together Hoolihan and Niki Avila, the clinic’s practice manager and registered veterinary technician, focus on educating their clients about how to take care of their pets.

“We’re both very strong advocates for client education,” Avila said. “I believe in his veterinary abilities and he believes in my technical abilities, and we have fun together, which makes for a really easy daily basis in a profession that can be very stressful.”

Though love for animals helped Hoolihan gravitate towards his profession as a veterinarian, his passion is helping the clients who own and take care of the pets he sees.

“My passion is helping people economically and responsibly take care of their pets,” he said. “Our mission is to give the personal attention you and your pets need.”

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