In 1977 a dedicated and visionary group of veterinarians founded the Animal Emergency Center, a center designed to treat after hour emergencies by creating a fully staffed emergency medical facility. These doctors realized that that rapid growth of the animal population along with broad technological advances, demanded a state of the art facility that would address the urgent and critical needs of their patients. The Center became the first hospital dedicated to small animal emergency care in the United States.
In 1984 Dr. Michael Palescandolo became the Director of the Animal Emergency Center and guided the center to the vanguard of emergency/trauma medicine and surgery. The Center grew rapidly and was expanded in 1996. The Center began to add board-certified specialists in 1997 and, as a result, became a true 24/7 medical facility for animals.
In 2003 Animal Emergency & Referral Center partnered with Veterinary Referral Centre in Little Falls and this led to the development of the Animal Eye Center of New Jersey, a facility dedicated to veterinary ophthalmology. In 2004 Dr. Palescandolo completed the construction of a 15,000 sq. ft. modern medical center in Fairfield, New Jersey and the entire staff of Animal Emergency & Referral Associates moved to their new home in May of that year.
The additional space at the new facility allowed room for 25 veterinarians (emergency and specialists) and included two fully digitalized x-ray units and a new comprehensive computer system so that most of the medical records could be filed electronically and remote access cameras could be placed for additional patient monitoring. An internal medicine procedure room is dedicated to ultrasound, endoscopy and other specialized diagnostic techniques, and a stand alone surgical unit exists with three separate surgical suites – one dedicated to orthopedic surgery, one dedicated to neurosurgery and a general surgery room with two available tables. The surgical equipment used is equivalent to much of what is used in human medicine today. In addition, there is now housing for 130 animal patients, a blood bank, an emergency surgery suite, and an oxygen generating unit to supply all 14 intensive care oxygen cages as well as the oxygen needs of the entire hospital. The hospital has a large electrical generator to ensure that even in times of electrical outage patients will continue to receive the care they need.
Dr. Palescandolo made the decision to employ only experienced emergency veterinarians and specialists as well as a comprehensive support staff of highly dedicated individuals who are willing to work throughout the night and give up time with their families on holidays to care for their furry (or feathered) patients.
The growth of Animal Emergency & Referral Associates is a testimony to the quality of care, dedication, and compassion of the doctors, nurses, assistants and receptionists who are the life blood of AERA. Their team mission continues - to provide outstanding emergency and specialty care for our beloved animal companions.