It has been nearly 10 months since we adjusted the operations of the MU Veterinary Health Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our committed and compassionate team has continued to provide the highest-quality care to patients, large and small, throughout this stressful time. We appreciate your trust in us and thank you for your patience.
The measures we have taken to maintain the health and safety of our personnel and clients have allowed the VHC to remain open to provide critically needed services. Like many veterinary hospitals across the country, we are experiencing both an exceptionally high caseload and significant staffing shortages. These factors inevitably result in communication challenges and increased wait times. Therefore, we would like to provide you with some information to help prepare you for your next visit.
Pull up, call up, and mask up! The VHC continues to provide curbside service. Only VHC employees are permitted in the building. This means that when you arrive, you will park in a dedicated Client Parking area and call us to let us know of your arrival. The appropriate personnel will be notified. There may be a wait, but someone will come to your car to speak with you, and then they will bring your animal into the hospital for care. Our employees and students are required to wear masks at all times. We require that clients also wear a mask while interacting with our doctors, staff and students. Please have your mask on when personnel approach your car.
Emergency Service Operations
The Veterinary Heath Center has a system in place to triage emergency and critical care cases during extraordinary circumstances, such as the current spike in community COVID cases and necessary quarantine of employees who have had potential exposure. This is a tiered system that is adjusted daily depending on our current caseload and staffing levels and is described below. We encourage you or your veterinarian to contact us prior to bringing your pet to the ER to determine whether your pet will be able to be evaluated.
Importantly, we will not turn away any patient that is in distress. We will always triage any animal that is presented to us and decide if the illness is life-threatening. We appreciate your understanding and assistance during this time, and we hope that we can resume operations per our normal capacity soon.
- Level 1: The emergency service is operating normally. Critically ill patients will take priority over stable patients, but all patients are expected to be seen.
- Level 2: Patients presenting for chronic illness will not be seen. Patients presenting for minor complaints and whose care could be postponed for a visit with their primary care veterinarian the following day (e.g. ear infections) will be seen, but will likely have a substantial wait time (five to six hours).
- Level 3: Only cases that would die or suffer significant morbidity will be seen. Patients in this category have conditions that are expected to or have the potential to worsen significantly by the following day. Examples include toxicoses and traumas.
- Level 4: Only true life-threatening conditions will be seen. At this level, the emergency service will be closed to all emergencies unless the patient is expected to die without being seen. These cases include, but are not limited to, bloat, sepsis, urinary obstructions, collapse and respiratory distress.
We want each patient to receive optimal focus and care. Every one of our specialty services are heavily booked, some for weeks and even months out. For non-emergencies, “squeeze-ins” are not possible, as those would result in patients that have already been waiting to be pushed out further. We know you are anxious for your pet to receive care, and we are seeing cases as quickly as we are able.
Reception & Call Center
Please call and please be patient. Because nearly all communication with clients now happens over the phone, check-in and check-out processes take longer. Our skilled office staff serve clients as efficiently as possible. However, sometimes the phone lines are completely tied up. If you have difficulty getting through on your first call, please try again. Also, keep in mind that non-urgent phone calls slow client service even further, so please be patient after notifying us of your arrival. Be assured our team is working hard to ensure every patient receives the care they need in a timely fashion.
Our financial policies remain the same. For any estimate exceeding $300, we require a minimum deposit of 50 percent of the high end of the estimate. Payment of the full balance is due at the time your pet is discharged. Payment by credit card over the phone is easiest and fastest; however, we accept cash and checks.
We understand these times are difficult and stressful for everyone, and that current procedures can result in frustration. These protocols are in place to ensure that we can continue to provide veterinary services throughout the pandemic. We look forward to the time when it is safe to resume normal operations and allow clients back into our building for face-to-face interactions. Until then, we appreciate your understanding and your kindness to our employees and students, who have dedicated their lives to caring for your animals.