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Why is my veterinarian SO busy?

It’s probably old news to anyone looking for a new puppy or kitten this past year that there has been a HUGE increase in pet adoptions across the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic. Animal shelters have been all but emptied, and dog and cat breeders are in short supply. For many of us, during this extended time of quarantine and isolation, animals have provided us friendship and support which has been essential to our mental and emotional health.

Because we have all been home this past year more than ever, we are spending extra time with our pets and noticing issues that have otherwise gone unnoticed! Every day, we are getting calls about animals drinking “more” or scratching “more” or vocalizing “more” and this attention to “symptoms” is driving pets and their guardians to our doorstep. As general practices have become so busy with problem cases, most of us have had to push out preventative care visits and this has caused a back log of annual exams, “routine” surgeries and other less urgent, but necessary, medical services.

As much as we’d like to, let’s not forget the stress we’ve all been under! Who thinks that their pets pick up on these vibes? We KNOW that they do, and this can result in stress induced problems for our furry friends too, like behavioral soiling, GI problems, weight loss and anxiety.

And for all that has changed at home, it is hardly “business-as-usual” at veterinary practices.

As an industry, we have had to take a lot of extra steps these days to keep you, your pet, and our employees safe, and it simply takes longer to provide you and your pet care. Most of us have adopted a “curb-side” model of care and whether it is scheduling appointments, “checking -in” for service from the parking lot, receiving payments or pharmacy refill requests, we are on the phone a LOT more, which is generally less efficient than interacting “face-to-face” (and we miss seeing you, by the way.)

Another major issue during the pandemic has been keeping our practices adequately staffed. The veterinary community is all experiencing the same CoVid struggles that you are: lack of child-care, conflicts with school schedules, long lines at testing sites, and CoVid related illnesses ourselves. For many of these reasons, since the beginning of the pandemic, most practices have found themselves short-staffed almost every day.

Like so many other essential workers during the pandemic, our veterinary teams have experienced a spike in stress, mental and emotional exhaustion and burn-out. But because your pet’s health and wellness matters to us all, there are ways you can help us help your pets!

  • Bring good energy to your family’s veterinary practice!

  • Know that most of us are scheduling “routine” care several weeks out, so plan accordingly!

  • Be patient if you have to wait, we are doing our level best under very difficult circumstances (especially during these cold, dark months of winter.)

  • Please follow our recommendations the first time.

  • Check your email and look on our web-sites and social media pages for announcements, updates and schedule changes.

We are grateful to you for your on-going support and doing your part to keep our staff and our community safe.

Only 42 more days ‘til Spring, we wait with patience and purpose and hope.

Wishing you all the best,

Dr. Jeff and Annie Rockwell

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