Marquette, Mich. (WLUC) – If you’ve tried to schedule a veterinary appointment for your pet, you may have noticed long wait times.
According to Dr. Tim Hunt of Bayshore Veterinary Hospital, there are many reasons for this. Dr Hunt added that COVID precautions had forced Bayshore to reduce the number of staff at the clinic, leading to an overall decrease in appointments.
“In the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak two and a half years ago, it really caused us to shrink our staff and thus reduce the number of customers we could see on a daily basis,” Dr Hunter said.
Emergency calls for pets in need have also increased during the pandemic, Dr Hunt added. Dr Hunter said this was largely due to people being too concerned about pets at home.
“People have been calling for something that might be better on its own, which also raises the stakes in the number of patients we have to see,” Dr Hunter said.
Dr. Hunt emphasized that no specific disease or condition was responsible for the increase in animal patients, but concluded that it appeared to be a common problem for most veterinarians in the country.
“People speculate that more pets have been adopted during the pandemic, and maybe that’s the case, but when I talk to professionals across the U.S., they see the same thing, how busy they are,” Dr. Hunter said. “These veterinarians are busy, no matter where they are, and it’s not as busy as before Covid-19.”
Marquette Veterinary Clinic (MVC) is another veterinary clinic with an increase in the number of animal patients. MVC is also booked about a month in advance. Dr. Edward Brauer III said it was difficult for clinics to keep up with this influx.
“Unfortunately, we cannot hire new veterinarians who have graduated to make up for this,” said Dr. Brower III. “So we’re definitely understaffed. That’s a problem for veterinarians across the country.”
Dr. Brauer III noted that the influx of tourists with pets between Memorial Day and July 4 also led to more MVC emergency calls.
“Typically, they take the dog outside and there’s a problem, and they rip themselves through cuts and lacerations,” said Dr. Brower III. “Through August, we had a lot of cases from people outside the area who were calling in emergency situations.”
In addition to the increase in emergency calls, Dr. Brauer III said the start of the tick season has been difficult so far. Increased rates of Lyme disease in pets screened for heartworm and tick-borne diseases.
“We’ve seen quite a few cases of Lyme disease, especially in our heartworm tests that are positive for Lyme disease,” said Dr. Brower III.
Dr. Brauer III says he recommends scheduling a general health check before even buying a pet to make sure you can attend. Doing so can help you avoid waiting at least a month.
“In this case, as soon as you plan to get a new pet, or if you haven’t already, it’s best to contact a veterinary clinic that can accommodate you,” says Dr. Brauer III.
Even for those with pets, Dr. Hunter and Dr. Brower III say it’s best to call in as soon as possible. They both added that those who established themselves in a veterinary clinic had an easier time making an appointment.
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