Pet Adoption Surge: COVID-19 Pandemic leaves Veterinarians overwhelmed

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Pandemic lockdowns in the early days brought about a wave of pet adoptions by people who wanted to feel less alone. Fast forward 18 months and the same surge is now affecting vets.

California’s Newport Mesa Animal Hospital has a staff that is so dedicated to caring for pets.

“I have never seen a surge like this. I’ve been in this industry since 2002,”Eric Irwin, Newport Mesa Animal Hospital administrator, shares.

“This morning, within 60 minutes of opening, I announced to my staff we are at 125 percent capacity. No more today.”

The hospital sees 60 pets per day and has seen 200% more client appointments. Around half a dozen come in for surgery. Some animals are not able to fit in. This is unusual.

“When that happens, we have to refer them out to a neighboring veterinary hospital which historically you wouldn’t have sent them to a competitor,” Irwin adds. “We’re sharing patient-load together.”

This is a problem for employees who work long and difficult hours. According to industry statistics, 81% of vet professionals are burnt out.

“We’ve increased staffing levels to the heaviest they’ve been in 38 years since we’ve been open,”Irwin notes. “We’ve had an open position for 18 months. I can’t find staff to meet the demand.”

Anyone who doesn’t wish to be in this position should plan for their pet’s next veterinarian appointment at least a month before.

You should also thank the health-care heroes who help furry family members.

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