COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of our lives, but many people don’t realize the true effect it’s had on veterinarians and veterinary clinics. As a result of the pandemic, clinics have struggled with significantly longer wait times for appointments and services, being forced to turn away new clients to keep up with demand of the current clients, and a shortage of veterinarians and technicians, leading to frustration for veterinary staff and clients alike.
With many people working from home during the pandemic, the number of adoptions and demand for puppies and kittens has skyrocketed. According to Petfinder.com, “Inquiries about pet adoptions increased 70% between March 2020 and March 2021”, in addition to people purchasing new puppies and kittens. While this is a positive with high adoption rates, it also means veterinarians have to see more patients and open their door for new clients.
As a result of the pandemic, veterinary clinics have had to reduce their schedules and switch to curbside service. This in turn has increased the wait times to receive an appointment, and also increased the time spent at the actual appointment. While the pandemic is slowly winding down, most clinics are still operating on a reduced schedule with more workload. Clients with sick animals quickly become frustrated with this wait, and it is devastating to veterinary clinics to have to turn them away. Add in the increased number of clients and patients to see, and there is more demand than veterinarians.
The results of the COVID pandemic have caused stress on both veterinarians and clients. As a result, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges stated over “35% of all vet techs burn out”, and there are record low numbers of veterinarians and staff. With this shortage of staff and already prolonged wait times, the situation is only amplified.
Veterinary clinics are trying their hardest to accommodate for as many patients as they can. At Palmer Animal Hospital, we are reserving same-day appointments for sick patients, and trying to accommodate as many clients as we can see on a reduced schedule. We would appreciate your patience as the pandemic comes to a close, and don’t forget to thank your vet today.