Petco officially enters the veterinary hospital ring with Thrive

12 locations to open among California, Colorado, and Texas by January

Pet specialty retailer opens first in-store veterinary hospital in Aldine, Texas, this month (PRNewsfoto/Petco)

Petco has an answer to PetSmart’s Banfield Pet Hospitals: Thrive Affordable Vet Care clinics.

The company’s first Thrive opened inside a brand-new Petco in Aldine, Texas, last week.

Thrive offers $10 exams and “a full suite of in-store veterinary care and wellness services,” according to the company.

Twelve more Thrive veterinary hospitals will open within newly remodeled Petco stores in Texas, California, and Colorado through the end of 2017.

“While pet health and wellness are increasingly important to pet parents, navigating veterinary services in particular can be confusing and overwhelming,” said Brad Weston, Petco CEO. “Understanding what pets need at each stage of life, what constitutes routine care, urgent or specialty care, and when to seek veterinary expertise are common challenges pet parents face.

“By expanding our in-store veterinary services, Petco’s veterinary professionals can help pet parents through every step of their pets’ health and wellness needs, all in one convenient location,” he added. “Our Aldine location is the first of our new in-store hospital design, and we are excited about bringing more of these locations to the Houston market in the next few months.”

In addition to new in-store veterinary hospitals operated by Thrive and other independent veterinarians, Petco stores offer on-site vaccination and wellness clinics operated by Vetco, and digital pet health advice through PetCoach.

The 12 locations that will open Thrive clinics through January are in Austin, Dallas, Highland Village, Houston (3), Humble, and Sunset Valley, Texas; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; and Escondido, Menifee, and Redlands, Calif.


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52 thoughts on “Petco officially enters the veterinary hospital ring with Thrive

  1. We need Thrive here in Michigan! Most people can’t afford the exorbitant health care bill from high priced veterinarian clinics. We need Thrive to cut down the cost so we can take care of our pets.

    1. When your veterinarian already produces services similar to the human medical field, but at 1/6th the cost, let’s promote a subsidized corporate plan that can ensure our mom and pop local vets NEVER pay back their student loans! It’s best to not have more pets than you can afford.

    1. I am always interested in the term “limited income”. Who the heck isn’t on a limited income. It is simply a matter of what that limit is, so saying limited income to me or anyone else has absolutely NO meaning. A person with a properly structured 401K, a pension, and social security, is on a “Fixed” income, but probably brings home more than half of working America, so spare us all with teh generic term, fixed income.

      Having said that, again we come back to whose responsibility it should be to take care of an animal to which an “owner” has entered in to ownership. That owner had full knowledge of the responsibility for veterinary care. So why should the vet be cheaper? Why should the vets be free, as some suggest here? Why shouldn’t the “limited income” people simply figure out a way to pay for that $30 a month pet insurance policy. That would at least cover their pets necessary expenses. The choice to have an animal should be one in which insurance is a figured in maintenance expense for the animal. If you couldn’t afford a child, should you have one? lots and lots of irresponsible people do have children they cant afford. So tax payers pay for food stamps and welfare, and daycare, and HUD housing, and low income financial aid, and medicaid to support those children. But not such system is available to help veterinarians provide services for animals. The government still sees animals as a luxury item, and therefore all expenses associated with ownership lie with the owner. The list 0f free services for the irresponsible in this world is already astounding. America is built on the backs of the working class to support the freeloaders who make poor decisions and then play victim to everyone else’s “greed”. Give me a break already!! If you love your pet, you would have insurance on it so the choice to give that animal what it needs will NEVER be a factor for vet or owner. If you love that pet, you wouldn’t take ownership of the pet without being able to afford everything it needs. If you have an unforeseen event happen, then fine, please ask for help, but if you just took on a pet that you couldn’t afford and then are BLAMING the veterinary profession for being unaffordable, well hmmmmm, whose fault is that really?
      Pretty please go to the cheaper corporaate veterinarians who will provide you with a shoddy veterinary exam. Then when your dog or cat goes by with an undiagnosed problem because of a cheap exam, then by all means go on the internet and complain how the vet “missed” something and how all vets are useless. Funny thing is that often times those two complaints go hand in hand………see Dorothy’s comment below. Dorothy talks about going to cheaper vets and then complains because they missed things and refused to help her. Hmmmm….wonder if that would’ve happened at a vet’s office that actually cared enough to have a trained staff, have up to date medical equipment, have up to date medications and surgical equipment, and therefore yes, had to charge more………BUT aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh, could actually have diagnosed the problem and helped the dog. Yes, quality of care does come at a cost, to EVERYONE involved including the provider. That veterinarian has invested huge amounts of time and money in to being able to provide those services. But by all means support corporate America by attending these “doc in the box” type service providers. They roll through veterinarians (average tenure of a corporate vet in America is LESS than one year!!) because no vet wants to be told by a computer what services they MUST offer a patient. And these vets have SALES goals for those services!! They will get FIRED if they dont sell so many clients so many “extras” a day. So that $10 exam is going to be the least of your worries when you enter one of these establishments. Why in the world do you think they offer them?! IT is to get you in the door where they can then figure out a way to take all the rest of your money, often times on services the vets themselves don’t even think are necessary, all because a computer told them they must offer them, and a “suit” in an office in New York City told them they arent meeting their sales goals this month and are on probation. Does a dog with dirty ears need an ear swab, cytology, an ear cleaning, flush, AND ear culture, on the very first visit? No, but that is what a computer at a corporate vet will force its vets to offer you EVERY single time! IF they dont the vet gets reprimanded! I know b/c I have worked at one. It is appalling. In this ear case, your regular non corporate veterinarian would’ve charged the exam, the ear cleaning, looked at the material under a microscope, and sent you home with medication. No bacterial/fungal culture needed. No ear flush needed. You know why…….because 99% of the time that is sufficient and it just saved you $125 worth of tests. But that “doc in the box” at corporate america, had a computer tell him/her that she MUST sell you those services. So your $10 exam just cost you an extra $125. So have fun with corporate america, that is the place you people should be running FROM, not to just because they have a $10 exam. Use your head, cheaper on the front end is almost always a marketing technique to get clients in the door. The real costs are further along. Do your research.I have worked in all areas of veterinary medicine. Those vets who are willing to charge what their exam is worth are the ones you should see. They are being fair about the exam AND fair about their recommendations. ONes that are luring you in with cheap exams, I guarantee you are making up for that EVERY SINGLE TIME!! Corporations exist for one reason only…………to make money. It most definitely isnt about the health of your animal, it is about the money. Period. People who think otherwise are absolutely blind to the world!!

      1. As a veterinary student, I really appreciate reading a comment like this to help people understand how much time and money it takes to become a doctor, and to validate the rumors I have heard about corporate medicine.
        Thank you!

  2. Gee, let’s devalue the veterinarian-client bond & the benefits of thorough exams & care. We don’t need more corporate vet clinics to put even more strain on the value of veterinary care as perceived by clients.

    1. Vets. R way too expensive for people whho. Live on limited incomes. So does that mean seniors cant have a dog or cat… my dog is a rescue and she gives me such joy. I love her and she loves me…i cant afford vet care. So i try to keep her healthy

      1. I agree with you Gail!! I was given a Yorkshire Terrier as a gift while I was dealing with cancer and I’m now a Senior and even back then when I was on a limited income there we’re things that we’re to expensive but I did everything I could to keep her healthy even to the point of going without and I didn’t care because besides my bird, she got me through a lot and through the 15 yrs I had her she was like my child, as I was never able to have children, I don’t think I could of made it through a lot of things. Her and my bird gave me a reason to get up!!!!

        We need Thrive all over the country!! I was actually told that the small mole on my dogs head was nothing to worry about yet it kept growing but no Vet will would help me they just kept saying it was a mole!!!!

        Well by the time she was 15 yrs old the mole had grown to the size of a half dollar and it would scabb over then scabb would come off and always bleed. This went on for a few years and when I finally got a Vet to listen I knew it was to late. She had skin cancer and it had grown in to her brain and she was having seziors and they could operate for a $1,000. but I knew it was too late soni had to put her to sleep and to think that no Vet would do anything when I first mentioned it all because of money, it just disgusted me!!! They say that they care about the animals but that’s a lie!!!

        She was great company for me as I was alone and she gave me great comfort and loved me unconditionally as I did her!!!

        Now I have a rescue Yorkie who was a puppy mill dog for the first 7 yrs if her life. I actually opened a credit card that I didn’t need to adopt her. The rescue Dogs Heaven in Georgia were great and worked with me and did not ask a lot of money to adopt her. They me Ben kept her with her foster longer than they we’re supposed to because they cared more about the animals!!!! I had been looking for another Yorkie for over a year and wanted a puppy and in the process was scammed out of a lot of money so I looked into rescues and they wanted as much money as breeders plus you had to go through more paperwork and Vet references and other references besides house checks which I understood and I was always approved but they we’re to expensive but they would beg you to adopt and it was all about the animals yet db I would see the same dogs still at the rescues a year later!!!

        I’m also so sick of hearing, if you can’t afford an animal you shouldn’t get one. Well that’s easy to say if you don’t live alone or have no family. For some of us it gives us a reason to live and it makes us happy and less depressed!!!

        One other thing, why us it that Veterinarians and other professions can go to other countries and give their services for free but won’t do it here??? Charity begins at home and people in America deserve to get the same services for free!!!

        So don’t any Vet or person tell me its all about the animal because its like everything else today its all about the mighty dollsr!!!!

        So thank you Gail for your comment!!!


        1. Maybe you should check into what your medical bills cost at the doctors office!!! Secondly, had you invested in pet insurance, your animals care would be covered. Every time I hear some one complain about veterinary care and cost it blows my mind. I want a lump removed on myself doctor charges 30,000. Want a lump removed on my dog 250$ or high end 1000$. Hmmm let’s look at it…still cheaper than it is for me. Thirdly, the vets pockets are not lined, they barely make enough to pay back their student loans and keep their business afloat!!! Sp completely untrue, they are money hungry. Fourthly, the staff barely make ends meat techs are lucky to scrap the bottom of the barrel, this I know for sure I am 6 years into this field making before taxes 25,000 a year. To take care of people like Gail and Dorothy, who call us money grubbers and only the dollar talks…well if the dollar was talking, you would have no one willing to take care of your animals at all. So you just have a good day and complain about a field you actually dip your toe and deal with. I’m sorry you can’t afford your vet care, but if you can’t afford don’t have it. I make less than seniors on income and some how manage to afford my pets. My excuse is not that the vets are robbing me!

          1. Thank you Ashley! Vets and techs live at or just above the poverty level and yet are skilled/ highly trained…

        2. Yes because clearly the vet hospital is free, and the medications the vets buy are free, and I’m sure their staff works for free. So because you can’t afford the dog you adopted then someone else should pay for everything required to take care of that dog be abuse you deserve to get it for free. Wow. That’s about the best statement on entitlement that I have ever seen. NO ONE owes you anything in this world. So stop bemoaning the fact that vets need to get paid because at the end of the day every single thing that you want for free that vet had to pay for. And no government entity subsidizes any veterinary hospital anywhere (unlike many human hospitals). How many vet hospitals do you think could stay open in your little “ideal” world where it’s all about the animals? Until electricity, water, buildings, medication, equipment, and staff are free, then the vets will have to charge for their services. It’s not because they only care about the money, it’s because otherwise their clinic doesn’t stay open. Use your head. Charity sure is a great idea when you are on the receiving end. But when you give and give and give then at some point it becomes cost prohibitive. Jeez

          1. My wonderful vet is worth her weight in gold, she has put her heart and soul into saving the life of one of my beloved dogs……I do not regret one penny I have spent nor would ever begrudge her the right to earn a decent ,living wage. I am retired and also on a fixed income, but would never use this as an excuse to deny my animals of the care necessary to keep them healthy. They are MY responsibility and mine alone.Believe me, a corporate vet will not leave their home in the middle of the night to sit with an animal in crisis …as mine has done many times in the last year …thanks but no thanks Thrive

          2. And you should include taxes that an animal hospital must pay. Yes, taxes so 47 million people can get food stamps and Medicaid and school houses to attend and teachers. There are no food stamps or any of this for animals.

        3. So that means that veterinarians and vet techs should give their services for free? Donate their time 40 hours a week so that you can enjoy the LUXURY of pet ownership? Do you have any idea how much it costs to become a veterinarian? ~$250k depending on which schools you attend. Not to mention the cost of running a practice – overhead, inventory, electricity, insurance, the list goes on. I have 2 animals, and I afford them because I save for them. Everyone’s income is “limited” if you want to be technical, and it is no fault of the veterinary community that some people cannot afford basic care for their pets. They are simply trying to make a living and the profit margin is not what the general public makes it out to be. Without that “mighty dollar,” there would be no clinic open to help ANY animals, because like it or not, it takes profit to run any business. Just because YOU planned poorly in caring for your pet does NOT mean I or any other veterinary professional is obligated to work for free or reduced cost (you know, since we make SO much money anyway *sarcasm*). ?

      2. I agree, which is why people on “limited incomes” should not own animals, or if they do should invest in a $30 a month pet insurance policy that will cover their pets for needed services. Everyone should be able to enjoy the company of an animal, but owning an animal is a LUXURY!! It is not in fact a necessary part of someone’s life in most cases (service animals excluded from this statement). So when making a decision to own an animal, the people that profess to “love these pets” and who accuse vets of only caring about the money, should really look at who is being selfish. It isn’t the vets who have to pay for all the medications, or the staff who barely scrape by, it is the selfish animal owner who knowingly entered in to a situation that they cant afford, and have now subjected an innocent animal to little to no health care b/c they never shouldve gotten them in the first place. People need to open their eyes, stop being entitled, and do what they can to support the choices they make in life. Getting a little help to get by once in a while is fine, but depending on it to make your own life work permanently is an entirely different story. Vets do so much pro bono already that clients never know about, it is a sad day when I hear my beloved profession or dedicated colleagues talked about as if they were in corporate America at the top of some ponzi scheme. These are highly trained medical professionals that are paid pennies on the dollar compared to their human medicine counterparts, and yet put up with so much abuse it is absolutely appalling. The veterinary field has a higher rate of suicide than almost any other profession out there, due to overwhelming debt, lack of financial security, and complete lack of appreciation by clients who seem to think that because they live on a fixed income or limited income that veterinarians should give them everything that had to be paid for up front (like medications, staff, equipment, etc) for FREE. Otherwise, it is perfectly acceptable to call that vet a money grubbing, no good person who doesnt care about the animals at all. Horrible horrible world we live in when clients think that the vet is the bad guy, and take no responsibility on themselves that they chose the animal and the costs that go along with that ownership all of their own free will. Terrible terrible people that would stoop to say such things.

    2. Right and I saved a dog on the street that no one wanted and our shelter is full of unwanted dogs but I am on SSDI and I get 1500 mo. I cannot afford the high cost of veterinary care. Corporate veterinary care is ridiculous just like it is for other things they get involved with such as “privatization of prisons.”

    1. I have multiple cats. It’s expensive to vet them. I have dealt with the same issues you have. If these health concerns, I recommend fish mox. It’s a human pharmacutical grade amoxicillin capsule. 25mg per dose for the kitties twice a day. Buy triple antibiotic eye ointment for the pink eye. Turmeric wash works too.

    1. Do you really not understand that the $10 exam is just to get you in the door and that the money is made up elsewhere? Wow, I love that people think they NEED corporate medicine. Ridiculous. Corporations exist for only one purpose in this world, to make money!! So why in the world would this not be glaringly apparent when it comes to corporate veterinary medicine? The higher up in NYC running the whole show in St Charles will NOT care about your animal. HE/She will require every single veterinarian to meet certain SALES goals every single day, week, and month without regard for the animals wellbeing or clients pocketbook. Do you honestly believe that this is what you NEED? Because WOW, what a sad day for our species if you think that corporations are the wave of the future. Your hometown vet that is honest about the cost of the exam, will be honest about the necessary tests required for your pet and honest about the treatments for your pet because they are not trying to “make up” the lost money from the examination. Why can people not see this? Uggh. Sickening.


    1. Where I live, whether rabies titers are up to par or not pets are required an annual rabies vaccination. Why risk with a disease that has a 100% fatality rate? And, no sorry, rabies vaccines do not provide life long immunity. But obviously your google research trumps someone who worked for 8 long years to educate themselves on how to protect animals.

  4. Wow,
    I agree with above comments made.
    Let’s not subside cheap SHITTY veterinary care people!!!
    10.00 for an exam???!!! Seriously, you get what you pay for here!
    For the constuancy of people who think this is a good idea, think again!
    Would you put any trust in a Walmart type facility providing quality medical health care for your human loves ones? Same comparison here. Worth repeating:
    SHITTY Veterinary medicine should not be embraced or patronized.

    1. Hell kaiser offers that type of SHITTY $10.00 servise for humans alls you get is try not thinking about the pain move around get OTC asprin, tylenol for avhes and pains even 5 parts water to 1 part chlorex/bleach for foot care to apple cider for skin care and no one gives a shit!

    2. I don’t pay any exam fee at the vet I take my animals to and it is not shitty. They simply care more for the animals than the wealth. They still do make money and they get more than enough business but an operation at a vet that told my mom 3000 for it cost her 775 there and the dog is great now. Not all things that are cheap are shitty. So bcz I only paid 35 for my dog at a shelter she is shitty? Or because I found my cat and took him to the stray and feral clinic for a neuter the next day for 25 that he can still procreate? Not hardly. I actually just paid 180 to have a cat spayed and the incision got infected because they used real stitches and I just watched a feral kitten pulling on the glue of her fresh incision that is now healed a week later and I paid a mere 37.50 for that one. Price doesn’t mean shit always, nor does a high cost make anything better.

      1. I guarantee you that after 25 years in veterinary medicine that you DID NOT get the same surgery for 775 that you were quoted 3000 for by another Vet. For example a knee surgery. There are several kinds. Some work more often and are a lifelong repair versus the cheaper version that had a higher incidence of breakdown earlier in life and/or complications requiring second surgery. But you pay more for the better option. Also if you are going to a specialist versus a general practitioner. You are paying for 8 extra years of study and all of the extra knowledge that comes with it. No one said your dog is less valuable bc it cost $35. But I guarantee you that your $775 surgery wasn’t where near the same quality as the $3000 surgery but you can go on thinking it was because your dog seems fine now. Luckily you haven’t had issues yet or the vet cutting the corners to reduce the price didn’t effect your pet. But I promise you that vets that do reduced price surgeries are cutting corners!!! I’ve seen it time and time and time again. And the client is none the wiser and just Love the cheaper vet. Yeah keep on loving them. And they will keep cutting corners. They don’t cost as much bc they are practicing quality medicine. You are very obviously not qualified to evaluate it or you would never have posted this comment. Period end of story

      2. I totally agree. Look at Dr. Jeff he’s great and is low cost with a lot of people who have seen him for years and is also requested by people who are not in Denver.

  5. Wow,
    I agree with above comments made.
    Let’s not subside cheap SHITTY veterinary care people!!!
    10.00 for an exam???!!! Seriously, you get what you pay for here!
    For the constituancy of people who think this is a good idea, think again!
    Would you put any trust in a Walmart type facility providing quality medical health care for your human loves ones? Same comparison here. Worth repeating:
    SHITTY Veterinary medicine should not be embraced or patronized.
    By the way, if you think Petco is in business to SAVE you money, you are very wrong. As you “save” $$$$ on the 10.00 “exam” your petime just received, they will nail you for the cost of that cute pet sweater you think you have to have for precious Fluffy.
    I’ve walked out of Petco one too many times shaky my head at the horrible misinformation they give people regarding their pets a’s well as their overpriced everything in the store!

  6. Thrive Affordable Vet Care has been my vet of choice for over two years. From their beginning in Round Rock Texas this amazing company has helped me provide vaccinces and services to my fur babies that I couldn’t afford.

    Radiograph’s stating at $75 for the first view and $25 for an additional view are unheard of. Thrive invests in the care of the patient, not the care of the service.

    Thrive Affordable Vet Care is a veterinary clinic that offers complete medical at an affordable cost.

    1. “Affordable” is subjective. It’s also a sales pitch. Products, labor, overhead, taxes, bookkeepers and accountants, banking costs to do business, license fees, continuing education, loss of expired meds, medical records, medical waste disposal, bounced checks all cost money. A practice either does it right or they cut corners or they go bankrupt if they don’t charge enough to cover their expenses and make a profit. Most people pay more for an automobile repair or to have an AC or plumbing problem fixed than they pay for veterinary expenses. Sad that they don’t manage their lives and finances appropriately to budget for their pet’s veterinary needs.

  7. PS: I now if I can do things naturally I do!!!

    I have a book on how to treat animals for a specific problem before going to an expensive Vet. and the treatments work????

    So not everything a Vet tells you how to treat your pet that has certain problems like fleas and hot spots can be treated naturally at times!!! I’ve seen it for myself!!!

    1. I live in Massachusetts and as for my dog Molly Grace, she could not “thrive” without her hometown Vet at Riverlin Street Animal Hospital, Millbury Mass. I wouldn’t take her anywhere else. I expect to pay my Vet, as I expect to pay for any other survice.They have bills to pay and food to put on there tables too!

  8. Remember the phrase “you get what you pay for”. I’m a vet tech and I can tell you that the typical small animal hospital operates under the same economic principles as, say, an auto mechanic. Its a small business that is subject to vagaries of market forces. We charge what the market will bear. We are having a problem with being undersold by online pharmacies that get their inventory from China or God knows where else. Clients often say that their MD is less expensive. BS. Being without real insurance and having to pay doctor bills out of pocket I can attest to the falsity of that statement. Veterinary care costs about 1/10 what human care costs its just that the the lions share of your doctor’s bill is paid by insurance. This is one reason health care is such a big issue. Our hospital had to drop our health care when Obamacare started. Insurance was suddenly too much of an expense for a small business to stay afloat. Petco offers $10 exams now but don’t expect that to continue. Our clinic is staffed by college educated DVM’s and Registered technicians who are highly skilled. This costs money but the product you get is superior to your “low cost” clinic where corners are cut by hiring entry level staff and re-using equipment. It’s getting hard to keep these small businesses running. Petco is not helping. But that means we just have to find other ways to compete. Again, remember, like any other business, you get what you pay for.

    1. This is so incredibly untrue. I am a Thrive employee, a RVT of 14 years and I work with an incredibly talented and experienced staff. We don’t cut corners or reuse things. If this was true I wouldn’t work there

  9. I just want to point out that Pet insurance is not cheap if you want the Pet to be fully covered. As your pet ages the fee increases. It’s required to pay in full and then submit for reimbursement, money has to be available from somewhere. Unexpected illnesses like cancer can cost $3000 – $10,000.
    No one should be shamed for not being able afford vet care and seek out an affordable way to care for their pets. Isn’t that everyone’s goal?

    1. Thank you for not shaming someone like me who struggled with veterinary care. I have to pay rent car insurance groceries, and I do all of this with 1550 mo. Thank you again.

  10. Thrive services are NOT meant to be pet insurance! The fine print even says so!! It’s a discount program intended to augment regular pet insurance & directs you to your “own” veterinarian for treatment procedures & diagnoses. Please, people, have your own vet & regular insurance… Don’t assume Thrive discounts will apply to everything!