We are located at:
3123 N. Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
Our Mission Statement
Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center recognizes the importance of pets as part of the family. Our mission is to provide the most advanced medical and surgical care with the utmost compassion for you and your pet while exceeding the expectations of our referring veterinarians.
Download our newest brochure here.
The Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center, was started out of necessity. It was a way to offer emergency care to Chicago's pets after their primary care veterinary clinics and hospitals had closed. Unfortunately, at that time, after hours emergency care was sparse in Chicago.
Since emergencies rarely happen during the day, the few hospitals that offered after hours care found that it was difficult to keep up the pace 7 nights a week. At the same time veterinarians in Lisle, IL had experienced similar issues that Chicago veterinarians were experiencing. As an answer to their problems, they started the first emergency clinic in Illinois. Dr. Sheldon Rubin of Blum Animal Hospital went out to visit with the Lisle team and thought an emergency clinic would be a great idea for Chicago as well.
In 1975, Dr. Rubin contacted Dr. Bill Barnes (Barnes/Bone Animal Hospital) and presented him with his plan to start an emergency clinic in Chicago. Dr. Barnes was excited about the idea as well and met with Dr. Rubin to set up a business plan. At that meeting, a 5 mile radius circle was drawn on the map of the city with Blum Animal Hospital as the center. All of the hospitals that fell within the circle were invited to come to a meeting to discuss the formation of the emergency clinic. Invitations to 25 animal hospitals were sent out, and 20 showed up for the meeting.
At first it was a bit like pulling teeth since many of these hospitals did not offer after hours care. The thought of increasing the service to their clients was a bit overwhelming. Dr. Rubin gave a great presentation to the group of what the benefits were for the veterinarian, their clients, and the City of Chicago. Those that did emergency care knew that it was impossible to be up all night and then function the next morning at their practices. And of course, at that time (1975) we only had pagers ... no cell phones. So the sound of the pager interrupted whatever we were doing ..... dinner, theater, sleeping, etc. All 20 hospitals bought into the concept of an emergency clinic and they all liked the business plan.
A search committee (Dr. Harry & Mike Boothe -Sauginash Animal Hospital) found a vacant garage at the present location (3123 N. Clybourn) and it was purchased for $35,000. Dr. Barbara Stein (Chicago Cat Clinic) was part of the group and volunteered her father to be in charge of the renovation -- sort of like a construction manager. We hired Douglas Shroeder as our architect and worked around the clock to turn the inside of the garage into an emergency veterinary facility.
The investment from each hospital was small and we obtained personal loans from most of the veterinarians to progress. It was quite amazing, but before we knew it, we turned the empty garage into the first Northside Veterinary Emergency Services (that was the original name). Dr. Don Adams (Milaknis Animal Hospital), Dr. Richard Green (Mont Clare Animal Hospital) and Dr. Rubin (Blum Animal Hospital) hung all the cabinets and painted the walls. We had to save money somewhere and since we were somewhat handy, we took on the task. And, believe it or not, the cabinets were level and the painted walls looked professionally done! Dr. Barbara Stein (Chicago Cat Clinic) helped in wall paper hanging and also did some painting. The biggest cost to opening the facility was Chicago's requirement to have 100% air supply for the ventilation. This meant that we needed to take in fresh air and heat or cool it to a comfortable temperature. No imagination is needed here to know how much it cost to do that.
We opened (barely) on Labor Day in 1978. One of the first veterinarians hired was Dr. Rick Pehta. Our current Supervising Veterinarian, Dr. Jerry Klein, joined us in 1980, just two years after we opened. We eventually had increased to 5 veterinarians and 6 technicians making a total of 11 employees. Of course, the share holders were all on call if needed. Our emergency visit fee was set at $25. For those vets that were charging $8 office calls .... this seemed very high to them! But after realizing that their clients were thrilled that they were able to provide care for their sick pets after hours, the veterinarians loved the new facility.
Over time the name was changed to Chicago Veterinary Emergency Services. After many years of working in a cramped 25 ft wide building and growing in emergency numbers every year, it was time to build a new facility. The building immediately to the North was bought and it and the original facility were torn down. Emergency services were provided in a trailer while the new facility was being built.
Never forgetting that one of our visions was to make Chicago Veterinary Emergency Services a 24/7 facility and a specialty clinic, an addition was added to the new facility. Veterinarians could now refer their clients to receive specialty care in surgery, internal medicine, dermatology, dentistry, ophthalmology, imaging, neurology, cardiology and oncology, as well as 24/7 emergency care. We are proud to say that in 2010 the Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center was officially opened to provide Chicago's pets with the most advanced emergency, medical and surgical care they deserve.
Today, Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center is proud to provide care for pets not only in Chicago, but from all surrounding counties and States. Because of the vision of a few veterinarians many years ago, Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center and its 120 employees have become your regular veterinarian's partner in maintaining the health of your pet.