Why is Your Veterinarian So Busy?
If your pet has visited the veterinarian within the past several months, you’ve most likely noticed some changes – one of which may be longer wait times. A visit to the veterinary E.R. will make the difference even more jarring, with wait times reaching 8 hours or more during peak hours. Here in the clinic, we’ve noticed the difference as well, with appointments being booked out months in advance. While we don’t have all the answers ourselves, here are a few thoughts on why your veterinary clinic may be busier than ever.
To start with the obvious, you’ve probably noticed that your furry friend must go to his or her
appointment unaccompanied. With curbside service, you’ll call the clinic when you arrive so that a technician can meet you at your car and collect any relevant information about your pet. Once your pet is escorted into the clinic and their weight and vitals are collected, the doctor will examine them and call you with their findings, as well as diagnostic and/or treatment recommendations.
Not only do we miss shaking your hand and seeing your face – this process significantly increases the length of our appointments. Instead of discussing exam findings face to face and receiving immediate feedback and conversation, your appointment is now broken into segments: exam, phone call, diagnostics, phone call, treatment plan, etc. While this is the best way for us to provide care for our patients while keeping our staff and clients safe, it’s not without its frustrations.
New Furry Family Members
With more time at home (and for some of us, the need for a fun distraction), we’ve seen a sizeable increase in new puppy and kitten adoptions. Trust us – we’re as obsessed with your cute new furry friend as you are! However, new puppies and kittens require much more frequent visits to the vet during their first few months of life. The average new puppy will need to come in for three to four visits by the time they are four to five months old – and this translates to a busier schedule and appointment spots that fill up faster.
More Time at Home
Another phenomenon we have noticed is with more clients working from home, many have become more on top of their pets’ medical care. If you used to spend 8 hours a day away from your dog but now stay with him 24/7, you’re much more likely to notice that slight limp or that new skin lump. Or maybe you never noticed your dog licks her feet all day long until you were around to see it. Whatever the reason, we’re seeing an increase in pets here to get that lump or those itchy ears checked out when in the past, it may have taken months to notice the problem. We are ecstatic that so many people are being proactive and seeking care before a problem gets worse! But again, more appointments mean that we book up faster and may not have as many available slots as we have in the past.
What You Can Do to Help
There are a few things to keep in mind that can help your appointment run smoothly and efficiently. Arriving a few minutes early to your appointment is always a good idea. Bring your cell phone and something to do. If you have multiple concerns you would like addressed at your pet’s visit, writing down a short list can help keep you (and us!) organized. When calling to schedule annual or routine exams (or those puppy/kitten vaccine appointments), calling three to four weeks in advance is best. If your pet is running low on a prescription medication, calling 24-48 hours in advance will ensure we have plenty of time to get you the refills you need. Above all else, we so appreciate your patience during this time. We are working hard to get as many pets the care they need as efficiently as possible while keeping everyone safe.