Area pets await care as vets tackle backlogs and staff shortages

ONALASKA, Wisconsin (WKBT) – The average number of vet appointments increased 4.5% between 2019 and 2021, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The La Crosse region reflects the fact that many of these nominations are overdue. At the start of the pandemic, veterinary care providers were declared essential, but only for urgent appointments.

“We postponed welfare care for a few months on a group of pets, which created a significant backlog that you have to catch up with at some point,” said Dr Douglas Kratt, veterinarian at Central Animal. Hospital d’Onalaska.

As things opened up, more and more services became available again. But Kratt found that besides the backlog, his clinic couldn’t function as efficiently as it used to.

“Before the pandemic, we would frequently be able to have people in the same week. Sometimes the same day, but the same week. Now there are times when we book two to three weeks, ”Kratt said.

Throughout the pandemic, people adopted pets that needed care that they did not have immediate access to.

“It is the adoption exams and the exams of the new puppy, kitten, that are really very, very important, so we can talk about proper nutrition and proper care for these pets to try and avoid the care. urgent, potentially, ”Kratt said.

Although new pets were adopted, the main cause of the influx of dates was time spent at home.

“A lot of people then spend more time with their pets, so they would see more things that could be a problem. There could be more lameness, there could be this new bump, ”Kratt said.

Beyond the influx of patients, veterinary surgeries are also facing a labor shortage. Central Animal Hospital is short of five employees.

“The stressors on the veterinary community, like really almost any industry – it’s not a new phenomenon. I think it’s worsened because of COVID,” Kratt said.

It is a space that Kratt hopes to be able to fill soon. Although the AVMA reports that COVID-19 precautions have limited the productivity and efficiency of the team. Kratt says that implementing telehealth visits to his clinic has helped fill some of these gaps.

Kratt says he advises clients to schedule pet appointments long before they’re needed to make sure these issues are caught before they arise.

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About Hector Hedgepeth

Hector Hedgepeth

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