OAKLAND -- The East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals just went five-star.

Eight months of construction culminated Thursday morning with a ribbon-cutting to mark the grand opening of the Theodore B. Travers Family Veterinary Clinic -- an update that has been a long time coming.

"This is a great day for animals," Jay Hernandez, chairman of the EBSPCA board of directors, told the crowd of pets and people. Among the most dignified guests was Theodore "Teddy Bear" B. Travers -- the bichon frise whose namesake marks the new clinic's entrance.

The fuzzy, alert honoree sniffed each guest, perhaps anxious to return to the place where he received lifesaving surgery on a neck wound, owner Beth Travers said.

"It's just so exciting to see this come to fruition," said Travers, who yielded to Teddy's tugs to enjoy a patch of grass.

The 5,000-square-foot facility boasts six examination rooms equipped with computers, three wet tables, two surgery suites, an isolation room, separate entrances for dogs and cats, digital X-rays, linoleum surfaces for better sterilization, and its own pharmacy. With more than 21,000 cats and dogs having filled the clinic in 2012, the new facility, in East Oakland just off Hegenberger Road, will provide much needed space for staff and animals alike.

"We were working out of a modified garage for decades," EBSPCA President and CEO Allison Lindquist said of the gutted, 1950s-era facility currently undergoing renovations just steps away from the new clinic.

"So, this is fantastic. We currently have six veterinarians and we're looking to hire a seventh," she said. "We certainly can't shorten appointments, but, with double exam rooms and increased staff, we'll certainly increase the number of animals we see."

The $3 million structure is part of a $9 million renovation project that will double the shelter's adoption space.

The number of animals ending up in the shelter jumped 30 percent in 2008 and has continued to climb, said Laura Fulda, the group's vice president of marketing and development.

In 2012, the EBSPCA Veterinary Clinic performed 1,745 surgeries, vaccinated more than 20,400 animals, and examined 8,147 dogs and cats. Coping with such high volume requires not only increased staff and space, but also updated technology.

According to Fulda, the pharmacy's new Cubex System, a digital inventory solution for medication, could save the clinic $50,000 to $60,000 each year.

"This manages all of our medication," Lindquist said. "You have to log in with a password and a thumbprint, put in what you need, and it automatically keeps track of your inventory. When your inventory is low, this machine reorders through a service that we have. This frees up skilled staff that have been doing manual inventory to be doing what they should be doing with the animals, and will really help us avoid wastage in expired meds."

In an area where veterinary options are limited, the SPCA is the only option for many residents, Lindquist said. "Hopefully, we're proving an option for folks who don't have the ability to drive far."

While donors help keep treatment and prices in the midrange, pet surgery can be expensive, she said, "but being able to do it at a more affordable price, we're hoping that people will take advantage of that and have their animals seen, thus avoiding much bigger issues down the line."

Equipment aside, the very layout of the new clinic is a drastic improvement, Lindquist said, with a logical, structured flow to organize the hundreds of clients who walk through the doors in a given day.

Swatt Miers Architects, which includes animal care facilities among its specialties, worked with EBSPCA staff members to address all spatial issues and secure the most efficient layout. In the event that an animal must be euthanized, there is a dedicated reflection room with a private exit available for owners and pets to make their final farewells in peace and comfort.

"It's not home," Fulda said, "but we try to make it as nice for them as we can."

Theodore B. Travers Family Veterinary Clinic
East Bay SPCA's Oakland campus
8323 Baldwin St.
510-569-1606
Adoption center hours:
11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday
Closed Monday-Tuesday
Veterinary clinic hours:
By appointment only Monday-Saturday
For more information, go to www.eastbayspca.org.