AEC Corona Virus Update

*** General Corona Virus Notes (updated 7/14/21) ***

As of 6/22/21, MIOSHA issued new COVID-19 emergency rules which rescinded the last rules issued on 5/24/21. The new rules lift all COVID related restrictions in non-healthcare workplaces. Healthcare employers still must comply with the latest rules, which mirror the federal OSHA temporary emergency standards which continue to call for use of masks, social distancing and other special precautions.

At AEC, we are going to continue to move cautiously with regard to scaling back COVID related changes. As long as trends for COVID-19 infection rates and positive test results continue to decline, and so long as effectiveness of vaccinations against variants is maintained, we are planing for a "soft open" later this summer or early fall that will begin to allow a limited number of emergency clients into the building when appropriate.

We urge our clients for continued patience and understanding relative to the safety procedures we have put in place. Our hospital and staff have been deeply and personally impacted by COVID, and the heightened safety standards we utilize are a choice we make based on both personal experience and the recommendations from CDC, OSHA, MIOSHA and the AVMA.

Please also be aware that during the pandemic and to this day, the veterinary industry overall is experiencing an EXTREMELY high case load with a shortage of personnel. This could almost be described as a "perfect storm" situation: many families decided to become new pet owners during the pandemic; many people did and during the summer continue to do more activities with their pets, which contribute to increased injury situations; while at the same time, many day practice veterinarians were initially forced to stop seeing customers during the pandemic and now have reduced hours. The outcome is a huge surge in visits to emergency hospitals like ours, and a lag in preventive visits that contribute to more severe problems. Even after regular veterinarians re-opened, many lost staff and have less availability and /or refer their more complicated cases to emergency veterinarians because of their limited resources. On the staffing side, some veterinary technicians and support staff changed careers or stayed home. Some technicians and doctors are too "burned out" from the caseload or dealing with inappropriate client behavior (and fewer individuals are choosing to do emergency veterinarian medicine for these same reasons). When you add other factors such as delays caused by seeing cases curbside, communication via phone or other technology and the "normal" challenges of summer always being a peak period for emergency veterinary care, all the above translates into higher wait times and delays. We understand how stressful this can be! Please trust that we do not want anyone waiting any longer than they have to, but we kindly ask for your patience. We are doing our very best to continue to provide top-notch care for all of our patients and we are constantly working to make improvements to better satisfy the increased need for patient care. We ask that you anticipate and be prepared for delays.

Although our hospitals are always open 24/7, please be aware that from time to time we may need to pause intake of non-critical patients. If you are concerned enough about your pet to call and ask questions about them, we typically recommend that they should be seen by their regular veterinarian or that you go to an emergency veterinarian if a situation can't wait. Unfortunately, there is no way to control the frequency or volume of pet emergencies other than to encourage pet owners to avoid potentially hazardous situations, but accidents and emergency's still happen. At AEC, we will see cases by order of severity. If there is a life threatening situation or very urgent case we will see that patient ahead of other stable patients - even those that have been waiting. There are times when the number of cases waiting to be seen and the number of already hospitalized patients we are treating are near the physical limit for which we can provide appropriate care: at such times we will notify any new clients that we have "paused new patient intake" and depending on what is going on with your pet we will either recommend that you try to call us back in another 2-4 hours or we will try to refer you to another emergency hospital near you that may be able to see you more quickly than we can. If you have a life threatening emergency and we are your closest or only option we will consult our doctors to determine the best course of action. We try to pause new patient intake soon enough that we still reserve enough capacity to accommodate this type of situation, but if other nearby emergency hospitals are closed, we simply cannot take on all of their critical cases by ourselves.

One last update note - please do not claim to have a life threatening emergency with your pet or falsely state that your pet's condition is worsening because you do not want to wait. We need to utilize all of our resources in the most efficient way possible if we are to help care for as many patients as possible. Unfortunately, we have had some client's try to "hack the system" to try to be seen sooner, and all this does is create more delays for everyone and potentially puts someone else's pet at risk. We are all part of a community of pet lovers and need to have a shared understanding of the wait situation and current demand for veterinary services. Our hope is that we would all have the desire to help each other get through things together, and this means that we expect everyone to be respectful and kind to each other during the process. If you are unable to do that, we will ask that you please go somewhere else.

For additional information about your visit at AEC, please see refer to explanations on our FAQ page: Frequently Asked Questions.

*** 1/7/2021 update for AEC NOVI location ***

We are back!

Animal Emergency Center - Novi has re-opened on Thursday 1/7/2021 at 7:00 am following a temporary closure due to COVID exposure (this is one day later than anticipated).

There were several of our staff that were exposed and tested positive for COVID, but most everyone has had fairly mild symptoms and is doing well. Thank you for your kind thoughts and continued support. We look forward to being able to get back to helping your clients and their pets!

A word of special thanks to the neighboring emergency clinics and our AEC Rochester hospital location for their efforts over the holiday weekend and past several days. It has been a very challenging situation and we appreciate everyone’s efforts.

Dr. Heather Robertson

*** 12/30/2020 update for AEC NOVI location ***

Unfortunately, several of the staff members at our Novi hospital location were exposed to a COVID positive employee in the workplace. We have therefore made a decision to temporarily close our Novi location in accordance with CDC and current State of Michigan guidelines.

We are well aware of the impact that this decision will have on the neighboring veterinary community, in particular for this holiday weekend. However, to ensure the safety of our staff (and in consideration of the limited resources available following this exposure) we believe the decision to close our Novi facility is the best choice for all concerned.

Cases that are currently hospitalized will continue to be monitored and treated until they are discharged. We are not accepting any new patients at our Novi location until our planned re-opening on January 6th, 2021. We will have a doctor and small crew working at Novi to help re-direct customers and answer customer calls.

Our Rochester location will continue to be open. We will post an update when we are able to confirm our Novi re-opening date. Thank you for your continued support of Animal Emergency Center as we all work together to navigate these trying times.

Dr. Heather Robertson

*** General Corona Virus Notes (updated 1/7/21) ***

Many questions about your visit at AEC may be covered on our FAQ page: Frequently Asked Questions. For a summary of changes related to Coronavirus, please review the following:

AEC recognizes the concerns that our clients have regarding the recent COVID-19 outbreak. We assure you that we are doing all we can to maintain full emergency veterinary services while also keeping our clients and staff safe. Our clinic has made every effort to remain open 24/7 and will provide the same excellent medical care for your pets during these uncertain times. We will do everything in our power to keep ourselves and our clients healthy, and you can help:

Relative to coronavirus, our goal is to limit physical contact with others and enable as much “social distancing” as practical during a pet emergency. We have adapted how we do certain things. You will see us wear additional protective gear in some situations. We will communicate almost exclusively by phone rather than in person. Here is an updated list of changes we are implementing in an effort to help minimize potential virus exposure for both customers and employees:

  • We are experiencing a very high volume of patient cases. Other veterinary hospitals have been unable to meet current demand, and many cases are being routed to emergency hospitals like ours. Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to expedite your visit, but there will be longer wait times. Please be prepared to wait at your vehicle and make sure you have a charged phone / charger, etc.
  • The door to our hospital is locked unless we are admitting a patient. Unfortunately, we cannot allow people to enter the hospital to use the lobby or restrooms (neighboring facilities are available).
  • As of 1/7/2021 and until further notice, we are no longer seeing ferrets at either AEC hospital location.
  • You must call ahead to let us know you are coming. We are asking clients to first check‐in online by going to (or click the blue or red 'Check-In' tabs on our website for the location you are at). The check-in form provides us with all your contact information and tells us about your pet and their condition. Please verify that your phone number and email address are entered accurately to help avoid communication problems. You can complete the check-in form before or after you arrive, but please only submit the check-in form one time to avoid confusion or delay us from seeing your pet.
  • When you have arrived in the parking lot, please call or text us to notify that you are here. We will coordinate when you are to come into the front vestibule to transfer your pet to us. Please be patient, as we will stagger when we bring clients to the vestibule. Please understand that we will bring the most critical patients into the hospital first.
  • Please expect that we will ask you if anyone in your home has had a fever, may have been exposed to someone with COVID19, or if anyone you interact with are exhibiting any signs of sickness (i.e. anyone you or a family member may work with that has been identified as a potential risk). We will still see your pet if someone in your household may be at risk, but we need to know about this so that we can take extra precautions to protect our staff.
  • For a very severe case (hit by car, seizure patient or difficulty breathing) we still need you to call ahead and notify us when you arrive. We will have staff ready to meet you at the vestibule to immediately transfer your pet into our treatment area. We will ask you to return to your vehicle to wait for the doctor or a technician to call you with an update ASAP.
  • When you are transferring your pet to us, please alert us if your pet can be aggressive or has any special behavior issues. Please keep any and all personal belongings with you. We will return your leash and cannot accept toys, blankets, etc. If your pet is in a carrier, we will ask you to transfer them into a temporary carrier we shall provide.
  • Our doctors and technicians will communicate with you about your pet over the phone while you wait. We will do our best to give you an estimate regarding time required for any diagnostics or treatments, and to coordinate a staggered discharge time. If your pet requires hospitalization, our doctor will coordinate that plan with you. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to allow visitations for hospitalized pets.
  • If a pet is to be euthanized, we will only allow 1 or 2 specific family members to be present. We will coordinate when you are able to enter the building and take you directly into an examination room. Visitors will be asked to answer a questionnaire on COVID-19 and agree to allow us to take your temperature in the vestibule before entering the building. You will be escorted to an examination room and must remain in the room only. The rest of the AEC facility if closed to the public (no use of lobby or restrooms is permitted).

We want everyone to know that our staff understands how difficult some of these changes can be. While less than ideal in many situations, these changes will help mitigate potential exposure, and that is everyone’s concern. Please know that AEC is also taking additional precautions that you may not see, including sanitization of frequently touched surfaces multiple times throughout each 24‐hour day. We will send staff members home if they exhibit viral symptoms or may have been exposed to someone that has tested positive for the coronavirus. We honor all Executive orders from the Governor of the State of Michigan as well as CDC and OSHA guidelines for maintaining a safe workplace.

All these measures can take extra time, and if anyone is sick, it may leave us short staffed. Regardless, we will do our best to navigate the situation. We ask for your patience while we do our best to safely care for your pet and reduce the potential to spread coronavirus. Again, please be aware that many other veterinary clinics and hospitals have reduced their hours or have become backlogged with patients, so they are sending more cases to emergency hospitals like ours to be seen. When we are "busy" there could be a substantial wait for new cases, so please prepare accordingly.

Thank you for again for your cooperation and your patience!

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