West Michigan vets face schedule backlogs

Local vets say they are spared for weeks and months because they have to make up for routine appointments that have been delayed, in addition to routine business.

Many pet owners haven’t or haven’t been able to take their pets to the vet during the pandemic, and now West Michigan vets say they’re seeing their busiest schedules ever .

“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride,” said Dr. Lynn Happel, owner of the Eastown Veterinary Clinic.

Firms have been forced to make many adjustments over the past year and a half, moving to curb-only service and limiting procedures early in the pandemic. Now, pet parents are allowed to return to the offices, but Dr Happel says that doesn’t mean the challenges are over.

“We definitely make appointments several weeks in advance,” she says.

The clinic is booked for about a month. Before the pandemic, they could normally see patients in a week or two.

Dr Happel says the dating rush may be due to an increase in the number of new pet owners and more owners spending more time with their dogs and cats.

“They may notice that they are scratching, licking themselves, shaking their heads, not eating as much – things that they might not have noticed so much if they were at work,” she says.

Dr Doug Clarke of the Pet Veterinary Clinic says they are being saved until next February because they have to make up for routine appointments that have been delayed in addition to routine business.

“Everyone is frustrated because they worry about a sick family member, their pet, and they just don’t understand that they see up to 30-40 appointments a day, some much more clinics than that, ”he says. “We’re just doing the best we can.”

Both vets say a shortage of workers is something impacting the industry and their businesses.

“There are a lot of companies out there looking for employees, and a lot of the big companies can offer significantly higher wages and probably great benefits and other benefits, whereas we, as a small private company, don’t have the bandwidth to do it, so it’s a challenge, ”says Dr. Happel.

Right now, she and Dr Clarke say patience can go a long way.

“Believe me, your clinic has heroes working there, so keep that in mind and show them gratitude for what they’ve been through,” Dr Clarke said.

“Our vets and staff love what they do and love taking care of your animals,” says Dr. Happel. “That’s really what they’re good for.”

Their advice for pet owners at this time is to plan ahead for your pet by making an appointment well in advance.

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About Hector Hedgepeth

Hector Hedgepeth

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