Chicago-Based Specialty and Emergency Veterinary Practice Merges with BluePearl

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tampa FL, February 11, 2011 – BluePearl Veterinary Partners announced that it has assumed ownership of Animal Emergency & Referral Center (AERC) at 1810 Skokie Blvd. in Northbrook, Ill.  BluePearl is owned and operated by veterinarians and veterinary professionals who work at BluePearl specialty, referral, and emergency hospitals in nine states.

Barry Miller, DVM, owner of Green Bay Animal Hospital in Wilmette, Ill., and a founder of AERC, said BluePearl ownership will be good for the Chicago-area veterinary community. “Recent changes in the veterinary community had a significant impact upon AERC, leading to a reassessment of the future of the practice,” Dr. Miller said. “The membership of AERC sought out a buyer who had the resources and business model to continue to develop AERC. Through our exploration of potential buyers, we considered our options very carefully before choosing to sell to Blue Pearl. We are very excited to see Blue Pearl’s ability to bring experience of resources and expertise to AERC. They are committed to local management and have a strong focus on the needs of our local veterinary community. I believe Blue Pearl will have the same degree of commitment to the facility and the veterinary community as the founders did, and we are pleased that they will make the same dedication to AERC.”

The merger means a name change for Animal Emergency & Referral Center to BluePearl Veterinary Partners, and a more robust spectrum of veterinary specialty services. “We will be expanding the offering of referral services at the North Shore hospital and look forward to partnering with the local Chicago veterinary community,” said Neil Shaw, DVM, diplomate ACVIM. Dr. Shaw is chief medical officer and one of BluePearl’s founders.

Partnering with the local Chicago veterinary community is a key goal, Dr. Shaw said. “As practitioners ourselves, the veterinarians who own and operate BluePearl Veterinary Partners have a fundamental understanding of and respect for our veterinary peers. We appreciate the confidence the board of directors of AERC has in us to continue and enhance the original purpose of the hospital, which is support of local veterinarians,” he added. “I look forward to working with our staff at the North Shore hospital to contribute to the greater Chicago veterinary community.”

“Joining the BluePearl team allows our hospital to both expand the range of medical specialties available to the North Shore communities we serve and combine best-practice approaches to our medicine and customer service,” said Jason Bell, hospital administrator. “BluePearl’s philosophy is the same as AERC’s regarding commitment to the patient, client, primary care veterinarian, and our team members.” AERC was formed in 1994 to deliver veterinary emergency and specialty medicine in the Chicago area. It has been at its current location since 1996.

Formed in 2008 with the merger of Florida Veterinary Specialists, NYC Veterinary Specialists and Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center of Kansas City, BluePearl Veterinary Partners currently offers patient care at 20 locations. The partnership employs approximately 250 veterinarians and 700 technicians and support staff, who provide specialty, referral and emergency care. BluePearl hospitals are referral-only and do not provide primary care.