Huge strain on veterinary clinics post-pandemic

LTS3

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A combination of a rise in pet ownership and pet owners putting off veterinary care due to the pandemic has caused long wait times at veterinary clinics and a huge stress on veterinary staff. Be prepared for along wait time get a appointment booked and hours long waiting at a vet ER for an emergency case.


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Kieka

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Rescues are also feeling the strain. I've seen some articles saying people are abandoning their pets in record numbers as people go back to offices or start to feel the stress (or medical costs) of impulsive pet adoptions. There are some counter articles out there. But my local rabbit rescue just installed a camera in their parking lot to get license plates because they have had their highest abandon at doorstep rates in the last 30 years. They have started reporting people to the local authorities for abandonment because many of the rabbits are being left at their door in the heat and most with some medical issue.
 

fionasmom

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In CA it is a misdemeanor, not that anyone might ever be caught though. I had read the same thing out here; people turning animals back in once they return to work. However, the Globe article is correct as well. My dentist is booked until late October (and I am one of the ones who kept up medical care during the pandemic) because everyone is now clamoring for an appointment.
 

Kieka

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I think they are just trying to stem the flow of abandoned at the door bunnies with the threat of cops.
 

fionasmom

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Well, they should. That is an awful picture in my mind of all those little bunnies just left. It happens here...someone will find a bunny and post on Nextdoor to try to get it some help.
 

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The waits for vet appointments are insane where I live, about 3-5 weeks. I just spent 4 hours waiting at a vet hospital as a walk-in for a sick stray kitten. The local spay/neuter clinic with inexpensive pricing is booked up til January. I either have to fork over $200-300+ for a kitten spay, or wait until they’re almost a year old to get an appointment at the inexpensive clinic.

I wish something can be done but I don’t think it will change anytime soon.
 
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LTS3

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Vets and their staff are feeling the stress, too. Compassion fatigue and burn out is common. Lots of pet owners just blow up at the vet staff for the long wait times, etc and that just adds to the staff's stress. Remember to show your vet and the staff some :hearthrob: :itslove: For a small office, maybe do something nice like gift cards to a coffee shop or other small tokens of appreciation.
 

BlackCatOp

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“With a full schedule, Blout, the Fayette County veterinarian, said she has had issues with people making appointments, finding an earlier appointment elsewhere, and then neglecting to cancel. It’s led Blout to implement a “no-call, no-show” policy, and charging customers who don’t keep appointments.”

This is very true. Please call if you can’t make it. Even just 30 mins notice gives time for us to fill that slot. For me Saturday, every other of my appointments were no shows. Very frustrating when I know there are animals the need to be seen.
 
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LTS3

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Just wanted to make everyone aware to call the vet ER before you rush over with an emergency. Due to staffing shortages, etc many vet ERs can't handle as many cases as pre-pandemic times. The vet ER can assess your pet's condition over the phone and determine if it's a life threatening issue that needs immediate treatment or an urgent case that can be referred to another local vet ER or urgent pet care facility. Your local vet ER's web site may have additional information.
 

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In this area (Boston to Southern NH) no vets to my knowledge are taking new patients. People have called/ dropped in to our rescue trying to get the name of a vet taking new patients. And the local emergency vet hospital (a rather large operation that even has an ambulance) is turning people away. Prices have risen even for those of us who have long term relationships with our vets.
 

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They just shut down my clinic w hardly any warning, devastating hundreds of pet owners & putting a lot of people out of work all b/c they couldn’t find new vets. (That means more 3 hour drives one way for me!). But a big thank you to every working vet out there: I sense your stress and appreciate all the hard work you do! Please, just clone yourselves so we can keep on keeping pets!
 

moxiewild

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A combination of a rise in pet ownership and pet owners putting off veterinary care due to the pandemic has caused long wait times at veterinary clinics and a huge stress on veterinary staff. Be prepared for along wait time get a appointment booked and hours long waiting at a vet ER for an emergency case.

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There may be a paywall thing if you try to view the article via a computer. The mobile phone site usually doesn't have a paywall block. If that doesn't work either, I can copy and paste the article here.
There has also been a surge of anxiety and socialization related issues in dogs due to people being stuck at gone with their new pups, and now returning to work.

Even we have struggled with socializing kittens, and have had to resort to paying the vet $40-60/week for socialization day boarding 2-3 times a week to help get them used to other people (I’m extremely immunocompromised, and already on blood thinners and oxygen right now in addition to it, so can’t have people over to help like normal).

There is also essentially a shortage of vets right now due to the unexpected increase in pet ownership.

Our clinic has stopped offering 24/7 on-call services and 24/7 on-call home euthanasia, which means everyone here has to travel 40+ minutes to the city to get the nearest ER.

That ER used to take less than an hour to get in (sooner if your pet was triaged), and now it takes about 4+ hours.

Very scary times ahead for pet owners. I hope vet schools will be able to produce enough students to meet the demand, but that’s probably still going to be a long way away.

And this doesn’t even touch on low cost spay/neuter services being shut down or more difficult to access, *plus* slashed funding for these programs, and all the cats and puppies that were born because of it.

We’re going to be chasing our tails for years over this :(
 

Talien

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And this doesn’t even touch on low cost spay/neuter services being shut down or more difficult to access, *plus* slashed funding for these programs, and all the cats and puppies that were born because of it.

We’re going to be chasing our tails for years over this :(
In some places like Michigan where I live it's really bad, our worthless governor mandated that vets could only do emergency procedures during the covid lockdowns last year, which meant no spay/neuter, and no preventative care like routine vaccinations. Between the explosion of Kittens from no spay/neuter and all the "covid pets" being returned or abandoned when people went back to work and didn't have time for them anymore, the shelters are all full and animals (especially Kittens) are being dumped in such numbers that the progress made with TNR in the past 5 or so years has been undone.
 

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re. theyremine theyremine 's post. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying you are probably right as every company/corporation in the US tries to see what the market can stand.

Too bad people didn't plan ahead 5 years ago for the increase in vet prices that would mean they have to abandon ill pets to shelters because they can't afford to have them treated. Same for people whose pets get injured in fires and they lose everything then can't afford to paid for their pets medical bills and have to give them up or PTS.

So, I suppose the increase in prices is actually cutting down on the number of pets who get to see the vet. If that's what they want then that's what they're getting.
 
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moxiewild

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In some places like Michigan where I live it's really bad, our worthless governor mandated that vets could only do emergency procedures during the covid lockdowns last year, which meant no spay/neuter, and no preventative care like routine vaccinations. Between the explosion of Kittens from no spay/neuter and all the "covid pets" being returned or abandoned when people went back to work and didn't have time for them anymore, the shelters are all full and animals (especially Kittens) are being dumped in such numbers that the progress made with TNR in the past 5 or so years has been undone.
Honestly, we had A LOT of interest in our kittens and cats when Covid started.

We were extremely hesitant to adopt out because I anticipated this return. I know “Covid pets” helped out so many people who were lonely and whose mental health was suffering from lockdowns m, but I just had a bad feeling. I’m also very immunocompromised, so meeting up with people was difficult.

We ended up adopting out way, waaay less cats than we normally do and focused more on TNR (which was thankfully still available to us, just more difficult and expensive to get appointments) and encouraged people to foster instead of adopt, which I’m very thankful for now. It helped out people who were lonely when they needed it, helped the animals be in a home environment rather than on the streets or in a cage, and permanent homes were found once things were more stable and like “normal.”

I’d be an absolute wreck worrying about what happened or might happen to all our little guys right now with all the returns and abandonment going on if we had jumped on all those opportunities for homes.

It’s definitely going to take many years to recover from this, and it’s completely devastating.
 

Talien

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Honestly, we had A LOT of interest in our kittens and cats when Covid started.

We were extremely hesitant to adopt out because I anticipated this return. I know “Covid pets” helped out so many people who were lonely and whose mental health was suffering from lockdowns m, but I just had a bad feeling. I’m also very immunocompromised, so meeting up with people was difficult.

We ended up adopting out way, waaay less cats than we normally do and focused more on TNR (which was thankfully still available to us, just more difficult and expensive to get appointments) and encouraged people to foster instead of adopt, which I’m very thankful for now. It helped out people who were lonely when they needed it, helped the animals be in a home environment rather than on the streets or in a cage, and permanent homes were found once things were more stable and like “normal.”

I’d be an absolute wreck worrying about what happened or might happen to all our little guys right now with all the returns and abandonment going on if we had jumped on all those opportunities for homes.

It’s definitely going to take many years to recover from this, and it’s completely devastating.
Yup, it was the same around here, and it was compounded by shelters being restricted too. They weren't allowed to do intakes, and adoptions were by appointment only with just 1 person or family inside at a time. It was ridiculous, and ended up with lots of nearly empty shelters but only because there were no intakes even though there were animals that needed it. Now shelters are full or even over capacity and a lot less people looking to adopt an animal.
 
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