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Animal Emergency Hospital of Grand Rapids

What to Expect During Your Visit

Last Updated January 2023

Staff With Dog

We Are Here For You!

Thank you for trusting us to care for your family member. We strive to provide compassionate care and excellent customer service. Please note, our hospital has been experiencing much higher volumes of phone calls and patient visits than is typical, resulting in significantly longer wait times. We apologize for this inconvenience. Please review the following guidance on our hospital triage process and wait times.


Animal Emergency and Specialty Hospital of Grand Rapids' veterinary assistants will prioritize patients based on the severity of their condition. Patients will be seen by a veterinarian in order of priority. There may be delays for Priority 2 and Priority 3 patients.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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

No, patients determined to be in unstable condition are moved to the front of the line. Life-saving care is initiated right away as indicated. Stabilization of critical patients will extend the wait time for patients that have less serious problems.

Why are other pets being seen before mine?

Just like a human ER, we prioritize patients that have a life-threatening situation. If you are walking in because your veterinarian could not see you in a timely manner, or your pet has a non-life threatening condition, you will likely be waiting longer than you wished. We understand it’s frustrating, and we have not forgotten you, we are not ignoring you. Our focus is on the most critical patients at that moment. If your pet’s condition worsens do not hesitate to let us know. Trust us, triage is not a game you want to win.

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. 

Why are so many pets arriving for emergency care?

With the pandemic, a few things have happened within the veterinary profession. First, pet ownership increased significantly without the veterinary practices and professionals to support the influx. Second, neighboring emergency hospitals continue to have interruptions in service. This has resulted in an even larger influx of patients into our ER. 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.

What steps have you taken to provide care for my pet more promptly?

We are a new hospital, built as a second location to the Animal Emergency Hospital of Grand Rapids, in order to accommodate more patients. We have added six doctors to our team, which has resulted in an additional 20 hours of doctor capacity per day. We have also doubled our veterinary support staff since the start of this pandemic. We upgraded our phone system to better handle to capacity of incoming calls. We have regularly adjusted our operational protocol to maximize our efficiency and improve our patient care.

Our Veterinarians