WAUSAU, Wisconsin (WSAW) – According to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 23 million U.S. households have acquired a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With an influx of new animals and pet owners, veterinarians and veterinary hospitals are increasingly busy trying to find time for all of their patients, old and new.
Dr Jamie Gifford is a veterinarian and owner of Wausau Animal Hospital. She says the business started at the start of the pandemic.
“We have remained open throughout the pandemic,” said Dr Gifford. “However, we have had times where we would do what’s called the sidewalk where the patients come in, but the owners of the patients don’t come in.”
These curbside dates were necessary to stay open during the heat of the pandemic, but they also created longer dates thanks to more phone conversations and less in-person communication.
“As the appointments took longer, we had to book longer than usual,” said Dr Giddord. “We couldn’t get that many dates in one day.
Only one owner per animal is allowed in the hospital at a time now, but they are still catching up on previous appointments.
“There are so many new patients, as well as existing patients,” Dr. Gifford said. “We need time to get through things. “
Staff at the Wausau Veterinary Hospital see an average of 50 to 60 patients per day. The average wait time to be seen is four to six weeks.
Dr Gifford says waiting to make an appointment could make you wait awhile.
“If you know you’re going to have a new pet, make an appointment before you even have the pet in your home,” Dr. Gifford said. “We are reserving so far, so when you bring them home you can get them home pretty quickly.”
Another tip from Dr Gifford is to make an appointment before the animal gets sick. Not only is this a good preventative measure, but it also allows the animal to become an established patient.
Dr Gifford also points out that general staff shortages also contribute to long waits. As busy as she and her staff are, she asks those who expect to be patient and understanding as they work hard to treat animals with the best possible care.
“We know it can be very frustrating and it can be very difficult if your pet is sick and we understand,” Dr Gifford said. “Please understand that we are doing our best too. We try to have everyone possible. Kind words can go a long way.
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