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Vet offices seeing an influx of pet patients during pandemic

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Posted at 8:18 PM, May 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 08:48:35-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Don’t expect a quick trip to the vet. Veterinarian offices around the country are seeing more pets than ever as millions of households have adopted new furry friends during the pandemic.

For so many people, pets are a source of companionship and that has never been truer during the pandemic. The new pets now putting a strain on veterinarians.

“We’re just seeing more and more pets and veterinarians are busier than ever trying to care for all the new animals we’re seeing," said Dr. Ruth MacPete.

MacPete, the Pet Vet, says vets across the country are seeing 20 to 40 percent more pets in their offices since the pandemic began last March. This is all fueled by a COVID-19 pet boom where the American Pet Products Association found more than 12.5 million households got a new pet since March 2020. Many of them of new kittens or puppies.

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“So, we were seeing a lot more wellness visits to examine those puppies and kittens to get them important vaccinations and get them started on parasite control,” she said.

MacPete says with pet parents staying at home more and being with their pets more often, they’re noticing more things, resulting in more vet visits.

“So, they were picking up on illnesses and things that may be wrong with their pet, more so than they would have in the past,” she said.

MacPete says the influx of pet patients has led to stress and even burnout in some offices at times and wants pet owners to be considerate.

“Be kind and know and expect that there may be delays that you have to wait more than you had in the past,” she said.

She suggests planning ahead with a visit and treat it like making an appointment with a regular doctor.

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“We know when those vaccines are going to be due. Call two to four weeks ahead and set that appointment up. Make sure you do that. Preventative care is still really important,” she said.

MacPete expects to see the same demand for vet services for the time being but believes things will eventually improve.

“As things get back to normal and more staff come back to work and we go back to having pet parents come in with their pets, that will speed things up,” she said.

MacPete says if you do have a pet emergency, they’ll still try to fit you in on the same day. However, if they can’t, they’ll refer you to a veterinary emergency clinic.