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COVID-19

Dear Pet Parent,

Thank you for trusting us to care for your family member today. We strive to provide compassionate care and excellent customer service. Our intent of this letter is to communicate with you that our hospital has been experiencing much higher volumes of phone calls and patient visits than is typical. This has resulted in significantly longer wait times. We apologize to you for this inconvenience. We wanted to answer some frequently asked questions surrounding the wait time.

Please know that we care very much. Your patience during this time is very appreciated.

Sincerely,

Dr. Marilyn Brink, DVM & Medical Director

Zennie Seguin, Hospital Manager

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR VISIT 

Check-In 

  1. Mobile Check-In is available and recommended. Text “AESH” to 34947 and follow the on-screen prompts. Make sure your phone is not in “silent mode” and that you opt-in to receive text messages. You will receive a text message when it is time to bring your pet in.

  2. Please let us know right away if you are exhibiting signs of respiratory illness (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath) or if you have had exposure to COVID-19. We will provide the same care for your pet regardless. We just need to take extra precautions to keep our staff safe and healthy.

  3. We anticipate your visit to take several hours so please expect to remain at home for the remainder of your pet’s visit. We plan to have the vast majority of communications with you over the phone.  The primary exception to this will be for euthanasia. Clients electing for euthanasia of their pet will be escorted to a private (well-sanitized) exam room. 

Medical History & Physical Examination 

  1. After your pet is brought into the hospital and you have checked in your pet, you are welcome to leave as long as you are available by phone.  We promise to communicate with you as soon as we possibly can. After your pet has been assigned a doctor, typical wait times are 2-4 hours. Keep in mind that we are always seeing the critical patients, so at peak times, wait times can be extended 8 hours or more. We encourage you to head home after drop off, unless otherwise directed by our staff. We are willing to work with you if it's after midnight to pick up your pet in the morning if your pet is stable, and we've delivered the recommended care. 

  2. If the mobile check-in was not completed, one of our veterinary assistants will call you first to discuss your pet’s medical history. This information will be shared with the veterinarian. 

  3. A veterinarian will follow up with you over the phone or by text message to discuss your pet’s physical exam findings, diagnostic results (if pre-approved), and recommendations for care (diagnostics and/or treatment).

Diagnostic Tests & Treatments 

  1. If diagnostic tests were preauthorized during admission and performed, one of our team members will call to go over these results once they are complete. We will send these results (and the full medical record) to your primary care veterinarian, but are happy to also email all diagnostic results to you directly upon request. We will discuss treatment recommendations with you at this time. 

 

If Your Pet Needs Hospitalization 

  1. We normally allow you to visit your pet in the area where they will stay during hospitalization. Because we are limiting traffic through our hospital, we have changed this policy.

  2. We like to be in contact with owners of hospitalized patients during the daytime. You can get an update on your pet anytime from the nurse anytime.

  3. It is best to text for an update and a DVM will be able to follow up over the phone if needed. Please note that during peak times, the line to speak with a veterinarian is long. The vet will call you back once they are able. We appreciate your patience and understanding while we care for you and your pet.

Finance

  1. Payment is due at the time of service.

  2. We process payment over the phone whenever possible. Credit cards are easiest to process this way. We will make other arrangements for other payment methods.

  3. We understand that emergency care is never planned for so we do our best to openly communicate with you about the financial aspect of your pet’s medical care. One of our team members will call to communicate the financial aspect of the care recommended by the veterinarian. We can email you a copy of this treatment plan at any time. 

  4. We accept cash, personal checks (up to $500), and all major credit cards. We also offer payment plan options through CareCredit (medical credit card) and Scratch Pay (a loan program that is not based on credit). These programs break up the cost of your pet’s medical care over weeks or months depending upon the program selected. Let us know if you have interest in one of these options anytime.

Why can’t we come into the hospital to wait with our pet?

Patient beds and kennels fill every available nook and corner of our hospital. Our lobby, exam rooms, and even doctor and administrative offices have been converted into patient wards.

We miss seeing your faces, and we know your desire to accompany your pet during a stressful emergency. There just simply is no room at this time.

Will my pet have to wait in line for care even if they are critical?

No. All patients are assessed by a triage nurse for vital signs and have an exam by the doctor upon arrival. Patients determined to be in an unstable condition are moved to the front of the line.

Life-saving care will be initiated right away as indicated. Stabilization of arriving critical patients does extend the wait time of the patients that have less serious problems.

If my pet is stable and does have an extended wait, where do they wait?

Most of our pet parents are not on-site, they are waiting at home. So while it may sometimes seem calm on the exterior of our building or in our lobby, our ICU is in full swing and our team is working tirelessly to save a life. So if your pet is stable enough to be waiting, as difficult as it is, that is a good thing.

We now offer ER Express, a mobile check-in process. The virtual patient queue allows clients to wait off-site until notified to bring their pet in for examination and treatment.

Once you are invited in for care, you can expect the visit to take between 2 and 4 hours. Please return home during this step in your pet's care. Dogs are safely housed in a stainless-steel run or kennel. They are provided food (if appropriate), water, a cot, and walks outside. Cats are separated from the dogs in a cat-designated room. We provide them with food (if appropriate), water, and a litter box.

What you don't see:

  • On any given day our hospital is seeing on average 60 emergencies ranging from oxygen-dependent patients, vehicular traumas, emergency surgeries, toxicities, and patients who are transferred from other hospitals. That’s 145% more patients than before the Covid-19 pandemic. We are actively and aggressively seeking doctors and support staff amidst a nationwide shortage of qualified candidates in the veterinary industry. The pandemic sparked a dramatic increase in pet adoptions and there aren't enough veterinarians to meet the demand. That said, our hospital has increased staff by 200% and brought on 6 more doctors since the beginning of the pandemic. Exhaustion, mental and emotional fatigue as we are trying our hardest to help every pet to the best of our abilities. We put our all into our patients, so when we read harsh criticism in a negative review, it stays with us more than you’d think.

  • Neighboring emergency hospitals continue to have interruptions in service, causing a large influx of patients into our ER. This has resulted in even longer wait times. Our team is committed to staying open to serve our community. Unfortunately, this commitment has resulted in extended times, but we promise to never turn your family member away.